Melissa Kline-Lee
(d.school fellow 2013-2014)

Melissa Kline Lee’s career has been dedicated to chopping through what many on the outside see as the Gordian Knot of government. Her credentials include a Presidential Management Fellowship and a senior policy analyst position at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, where she led the Obama administration’s federal hiring reform. But long before her roles in the government, Melissa was an AmeriCorps teacher in Baltimore City and later served as a coordinator designing programs for at-risk youth in the Southeast Youth Academy. Three years later, she became the director of the Foster Grandparents Program, where she discovered the need for and implemented a branding change. The move helped retain funding for the struggling organization, which matches troubled young people with senior-citizen mentors.

Melissa went on to receive her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. While pursuing her degree, she received an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship addressing obesity prevention. She interned at Johns Hopkins Hospital in their Burn Intensive Care Unit and designed an award-winning innovation addressing childhood obesity through an inter-disciplinary collaboration including social work, law, pharmacy, medicine and nursing students in the process.

Melissa was named a Presidential Management Fellow the year she graduated, going on to serve in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office. Her eight years working in the federal government span the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. All the while, she has sought to be a “troublemaker” and a pioneering spirit. But, she says she’s first and foremost a social worker.

As dedicated as Melissa has been to government, she is also quick to acknowledge its need to change. The government faces a significant challenge when it comes to recruiting young talent. With high-tech companies offering the nation’s best and brightest high-end perks, Uncle Sam looks older, less innovative and more gray to the incoming workforce. But Melissa is committed to, as then-presidential candidate Obama said in 2008, “[making] government cool again.”

She’s currently a strategist and project manager for the federal government’s human resources agency: the Office of Personnel Management. Her year as a d.school fellow is dedicated to radically redesigning the way “government manages its talent and talent manages its government.”

Follow Melissa on Twitter at @MelissaKlineLee.

Whiteboard Ink:

Why fear has no place in design

Related Links

NextGen: Next Generation of Government Speakers: Melissa Kline Lee

"Let’s Talk Tuesdays: Is Your Agency Considered a Gen X/Y “Best Place to Work?" Melissa Kline Lee, GovLoop

"Connections", Winter 2010 The University of Maryland School of Social Work (PDF, pg.28)

"Connections", Summer 2008 The University of Maryland School of Social Work (PDF, pg.20)

"Secretary's Award for Innovation in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (Second Place)" The University of Maryland School of Social Work (2010)

Interdisciplinary framework for prevention and intervention in maternal and child health: A model for health professional training programs American Public Health Association 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition December 10-14, 2005

Innovations in Maternal and Child Health Leadership Grant proposal to Department of Health and Human Services

Effects of Spirituality on Women’s Parenting Sense of Competence" The University of Maryland School of Social Work

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship: Fellows & Projects

"Human. Kind." Vol. 8, Issue 2, Fall 2005 NotreDame Mission Volunteers, AmeriCorps