Melissa Paone: Finding Purpose by Keeping the Faith

Achieving success often involves a leap of faith. For Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Melissa Paone, being faithful has led to many accomplishments in her career and has allowed her to share stories that are impactful and inspiring.

Paone has primarily worked for nonprofit and Catholic organizations. “Faith-based ministry is where I excel. Getting to be a part of missions dedicated to improving people’s lives gets me out of bed in the morning. It makes me feel good that a little piece of what I do serves a bigger purpose,” she stated.

Paone’s work in nonprofit and Catholic organizations, including Catholic Leadership Institute, Presby’s Inspired Life, and the Philadelphia Foundation, are what led her to the current position she holds at Neumann.

Although she has only been at Neumann for a year and four months, her leadership, determination, and passion have left a positive impression. “Melissa has brought a fresh viewpoint into the Marketing/Comms department and the University,” according to coworker, Danielle Friel.

Paone’s innovative ideas allowed Neumann to gain national recognition this year, through a story that involved faith, friendship, and Franciscan values.

The story on Glen Riddle Hall and the students rooming with the sisters appeared in many news publications including the Wall Street Journal which is a first-time occurrence for our university.

“It naturally yielded success because it was a very authentic story, and nothing was fabricated,” according to Paone.

Even though its success seemed natural, a lot of work went on behind the scenes to gain the story acknowledgement in the media.

The team brought in an agency, worked to get support from the sisters and students, contacted the housing department for more information, held meetings, read articles, exchanged emails, pitched ideas, and continuously planned and strategized as platforms and popular trends are ever changing.

“I knew there was a lot of work to be done as higher education is competitive and it only gets more competitive as time goes on,” shared Paone.

She was able to keep her faith in the project and to trust the process even when times were stressful thanks to her great department.

Her favorite part about working for Neumann is the people. “My team is fantastic! Everyone is so talented and has a heart for Neumann, which shows through their work,” she said. While she is grateful for her team, they are equally grateful that she is a part of their group.

“Melissa cultivates a thriving work environment because she creates strong morale and positivity, advocates on our behalf, and has a nurturing view of work-life balance and flexibility. The result is our team is happy, effective, and efficient,” mentioned coworker Rachel Spina.

In fact, one of the most exciting parts of Paone’s career is not the recognition, the accolades, or the awards. In fact, she is most grateful for the ordinary people she has met along the way who have touched her life and have strengthened her faith.

“People I met at Catholic Leadership were dedicated to making substantial change in communities and they still inspire me. To this day I have kept books and quotes these people referenced as a reminder that you do not need to be Francis of Assisi to make a difference,” she recalled.

In each role she has taken, she has been reminded of these ideas and has looked for positions that allow her to positively make change, share the good happening in her organization and share her faith with others.

“She embodies Neumann's RISES values perfectly with an honest and ethical approach to communicating the university's achievements and mission. In every aspect of her job, she uses her experience and skill to strengthen the reputation of the university and convey its values,” according to coworker Steve Bell.

Paone never takes her work for granted and always finds ways to show gratitude. “When a job opportunity came along at Neumann, it was through God’s good grace I was able to get it.”