Melissa Leasia, Director of Communications

Melissa LeasiaMelissa Sharp Leasia is delighted to be on the Board of Evergreen Audubon Club/Evergreen Nature Center. A relative newcomer to Colorado, Melissa realized a lifetime dream when she and her husband Todd retired and moved to Evergreen in 2011. Evergreen Audubon was one of the first connections she made. She especially enjoys the Chapter’s monthly meetings and working as a Visitor Assistant at the Evergreen Nature Center.

Hiking, camping, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, birdwatching, fishing, spying on wildlife and rescuing critters are all in Melissa’s DNA. She grew up in a family that included both amateur and professional naturalists and a menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, snakes, squirrels, and, of course, baby birds. As a girl, she stayed in Girl Scouts through high school because she loved to camp, hike, canoe and sail. As a young adult, she enjoyed canoeing in the Boundary Waters and spent as much time as possible at her family’s cabin on a small lake in Northern Wisconsin. For years, she and Todd escaped to Colorado and other western states whenever they could to hike, camp, fish and explore.

Retired now, most of Melissa’s career was spent in non-profit management, specifically in board and fund development, marketing, communication and coordinating volunteers. She worked in the arts, health care, education and conservation, for organizations including Chicago Children’s Choir; Openlands (a land conservation organization similar to our local MALT); a research center affiliated with Northwestern University; and American Cancer Society among others. She has served on a wide variety of boards, including the Environmental Fund of Illinois, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and League of Women Voters. Melissa has consulted with dozens of small to mid-size organizations in Illinois, including the Evanston Environmental Association, the Lake County Forest Preserve District and the Illinois Arts Alliance and the Illinois Arts Council. She has also held positions in financial services and was a licensed real estate broker for several years.

Melissa has a BA in Music Education and an MS in Communication Studies. She and Todd live near Alderfer/Three Sisters Open Space where they hike nearly every day. They have two unruly rescue pups, two kayaks, a 30 year old plow truck and a brand new camper.