Digital creative
front-end developer content strategist designer writer and editor entrepreneur


I'm an experienced front-end developer with executive-level communication skills and a broad range of leadership experience.

Highly creative and entrepreneurial, I've founded multiple organizations and spent the last 5 years getting two new ventures off the ground.

My eclectic background includes living and working in four countries and seven states with extensive travel in 25+ countries and across the U.S.

Formerly a public high school teacher, my early career was in education, teaching international students, recent immigrants and refugees.

I have a teaching certificate from Cambridge and a B.A. magna cum laude from UC Berkeley in Rhetoric (what?) and in natural resource policy.

I've spent years of my life pursuing community projects and have organized campaigns, spoken in 100+ universities on environmental issues, lived in Zapatista communities, built a 17-person housing cooperative, and found a ton of other creative ways to make myself useful without getting a traditional job.

When I'm not working (whatever the hell that means), I'm writing or building a website for someone. I love lending a hand, so hit me up (bonus points if it has to do with humor, surveillance, or the land rights of indigenous peoples in Amazonia – or, if possible, all three).

See what I'm up to now

Founding editor of New Worker Magazine


New Worker Magazine publishes original content on collaborative workspaces and the future of work.

We also created the Coworking Press List, a resource for journalists, and maintain the Open Coworking Map's list of coworking spaces in NYC.

I started the magazine to help foster a shared sense of community among people who work from coworking spaces. We've since become an internationally-recognized cornerstone of the coworking movement.

The magazine launched in May 2014 and has an international team of 50+ contributing writers in a dozen countries. I conceived the idea, assembled a remote team, designed and developed our site and social media channels, and I continue to commission and edit our feature articles.

Co-founder of Pure Cure Dental Technology


Pure Cure Dental Technology is the first company to remove toxins from dental devices.

Our flagship Denture Detox is a consumer health product. We also created The Free Report on Denture Toxicity, a consumer-facing white paper.

I was privy to a little-known health problem in the dental industry and my team, after many years of research, developed a solution and started a company in order to get our product to people who need it.

In my role as co-founder, I took on product development, research and presentation of scientific findings, creation of written content and promotional materials, development of the company websites, strategic planning, marketing, sales and business development.

Portfolio

For the past 5 years I've done front-end development, responsive design, Wordpress, content strategy
for small business clients and independent creatives.


I recently completed a full-stack course
at General Assembly and have built apps using jQuery, Angular, Node, Ruby on Rails, Javascript.


Land Defense

Web app 2015

  • Ruby/Rails
  • SQL database
  • Front- and back-end design & development

Land Defense is a web application I conceived and executed using Ruby on Rails and SQL. The app features user authentication and full CRUD capability.

The application is intended for use by individuals and organizations seeking to report land use violations on indigenous-owned territory. The application features example news reports gleaned from authentic land violations in biodiverse areas, particularly in Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon. The project is deployed on Heroku and the code lives in this GitHub repo.

Face Dazzler

Web app 2015

  • Node, Express
  • jQuery
  • Front-end design & development

Face Dazzler for Web is a solo project I conceived and built using jQuery and Node.

The app makes use of a facial detection Javascript library, allowing users to play with facial detection technology in real time. Included are tips and examples of how to thwart facial detection algorithms – in real life and online – including stylized overlays you can drag-and-drop which will "break" the algorithm's ability to find a face. The app also allows users to upload a photo locally and immediately see whether a face is detected. The concept for this app draws heavily from the work of others in the data privacy community I am active in. I am particularly proud of this project because it helps demystify the technology and in a small way puts a degree of power and choice back into people's hands.

The app is deployed on Heroku and the code lives in this GitHub repo.

New Worker Magazine

Online magazine 2014–2016

  • WordPress customization
  • Content direction and editing
  • Graphics and art direction
  • SEO
  • Branding
  • Social media strategy

New Worker Magazine is the digital publication for and by the global coworking community.

The website's design has two unique features on its landing page: a rotating section showcasing feature articles from the current issue, and a top section populated by the most commented articles at any given moment. The architecture and visual design are consistent with the principles of Subcompact Publishing for digital native publications.

I continue to commission, design and edit for the publication.

Denture Detox

Product/e-commerce website 2014–2016

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Content writing
  • Branding
  • SEO
  • Mailchimp, Sumo.me integration
  • Graphics

Denture Detox is an ecommerce website that sells physical products and serves as a hub for information about denture toxicity.

The site's landing page is a dedicated sales page designed for high conversion. Email signup conversion is supported by a timed modal that prompts visitors to sign up in exchange for an info product. I wrote and edited all content for the site, created graphics, and integrated third-party services such as Mailchimp.

