Melissa King

Former CEO
Surf Life Saving Australia

Melissa was the first female Chief Executive of one of Australia’s most iconic and beloved organisations, Surf Life Saving Australia. She was instrumental in navigating the organisation through a time of change and growth. As the largest volunteer movement, rescue authority and emergency service of its kind in the country Melissa’s customer/member first approach and collaborative communication style lead to renewal of support across government and corporate partners, new investments and development of projects including Safeguarding Children & Young People, Business Process & IT review, Customer and digital transformation strategy which aimed at making the lives of our 170,000+ volunteers easier and ultimately ensuring the long term sustainability of the organisation.

Prior to her role with Surf Life Saving Australia Melissa worked across corporate, government and not for profit sectors.

As GM Corporate Partnerships for Sydney Opera House she developed and was part of a team that secured new and innovative partners whose engagement created shared value for the organisations, their stakeholders, the Opera House and the community.

In 2005 Melissa was engaged by Prime Minister & Cabinet as a part of the APEC Australia 2007 Taskforce to create and deliver the first business relations and sponsorship program for Ministerial Meetings in addition to the Business Summit. The largest business and government event of its kind showcased Australia to 21 Member Economies delivering significant revenue and goodwill to support the year-long event.

Melissa has been at the crest of governance reform in Australia during her time with the Governance Institute (previously Chartered Secretaries Australia – association for governance professionals in Australia and part of ICSA internationally) managing marketing, business development and communications as Australian companies became a part of some of the largest corporate crashes due to poor governance in our history.

Behavioural programs to reduce road related crashes and deaths, marketing and partnerships for Sydney Children’s Hospital (then the largest paediatric referral hospital in the southern hemisphere) and the youngest Manager of Recreation Services in Victoria she has always had a passion for making a difference – she states that as her “why.”

Whilst following traditional education pathways Melissa will be heard to say travel is an education in itself and continues to travel to experience and explore herself and the world. Resilience, curiosity, humour, and a glass half full approach have held her in good stead as she has navigated the challenges and opportunities of her career to date. She looks forward to using her skills, experience and business acumen to have a greater global impact and acknowledges the people she has met, worked with and learnt from are core to her success to date.