|Title:||Assistant Director of Strategic Management, Policy, and Community Development|
Melissa “Mel” Henriksen, M.P.P, has a diverse background including economic and community development, technical assistance, strategic and comprehensive planning, rural health care research and grant writing. She is a specialist in the areas of strategic planning, conducting focus groups, needs assessments, community and economic development and rural health research. Mel has led or co-facilitated strategic planning efforts for municipalities, non-profits, school and other districts, boards of directors and institutes of higher education. For the past 16 years, she has managed funded projects for the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), the National Association of Development Agencies (NADO), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as state and local organizations focused on economic and community development and health care. These projects included coordinating surveys, community focus groups, strategic planning to identify potential challenges and solutions, demographic analysis and distilling themes and findings from a variety of qualitative information to share with key stakeholders.
Mel holds a B.A. degree in political communication/public relations and a master’s degree in public policy, both from the University of Northern Iowa. Mel is a former board member for the Illinois Rural Health Association and was the chair of its Research and Education and Conference Committee. In addition, she is a former Kettering Foundation Research Fellow and received the ICAHN Service Award for her research in rural health care and its economic impact on rural communities. Mel has been a speaker for several Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) classes and has taught courses at NIU and Kishwaukee College, including strategic performance management and American government.