In the Loop
Alumni News : Jan 23, 2017

UF School of Theater and Dance Alum Works for Miami City Ballet in Development Department

By Rachel Sherman

Melissa Mendez (BFA Dance ‘13) landed a Development position for Miami City Ballet after graduation. She did not expect her degree in dance would lead to a career in development; she saw the opportunities her degree presented and went after it.

“Being offered a job with Miami City Ballet (MCB) was a testament to the idea that the right opportunities present themselves in the perfect moment in your life,” said Mendez.

After moving back to Miami after completing her BFA in Dance and her MS in Management, she was looking for jobs in Arts Administration. Although Mendez had never worked with MCB before, a friend told her about the Development positions available.

Mendez and MCB were a perfect match. The director was a former dancer, who “understood the tremendous discipline, work ethic, and collaborative energy that is instilled in us through dance,” Mendez said.

There are no “typical’ days in Development, Mendez said. There were always new projects that the MCB team collaborated on together. Many work days were spent preparing for the two main galas every season and the 30 plus outside events that fostered a strong relationship between MCB and their donors.

Mendez directed the financial reporting and the gift processing for her department. She spent time making reports that would be presented at board meetings to showcase the progress made in fundraising.

“Development is about building relationships and about finding the proper avenues and messages to make those relationships last,” Mendez said.