Applied Mythology Project

Not-for-profit organization website 2015–2016

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • LESS CSS animation
  • Content design
  • Graphics

The Applied Mythology Project is a Los Angeles-based arts organization that puts on events, academic panels and gallery exhibitions.

The organization approached me in need of a website for an upcoming event. I have since created two sites for the client; the latest uses a mobile-first approach and features an animated menu for desktop. The landing page features a strange moving orb, written in LESS, which complements the organization's focus on the mystical.

Musically Medicated: The Film

Official website for feature-length film 2013

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Brand advising
  • SEO
  • Content editing

This featured documentary premiered at the 2013 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

I chose an elegant one-page design for the site. I custom-built it using HTML/CSS and Bootstrap for its grid, fixed header and smooth scrolling. It's fully responsive for all devices, as a sizeable percentage of this site's page views are mobile-based.

Hot Smoked Pictures

Company website 2014

  • WordPress customization
  • SEO
  • Content inventory & audit
  • Content editing

Hot Smoked Pictures is an award-winning Canadian film production company headed by documentary filmmaker Gabi Kislat. I enjoy her work (it's equal parts smart and joyful) and was excited to have the opportunity to play around with her content in building this portfolio-centered website for her company.

To enable non-technical staff to make updates to the website, I built the site on WordPress for easy content management. The portfolio gallery landing page beautifully displays bold video stills and is enhanced by the whimsical movement of the images as they populate the page and when the viewer clicks on different gallery categories.

Telecom for Charity

Company website 2013

  • Design & development
  • WordPress customization
  • Brand advising
  • SEO
  • Graphics
  • Content inventory & audit
  • Content writing & editing

An established telecommmunications consulting firm of 15 years decided to start an embedded philanthropy initiative. I loved the idea and built the company a site that targeted decision makers in both the business telecom and corporate-responsibility sectors.

We chose WordPress so the company's staff could easily update and manage the site, and I heavily customized the theme to accommodate the client's needs. I performed a content inventory and worked with the client to devise a strategy for new content development. The content I wrote for this site guides readers through the company's innovative value proposition and consistently provides a clear call to action.

Joshua Hansen

Videography portfolio 2014

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • jQuery animated gallery
  • Flash animation
  • SEO

Joshua Hansen is a New York-based video professional. I liked his work and took a chance on reaching out to him to redesign his online portfolio.

We went with a minimalist design for his site. My custom HTML/CSS build features a short Flash animation on the landing page. For the portfolio section of his site, I used a lightweight JQuery gallery leading to custom-built individual video display panels featuring each video and its description.

Pure Cure Technology

Company website 2010–2016

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Branding
  • SEO
  • Graphics
  • WordPress theme design & development
  • Content researching & writing

Pure Cure Technology is a California-based company whose website also provides information about toxicity-related health issues and solutions.

I wrote all content on this site, aiming for readability for the general public while presenting research appropriate for medical, dental, and toxicology professionals.

The site's grid-based design relies on Bootstrap. Scientific references and citations are kept from overcrowding the page design thanks to toggles that expand and contract. The blog portion of the site is custom built to seamlessly match the site's design.

Design Strategist

Company website 2012–2014

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Content writing
  • Branding
  • Graphics

Design Strategist is the digital agency I ran from 2011 to 2014. The site is essentially a portfolio of client work I completed during that time and under that name. (I have continued to do design, development and content but have since simply considered myself a freelancer and have abandoned using this company name.)

The main site is a one-pager with smooth scrolling navigation, with each portfolio item linking to a detailed portfolio. The design makes liberal use of transparent assets that are activated upon hover.

Oracle Press

Publisher website 2014

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Logo and graphics
  • SEO

Oracle Press is a small artist book publisher based in Los Angeles. I find their books to be gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork and I was excited to get my hands dirty designing their site and working with their imagery.

I designed this site to let the texture- and color-rich art have full reign, so I kept the other elements unobtrusive and minimalist. The logo header I designed to be in keeping with the colorful chaos of the imprint's signature style.

JP Consulting

Company website 2013

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Brand advising
  • SEO

JP Consulting works with executives in the field of international education.

I opted for a short one-page design that puts the company's message up front and center. Using Bootstrap gave the site its smooth scrolling and fixed navigation and enables it to easily be built on in the future.

The New York Wanderer

Author website 2011

  • Fully custom WordPress theme design
  • Content inventory & audit
  • Content editing

The New York Wanderer features essays and books about old New York. The site serves as the online home for a small publisher of local historical nonfiction.

I designed this site to fit the client's specifications for a cozy web-1.0 feel.

This was one of my first projects, and my first foray into building a WordPress template from scratch.

