An avid creator of new ideas and companies, Melissa Rancourt is a public speaker, educator, and entrepreneur who has recently been named one of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise in Europe. Melissa is the Founder and Board President of ‘greenlight for girls’ (g4g), an international non-profit that aims to educate and inspire young girls around the world to discover STEM studies and explore their future potential. Since founding greenlight for girls in 2010, more than 58,000 girls on six continents. In addition to this, Melissa also leads her own Engineering/Training consultancy, and is a Director & University faculty member leading a Masters degree in Strategic Design for Global Leadership in New York, Paris & Seoul.
What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others?
I have had the opportunity to work with and within international associations for more than 15 years. I believe it’s a wonderful way to harness your desire to help others – on any subject and need – and to gain a more global view that is necessary to make change.
How do you/ your association #EmbraceEquity? Does giving a voice and a space to diverse groups make for better results?
Equity is in the very DNA of our international non-profit, greenlight for girls (g4g). It is our North Star, as we say in our g4g values, and we embody inclusion and diversity through recognizing that fairness and justice are essential for positive change. Equity means acknowledging and making adjustments to imbalances and overcoming intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or systemic structures. While there are challenges in embodying equity, we continuously strive to overcome them and make sure we’re conducting our work in alignment with our values.
At its core, the g4g mission is about equality: equal access and equal opportunity to education, to learning, to careers, to jobs, to science, to the future. We do this through inspiring and boosting confidence to girls and young women and encouraging them that anything is possible.
How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations?
Every initiative, project, and entity needs to consider and embody how it will ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just words, or a department, or a role – it’s the way an organisation should conduct all its work to meet its mission. It must continue to ask how these values are demonstrated in every situation, every meeting of every day.
It’s not only about what you do, for example, about inclusion – it is also about what you could do. Are their situations where someone feels excluded? It is important to also consider how people perceive your work outside your organisation.