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Melissa King

Theme: Raising Political Influence
Topic: TBC
Date/Time: Aug 20 @12:12 PM

Melissa King is a passionate advocate for patients of chronic illness and disease as well as the medical research that can help reduce their suffering. An expert at engaging multiple stakeholders and communicating effectively with varied audiences, she has been a champion for the California stem cell research program since before it formally existed.

Melissa was previously Executive Director of Americans for Cures, where, for the three years leading up to November 2020 she led the effort to lay the groundwork for Prop 14 and build the patient advocacy coalition needed to get the state ballot initiative passed. In 2020, she was Head of Field Operations for California’s Proposition 14 campaign, which secured an additional $5.5 Billion in funds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Long before her work on Prop 14, Melissa served as a senior member of the successful 2004 campaign for California’s Proposition 71, which created the CIRM and the California stem cell program. She hired the first several key employees at CIRM to become the very first pioneers of the new state funding agency.

Melissa played a central role in the formation and building of CIRM, the unique $3 billion research funding agency created by Prop 71. During the first seven years of CIRM’s operation, she worked hand-in-hand with agency Chair and its founding 29-member governing Board responsible for setting the strategic vision for the agency, as well as developing the processes and policies by which CIRM stil operates.

Melissa guided CIRM’s Board through its first 1500+ hours of public meetings, the sale of the first bonds to fund the agency, as well as the development and awarding of the first billion dollars in grants, which included the Facilities Grant Program that leveraged $271 million of CIRM’s funds to attract $880 million in other support which directly contributed to $1 billion in scientific research facilities in California.

Having worked on both campaigns to create and obtain funds for CIRM, Melissa is now focused on the vision of improved healthspan for all. She works to support the continued success of the research, ensuring that access and affordability of treatments is fully addressed, and the need for more diversity in science, medical research and clinical trials. She serves as a volunteer mentor for SHE CAN, mentoring a young woman scholar from Libera now attending college in the US. She is a board member at Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, serves as Chair of Regions for Wellesley College Friends of Art and is a member and past Chair of the Wellesley Business Leadership Council.

Melissa has a B.A. from Wellesley College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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