This month’s speaker will be Melissa Fortunato (Sophia '26). Melissa retired from the FBI in 2022 after 23 years as a special agent. She is a senior associate with The Negotiations Collective, a negotiation and conflict resolution training and consulting company.
Melissa, a native of Philadelphia, served in the FBI's New York City and Cleveland field offices. Prior to her FBI service, she was a counselor in a rape crisis center. Over the course of her FBI career, she investigated public corruption matters, operated as an undercover agent and served as a hostage negotiator. She graduated from the London Metropolitan Police's (Scotland Yard) Hostage Negotiator Course in 2019 and led FBI Cleveland's Crisis Negotiation Team for 10 years.
Melissa will be sharing stories from her involvement in a long-term FBI undercover investigation, Operation Royal Charm. This project included operational travel to Thailand, foreign-based organized crime figures (involved in weapons trafficking, counterfeit money and drugs) and a unique ruse to arrest the targets of the operation in the U.S.
Melissa and her husband, Jeff, are parents to Sophia '26, Layla and their two rescue dogs. The Fortunatos are Gates Mills residents and are in the process of restoring their 170-year-old home.
The Women’s Club invites all women of the Gilmour Academy community to gather during the school year for informal book discussions. The Book Club is open to mothers/guardians of current students from all grades; mothers of alumni; faculty and alumni. Meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of the month (when school is in session) at 8:30 a.m., typically on campus in the Tudor House or Holy Cross Room. Check this calendar for location close to the date of the meeting.