Seeing ME in the MEdia Executive-in-Residence Melissa Finney shares her career journey

Since 2019, USC Annenberg’s Seeing ME in the MEdia program has combined mentorship and engagement with alumni and industry leaders to support and empower our first-generation and BIPOC students along their academic journeys.

This Fall, the program expanded to include an executive-in-residence appointment, which offers more deep and meaningful engagement opportunities for students to connect with BIPOC professionals across industries. USC Annenberg alumna Melissa Finney served in this inaugural role and spent a week at the school sharing insights into her unique career path, building brand partnerships in the emerging media space, and the importance of monitoring data privacy and digital media use.

“Melissa is an exemplary leader, inspiring and a committed mentor who learned early on in her career the importance of ‘showing up and is paying it forward by supporting our students in a multitude of ways,” said Leticia Lozoya, director of alumni relations and leadership giving. “Her career story resonates with students and she credits her professional success to her undergraduate experience at USC Annenberg.”

“I feel really invigorated by the energy on campus and something that I wish someone had told me when I was a student is to not waste time trying to prove to your equals that you are exactly in the room that you deserve to be in,” Finney said. “Our time is better spent being great and proving things to ourselves. The only thing that students have, the only advantage we all have, is time and youth has its own advantages that shouldn't be wasted.”

The Seeing the ME in MEdia program has supported 172 student mentees, and 122 unique alumni have volunteered as mentors. For more information on how you can get involved as a mentee or mentor, please email Leticia Lozoya at