Melissa serves as Managing Partner of Murphy, Symonds & Stowell Search, a Pacific Northwest-based firm that has operated since 1968. For almost 20 years, she has provided retained executive search services to a wide variety of client companies and nonprofits that require comprehensive consulting services to fill key leadership roles. She leads and participates in all aspects of the client engagement, from the initial client meetings wherein the scope of the search gains definition to the transition strategy required to successfully onboard a new leader.
Melissa’s guiding belief with regard to effective search is that technical proficiency and functional mastery can be learned, and organizations in transition benefit most from leaders who share and demonstrate the core values held in the fabric of an organization’s culture. Ultimately, an effective leader recognizes the potential inherent in an opportunity, possesses the strategic skills to define realistic goals, and then leads the people, processes and organizational assets to meet desired outcomes.
Client and candidate engagement are equally important to a successful search process, and Melissa actively pursues those candidates who are not readily available or apparent. It’s often research, tenacity and authentic relationship building that enable superior candidates to be located and attracted to an opportunity. Melissa invests this time and these skills to bring the best possible slate of finalists to a client. Many client organizations hire her repeatedly over several years, facilitating senior leadership teams to evolve in a complementary manner.
Melissa’s liberal arts training and commitment to continuous learning keep her engaged in a variety of client and volunteer organizations. She holds BA degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Oregon. She participates in volunteer and client boardwork. Raised in Portland, she returned to Oregon after several years working and learning in North Carolina. She keeps up with her husband, two teens, and outsized dog while trying to fit in some fitness, skiing, travel, gardening and obsession with fictional political intrigue.