Meet Melissa. Melissa Belcher holds a Master of Arts in Strategic Marketing Communications from the University of Greenwich (United Kingdom); and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lived and worked internationally for fourteen years. Prior to joining GET, she worked for Resource Solutions in London as the Resourcing Account Manager for HSBC Bank, managing a global team on large projects with staff in the UK, Switzerland, and South Africa.
As Associate Director for Administration at GET, Melissa provides administrative oversight of GET, including programmatic and business operations, the Intensive English Institute, and the Shanghai Office. Her responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations; supervising and leading staff to foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance; and implementing GET, Illinois International and campus policies and procedures.
- What drew you to the position at GET?
After working internationally for the past 15 years, I was absolutely thrilled to find an opportunity at the University of Illinois (my alma mater) which offered me the opportunity to continue to engage with the international community. I am a firm believer that international travel and education play a huge role in shaping us as both individuals and global citizens. The opportunity to build upon my experience to date while offering international executives and students the chance to really immerse themselves in the University of Illinois and all that it has to offer was far too good to pass up.
- You’ve lived abroad for the last decade or so. What can you tell us about the value of international experiences?
Living, studying and working internationally has enriched every aspect of my life. With every new experience and new relationship made, my horizons got a little bigger and the world felt a little smaller. To know that I now have close friends, ready for me to come visit, on almost every continent (I’m still looking for my Antarctica soul mate) is one that makes me proud and makes me ready to pack my suitcase and go!
Growing up on a farm in rural Illinois, I was very lucky that my parents instilled a love for travel from a very young age. The opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures and be exposed to completely new ways of approaching problems has been an invaluable experience for me through every step of my career.
- What are the differences, working across cultures (e.g., working with professionals from the UK, Switzerland, and South Africa)?
Having the opportunity to work across cultures is a great way to hold the mirror up to yourself. I had never really put a lot of thought into my mannerisms and approach before working closely with teams across the globe. At the end of the day we are all people, all with different motivators and goals. Finding different ways to connect and understand a wide spectrum of cultures has really enriched the way I now like to work. It also plays a key role in how I tackle challenges and maintain my overall perspective on life.
- What motivates or inspires you?
I am a people person to the core! I love surrounding myself with all different kinds of people, whether they be from different cultures or different walks of life. I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible leaders throughout my career and each of them has continued to teach me what it means to lead and how to get the best out of people. There is nothing I enjoy more than having the opportunity to help someone develop and progress.
- As an Illinois alumni, what is it like being on-campus as a professional?
It’s amazing! Having the opportunity to be back on campus and take a walk down memory lane with my kids has been a truly special experience. Knowing that I’m now in a position to continue to further the mission of the University of Illinois by acting as an international ambassador for a school that I love is nothing short of an honor.