Melissa Jones Briggs

Lecturer, Organizational Behavior

Melissa Jones Briggs

Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Academic Area:

Teaching Statement

Melissa Jones Briggs combines performance techniques with social science research to provide actionable insight into how power and presence affect everyday personal and business interactions. Trained as a theatre artist in London and New York, her specialization in the field is theatre as a tool for social and organizational change. Her students examine their relationship to power, authority, and status to broaden their authentic behavioral range and show up more effectively across diverse contexts and transition with agility between roles. Early in her career Melissa designed curricula for underserved and severe special needs youth, uncovering their power to explore and express their authentic voice through devised performance. She is still passionate about breaking down barriers to advancement for underrepresented leaders. Her teaching focus bridges the gap between the the privileged and the marginalized, the professional and the creative, the academic and the practitioner. Research and teaching interests include interdisciplinary performance practice; psychology of performance; everyday application of performance craft in public and private life; methods of coaching and theatre technique that build character, social cohesion, and community resiliency; the role of informal arts play in personal and organizational development; instructional design theory and theatre pedagogy.


Jones Briggs helps people show up more effectively and responsibly in their leadership roles. She elevates leaders’ power and presence by combining research from the fields of social science with the practical application of performing arts techniques. Her approach is experiential, creative, and supported by leading and emerging social and psychological research.

Outside academia she designs and directs global leadership programs for corporations, NGOs, academic and federal institutions. Melissa speaks, coaches and leads inclusion initiatives for emerging and established leaders and teams navigating complex power dynamics. She addresses challenges of power and presence with students, executives, creatives, entrepreneurs, medical professionals, and political leaders around the world.

She serves as an associate fellow of the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford. She also teaches executive students in the flagship Stanford Executive Program, among others, and she co-directed the Stanford Executive Program for Women Entrepreneurs. Melissa taught at Stanford’s ‘’ the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, and guest lectured at London Business School in the UK, Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland and the United States Naval Academy. An honors graduate of Wake Forest University, Melissa also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, the Actor’s Center Conservatory in New York, and the Coaches Training Institute in San Francisco.

Awards and Honors

  • Larsen Lam Family Lecturer, 2022–23

Service to the Profession

Oxford Character Project, University of Oxford

  • Associate Fellow

Guest Faculty

  • London Business School
  • Aalto University Helsinki
  • United States Naval Academy

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

November 11, 2021
In this podcast episode, we discuss how lessons from the theater inform leadership styles and power dynamics at work.