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avatar for Melissa Risteff

Melissa Risteff

Couragion
CEO
Greater Denver Area
Melissa was an early evangelist and thought leader for the ‘future of work’ and the ‘multi-generational workforce’ movements. She started her career at General Electric and Sun Microsystems where she was a Six Sigma Black Belt and ran software engineering and analytics organizations. She went on to lead product, strategy, marketing, and services organizations in the educational technology and enterprise collaboration sectors. Melissa is an Achiever, Activator, Arranger, Maximizer and Strategic who thrives on challenge, purpose, and connection. When not focused on education transformation, you can find her in the Pilates studio, on the trail, in the kitchen, or traveling the globe (40 countries and counting). Melissa co-founded Couragion in 2015 with a mission to inspire underrepresented youth to pursue skills, competencies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Couragion links education to industry and community with diverse role models, a “best fit” career assessment, ongoing curricula, and personal learning plans that help better prepare students to enter the workforce. Couragion provides partner schools with the necessary educator resources and professional development to integrate programming directly into the classroom that is learner-led and personalized. Couragion is different because their data-driven approach is proven to improve the perception and awareness of STEM careers. In 2016 Couragion was awarded a SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation, graduated from two business accelerators – AT&T Aspire and Village Capital Education, attained a finalist position in Steve Case’s Rise of Rest Pitch Competition, and was named the startup of the year by the Colorado Technology Association. Melissa’s Education: Master's degree in Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management from the University of Denver in Colorado Certificate of Advanced Study in Organizational Development, Training and Learning from the University of Denver in Colorado Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Bentley University in Massachusetts