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Melissa Barash

Chief of Staff, Mission Driven Finance Mission Driven Finance

New York, NY

Member Since February 2021




Melissa Barash is an ever-curious leader who is passionate about the meaningful connections that empower others to succeed. She is currently Chief of Staff at Mission Driven Finance and loves building community. Cause Artist selected Melissa as one of 36 Social Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2020.

Published content

How C-level leaders keep up with the latest in technologies

expert panel

10 ways to maintain relevance in an ever-changing digital work environment. In an evolving virtual world, it's important for companies to stay informed about the newly developed system solutions and devices that are there to make the daily operations of a small, medium, or large enterprise run a little smoother. Whether you are a COO executive whose days are filled with back to back meetings, or a middle manager with a team of direct reports and other follow-up responsibilites that take up a good portion of your day, it's not an easy task to squeeze in additional hours to take a deeper dive into why your individual department or entire company should strongly consider investing in the latest platform, software or gadgets on the market.  That's why Fast Company Executive Board members wanted to share their 10 ideas for educating leaders and staff about the current digital technology updates. 

16 practical ways leaders can refine their communication skills

expert panel

Good communication skills are an essential key to success for any professional, but especially so for leaders. The art of communication is an essential skill for all leaders. They must learn to communicate effectively with various people, whether they're offering feedback to team members, sharing information with stakeholders, or pitching their organization's services to potential clients or the public at large. To get a message across effectively, leaders must be able to adapt as necessary to each situation. Of course, building this skill comes more easily to some people than it does to others, but it should be actively nurtured by anyone in a leadership position. Fortunately, there are several ways a leader can refine and improve their communication skills. Below, 16 members of Fast Company Executive Board share their best strategies for doing so.

How to build a community that sticks


Whether you’re seeking brand loyalty, product feedback, new connections, or bold solutions, there are four ways you can ensure your community will stick. 

16 ways to build a strong community around your brand

expert panel

If you want to build a brand that lasts, start by creating a community of like-minded consumers and advocates of your product or service. With multiple social media outlets and a vast online marketplace, consumers have unprecedented access to information about companies, allowing them to make informed decisions about who to do business with. Consumers tend to put particular trust in—and therefore seek out—other consumers’ opinions. This transparency can also work in the favor of a business, which can use the same media to share information and build a community around their brand. While it starts with a good product or service, there’s more to building a community than that. If a company works to reach out to its target audience through content, shared values, and stories, happy clients and customers may turn into faithful fans who spread the word and help the brand grow. However, businesses may not always be sure of how to begin building this sense of loyalty and shared community with their current and potential audience. To help, 16 members of Fast Company Executive Board share strategies any company can use to start building a community around its brand. Follow their recommendations to plant the seeds of avid brand advocacy among your customer base.

15 tips to encourage vigorous (but respectful) workplace debates

expert panel

Debate in the workplace is essential to collecting and considering diverse opinions, but it must be done respectfully. Organizations thrive when a diverse team comes together to serve the audience and each other. Similarly, leaders benefit when they receive input from everyone throughout the company. Hearing from team members with a variety of backgrounds and experiences better informs important decisions.  When a variety of perspectives is brought to the table, however, it’s certain that there will be occasional disagreement and debate—sometimes vigorous. Challenging one another and sharing dissenting opinions is an important part of the brainstorming process, but for a strong and trusting culture, the debate must be healthy and respectful.  Setting clear “ground rules” and leveraging smart strategies can ensure all your team members feel comfortable bringing their ideas forward and working together to reach the best conclusion. Below, 15 members of Fast Company Executive Board share ways they’ve accomplished this in their organizations.

15 essential questions to ask before you seek capital for your business

expert panel

Seeking capital to fund growth can come with strings attached, so it's important to ask yourself and your investors the right questions. An essential ingredient for a growing business is access to capital at the right time. To accomplish fast, scalable growth, many business owners turn to investors for funding. The decision to add one (or more) stakeholders—who may or may not seek to have input on your company’s operations in exchange—comes with many questions (or should). So what do entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before putting together a pitch, and what should they ask their potential investors? Below, 15 members of Fast Company Executive Board share the important questions business leaders should ask when considering bringing in outside investors to ensure they’re making the right choice at the right time.

Company details

Mission Driven Finance


Social impact & nonprofit

Area of focus

Venture Capital
social impact

Company size

2 - 10