Full Name: Melanie E. Damian
Hometown: Greendale, Wisconsin
Title: Partner & Co-founder Damian & Valori, LLP
President IWF Florida
Tell us about our yourself and your background: I am a complex business litigation attorney.
What do you do in your role?
I represent public and private companies and individuals in a variety of complex business and securities litigation. I regularly serve as court-appointed Federal Equity Receiver, Special Monitor, and distribution Agent, and serve as Receiver and Monitor in state court matters. I counsel companies on corporate governance matters and serve as counsel to special litigation committees performing internal investigations in response to shareholder derivative demands. I also represent officers and directors in corporate and securities litigation matters, and various partners or members in closely held “business divorce” matters.
I am also active in child advocacy and am a founder of the non-profit Educate Tomorrow. I am also the founding and current Chair of the Board of the SEED School of Miami, a public urban boarding school for underserved youth.
As President of IWF Florida, I have the privilege of stewarding the organization and working to ensure that our members have a platform to share knowledge and exchange ideas, even and especially through this global pandemic.
What is your favorite part of IWF? I love the IWF International Conferences. The women I have met from around the world are amazing. Every conference leaves me inspired.
What projects or cases you are working on? I am currently working on raising money for the capital campaign of The Seed School of Miami.
Why did you choose to become an attorney? To help people who need legal counseling and advocacy.
What do you like most about your job? The most rewarding aspect of my work is when we can recover funds for victims of fraud. As a Court Appointed Receiver, I often am appointed when things look the direst for investors, creditors of consumer victims of ponzi schemes. I have received so many telephone calls from people who believe they have lost their business or life savings and through diligence, creativity, and advocacy we are able to make them whole. I am always working for that day when we can get money back to people who had thought they lost everything. That is the reward of this work.
What do you like most about working with IWF members? I have made great friendships with women all over the world. What always impresses me is the sisterhood. I feel like I can call on any of the members and each will support me in any way they are able, and vice versa.
Word that describes you: Persistent and resilient
What’s on your Netflix list: My recent favorite is “Queen’s Gambit.” I also watch “West Wing” repeatedly—but it moved to HBO Max.
First paying job: Paper Route.
Your proudest accomplishment: Every successful successive receivership is a moment of pride as each is different and more complex. Being able to provide recovery for victims is always rewarding. In my other passion, philanthropy, the opening of The SEED School of Miami's dormitories this year was monumental because of the many obstacles we overcame. It took us 10 years from passing the legislation to opening the permanent campus and it was a jagged road at that.
What do you do when you are not working? Pre-Covid, I loved to go to dinner and have a glass of wine with friends. Now it is the same, only socially distanced, or virtual. I also love running and do yoga.
Recommend an article or a book: I just finished President Barrack Obama’s “A Promised Land.” I highly recommend it.