Melissa Renee Medley, loving daughter, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, passed away suddenly on Friday, January 17, 2020 at the age of 57. Born on February 5, 1962 in Jellico, Tennessee, Melissa lived in Tallahassee, Florida where she served as a founding Principal at VisionFirst Advisors, LLC, an economic development consulting firm.
Melissa Medley CME served as Chair of the Board of Sales & Marketing Executives International from 2004-2005. Prior to being elected chair, Melissa served SMEI as regional vice-president, senior vice-president, director of affiliate & member services, chair of the international conference (1999, Atlanta, GA), senior vice-president of marketing research and chair-elect. She was the 2000 recipient of the Jack Criswell CSE Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, SMEI’s highest membership recognition, and in 1998 received the Lifetime Service Award from SMEI’s Hattiesburg affiliate.
Following her year of service as SMEI’s highest ranking volunteer leader, Melissa continued her service as Chair of the 2005 SMEI Academy of Achievement Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame and served as Chair of the SMEI Certification Governing Board from 2005-2010.
Passion for Professional Certification
Melissa was passionate about SMEI’s professional certification programs and achieved the Certified Marketing Executive (CME) designation in 1995. Melissa was a founding director and led the initiative in December 2007 to incorporate the Certified Marketing & Sales Professionals Association (CMSP) to govern the certification programs.
During her leadership, Melissa traveled extensively through the USA and Canada to meet with members and was the first elected leader to visit members in New Zealand. As Chair of the Certification Governing Board, Melissa participated in a delegation that traveled to Beijing for the official signing ceremony launching SMEI in China in May 2007.
A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Melissa began her career as director of Marketing for the Hattiesburg Clinic. She later became director of Marketing for Goetz & Associates before founding Success Marketing in 1988.
Melissa joined SMEI as a member in Hattiesburg in 1987. Melissa was an active member of a number of community and business organizations in Hattiesburg. She served as a member of the board of directors of the Hattiesburg Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a former president of the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission and is the former president (1999-2000) of SMEI’s affiliate in Hattiesburg. In 2009, she was named one of Mississipp’s 50 Leading Business Women.
In 2006, Melissa joined Gray Swoope at the MS Development Authority as Chief Marketing Officer under Haley Barbour’s governorship. In 2011, Melissa joined Gray at Enterprise Florida under then Governor Rick Scott.
In early 2015, Melissa, Gray and Griff Salmon formed VisionFirst Advisors in partnership with Haley Barbour and the Butler Snow law firm as an economic development consulting agency in Tallahassee, Florida. Her work at VisionFirst included operating the Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida Aerospace Alliance to promote the region’s aerospace assets and to leverage growth opportunities.
A public memorial service will be held on February 24 at 4:00 pm at The Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Melissa R. Medley CME Marketing Scholarship
In Melissa’s memory, SMEI has established the Melissa R. Medley CME Marketing Scholarship which will be given annually to a collegiate student with a designated marketing major.
Your support of the scholarship fund in Melissa’s memory will be gratefully appreciated. Contributions can be made as follows:
Or by mail to:
SME Foundation for Marketing Education
PO Box 1390
Sumas, WA 98295-1390
Melissa’s family will receive an acknowledgement for every contribution and a tax receipt will be issued from the Foundation, a USA registered 501c3 organization.