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The Thread that Connects Us

March is a very important month. It’s Women’s History Month with International Women’s Day being celebrated globally on March 8th and the last month of the first quarter of the year. It is also a transitional month bringing us out of winter and into spring. When I had an opportunity to sit down with Melissa to learn more about her background, the foundation of ATAP and what’s in store for the membership committee in the upcoming year, I was admittedly very excited as her professional background is notably very impressive. What was truly impressive though was how transparent Melissa spoke about her experiences, her passion for Talent Acquisition leadership and her excitement for what’s ahead for the members of ATAP.

After graduating with her MBA in HR, Melissa started in the talent arena on the human resources side, but after participating in various layoff activities and scenarios, she wanted to move to the other side of Talent, into recruitment where she could help somebody join a business as opposed to leaving one. She joined Dell as a Recruiter, and saw there was a gap in terms of how the business looked to recruit sellers, “looking for technologists who could sell versus sellers who could learn the technology.” This “Ah HA!” moment really became the moment for her. She shared if Talent Acquisition is doing its part, it really is the secret sauce to driving business success. Since Dell, Melissa has gone on to lead talent acquisition at very large and notable companies including Nielsen, McGraw-Hill, Citrix, and most recently Ford as the Global Head of Talent Acquisition.

Thanks again for meeting with me, Melissa! To jump in, I understand you are one of the founding members of ATAP. I would love to hear what inspired you to join the founding group.

When I was originally advised about the creation of ATAP, I made the decision to be a founding member because I believe in the organization’s focus to uplift the TA profession. At that time, I was also a member of SHRM, when they had a path that was staffing focused, but that subset of SHRM had dissolved, leaving recruitment without a track. That was the impetus for the launch of ATAP, all of TA could join & they were my community.

I too was so excited to join ATAP because it was an opportunity join a community focused on Talent Acquisition. In your experience, what has been your favorite part of being a TA leader? What has been the most difficult part?

My favorite part of being a talent acquisition leader is seeing the growth and development of people that have reported to me.  When I look out at current TA leadership teams and see people that worked for me as coordinators, recruiters and even recruiting managers making their way to leadership levels at LinkedIn, Amazon, Wells Fargo and a host of other organizations, it makes me proud.

One of the most challenging things about being a talent acquisition leader is that there is rarely a forecast.  As a result, swings in volume (up or down) are often a surprise.

That is so true! The world of TA can switch on a dime, especially as we’ve seen in recent years. What has been the best piece of advice your received?

I’m very fortunate in that I have worked for some very strong leaders and have a robust personal board of directors that includes mentors, leaders and former direct reports.  I was talking to a peer mentor over the Christmas holiday and he reminded me – what you are trying to fix, didn’t get to this stage of broken in a year, so why are you trying to get it all fixed in a year?  Give yourself some grace and set targets that are realistic but not unattainable.

That’s great advice! You are the board liaison to the Membership Committee. I would love to hear more about what’s instore for the upcoming year.

The committee is focused on 3 things this year – growing our membership both in terms of individuals and corporate members, deriving insights and actions from the annual member survey and putting forward a proposal around segmenting members to have more impact on the member experience.

From previous surveys, members have shared they want more from ATAP and we’ve heard them. We want our members to see the value of being part of our lively community, not just Global TA Day, but all of the threads you can pull as a member such as attending webinars, participating in roundtable discussions with peers, leaders and experts, being part of Circle, more professional development opportunities.

The Membership committee wants to ensure members are seeing how all of these threads come together whether you are new to talent acquisition, a leader in the space, focus on employment branding and so forth. We are excited about building this better connection and engagement for our growing community.

That is wonderful! We are only one quarter into the new year and there is already so much instore for members of ATAP and the Membership committee seems to be at the forefront of sharing and showcasing what members truly want most.


To become a member, please visit Corporate memberships are available for teams of 10+ people. Email for more information.

If interested in learning more about committee opportunities, please visit the volunteer page of the website or reach out to



Click here to learn more about Nicole.

Click here to learn more about Melissa.

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