Two decades of professional experience
With a 25-year track record as a technology executive and entrepreneur, Melanie’s professional journey and experience informs much of her advocacy in education. She has interviewed hundreds of job candidates and brings with her a unique perspective an employer. She is a longtime volunteer and proponent of programs that introduce children of all ages to concepts in technology and problem solving, which can be foundational to future careers in computer engineering and coding, or can provide exposure to the field while allowing students to pivot in other directions, like game design or project management.
“Coding isn’t a one-size-fits-all, love it or hate it discipline. With so many languages and tools available, visual learners can fall in love with building beautiful websites while it’s just as common for a math-focused student to discover the possibilities in big data and visualization tools,” she explains.
Melanie and her husband, Nathan Haas, have two daughters currently enrolled in the Shawnee Mission School District, in 6th and 8th grades.
Melanie has spent several years mentoring high school students in design-thinking exercises as part of the MECA program (Most Entrepreneurial Community in America) with Startland. She also spent five years as the organizer of Kansas City Geek Night and started “Code School” at the request of her daughters – recruiting other parents to help mentor an after-school coding club where younger kids learn to code using visual programming languages seen as blocks on the screen.
Melanie has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Kansas City Startup Foundation (now Startland), Kansas City Women in Technology (KCWiT), the American Advertising Federations – Kansas City (AAFKC), and Global Montessori Academy.