Melissa Pierce

Melissa Pierce
(Kris Krug)

Melissa Pierce is a technologist, entrepreneur, co-founder of Everpurse and a filmmaker. She is executive director of Chicago Women Developers, a group for women who code.

She made her filmmaking debut with the 2010 documentary, “Life in Perpetual Beta,” in which she harnessed the power of social media to explore how our culture has become more creative, spontaneous and passionate because of our everyday involvement with technology. She is producing and directing a documentary, “Born with Curiosity,” about computer pioneer Grace Hopper.

“It was a tweet by Dave Hoover of Dev Bootcamp” that inspired her to make the Grace Hopper film, she told Blue Sky. “Dave Hoover said, ‘Grace Hopper started programming when she was 37.’ Of course, I was like, ‘I’m 37. I’ll make this film.’ I counted up that there were nine movies that had involved Steve Jobs and none about Grace, whom his legacy is built on.”

Since 1998, Pierce has been a principal at Optimist Lens, an events marketing, coaching and consulting firm. She has produced events including the Pitch Refinery Conference, 140 Character Conference, RVSX field trips and worked on brand events including the Vans Warped Tour.

In 2010, she founded Chicago Women Developers Inc. as executive director. She also was a paid creative adviser to Sandbox Industries in 2010.

She is a co-founder of wearables startup Everpurse and from November 2012 to February 2014 was its COO and acting vice president of marketing. She remains on its board. In 2014 she also was an adjunct instructor on business operations for The Starter League’s Starter School.

Pierce promotes gender diversity through nonprofit iHollaback! and is Affiliate Alliance co-chair at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).