Melody Gonzales brings to Latino Strategies a blend of 15 years of leadership, management, policy, political, media and business experience. She recently concluded her term as a senior executive presidential appointee in President Barack Obama’s Administration — where she served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (a 5,000-employee agency driving human capital policy for all Federal agencies and their employees worldwide) and as Chief of Staff to the the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (a 2,300-employee agency dedicated to improving workplace safety for mine workers across America).
Prior to serving in the Administration, Melody worked for the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of now-40 national Latino nonprofit organizations, as NHLA’s founding director of a program aimed at increasing Latino representation in state and presidential appointments. She also advised the coalition on its policy campaigns related to economic empowerment, health, immigration, voting rights and increasing Latina representation in elected office.
Melody developed her policy experience working for Xavier Becerra in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, first as a legislative assistant and then as Director of Member Outreach for the Democratic Caucus. It was during her time on Capitol Hill that she came to know and respect the digital work of Juan Proano and Plus Three, who were active partners in elevating broad national awareness in support of Becerra’s effort to create a national Latino museum in Washington, D.C.
With a passion for community organizing and political empowerment, Melody worked as a Latino Vote canvass director in President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Colorado; GOTV Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva’s 2010 re-election campaign; and as the Virginia State Latino Vote Director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection. In addition to volunteering and fundraising for political activities in various states, she is the co-founder of the New Latino Movement — an online network of thousands of progressive Latinos across the U.S. founded by Latino staff and volunteers from Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Melody began her career in her hometown of San Diego, California, where she worked as a news writer for San Diego’s KNSD NBC News affiliate and as General Manager of the Chula Vista Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, promoting business and tourism for the seventh fastest growing city in the nation at the time.
Melody earned her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University, a bachelor’s degree with a major in communication studies from the University of California San Diego, and studied abroad at the University of Oxford in England and la Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. She is an alumna of leadership programs with the White House’s President’s Leadership Workshop, the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Harvard University, the Center for Creative Leadership, Lead San Diego and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.