Melissa Hamilton

Business Strategy Specialist


Melissa is a savvy strategy and finance professional with 12+ years of experience working with public, private and early and growth stage startup companies on diverse projects. She has extensive experience working directly with senior executives on value creation projects that have involved building financial models, building products, developing and analyzing metrics, creating business cases, streamlining operations and processes and assessing market and industry dynamics. Melissa started her consulting career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and has since worked in the technology, startup and venture investment spaces. She is a champion of high-tech innovation in the food and healthcare industries.

Melissa has a passion for community service and is an engaged philanthropist. She currently gives of her time and talents as a Board Director for two nonprofit organizations, MAPSCorps and Social Venture Partners Chicago. She has also volunteered with the Taproot Foundation and helped non-profits think about building and scaling sustainable food operations. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she was a George C. Brooks Scholar, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Melissa is a licensed CPA in Illinois and Missouri.



 Whatcom County Food System Plan

In 2021, the Whatcom County Food System Committee conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors partnered with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan focuses on five key goals for building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient food system, and was informed by an inclusive community engagement process. The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2023)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a collaborative production kitchen benefitting food access, school system, and community organizations. The goal is strengthening Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. The facility will also feature an incubation kitchen, demonstration kitchen, event and classroom space, collaborative office and conference facilities, and housing.  New Venture Advisors developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development through engagement and operational development. (2023)