In 2017, Congressman Dave Loebsack, recognized Melinda and Meld as part of National StartUp Day. She was also a featured speaker at EntreFest. In 2016, Melinda was voted one of Corridor Business Journal’s Most Influential Persons.
After beginning her career as a journalist with The New York Times Group in South Carolina, Melinda immersed herself in higher education at Lawrence University, became director of an advertising agency where she worked with national brands, and then started her own company in 1999.
She has worked on more than 65 new or refreshed brands, including the consolidation of five brands into one with Kalona SuperNatural (KSN). Melinda helped KSN increase profits by 47 percent within two years of the new brand hitting the grocery shelves.
Melinda also has a deep understanding of the organic foods, retail, food service, technology, and real estate markets. In 2015, she was the lead strategist for Urban Acres, a new real estate company in Iowa City. Melinda facilitated discussions on envisioning the company, creating the name and strategic messaging, as well as overseeing the creative direction for the website, social media, events, launch, and long-term marketing plan for the organization. Urban Acres went from a kernel of an idea to number one in the market within two years. Melinda also was the co-owner of a cloud technology company and has helped develop the branding related to three mobile apps.
Melinda also has developed global marketing strategies for a number of organizations, including Hawaii Pacific University and CIMBA Italy. She’s worked with more than 20 colleges and universities across the country and around the world. She’s also worked with national brands such as Otis Spunkmeyer, Blue Bunny, Pierce Fire Trucks, and more.
Melinda has a passion for working with nonprofits. She was a marketing manager for the Experimental Aircraft Association, helped facilitate strategic planning for The Crisis Center (and eventually a complete rebrand of the organization to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank), and has helped other non-profits ranging from local school education bond campaigns to elementary schools, youth organizations, and housing non-profits.
Melinda has extensive experience facilitating and conducting focus groups related to product development, strategic planning, and marketing strategy for small- to medium-sized companies, Fortune 500 companies, Ivy League universities, and everything in between.
She also has authored two books about entrepreneurial businesses and contributed to The New York Times book, Circuits. Her newest book, Von Maur: How an American Department Store Dared to Do Things Differently, was released December 2017. Melinda holds a BS in Journalism from Iowa State University and participated in the University of Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture School.
Just for Fun:
Pizza. Fleetwood Mac. Otters. Benjamin Franklin.
Most People Wouldn’t Know: My ancestor, Robert Auchmuty, served as a senior counsel in the Boston Massacre Trials with Josiah Quincy, Jr. and John Adams.
Favorite Local Establishment: Red’s Alehouse, Iowa Artisans Gallery, RAYGUN, and Prairie Lights. There is nothing better than a night on the patio at Red’s Alehouse under the lights near the fire pit. I love the history of Prairie Lights, the creativity of RAYGUN, and the beautiful art on display at Iowa Artisans Gallery.
Favorite Food: Oven Grinder Chicago Pizza. It makes me happy just thinking about it.
Favorite TV Show: The Crown, because I love history, and The Americans because it’s a great spy thriller.
Perfect Day: Wake up to a fresh, hot cup of coffee and set off on an adventure to explore new places. I love to do that whether I am here in Iowa, in another state, or abroad. I love finding things off the beaten track.
Favorite Color: Meld green.
Favorite Music Genre or Artist: Fleetwood Mac, P!nk, and Alison Krauss.
Favorite Book: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.
Best Advice Received: “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” Benjamin Franklin. I love the idea that we all have talents and carry a responsibility to share those talents with others to make a positive impact on the world.
Favorite Thing About Working at Meld: The creativity, hard work, teamwork, and endless amounts of laughter among our staff. It inspires me every day.