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About Melissa

Full Name:

Melissa Robaina

Business Name:

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry

Job Title:

Chief Operations Officer

Languages Spoken:



Melissa Robaina, MBA is the Chief Operations Officer for The Center for Appreciative Inquiry, an international leadership development organization. For over 15 years, Melissa has worked with individuals, clients, and communities worldwide using Appreciative Inquiry to enhance and enrich engagement, dialogue, innovation, connectivity, and sustainable change. Melissa has an interest in adult learning theory and is passionate about coordinating, developing, and facilitating transformation solutions in all human systems. Melissa is a certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator, Trainer, and Consultant.

Melissa has co-authored several articles showcasing her work in Appreciative Inquiry, positive change facilitation, strategic planning, program and operations management, and marketing design and strategy. Her most recognized publications are Creating a Legacy to Live Into: The Macon Miracle and The Macon Miracle: A Community [Re]Designing Education to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Students. These publications highlight her Company’s work in designing and facilitating the World’s largest in-person strategic planning process using Appreciative Inquiry. These articles are published in two separate books: Exceeding Expectations: An Anthology of Appreciative Inquiry Stories in Education from Around the World and Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, Volume 4.

Most recently, Melissa co-authored an article for the AI Practitioner titled, Embodying Wholeness is Virtual Collaborations. This article highlights how she and Core Team members from around the World came together and exemplified the Wholeness Principle during the digital transformation of her company’s flagship program, the Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) during the pandemic. This certification program is now available online.

The pandemic unknowingly nurtured Melissa’s curiosity and love of learning by inviting exploration into new avenues of creativity. During the development of the vAIFT, Melissa taught herself how to design bold and vibrant content using a variety of media. Melissa’s ability to meld content with bold visuals and videos allowed her to engage and connect with individuals and groups worldwide. As demand for her work grew, Melissa founded Pug Productions, LLC – a content creation company inspired by her favorite work companion, her pug, Hallie.

Later that year, Melissa and her best friend launched Pivotal Moments HQ – a podcast sharing, exploring & celebrating stories of change through mindset and wellness, and their impact on relationships – both to ourselves and others. The intention of sharing and highlighting these stories is to 1) give a voice to underrepresented and marginalized communities and 2) to help the listener through storytelling in whatever changes they may be contemplating. As a society, we have more in common than we think, and it’s time we celebrate and learn from one another.

In March 2023, Melissa launched the Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry on-demand course with the Center for Appreciative Inquiry. She designed this course to encourage participants to explore the foundational theories, principles, and 5-D process of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) through experiential exercises designed to invite discovery, reflection, and implementation. Her hope in developing this course is that participants complete this course feeling energized, hopeful, and eager to learn more about Appreciative Inquiry and its various applications.

Melissa enjoys working on projects that blend strengths and passions and welcomes new collaborative opportunities with other strength-based leaders and consultants.


Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator

Appreciative Inquiry Trainer

Marketing and Event Planning

Strategic Planning

Workshop Design and Facilitation


Developing Community with Inquiry

Developing a community of trust is imperative to the success of any workshop or consulting project. A facilitator’s first task must be to create an environment that is safe, invites feedback, and encourages positive dialogue. Weaving Appreciative Inquiry into one’s facilitation allows individuals to develop supportive relationships with one another while co-creating shared goals and actionable items for an ideal learning experience.

Embodying Wholeness in Virtual Collaborations

Appreciative Inquiry had traditionally been conducted in-person. The idea of facilitating AI in virtual spaces was often met with reservation and hesitancy. Bringing diverse groups of people together to stimulate creativity and build collective capacity, also known as the Wholeness Principle, is what makes Appreciative Inquiry so powerful and successful in creating positive change. Many practitioners believed that the high levels of engagement, inclusiveness, and power of AI would be lost if delivered online. How do you take a process that is traditionally delivered in-person and successfully move it online while maintaining wholeness?

Using Appreciative Inquiry to Set Intentions, Not Resolutions

This time of year invites reflection. We see the New Year as an opportunity to start anew, to have a clean slate. We assess all facets of our lifeExperiment this year by making appreciative intentions, rather than setting New Year’s resolutions. You (i.e., work, family, friends, lifestyle, finances, etc.) and develop a list of resolutions filled with things we wish to improve, build upon, or change in our lives. Yet, by the end of January 80% of us abandon our New Year’s resolutions.

may be thinking, aren’t intentions and resolutions the same thing? While it may seem to be a matter of semantics, there is a significant difference between the two. Resolutions are formulated from a scarcity or deficit-based lens, whereas intentions are created from a place of generativity and strength.



Bibb County School District

Disability Rights Nebraska

Miravida Living


Kathy Becker, CEO of the Center for Appreciative Inquiry

Melissa has a deep understanding of Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology and Organizational Development knowing how to weave her knowledge and skills into all of her consulting work. We have collaborated on a large scale summit – 4500 people all at the same time! She helped design, organize, facilitate and document our work. She works with clients and has outstanding reviews from them. She is always a team player and able to take the lead at any time.