Melanie Hicks, PhD  Founder/CEO

Melanie Hicks, PhD

Melanie Hicks is the founder and CEO of InPursuit Research Institute. With more than 18 years of experience in nonprofits, startups, grants and higher education management, Dr. Hicks brings a wide range of expertise to any project.

Dr. Hicks previously served as the CEO for the Children’s Athletic Network & Dance Opportunities, a non-profit collaborative partnership with the City of Tampa providing low cost youth sports for thousands of kids in the Tampa Bay region.  Prior to joining CANDO, Dr. Hicks was at the University of Tampa as the Assistant Provost & Director of Sponsored Programs where she created UT’s first Office of Sponsored Programs and oversaw all of the University’s grants and contracts.

Prior to relocating to Tampa, she served as the Director of Research for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, an advocacy organization, and concurrently as the Managing Director of the Florida Independent College Fund, a 501c3 foundation. While at ICUF/FICF she implemented a four‐prong system for federal and state grant funding applications resulting in enhanced collaborative partnerships and led ICUF’s governmental affairs research for advocacy in Tallahassee and Washington, DC.

Before joining ICUF, Dr. Hicks worked as Aide to Mayor John Marks, a special projects coordinator with the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability and as an adjunct professor of Public Administration for Florida State University and Barry University. Among her published works is a chapter in Moc Ideja, a grassroots policy manual written for policymakers in Bosnia and funded by the US Department of State. She has works on psychological contract theory, nonprofit marketing and social entrepreneurship. Dr. Hicks is also a contributing author to The District and Doctor's Life Magazines.

Dr. Hicks holds a doctorate from the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Miami and bachelors in Organizational Communications from the University of Central Florida.


Dr. Hicks is an active member of the professional and philanthropic community in Tampa serving as the Vice President of Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2013,  member of Tampa Connection class of 2014, former member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation Caucus, Knight Foundation Community Catalyst Team, the Community Improvement Advisory Council of the Big Bend, American Evaluation Society, the National Council of University Research Administrators, the American Society of Public Administration, a founding member of the Network of Young Professionals, and the past President of the Public Administration Graduate Association. She is also an active community volunteer for a variety of startups and nonprofit organizations including Just Grow, Well Built and Eunoia.

 Her awards include the Rod Rose Paper of the year award for the Journal of Research Administration, the Joyce Keller Volunteer of the Year Award, the Florence Bayuk Scholarship for academic excellence; the University of Miami Outstanding Scholastic and Public Service Achievement Award; Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society; and the Rho Lambda Honor Society.

Outside of her professional activities, her hobbies include creating functional design art, paddle boarding, running and yoga.

Want to know more?
Click here for Dr. Hicks' full Curriculum Vitae.