TimeCapsule

Web app 2015

  • Node, Express, MongoDB, jQuery
  • Mandrill email integration
  • Front-end design & development

From Sept–Dec 2015, I took the Web Development Immersive course at General Assembly in NYC. TimeCapsule was a group project I conceived. The app uses the MEN stack and features user authentication and CRUD capabilies.

The app is a whimsical take on the NASA time capsule that was sent into deep space on the Voyager 1 in 1977. Using Mandrill's email service, the app will send users their time capsule five years in the future. The app is deployed on Heroku and the code lives in this GitHub repo.

Chris Thayer

Stand-up comic website 2016

  • Wordpress theme customization
  • Content audit
  • Visual branding (in progress)

Chris Thayer is a stand-up comic who has written for The Pete Holmes Show, JASH, Funny or Die and Comedy Central.

I reached out to the client with ideas to upgrade his calendar and website. This project started in January 2016 and is not yet completed (but the basic site is up now).

Simple Labs

Company website 2014

  • Content audit
  • Content strategy
  • Messaging/branding

Simple Labs is a New York-based digital agency that also offers courses and training.

The focus of this project was to perform a content audit on two separate websites to help the client integrate their content and assets into one.

Wine Appellations Sales

Logo design, website 2012

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • Logo design
  • Branding

The client, a sales representative for a wine importing company, wanted an online presence that combined his company's identity with his own identity as an independent salesperson.

The site I designed makes these two identities distinct. The logo I designed for him is a lighthearted scrawled font depicting a lazy wine glass on its side.

Kristin Trammell

Photography portfolio 2015

  • HTML5/CSS3 design & development
  • jQuery animated gallery
  • Branding and content design

Kristin Trammell is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Los Angeles.

For her online portfolio, we worked together to select subsets of her work and curate them into themed collections. The site's architecture and design reflects these content choices.

Roddy O'Hare

Stand-up comic website 2015

  • HTML/CSS design & development
  • Branding & identity
  • Graphics and photo montage

Roddy O'Hare is a stand-up comic and writer. He sought a website that would serve as a branding tool. I opted for a simple, bold design using a series of layered photographs that convey his range as a performing artist. Included in the design is a small joke – just try the shamrock button.

Mimes of Wine

Band website 2012

  • CMS implementation
  • Content editing
  • SEO

Mimes of Wine is an Italian band based in Italy and the US.

Elements of the design of this site were drawn from the band's sound: The sparseness of the site's design, the starkness of its navigation, and the subtle presentation of its multimedia features (embedded videos and audio tracks). Indexhibit was chosen as the content management system to run this site from due to its ease of use for the client and its spare, minimalist look.

Ian Campbell

Photography portfolio 2012

  • HTML5/CSS3 website design
  • Content audit
  • Content strategy

Ian Campbell is a fashion and lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles. This project culminated in a redesign of his photography company's portfolio.

Datalize.me

Web app 2014

  • Ruby/Rails development
  • Front-end design
  • Social media campaigning

Datalize.me was built by my team over three days (on a bus!) during the 2014 StartupBus hackathon competition. The application offered users 'their personal API' by enabling users to extract their data from apps like Facebook and Twitter, and then port that data to other services via a restful API.

Blackjack game

Web app 2015

  • Javascript development
  • Gameplay design
  • Front-end design

In December 2015, I finished the Web Development Intensive course at General Assembly in NYC. The first student project we completed required us to build a blackjack game. I built the game in vanilla Javascript over two days. The project is deployed on GitHub pages and the code lives in this GitHub repo.

Writing


I write essays and creative nonfiction for online magazines and industry publications.

Recently I've had articles published on why I choose to juggle multiple types of work, some unique challenges I've faced in teaching immigrants and refugees, and advice from the hackathon-road-trip StartupBus. I've also written within the dental industry, and lots of topics on the coworking movement for Freelancer's Union, OuiShare and New Worker Magazine.

A few of the essays and articles I've published in the past year:

Press


Most of my appearances in the press are related to my work and my role within coworking.

I've appeared on CBS This Morning and have been interviewed by Shareable, Deskmag, NY Tech and in podcasts like The Naked Freelancer, QNY News and Curious World.

Publications like Business Insider have quoted me on how I work, why I started a housing cooperative in the Bay Area, how I lived abroad as a language teacher, why I moved to Guatemala instead of getting a job after college, being a woman of color working with refugees and immigrants, why I left public school teaching, how I've gone uninsured nearly my entire life, and overcoming disempowerment as a young adult.

I also dispense advice on things like millennial careers, creative business, work/life balance (or lack of it), how to rock renting on Airbnb, and the best books to teach and learn Spanish.

Recently, Michelle Obama as guest editor chose me for a feature in August's print issue of More on first-generation college graduates.

get in touch.

email@melissamesku.com



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