March 20th - 24th, 2024

2024 Participant Biographies

 
Ms. Melissa Firstenberg
She/Her/Hers

Melissa grew up in central Jersey (which does exist) and came to Philadelphia to study Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, and Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, moving to Marlton, NJ in the late 1990s after school. Melissa participates actively in industry professional associations as a trusted industrial cybersecurity professional, contribute to committees that have created Industrial Cybersecurity standards, and speaks at conferences and symposia around the world. Melissa has served on multiple Boards of Trustees, including executive roles with her synagogue as VP of Education, Ritual, and Membership - most notably as the first openly transgender board member at both Temple Emanuel and Congregation Kol Ami. The founder and co-chair of Kulanu (a Jewish LGBTQ+ inclusive affinity group), Melissa continues to campaign for inclusion, particularly in faith-based spaces. As of 2023, Melissa is also the first openly transgender board member for JFCS (Jewish Family and Children’s Service). Melissa exhibits her strongly held beliefs in fairness and human rights for all through her involvement with organisations such as Jersey Pride and New Hope Celebrates. A former coach (soccer, field hockey, baseball and softball) and league coordinator, Melissa believes in the value of inclusive youth recreational sports for all. When not at work or volunteering, Melissa enjoys alpine skiing, football (aka soccer), theater, and spending time with her three children - Jessica 21 (UMaine), Samuel 19 (Montana State), and Eddie 15 (Cherokee HS).





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First
Event
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Pennsylvania


Vanity Club


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Bradbury-Sullivan
LGBT Community
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