Melissa Mason serves as the Executive Director of New Haven Works. Melissa holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and African American Studies from Yale University. While finishing her Ph.D. and after graduating, Melissa worked as an organizer and researcher for UNITE HERE. During this time she worked on campaigns in New Haven, Vancouver, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. This work was closely aligned to her academic research, which focused on how community-union partnerships strengthen unions and expand economic opportunities for communities. In addition to her academic and professional work, Melissa has significant political and policy experience. She has worked regularly with New Haven’s Board of Alders and served on New Haven’s Charter Revision Commission in 2013. Through extensive engagements with policymakers and citizens across the city, Melissa has developed a deep understanding of unemployment and underemployment in New Haven from an academic, policy, and personal perspective. She currently resides in Westville with her husband, daughter and dog.