Melissa Loftman
Palm Beach County Library, Associate Librarian

Through the eyes of many, Melissa Loftman is becoming the most influential leader of our time. As a social change agent, Melissa has worked with children and teens for over seven years; on a mission to simplify conflict resolution, socio-emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and leadership development for kids. Melissa has always left a positive impact on the community she serves. This passion has been the foundation of her life’s work for almost a decade.

In 2010 Melissa started her career at the Palm Beach County Library System as a part-time employee. It was when she was promoted to a full-time Associate Librarian that she noticed a discord between the company’s culture and its employees. Understanding that you have to be the change you want to see in others, Melissa began with herself first. After reading over 102 self-improvement books with a strong desire to improve how she relates to others, Melissa set forth to increase employee morale and build a collaborative community. With her instinctive socio-emotional intelligence, she has become artful and quite adept in communicating and connecting with people in order to get a better understanding of how we work together on a unified front to add value to one another.

After having success with her colleagues and winning two Employee Recognition Awards for creative community programming and establishing a safer environment for employees, Melissa realized that she could make a much larger contribution by reaching the children and teens she served in her community. This would be done with creativity, leadership, and initiative. Melissa has developed and implemented programs that utilize art as a foundation towards teaching conflict resolution, socio-emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and leadership development. For youth who aren’t communicating as well verbally or emotionally, she has found the use of visual art in programming to open up pathways to expression and empowerment that were previously difficult to access with certain youth. She has put countless hours into studying and researching psychology, art therapy, case studies, literature on emotional intelligence, and field test results to develop the successful curriculum she has now.

Just a decade shy of working with the Palm Beach County Library System, Melissa has impacted over 3,360 children and teens. Since implementing her own program in early 2018, she has reached over 100 youth. Her current goals are reaching kids and teens schoolwide on an international level. She is well on her way.