Meet our team: Melissa Montgomery, Executive Assistant

Meet Mel! Mel is EFI’s Executive Assistant. An adventure-seeker with a compassionate heart for people, animals, and plants, Mel continues her efforts to help the world through EFI.

Mel in her flower garden doing two of her favorite activities: being in nature and gardening.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian; my mom didn’t allow us to have pets and none of my friends had pets, but I loved animals and I would look forward to our annual school trip to the Bronx Zoo. In the sixth grade, on my daily walk to school, I would come across the same stray dog (that I named Barney) and I would give him my lunch. I didn’t know it then, but he was COVERED in HUGE ticks, and no one seemed to even care about the dog. I quickly realized that being a veterinarian is more than just playing with animals, and I quickly realized that I did not — and still do not — have the stomach for the unpleasant side of being a veterinarian.

What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?

My most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI would be working as a social worker. I had a client who had been homeless for 20+ years, and despite his ups and downs in life, he was the kindest client I had ever worked with. He found gratitude in everything and was never disgruntled about how his life turned out. My client was able to move into his own apartment, but a few months after moving in, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Even as he looked death in the face, my client accepted his fate and he always said, “I am grateful that I am not going to die homeless.” He died a few weeks later and even though his death was hard for our group, it gave us comfort that he did not die homeless and alone.

What’s the best thing about working at EFI?

The best thing about working at EFI is working with like-minded individuals for an important cause.

What gives you hope for the future?

The younger generation: they are bold, resilient, and unapologetic.

What is one thing on your bucket list (professional or otherwise)?

Cage diving with Great White Sharks. I have a bucket list that is filled with adventurous things; the ocean, just like the great white, is very mysterious…often misunderstood and feared. As bizarre as it may be, this is something that I have been fascinated with.

What is your favorite song at the moment?

“Young, Gifted and Black” by Nina Simone

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