Melissa Bryce Gamble is the executive director of The Global Foundation for Peroxisomal Disorders (GFPD), an international 501 (c)3 nonprofit, public charity focused on funding groundbreaking research on peroxisomal disorders as well as supporting families impacted by the rare, devastating, terminal childhood illnesses. This cause is especially close to Melissa's heart as her oldest child, Ginny, was born with a peroxisomal disorder and sadly lost her battle with the disease 3 years ago. The work Melissa does for the GFPD is in her memory, so that, hopefully, someday kids born with a peroxisomal disorder will live longer, happier, healthier lives.
Where and when do you get your best ideas? My best ideas come when I'm collaborating with our board and staff. Multiple heads are really better than one.
What's a work tool or ritual that you couldn't live without? It's ridiculous, I know, but I still run a paper calendar. I felt like I was getting tunnel vision running my work and personal life on my phone- and only seeing one day at a time. I find running a paper calendar (in addition to my phone) helps me see the big picture. I'm also a notetaker (paper and pencil), so if you're ever in a meeting with me and see me scribbling furiously, just know that's part of my process!
What skill would you like to master? This is a tough one... but I think it would have to be reading people. I tend be fairly decisive when making operational or financial decisions (with insight from teammates), but reading people is a skill I'm working on honing.
What advice would you give to someone seeking to launch or grow a business? Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate. You will get a LOT farther working with others. If there are other businesses or organizations that you can work with- do it.
What's a big "win" you experienced in the past year? At the beginning of March, I spent a week in D.C. learning best practices for engaging with lawmakers and having meetings with the Oklahoma delegation. It was an incredible, eye-opening and educational experience. Our big "win" from the week came when we learned that our meeting with Senator Inhofe's staff resulted in the Senator joining the Rare Disease Congressional Caucus. We believe this is the first health-related caucus that Senator Inhofe has joined, so that was a huge win for our Oklahoma team. It was also great to spend the week with another Oklahoman, Jade Day, the mother of a child with another rare disease.
What are you most looking forward to in the year to come? I think I am most excited about engaging our families (who number in the hundreds worldwide) in the research process as our research funding and internal research programming grows. It's an exciting time to be involved in the rare disease research space, and we are so fortunate to have an incredible group of scientists and physicians that really want to help our families.
Why 36 Degrees North? 36 Degrees North has given us a great place to land as we have navigated moving from an all-parent, all-volunteer organization, run by our working board of directors, to an organization with multiple staff members and a governing board of directors. We are grateful for the connections that we have made at 36 Degrees North and the supportive community that surrounds us there!
Do you want to give any shoutouts? Definitely want to give shoutouts to my incredible staff (Ashley and Ashlee) and our accountant, Jackie, who keeps everything running smoothly. The team at Resolute PR has been really instrumental in our growth and success as we have relied on them to help move forward our marketing initiatives and web presence. Finally, we couldn't do the work we do without our supportive Board of Directors including Oklahomans: Jen Kerckhoff, Mike Collier, Kristen Schooley, Brian Tims, Kilian Bryce, David Lapidus and our incredible parent board members scattered throughout the U.S. : Heidi Harris, Corin Chapman, Pamela Marshall, and Kelly Dauer-Hubschmitt.