Steve Brown, our outgoing president, received accolades for his leadership in the second half of the 2021-2022 Rotary year, our 100th anniversary, for his outstanding leadership during the (still circulating) pandemic. In addition to keeping club members engaged, Steve gave us brief looks back at our country’s history, and provided humorous moments at every club meeting to lighten the challenging times.
After walking us down memory lane, he turned the gavel over to Melissa Baxter. Melissa has been busy on the board and as president-elect, and chairperson of the Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC), helping seek/review applications from non-profits vying for grants. What a challenge to select from about 30 agencies narrowing that down to about a dozen to whom we can award a total of $30,000!
A graduate of Penn State University with a B.S in Human Development and Family Studies, an M.S. from Eastern University in Non-profit Management, a Supervisory Management Certificate, and Leadership through Main Line Chamber of Commerce, set her on the path as a Certified Investigator with the PA Office of Developmental Programs. In 2009, she began employment with Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health as Quality Management Coordinator, and in 2015, Residential Program Director, overseeing six residential children’s intellectual disability programs. In addition, she provided non-profit leadership, fiscal and safety/risk management, compliance and quality improvement, data analysis, cross functional team collaboration, and was a subject matter expert in Mental Health Intellectual Disability/Autism and Early Intervention systems of care.
In 2018, Melissa became Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. She performed operational assessments and strategies to reform technology, operational and managerial processes, and was advisor to the CEO. She collaborated on leadership with the CEO and other leaders to help achieve goals and sustain programs. Strategic planning, revenue management and donor relations were also part of her job. She attended regional, county and statewide meetings in the CEO”s absence, and was liaison to other social service agencies, hospitals, clinics and other community resources to assist with external coordination of services for victims/survivors.
Earlier this year, Melissa took a position with the PA Department of Health as Executive Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Administration. In her current position she advises the Deputy Secretary on programmatic, policy and administrative issues, providing direction on the interpretation of policies, procedures, plans and initiatives that affect these programs. She works with representatives from other agencies and departments to resolve programmatic and policy issues, and coordinates the analysis of proposed legislation that impacts administrative programs.
Melissa and her husband Aaron are parents of three children, who help her cook and provide meals to St. Agnes Day Room. A volunteer in most Rotary activities, she is also active in AAUW (American Association of University Women) West Chester-Chester County branch.
No doubt that with her experience, Melissa will be one of our most capable presidents! We welcome you, Melissa!