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Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Stratus

Age: 29

Heritage: Colombian


Melissa is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Stratus ( – a digital financial coach and education platform – in an effort to make exceptional financial advice universally accessible and useful.


Stratus has been growing rapidly and already boasts over 100 partnerships including The College Investor and ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America).


Stratus started as an extension of her interest in education and finance after spending nearly a decade helping young professionals manage their money.


While working with young professionals, Melissa observed most lived in a state of quiet desperation.  They worked to get organized but weren’t making progress due to the complexity of the financial landscape.   


This led Melissa to question: What is an everyday hardworking person who can’t afford a financial advisor supposed to do to improve his or her financial situation?


Before Stratus, they had to make sense of it all and organize on their own. They read articles online, downloaded apps and attempted to coordinate within a spreadsheet.


Melissa is bullish in her belief that people deserve better.  “After many frustrating experiences, I saw a need and wanted to build something that could have a meaningful impact for people” she says. She joined forces with to others to co-found Stratus.


With Stratus, users can connect their financial accounts, and through cutting-edge AI technology, receive tailored step-by-step guidance fully personalized to their unique needs.


“Taking control of your finances and making progress towards what’s most meaningful to you is possible” Melissa asserts. 


Though a self-motivated hard worker, she credits her success to the generous support and guidance she’s received from incredible mentors, friends, family, and colleagues throughout her journey.


Prior to starting Stratus, Melissa was the first in her family to graduate college.  She later worked in the non-profit sector for American Student Assistance, a Boston-based financial education, and as a Product Manager for the National Student Clearinghouse where she co-led a national project in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation designed to diminish racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in college attainment.

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