John D. Forbes Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Education: B.S., Princeton University; M.Sc. and Ph.D., J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
Melissa Thomas-Hunt is the John Forbes Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business and Professor of Public Policy at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She is the former Head of Global Diversity and Belonging at Airbnb where she led the strategy and execution of our global internal diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging programs, and retains an external senior advisor role focused on advancing connection and belonging research.
Immediately prior to her role at Airbnb, Melissa served as Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Professor of Management in the Owen School of Management. There Melissa was responsible for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion across Vanderbilt's community of staff, students, and faculty.
Before her time at Vanderbilt University, Melissa served as global chief diversity officer and faculty at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business where she led the Women in Leadership executive education program and was the founding academic director of the BRAD lab. She had also held faculty appointments at Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, where she was a member of the faculty for nine years, and has also taught at Northwestern's Kellogg School, Washington University's Olin School of Business and Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
For 25 years, she has taught MBAs and executives leadership, team dynamics, and negotiations and conducted research on the factors that unleash, leverage, and amplify the contributions made by individuals, particularly women, underrepresented individuals, and numerical minorities. Her publications have appeared in Research on Organizational Behavior, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Management Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and Research on Managing Groups and Teams. She was awarded the Darden Wells Fargo Research Award in 2017.
Melissa holds master's and doctoral degrees from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Princeton University. Melissa has been actively engaged in board service. She currently serves on the board of UKG, Airbnb.org and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia.