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JD/MBA graduate recognized with 2017 Recent Alumni Achievement Award

Oct 23, 2017

IMG_1144Even before graduating from Florida State University in 2006 with a joint JD/MBA, Melanie Shoemaker Griffin was being recognized for shining in the classroom, her leadership and her community service. These days, she continues to make a splash and collect honors – as a business leader in the Tampa Bay community and her alma mater.

This week, Griffin, who earned her undergraduate degree in finance in 2003, will accept her latest accolade – the College of Business Recent Alumni Achievement Award – at the 11th Annual Leadership and Scholarship dinner. The award was established in 2011 by the college’s Recent Alumni Board to honor alumni of the past 15 years who have made significant professional and personal achievements.

“Melanie’s accomplishments in the business and legal communities are as impressive as her achievements in philanthropic and civic organizations,” wrote award nominator Darryl Bloodworth, a colleague and founding shareholder at the law firm of Dean Mead. “She holds as her highest priority the ability to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. She is one of the most outstanding young lawyers I have had the pleasure of knowing or working with.”

Griffin’s leadership became evident early on in her career, and she was consistently given more responsibility at her law firm. In 2014, less than a decade out of law school, she was asked to establish the Tampa office of the Dean Mean law firm, and the next year was elected equity shareholder. She was the youngest member in the firm’s 37-year history to receive a Martindale Hubbell AV peer rating – the highest ranking in the legal profession.

Beyond her role as office managing shareholder, Griffin also has taken on leadership responsibilities at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Tampa Class ’16), Frameworks of Tampa Bay (Board of Directors vice chair), and as chair of Burning Spear, among other organizations. In 2013, she reached a major milestone in her career when she was installed as president of The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division. Earlier this year she was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, and chairs its Policy Committee. Griffin also has been recognized as one of Florida’s Most Productive Young Lawyers, a Super Lawyers Rising Star, a Florida Trend Legal Elite, one of the Best Lawyers in America, and a Tampa Bay Metro Inspiring Woman in Business.

Griffin’s community service was notable even during her days as a student. She came to FSU as part of the FSU Service Scholar Program, which selects first-year students who during high school demonstrated excellence in service and leadership in planning and promoting community involvement among their peers. At FSU, these scholarship recipients complete a minimum of 75 service hours each of eight semesters of their undergraduate careers. Griffin also completed mission trips to Jamaica and Costa Rica, served the homeless through Alternative Break Corps, connected with children with serious illnesses, provided music therapy for the elderly, built houses with Habitat for Humanity, delivered meals to the homebound and mentored countless students. She received the College of Business Humanitarian of the Year Award during her senior year.

While she remains involved in many aspects of community service, Griffin says mentoring young people is the passion that led her to found Spread Your Sunshine. The project empowers women to break the glass ceiling and achieve their dreams. For Griffin, the definition of success is positively impacting the lives of others, inspiring their journeys and motivating them to “pay it forward” for the benefit of the next generation.

Her success effecting positive change was celebrated with the 2016 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year Angie’s Award, 2017 GSWCF Woman of Promise Award, and an FSU Alumni Association’s 2017 FSU Women of Distinction Inspire Award.

-by Barbara Ash

 

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