Melissa Vela-Williamson, M.A., APR, CDP is an internationally-recognized and accredited public relations strategist, PRSA columnist, podcast host and author with specialties in the nonprofit, education, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, and Hispanic/Latino culture. She has almost two decades of general market and multicultural integrated marketing communications experience in agency, corporate and nonprofit settings. Today, she serves clients as the Chief Communication Architect of her own boutique award-winning firm, MVW Communications. Melissa is a 360° integrated marketing communicator, with unique experience in internal communications and DEI. No matter the communication challenge, she uses her PR point of view to create social good. Because she values socially responsible work, Melissa is also a certified diversity professional.
Through MVW, she works around the nation directly as a consultant, assembles expert account teams to develop and implement campaigns, or collaborates with agencies needing her PR or specialized experience. During her career, she has directed public relations, marketing, advertising or social media strategy for over 90 organizations including more than 40 nonprofits.
In addition to agency work, she is a professional speaker and workshop facilitator. Melissa has led workshops for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, CPS Energy, the San Antonio Area Foundation, the Maestro Entrepreneur Center, the San Antonio Zoo, the Children’s Shelter, the Alamo Colleges Workforce Network, SCORE, the Latina Leadership Institute, and South Texas chapters of the Public Relations Society of America and American Marketing Association.
Melissa has been featured on regional, national and international panels for PRNews, PRCAs of Americas, the Public Relations Society of America, the Texas Association of Fairs & Events, and the Hispanic Public Relations Association. She also speaks at colleges across the nation to encourage diverse students to enter the PR field, sharing insights at University of Oklahoma, University of Miami, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, SUNY-Plattsburgh, Appalachian State University, University of Texas San Antonio, the University of South Carolina and more.
As a thought leader in public relations, Melissa is the first national columnist for the Public Relations Society of America to ever focus on the Hispanic and Latino markets, reaching over 30,000 practitioners each publication. She hosts the industry-focused podcast the Smart Talk Series to explore “real talk” conversations of significance, and launched the PR Pro Gear online merchandise shop to elevate the communication industry. Her book Smart Talk: Public Relations Essentials All Pros Should Know is slated for publication November 2022. Melissa earned a bachelor's degree in English/Communication Arts from St. Mary’s University and a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Texas San Antonio. For more info on Melissa or her firm, visit www.mvw360.com.