As co-founder and partner, Melissa Lopez currently serves as CEO of Katana. With over 17 years experience in digital as well as traditional marketing, Melissa works to expand and grow Katana’s core vision of enhancing the personalized marketing experience for all consumers our clients partner with to achieve their business goals and objectives. Melissa aims to create a culture at Katana that inspires creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship within the organization.
Prior to her role at Katana, Melissa served as Director of Marketing at a national agency where she was responsible for overseeing all Digital Media, Analytics, SEO and Client Services teams on strategic planning and execution of marketing initiatives for agency clients, as well as helping to manage business development and organic client growth opportunities. Her previous positions also included a role as Executive Vice President of Client Services, Director of Business Development at EDU Interactive, Vice President of Strategic Planning and VP of Agency Operations at both national and international digital and traditional agencies.
Melissa is also a leading figure in the San Diego advertising and marketing community, a former President and Chairman of the Board for SDX, the San Diego chapter of the American Advertising Federation. She has been repeatedly recognized by her industry peers as a recipient of multiple awards. She was presented with the 2013 AAF Silver Medal Award, recognizing her outstanding contribution to advertising and marketing, and furthering the industry’s standards and creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern. Melissa was also awarded the recognition as “2016 CEO of the Year” from the San Diego Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), and as a finalist for San Diego Magazine’s 2016 Woman of the Year for her dedication to entrepreneurship, charity and leadership in the San Diego community.
In this installment of Katana’s Staff Spotlight, get to know Melissa!
1. What’s your position and role at Katana?
I am co-founder and CEO here at Katana.
2. What’re two interesting facts about you?
- I started my career as a Production Assistant at a local San Diego television station. My hours were 3:30am – 10:30am and it was grueling as a young 21-year-old to get home with friends at 1am and head to work at 3am!
- My husband knew my sister years before he and I met, and my best friend was the one who introduced us, back in our college days. I have been happily married for the past 15 years, and both my sister and best friend try to take credit for our happiness every chance they get!
3. One thing you couldn’t live without?
Besides my children? (That’s a given of course!) Definitely couldn’t live without “Diet Coke” – my fuel!
4. How do you define success?
I define success as recognition of your purpose and the accomplishment and fulfillment you feel in your heart once you believe you have achieved it. It is an emotional recognition in my heart of “completion”. To live the life we truly want, not settle, and obtain the peace of mind and self-satisfaction that you have reached your purpose.
5. What are your most overused words/phrases?
Hmmm, I have a few phrases I catch myself saying too often:
- “Work smarter, not harder”
- “Let’s circle back on that later”
- “I am ready to ‘wine’ down after the day I have had today”
6. What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
The utilization and adoption of mobile phones as a staple and necessity of everyday life. We have become a society fixated and dependent on the accessibility of real-time information, communication, access to anything and everything, immediate gratification, FOMO.
7. If you had to go up against Katana’s Executive Chairman, Andreas Roell, in the World Karaoke Championship, what song would you sing?
Definitely “Eye of the Tiger” – it’s something that takes us back 15+ years and he knows I would dominate him in any karaoke challenge!
8. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Mother Theresa. To have the honor, blessing, and privilege to sit beside a woman of such strength, wisdom and love would be a humbling experience for me.
9. What are other organizations outside of Katana that you are involved in?
I am currently an active board member with SDX, the San Diego Chapter of AAF (American Advertising Federation), where I have previously served as President and Chairman, a board I have dedicated 12 years of my professional career to.
I also am an active member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a global, peer-to-peer network that has over 12,000 business owners as members, around 140 members here in San Diego. I have recently accepted a board position within this organization as well, and look forward to contributing towards their greater mission of continued entrepreneurial growth in all areas and facets of life – professionally, intellectually, personally, emotionally. “Always be learning” is something I strive and aspire myself to.
I volunteer regularly with various Youth Organizations, and also assume a role annually at my children’s elementary school with a program called “Junior Achievement”. This program is where we guide, inspire and prepare children at a young age to lead and succeed. It fosters entrepreneurship at a young age, work-readiness, financial literacy skills and inspires students to dream big and reach their potential. It is something I enjoy participating in from both a business leadership and a parental involvement perspective.