Success Stories


We love to partner with organizations who value emotionally intelligent leadership.
Here are some of them.


Happy Clients, Happy Results

Have you ever seen that man reunites with lion video? It’s this incredible little story where a guy releases his beloved companion back into the wild after a decade or so of rehabilitation. Years later, the guy returns to the refuge to check on his old friend. Like a scene in a movie, the lion catapults out of the bush, the lines between human and beast blur and the most beautiful reunion is etched into eternity.

My experience working with Melissa can only be compared to what that lion must have felt like before those two crossed paths.  Lost. Cold. Afraid. Confused. Melissa let me in. She watched me lick wounds. She even shared her last baby Gazelle tongue.

Her coaching style made it easy for me to open up and get to work. Her guidance is always very actionable and personable. I like that. We’re always working on something. It’s hard and messy. And Melissa makes it fun. I’m actually starting to feel like a leader. Not a boss. Not someone in charge. But a leader. Someone people follow because they want to.

One day, it will be my turn to be set free. And when Melissa comes to pay her old friend a visit, I’m certain the world would witness a similar display of affection and gratitude.”

– Kevin Willard, Chief Creative Officer, KSV

Melissa is the best. She listens deeply and finds unique and authentic ways to demonstrate how much she cares about the people she is coaching. I told her a story in one of our sessions and she mentions it as part of my leadership skills months after! She has an impressive tool kit full of leadership frameworks and tools, built on years of experience and her clear passion for building leaders. She approaches every conversation with humor, humility and wisdom. I am more confident and a better leader having worked with her.”

– Kathleen Metzger, VP/Group Director, Data & Analysis, Digitas

Melissa Thornley is a dynamic individual. I have worked with a fair amount of coaches and she strikes the right balance of listening and offering advice. Her sense of emotional intelligence is outstanding and she has guided me to trust my gut and listen to all factors before reacting. She has a way about her that is impactful, direct and kind. Her leadership coaching tips create transformation.”

– Eva Penar, Chief Content and Communications Officer, The Executives’ Club of Chicago

Melissa Thornley’s coaching has been instrumental in helping me take my leadership to the next level and was instrumental in helping me successfully pivot my live event business to virtual events in 2020. I love working with Melissa because she brings a great energy and creativity to the coaching sessions. Her style is the starting point. She possesses a positive attitude and engaging communication skills that make me look forward to every session. The real gift is her substance. She has a rare gift for speaking the truth in a way that I can hear it so I better hold myself accountable to my goals. Having Melissa in my ‘inner-circle’ has helped me achieve better results at work, and in life. I can’t recommend her highly enough!”

– Brendan Dowd, Director, Institute for Management Studies

Melissa’s coaching has been a major factor in helping me understand my distinct strengths – and to how to translate those strengths into positive successes on a daily, personal level, as well as a long-term professional track. She is intuitive, smart and savvy and brings a breadth of experience from the worlds of advertising and film; as a creative in those fields, I appreciate this unique perspective. Her guidance is relevant and her insights, well-informed.

The two plus years I have spent with Melissa have led to some amazing outcomes, including professional clarity and, therefore, more fulfilling career opportunities. She has helped me gain a clearer understanding of what I want to achieve, at work, and at home, and then build the tools and practices to make those things happen. I am a better writer, director, producer, and even partner and mother, because of the work we’ve done together.

Melissa is bright, kind and full of positive energy – she brings a great deal of humanity to her coaching; she is also results-oriented, willing to challenge you, and has the uncanny ability to cut through all of your noise and discover your most authentic self, working with you to create goals that are in line with who you are and discovering the best roadmap to get there.”

– Anna Jung, Creative Director and Founder, Silent Rebel Films

Jean Batthany
VP, Global Creative, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (formerly EVP at DDB)

John Claxton
EVP, Group Creative Director at FCB

Julie Scott
VP, General Manager at Onlon Labs at The Onion, Inc

Lewis Williams
Chief Creative Officer at Burrell Communications

Erin Sarofsky
Principal and Owner of Sarofsky
Jack C. Newell
Christine Dudley
Director of Illinois Film Office
David O’Connor
President/Casting Director of O’Connor Casting