Board Member Spotlight

Melissa Fors Shackelford, MBA
Vice President Marketing, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Melissa Fors Shackelford has been with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for eight years andleads the strategic marketing functions, which includes brand strategy, digital strategy, thought leadership, marketing operations and customer relationship management.

When and why did you join the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST?

I joined years ago when I worked at Optum but wasn’t an active member and let my membership lapse. I rejoined while working at Hazelden Betty Ford because we were discussing leadership opportunities for women and I knew that in health care locally this was the best organization for women leaders. Hazelden Betty Ford has also become a sponsor to the TRUST and attended the FORUM event for the past several years.

What role(s) do you currently hold with the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST?

I am a TRUST Board Member and member of the strategic growth and marketing committee.

Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?

In 2020 I was the recipient of the TRUST Forum Award for Leadership and it was so meaningful to receive an award from other women leaders in health care. I also am so inspired when attending the in-person Forum events. Being in a room with hundreds of women leaders in health care is powerful!

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

Advocate for yourself as no one else will do it for you. This is especially important for women leaders. Studies have shown that women often attribute their success to “luck” while men attribute success to their skills and experience. And when women buy into this idea that it’s all luck, they will sit back and wait for the opportunities to come to them. As I look back on my career journey, I can see how my success is due to my hard work, education, expertise and primarily my own self advocacy, not luck.

How do you support other women in their leadership journey?

I have been a mentor both formally and informally which has helped me to grow as well. I also try to be a connector for women that are either in the job market or needing to network to grow their careers.

How do you cope with demanding aspects of your career and incorporate wellness into your day?

Since working from home during COVID, I am able to prioritize self-care much better. I am able to get a full night’s sleep, exercise almost every day, give the dog longer walks, connect with my support network more often and have more time with my family. Yes, I probably work more hours a week than pre-COVID but prioritizing self-care really allows me to manage longer hours better.

Words of wisdom to live by?

“I try to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with Gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing Love, the finest emotion that we can ever know.” The Grapevine, 1965.