The Backstory

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A literary entrepreneur with over two decades of experience working in the media, business, nonprofit and education sectors with an extensive background in both creative and commercial writing as well as organizational consulting, management and development, Melissa Crockett Meske has established a presence and a voice as a writer—both commercially and creatively.

In December 2016, she joined the staff at the AdVantage News in Godfrey, Illinois, serving as their senior reporter while also rejuvenating her entrepreneurial and writing talents through her own Jerseyville-based firm known as Font & Pen. Font & Pen provides services to businesses and organizations throughout the region, including professional writing and editing services, public relations and event promotions, and virtual administrative assistance along with business incubation and development.

With one published book of poetry under her belt, The Dirt Still Looks the Same, Meske has edited three others for West Virginia-based author George I. Kidwiler, Jr. and also collaborated with three other local artists to publish her first set of lyrics, At the End of the Wind and the Rain, as a recorded production. All are available through Amazon. Two other books are currently in the works.

Most recently, Meske served as the regional editor for Campbell Publications, managing its Southern Group of publications: the Jersey County Journal, Calhoun News-Herald, and Greene Prairie Press. Over the years, Meske has also been published locally in the Illinois Business Journal, The Telegraph, the former Carrollton Gazette Patriot, Jersey/Greene County Shoppers, the RiverBend Growth Association, and the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nationally, Meske spent time as a freelance writer for Wiley & Sons Publishing Co., with articles of a wide variety published throughout the country, and around the world.

Additionally, Meske has served as an adjunct faculty member in the business department at Lewis and Clark Community College, teaching Introduction to Business and Introduction to Marketing classes on the main campus. Some may also know her as the former executive director of Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, or from her work as the regional project director for the Illinois Arts Council Agency’s Poetry Out Loud program from 2008-2014. Or you may recall working with her when she managed the work-based learning component of the Lewis and Clark Area Education to Careers initiative.

Meske served as event chair in 2009 and 2010 for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Jersey County. She also served as publicity chair for them from 2008-2010, and received recognition for her work through the National Terry Zahn Award for Publicity in 2010.

A current member of the Jersey County Business Association, she is currently leading the Women in Business team and is a 2007 graduate of their Leadership in Action program. Meske is also a former board member for both Alton Main Street Inc. and the Alton Area Business Development Association.

The youngest of nine and the mother of two, she holds a Master of Arts degree in organizational management, a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational leadership, an Associate of Science in business management, a Certificate of Proficiency in accounting and an Undergraduate Certificate in paralegal studies.

While completing the first part of her undergraduate studies at Lewis and Clark Community College, Meske served in various student leader capacities, including student newspaper editor, student government president, Model Illinois Government journalist, and campus ambassador.

As a member of FBLA-PBL Inc. and serving as Illinois Phi Beta Lambda’s state president, vice president, and secretary, Meske placed first in the state and fourth in the nation in business decision making competitions, as well as first in impromptu speaking, marketing, parliamentary procedure and as “Ms. Future Business Executive.”

Melissa married the love for the rest of her life on Valentine’s Day 2014 after meeting him almost by sheer happenstance through a mutual friend a year and a half earlier. After serving in the United States Army for 10 years, Kevin established a career in law enforcement over the past 20 years and now serves as part of the security team at one of the region’s leading health care organizations. He is also a skilled craftsman in his own right; his woodworking shop is known as KM Wood Designs.

Melissa’s oldest son is an emerging visual artist, receiving his MFA at Washington University St. Louis in 2015. Her youngest son is studying electrical engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. With him, her husband brought a wonderful collaborative of family and friends to add to Melissa’s family that included a son proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps, a daughter-in-law, and four of the most awesome little girls out there.


What Others Say

“Melissa Meske is a dedicated professional, a journalist, businesswoman and master of print and visual media. I’ve worked with her as a colleague and supervisor and cannot recommend her more highly. In my mind, her most important trait is her terrific sense of people and ability to communicate with them, which translates so well into success in business. Wouldn’t we all like to be able to stake such a claim?”– Dennis Grubaugh, editor and partner, Illinois Business Journal


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Melissa has edited three of my books, The Secret of the Warm Fuzzy Blanket, Atochi of the Blue Mountain Tribe: Chasing the Ghost, and Atochi of the Blue Mountain Tribe: Gathering the Clans. She is my go-to editor gal, and she does awesome work. — George I. Kidwiler, Jr., author, MSW, LCSW, Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.), United States Air Force


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In reference to the feature article Melissa wrote for the Illinois Business Journal’s November 2015 “Women in Law” special section, Lorraine Cavataio of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. had this to say to Melissa: “THANK YOU!!!!! You made me sound awesome!”


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“Melissa’s ability to communicate ideas and messages in both visual and written form makes her an asset to the community. Her time as a columnist for the Journal has been most appreciated.”– Robert Lyons, regional editor, Jersey County Journal


 

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“Melissa has always been an advocate for the arts for the many years I have known her and she is one of the most creative and astute individuals I know. She is willing to find new ways of supporting all of the visual and performing arts and she has been invaluable in helping Alton Little Theater re-vamp its Website and overall marketing strategies. Melissa brought ALT up-to-date with new technologies and increased our on-line traffic within a few months. She is a get-it-done resource for any group!”– Lee Cox, public relations director, Alton Little Theater


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“Melissa is one of our top guest bloggers who can write beautifully about many different topics. Our visitors truly enjoy her pieces about the places to see and eat in the Alton region!”– Jong Cambron, former public relations director, Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau