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Melanie Rivera, CEO of Breaker28, works to build leaders and organizations with H.E.A.R.T. - healthy, equitable, anti-racist, real and trust-centered. In her career as a nonprofit leader, a HR executive, and partner-level coach and trainer to nonprofit CEOs, EDs, chiefs, and people-managers, she’s developed a suite of tools, practices, mindsets, and approaches to equity, inclusive, and H.E.A.R.T.-capable management that produce exceptional results while creating an environment that helps their teams (and themselves) thrive.


Melanie began her career as a Baltimore City public school teacher at Winston Middle School, where she learned first-hand about the challenges teachers and students faced in the classroom. She then joined and eventually led it’s teacher marketing operations allowing the organization to scale it’s teacher-reach nationally. As an emerging leader, she completed an intrapreneurial leadership residency at Excel Academy in Washington, DC allowing her to help to vision the expansion of its school to serve middle school students. The journey to lead within Excel Academy created a desire within Melanie to deeply understand how people lead and influence others, and what conditions create thriving organizations - a passion that led her to an organizational consulting and change management certificate at Georgetown University and a Master’s in Organization Development at American University.


Melanie then returned to, later joining it’s Executive Team as the senior leader of HR and building the superstar team that later won Nonprofit Times’ best mid-sized nonprofit to work for. She later founded and led the HR Business Partner team of Universal Service Administrative Company - a $10B not-for-profit that equips schools, rural communities, and others in need with subsidized broadband access. Her last few years have been spent coaching and training nonprofit executives on equitable and effective management as a Partner with the Management Center within the Ed Equity practice and publishing their Ed Equity newsletter with best practices on equitable and inclusive management in the context of the pandemic.


Since 2016, Melanie has also taken on a handful of clients each quarter with her own firm Breaker28, working at the intersection of HR, organization development, and racial justice, equity, inclusion and belonging work within organizations.

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