We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Grove and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I often say “I am not a risk taker” yet reflecting on my career I believe I have taken risks comfortably and with extensive research. I would say in the nonprofit world there is a balance of both. When you create projects to support the community it’s mandatory to evaluate risks but at the same time you are aware your mission is to fill an urgent hole that is needed in the community. As a leader of leaders who choose to empower through music education, you are taking risks and asking people to be vulnerable, trust and learn otherwise the music may not feel authentic. It’s a beautiful process yet requires risk taking. I often ask myself three things when I start any project: 1) Is it safe? 2) Does it empower youth? 3) How much is it going to cost? After I have answered those questions I coordinate and collaborate with teams that are comfortable with risk taking and inspire impact. In my life and career experience there is a balance of risk and research that helps me love what I am doing even if it’s scary sometimes. All to say: DO IT!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For the past 12 years, I have been involved in a community that uses music as the foundation for improving lives and contributing to others. While watching the success of rock camps globally and seeing the positive results, I created a team of musicians and nonprofit professionals to bring the mission of empowering girls through music to San Diego. My background in child development allowed me to work as a youth activities coordinator on cruise ships and for Disney as an event coordinator yet the last 10 years my focus has been on nonprofit management. My true passion for music and the performing arts inspires me to work with nonprofits that encourage children to experience performance and complete self-expression. My days are filled with program possibilities for the Jason Mraz Foundation as well as driving the mission to empower girls through music education with Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego. I am proud of both organizations and look forward to supporting our arts and culture community every single day! “I believe in building a community that supports a strong identity and encourages collaboration. At Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego we encourage the girls to embrace their uniqueness and become advocates for themselves and others. We use music as the catalyst to empowerment…it’s fun and educational!”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love taking my family up and down the coast of San Diego when they visit. I would start in Oceanside at Banana Dang with a coffee or smoothie for the ride down the coast. Stopping along the way to take in the views at Swami’s Beach, Torrey Pines Beach, and other vista spots. I love ending our adventure at Liberty Station and sharing the arts and culture vibe with the market treats. San Diego is a true dream destination.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would LOVE to acknowledge the many volunteers that have supported Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego for the last 5 years! Also, our wonderful donors who have made camp financial aid possible for girls who would not have access otherwise. YOU ROCK!
Sharisse Coulter Photography