Events & Appearances

Shawnee Forward Announces a CEO

Melissa Dennis, Chair of the Shawnee Forward Board of Directors, announces that Rachael Melot has been hired to serve as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Shawnee Forward and began her tenure Aug. 19.

Melot, a Shawnee resident and Oklahoma Baptist University graduate, comes to Shawnee Forward with a depth of experience that will be critical in guiding the organization as it continues to grow and promote economic development and education initiatives in Shawnee and Pottawatomie County. Melot most recently led a project that focused on environmental policy initiatives and the overall health and wellness of Shawnee, which ultimately led to our city becoming the first Blue Zones Project Certified Community in Oklahoma.

Prior to leading phase I of Blue Zones Project, she built relationships between Business-to- Business companies and advertising executives to execute successful marketing and advertising campaigns for a New York City based firm while officing in both New York City and Shawnee. While working for the New York City based firm, she was also a residential home builder, building more than 25 homes in Shawnee, Moore, Norman, Oklahoma City and Edmond. Melot is an accomplished author and public speaker and most recently, was announced as a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class 34.

“Rachael’s experience will be a strong asset to Shawnee Forward as it continues to promote economic development in Shawnee and Pottawatomie County while respecting the long-time businesses that built this community into what we are so proud of today,” said Dennis. “We are looking forward to Rachael getting her feet on the ground and digging in as this is a critical tipping point in Shawnee’s history with the eastward expansion of the Oklahoma City metro area into Pottawatomie County.”

Melot is married to Jason Melot, assistant Oklahoma Baptist University football coach/recruiting coordinator.

Shawnee Forward was the resulting entity of the 2018 merger between the Greater Shawnee Chamber of Commerce and Shawnee Economic Development Foundation. Shawnee Forward exists to lead and empower a diverse community through collaborative economic growth, workforce development, and educational enrichment, to improve the quality of life and opportunities for the greater Shawnee area.