More About Melisa

A little about me and how I got here.

First in our Family to Graduate from College

I grew up in a modest Texarkana home – the Texas side, of course! Dad worked for the USPS and mom at the unemployment office. Neither had a college education and dad didn’t graduate from high school. But they worked hard every day, provided for our family, and instilled in us a strong work ethic, love for God, and deep appreciation for our wonderful Lone Star state.

During my junior and senior year of high school, I participated in a work/school program that allowed me to work half the day and go to school for the other. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would become a very important time in my life as I learned how to work in a professional environment.

I learned from my parents the importance of spending smart, so following high school I went on to attend junior college to further my education without incurring student loans. At junior college I found accounting, of all subjects, to be fascinating. This would propel me to later graduate from the University of North Texas with a degree in Accounting and then a Master of Tax Accounting. I was the first in my family to earn a college degree and could not have been more proud.

Groundbreaking Professional Career

Over the course of a 30-year career with KPMG, I had the honor to work with all manner of companies from small businesses to global, Fortune 500 powerhouses. Having become the first female Partner for the Dallas office’s tax business, I worked 70-80 hours a week and was blessed to have some of the brightest and most talented teams of people working with me.

During that time, two things stuck out to me very clearly:

  • For every client or challenge we took on, there were ALWAYS better ways to focus the business, create efficiencies, or drive greater growth. The same can be said of government and I look forward to helping our state operate better so it more effectively serves the people of Texas.
  • Talented and highly capable women still need early and vocal advocates to help them achieve partner and reach the board rooms. That is why I became a crusader for programs to help young women achieve all they are capable of in a professional career including serving on corporate boards across the country.

Access to Higher Education Champion, UNT Board of Regents

Through my involvement with my alma mater, the University of North Texas (UNT), helping on college advisory boards and mentoring students, I was asked to serve on the UNT Board of Regents. I’m honored Governor Abbott appointed me to this role in 2019.

Since that time, I have worked constantly to ensure tuition is kept in check and programs are developed to help our undergraduate students achieve their degrees for the lowest cost possible. As someone who knows very personally how valuable an affordable, higher-education was for my life, I will always fight to ensure Texans have this same opportunity.

Entrepreneur, Developer

As if working 70-80 hours a week wasn’t enough, in 2003 I became a developer and homebuilder. My family and I spent every Saturday working together to clean up the property and take active ownership (stewardship) of the eventual subdivision. As a working mom, it was important for me to spend quality time with my children and instill in them the same work ethic my parents instilled in me, and working on “the land” gave us just that. I then gained city approval to develop a 10-acre site and proceeded to design, approve building plans, and create a homeowner’s association for the Miracle Pointe Development subdivision in Southlake, Texas.

Dedicated mom, wife, and Christian

My husband of 30 years and I are blessed with two wonderful adult children. Despite living in different cities, we all stay in close contact because for us, family is of utmost importance. Just as important is living out our faith: serving our communities and those around us is part of God’s will, acting through us to help all people. J.F. and I are active members of Compass Christian Church.