Nanette and Melissa have a lot in common. They both have strategic consulting and coaching businesses, can-do spirits, good senses of humor, a love for Bravo TV, and they are NEXTers. They also are complete opposites. While Nanette is hyper-organized (read anxious), Melissa is a free spirit (read go with the flow). Nanette is a planner (read high executive functioning skills) while Melissa is spontaneous (read last-minute planner). Melissa loves everything cardio, while Nanette despises everything cardio, yet rocks at Pilates. Melissa is trying to love Pilates, but finds it requires too much thinking while working out. Messy, neat. Spontaneous, planner. You get the picture. Despite these differences, opposites attract. Together they are the perfect ying/yang partnership: Nanette yin, Melissa yang. What’s NEXT? is their mantra.
Nanette Fridman is passionate about helping women succeed. A graduate of the all-girls Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, Nanette is dedicated to the advancement of women through convening, mentoring, coaching and championing, and initiatives like founding Forward MA, a community for politically engaged women.
Professionally, Nanette is the founder and President of Fridman Strategies, Inc., a multi-service consulting firm specializing in leadership and talent development, strategic planning, governance and fundraising.
Known for her good humor and high energy, Nanette speaks and trains across North America about leadership, women’s issues, philanthropy, collaboration and governance. She is the author of On Board (2014) and also of Holding the Gavel (2019).
Before founding Fridman Strategies in 2006, Nanette was a corporate attorney at Mintz Levin in Boston, MA and prior to that, she was the national field director for an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.
Nanette feels grateful to have discovered her purpose and have her professional and personal values and goals aligned. She is passionate about helping others do the same and designed The Strategic Planning of YOU! program and workbook (now part of the NEXT brand) to share her methodology.
Nanette earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, and Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She received her BA, summa cum laude, in political science from Tufts University. Nanette also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Nanette is honored to be a Harry S. Truman Scholar.
Nanette has held many volunteer leadership roles in the greater Boston community and is active in civic and political life in Newton, Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two children.
When Melissa steps into a room, she brings a burst of creativity and dynamic energy. Plus, she’s got a great sense of humor. Not joke funny, more situational funny. She’ll make you smile.
Melissa is a twenty-five-year+ veteran of the cause branding field with a broad agency background in consumer marketing communications. With public relations as her launchpad, she was an early player in the cause space in the early 90s as one of the first members in Boston-based Cone Communications’ Cause group. Melissa then served as Principal at PowerPact, a consumer promotion agency, where she spent 10 years as the senior strategist growing and leading its cause practice.
Melissa has an entrepreneurial spirit. She earned her MBA at Babson College and immediately put it to work starting a newsletter publishing business, RDR Publishing (back when offline newsletters were a thing). From there, Melissa worked as VP of Marketing at a publicly-traded internet start-up called LifeMinders.com (an online email business). While she knows a lot about newsletters, they aren’t her passion. She’s a cause girl, and her passion for social issues runs deep. In 2012, Melissa founded Freestyle Strategy, a social impact boutique agency that works with brands and nonprofits.
Melissa has provided general and cause marketing, positioning, branding, sales promotions, public/private partnerships, fundraising, and public relations counsel to a wide range of consumer brands and leading nonprofit organizations. She has worked with CNN, Home Depot, Land O’Lakes, Mattel, Motts, NBC, P&G, Timberland, sanofi-aventis, and Yoplait, among others. On the nonprofit side she has also worked with American Diabetes Association, America on the Move, 4-H, Epilepsy Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, March of Dimes, Moffitt Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen, Safe Kids Worldwide, STOMP Out Bullying and Vital Voices.
The word freestyle is inherent in how Melissa approaches her life and work. She is creative and adaptable. Nimble and comfortable with change. She likes unpacking challenges and looking at them with a fresh eye.
Every day, Melissa feeds her voracious appetite for consumer, cause, and pop culture information. However, the true secret to her success and drive is the inspiration that comes from raising her family of three girls, two dogs, and three cats.