Distinguished Principal Research Fellow
The Conference Board
Melissa Fisher, a cultural anthropologist, is a Distinguished Principal Research Fellow at The Conference Board as well as a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge. She joined the faculty at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs as an Adjunct Professor in Gender and Public Policy in January of 2020. Melissa's first book, a co-edited volume, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke University Press, 2006), explored the social and cultural landscape of business. Her second book, Wall Street Women (Duke University Press, 2012), examines the first generation of women in finance (1956–2010). She is working on a third book on how debates in popular culture (such as “lean in”) and new social movements (such as “Me Too”) shape individual careers, organizational life, and policymaking. Her work has been funded by a range of institutions including the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the Stockholm Center for Organizational Research, and the Institute for Advance Studies at Lancaster University.
Melissa has given numerous key notes and talks nationally and internationally. Her book on Wall Street women received over twenty-five reviews in academic journals. Her research has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, CNBC, and the BBC. She has written for publications such as Bloomberg and Bill Moyer’s Group Think. She was featured in the Emmy nominated, 2014 PBS documentary Makers: Women in Business. And she played an advisory role in the first female financial thriller film Equity, a Sony Classic Pictures release (2016). Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia University's SIPA, Melissa was the Laurits Andersen Professor in Business and Organizational Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. She has also been a faculty member in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and the Department of Anthropology at Georgetown University. She presently serves on the Women Creating Change Leadership Council at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference and the Global Business Anthropology Summit Steering Committee.
Melissa has worked as a consultant applying anthropological and cultural approaches to business for the past two decades. Currently, as a US Delegate and Expert to the Women’s 20, she advises on gender and financial, digital, and workplace inclusion. She also works with corporations and nonprofits on developing marketing, branding, and strategic insights. Melissa earned her PhD and MA in cultural anthropology at Columbia University and her BA in english at Barnard College.