Melissa Sassi

As IBM Z’s Chief Penguin, Melissa created her own IBM penguin title and leads Student & Entrepreneur Experience worldwide at IBM.She’s a Call for Code Judge focused on solving the world’s challenges via tech innovation.

Sassi has created a variety of flagship events during her tenure with IBM, including CodeTheCurve – a hackathon that made the homepage of UN News and opensource.com for her efforts to fight back against COVID-19 through technology and data science. She also created the #Z4Good Ideathon that’s all about solving the world’s digital inclusion challenges through youth-led engagement. Lastly, she is the Executive Producer of The Human Code, an event she’s spearheading with celebrities such as Terence Lewis (Bollywood choreographer) where she brings poetry, storytelling, dance, and music together in an experiential, virtual event focused on inspiring greater diversity and inclusion in tech.

Prior to IBM, Melissa was an energy and internet access impact investor at Microsoft and led Microsoft’s celebrity talent management, as well as creative agency management globally for its Empowering campaigns.

As Founder & CEO of MentorNations, Melissa created a youth-led digital skills movement teaching tens of thousands of youth to code in twelve countries. She’s Chair of IEEE’s Digital Intelligence Working Group & Founding Member of Coalition for Digital Intelligence with WEF, OECD, IEEE & DQ Institute. She holds several Board positions in digital inclusion nonprofits.

As a PhD candidate, she researches the digital inclusion of underserved communities. She serves on a UN Round Table for the High-Level Panel for Digital Cooperation, chaired by Jack Ma and Melinda Gates with advisory leadership from Vint Cerf – the Father of the Internet. Melissa is an avid speaker on digital skills and inclusion, tech entrepreneurship, community building, youth empowerment, imposter syndrome & personal branding.