Melissa Powell is the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. A valued member of the Executive Management Committee, Ms. Powell joined the UN Global Compact shortly after its launch in 2001. Over the past 17 years, Ms. Powell has been involved in virtually every aspect of the programme, building the initiative to where it stands today — with almost 10,000 corporate participants and non-business stakeholders from 160 countries, representing almost every size and sector.
In 2016, Ms. Powell assumed the role of Chief of Staff. Reporting to the Executive Director, Ms. Powell is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, as well as key strategic initiatives, particularly those that cross multiple teams. Her responsibilities include Strategic Planning and Board Relations and she leads a team responsible for the integrity of the initiative. She is also oversees the Compact’s strategic relations with Governments as well as partnerships across the United Nations System, including with the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General. Ms. Powell also leads the organization of the Global Compact’s strategic events.
In her previous role as Head of Strategy and Partnerships for the UN Global Compact, Ms. Powell led a range of strategic initiatives including those focused on connecting companies with the United Nations. She also led the development of “Business for Peace”, an initiative that supports companies to operate responsibly and contribute to development and peace in high-risk areas of the world.
Prior to joining the UN Global Compact, Ms. Powell worked in the Speechwriting Unit of the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In this role, she composed messages and articles on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, where she earned a Masters degree in International Relations, Ms. Powell also holds an honours bachelors degree in Political Science from Queen’s University, Canada.