Melissa Diamond is a social entrepreneur, speaker and writer with a passion for people. As the founder of two non-profit organizations, A Global Voice for Autism and Roots for Refugees, Melissa believes that with hard work and an open mind, anyone can make a difference in the world. Through speaking, writing, organizing and direct service, Melissa is committed to expanding opportunities for youth in conflict-affected communities. She has traveled the world bringing this personal mission to life and is currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and travels freqently to the Middle East.
After graduating from the University of Richmond with a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict, Melissa decided against accepting a traditional job and instead became the full-time Executive Director of her own non-profit, A Global Voice for Autism. Since its establishment, A Global Voice for Autism has impacted more than 750 parents, children with autism, siblings and special needs professionals in the Middle East and continues to expand its private and community-based programs to locations around the world. In addition to attending the University of Richmond, Melissa was selected as a Watson Scholars and took part in a selective social entrepreneurship program in Boulder, Colorado. At Watson, Melissa was mentored by world-renowned thought leaders and took part in accelerated Transformative Action and Transformative Entrepreneurship courses that catalyzed A Global Voice for Autism’s expansion.
Relationships are at the core of all of Melissa’s work and as a speaker, advocate and director, she prioritizes personal connections with the individuals she serves. In September 2016, Melissa will join a cohort of Rotary Peace Fellows at the University of Bradford in England to pursue a Master’s degree in Middle East Conflict and Security.