After spending years working in scientific labs and corporate offices, Melissa realized the healing and transformative potential of working responsibly with psychedelics and plant medicine. In 2015, she consciously chose to leave Corporate America and moved to live and work in the Amazon jungle. Melissa has since used her background in engineering, science, and management to help advance the plant medicine and psychedelic movements – first by helping run a top-rated ayahuasca center in Peru as Operations Manager, and then as Director of Business Development – and now as Founding Partner and COO for Soltara. She is passionate about using her technical, managerial, and problem-solving skills to help bridge the gap between the Western world and the incredible healing potential of plant medicines and holistic health.
Melissa graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, and has since managed multiple businesses, ranging from a small Café to a logistical department for a large supply company. Having also worked in the scientific field as a cancer research biologist, she became interested in the healing power of ayahuasca and other plant medicines. She has now found her place helping those seeking healing through traditional plant medicine ceremonies. Melissa has completed projects in this realm including coordinating scientific studies, developing website content and resources, helping raise over $12,000 to fund solar panel installations for the Amazon village of Libertad, and helping produce a documentary about war veterans with PTSD and their healing journey with ayahuasca. Having lived in Peru for a year and a half, and now Costa Rica, she has also deepened her work with the plants through several master plant dietas. Her desire is to help those who undertake such an important and transformative pilgrimage to trust the process fully, by caring very deeply about every person’s well-being, ensuring all questions are answered and logistics are handled, such that each person feels completely safe to get the most out of their healing.
Melissa is honored to be a part of this project and working with such a high-quality team that understands the importance and sacredness of this work. Her ethos is one of authenticity, professionalism, respect for tradition, reciprocity, and high-quality service. These mutual tenets are the team’s vision for Soltara as a whole, and she is grateful to take part in creating a space that is a strong conduit for healing, sustainability, and knowledge, empowering each guest to become global beacons for positive change.
In an effort to dive more fully into the plant medicine movement and recent renaissance of psychedelic science, she is also currently writing a book called Roots of Consciousness, which has won the MAPS-sponsored psychedelic literature contest through Publishizer. Check it out here: www.rootsofconsciousness.net