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Melissa stays active in the industry to connect her students with fashion professionals. She is currently a member of the Apparel Industry Board, Inc. (AIBI) board of directors. AIBI is a 501(c)(6) organization in Illinois that works with the fashion industry. It comprises professionals from the industry's design, manufacturing, merchandising, sales, retail, marketing, and finance segments. Melissa works collaboratively with the rest of the board on mentoring programs, workshops, seminars, scholarships, internships, networking, selling, fashion show events, and the organization's finances. She is co-spearheading the designer startup working group that meets four times a year. She is also on the Fashion Group International (FGI) board and handles their finances. FGI is an organization that offers its members programming in all fashion/beauty/interior segments, including networking events, trend events, symposiums, workshops, panels, dinners, and virtual events.

Melissa also periodically works at StyleMax, a women’s apparel trade show at the merchandise mart. She sells to buyers’ missy lines and connects with industry professionals. StyleMax has allowed Melissa to teach students the ability to work the show, network, and gain experience. She also worked for a year at a kid's clothing store, where her role included visually merchandising their store. That experience has given Melissa insight into the happenings of the visual merchandising field, which she has shared with her students. Through working at the store, she also brought on a student to assist who wanted to pursue visual merchandising after school. She has also judged and attended the past six Mercedes Benz Glencoe Fashion shows. Melissa also has her own online retail business that sells directly to retail stores and consumers. Staying relevant in the field is essential to Melissa; this venture has helped her do so. With her business, she has shown at a pop-up shop at the Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue. She has networked with other designers and shop owners at these events to bring students on as interns. Her student evaluations show how much students appreciate her industry connections and how she is active in the field. 

Staying relevant is vital for Melissa, so she publishes, presents, and attends courses and seminars. She co-authored the textbook Guide to Fashion Entrepreneurship: The Plan, The Product, The Process. She also published a case study, Amazon’s Luxury Ambitions: Can Amazon Fashion Address Its Luxury Credibility Gap? Further, she is submitting a textbook proposal that she co-authored, titled Apparel Development and Manufacturing. Melissa attended the following seminars to discuss the challenges, insights, and tools that young brands are implementing to grow their businesses in 2021: FGI Virtual Beauty Event, COVID-19 Crisis Management (Legal, PR, Ops, Sourcing) for Small Businesses, FGI Black History Month Rising Stars Dialogues, and AIBI (Apparel Industry Board) Business of Fashion: Fashion in Flux. She also participated in a two-day intensive social media marketing immersive course as part of her continuing education. This course kept her abreast of developments in the industry and assisted in teaching her class on Social Media and Branding. Melissa also trained in Optitex and Visual retailing: Mock Shop and stayed connected through memberships with ITAA and the American Assn. of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). She gave a presentation at AAFCS on Career Planning and Portfolio: Preparing Students for the Future, and finally, she attended various Dominican CTLE Conversations, all to help her stay out in front of the latest developments in the field. Will give a presentation at ITAA in November 2021 with colleagues at various universities in the US and Canada on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) on Adaptive Apparel Design Projects in Higher Education: Analysis and Recommendations for Future Work.

MBA, Business Administration, Benedictine University
Selected Publications

AMAZON’S LUXURY AMBITIONS : Can Amazon Fashion Address its Luxury Credibility Gap? (Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases, 2021)

(, 2012)

(, 2012)

Selected Presentations
A Holistic Approach to Service Learning:The Apparel Department's Collaboration with the Upscale Resale Outlet New to You, American Assocation of Consumer Sciences / Podium, 2012
'Portfolios in the major: Helping students situate their work within broader contexts.', Dominican University / PaperI, 2011
Assesing the Impact of Social Technologies and the Viabilty of Creating a Virtual Community within the Creative Sectors of Chicago, American Assocation of Consumer Sciences / Podium, 2011
Collaborative Window Designs, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education / PaperI, 2010


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