Melissa and her family moved to Durango twenty years ago. Driven by a strong desire to support the values of her new community, Melissa put a lot of thought into identifying where to most effectively contribute her time, energy and talents.
Melissa founded and served as CEO of a successful, Durango-based medical billing firm for fifteen years. She has served locally in multiple nonprofit leadership roles and on numerous boards of directors, including Durango School District 9R Board of Education, Animas High School Board of Directors, City of Durango Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Trails 2000 Board, Durango Discovery Museum Board, the STEAM Park Board, and the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado Board. Her thirty years of experience in business management, funding and finance, coupled with her MBA, have provided a solid platform for creative fundraising and achievable financial planning.
Melissa’s mission through her years of service has always been to ensure that local citizens’ voices are heard, respected and represented. Her goal is to use her skills and strengths to advance and support the character and qualities that make Durango special. She is motivated by the potential for a high quality of life for everyone who lives in Durango.
Married to Jim Youssef, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Spine Colorado, they have three children that have attended Durango public schools and been involved in a wide variety of local academic and athletic activities. Two now attend college and one is a student at DHS.
Melissa is an avid swimmer, cycler, skier and hiker. She is also a dedicated writer and researcher. In 2016 she launched her blog, "Your Front Row Seat," in order to draw attention to, and provide clarity on, some of the critical issues Durango faces. She covers a broad range of topics, including education, infrastructure, economy and outdoor recreation - with the goal of providing a forum for locally relevant, ongoing conversations on her blog and on other social media channels.