Mom of the Year 2019
Melissa Trujillo is Co-founder and President/CEO of the Be A Leader Foundation which she and her husband created in 2002. The Foundation is a platform for young aspiring students and serves as an incubator to develop academic and leadership skills required of elementary and high school students
to become college bound, focused and prepared.
Mrs. Trujillo has been a steward of education throughout her life and started focusing on helping underprivileged youth with her husband in 1991. As a couple, they committed themselves to helping provide much needed technology in the Roosevelt School District and ultimately created the Roosevelt Community Technology Center to provide free access to computers for all members of the Roosevelt Community.
Mrs. Trujillo is personally familiar with the challenges that one faces while growing up in a single parent home. Born in New York City and raised there until she was a teenager, Mrs. Trujillo moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1981 and began her uphill climb to achieving a college education. While maintaining several jobs to help alleviate her family’s financial challenges, she remained focused on her dream to obtain a college degree, the first in her family. She attended Scottsdale Community College and ultimately received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, Magna Cum Laude, from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in 1991. With no outside support, Mrs. Trujillo understood what a college degree would mean for herself and her family and was able to achieve her dream completely on her own. She became an avid supporter of promoting the need to obtain a college education and to provide the mentorship and guidance needed to those who, like herself, must achieve it on their own.
After graduation, Mrs. Trujillo held several senior finance management roles including Chief Financial Officer for Commac, a commercial real-estate securitization company based out of Washington, D.C. and Southwest Harvard Group Venture Capital in Phoenix, Arizona. Longing to be an entrepreneur, Mrs. Trujillo became the President & Managing Partner of Sunven Entertainment Group in 1997 which owned and operated the Red River Music Hall, a 1,000 seat concert venue located near Arizona State University. Mrs. Trujillo was instrumental in the turnaround of the company and continued to operate it until it was successfully sold in 2003. After selling her business, Mrs. Trujillo and her husband, Gary, decided to focus primarily on creating and building the Be A Leader Foundation to support aspiring youth to obtain a college education. However, Mrs. Trujillo still keeps her entrepreneurial efforts going as a partner in Cambios y Servicios, a retail joint venture group that operates airport concession stores. She and her husband, Gary, reside in Central Phoenix and have two children, Alexander and Sophia.