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Melissa Robaina

Contact Information:

5920 S. Rainbow Blvd, Ste 4,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89118

Email: Melissa@CompanyofExperts.net

Work: (702) 228-4699
Mobile: (559) 786-8755

Center for Appreciative Inquiry
Company of Experts, Inc.

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Working Portfolio:
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Melissa RobainaMelissa Robaina, MBA is an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Consultant for the Company of Experts. For the last few years, Melissa has worked for the Company as a content creator and has collaborated with numerous subject matter experts around the world researching, organizing, and writing material that nurtures discussion and is applicable to today’s rapidly changing environment. Melissa has an interest in adult learning theory and is passionate about coordinating, developing, and facilitating transformation solutions in all human systems. Melissa has also co-facilitated Company of Experts offerings related to Change, Paradigm Shifts and Online offerings.

Melissa is the co-author of two articles, “Creating a Legacy to Live Into: The Macon Miracle” and “The Macon Miracle: A Community [Re]Designing Education to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Students”; highlighting her Company’s work in Appreciative Inquiry and positive change facilitation. These articles are scheduled for publication at the end of 2013 in two separate books: AI in Schools and Advances in Appreciative Inquiry.

  • Business Consulting
  • Organizational Development
  • Content Development
  • Workshop Facilitation

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Payment Plan Program

Company of Experts, Inc. is pleased to offer a Payment Plan Program as a manageable alternative to paying your workshop registration in a lump-sum payment. Enrollment in our free Payment Plan Program allows you to pay your workshop registration over a number of weeks/months, interest free.

Benefits of Our Payment Plan Program:

  • Free to Enroll. Evolving positively in today’s changing environment requires that we constantly improve and build upon our skill sets. By offering free enrollment, we hope to attract more individuals, groups, and organizations who yearn for growth, but who may be limited to budget constraints.
  • Flexibility. We work with you to establish a payment plan option that works best for you and your budget. You determine the frequency and amount of each payment. The earlier you register for a workshop, the more time & flexibility you have in paying your registration fee.
  • No Interest. No interest will accrue as you pay your training/workshop registration fee.
  • Lock in the Savings. We offer early bird, group and non-profit discounted rates that provide additional savings on top of our already reduced workshop prices. Enroll in the payment plan program before these discounts expire and cash in on the savings.
  • Reserved Seating. Enrollment in the Payment Plan Program will reserve your seat(s) in the training of your choice, so long as all payments are processed on the dates agreed upon in your payment plan agreement.
  • Immediate Access. Your reserved seat(s) permit you to receive all the benefits of registered participants, such as access to any pre-workshop readings, materials and activities.

How to Enroll in the Payment Plan Program:

  • Step 1: Download the Payment Plan Agreement form;
  • Step 2: Determine the amount and frequency of payments. Please note: all registration fees are due one week before the start of the training.
  • Step 3: Email your completed Payment Plan Agreement to Melissa at Melissa@CompanyofExperts.net;
  • Step 4: First payment is due upon enrollment in the payment plan program. First payment will be processed and you will be emailed your first invoice within two (2) business days. This invoice will confirm your enrollment in the payment plan program and reserve your seat in the training of your choice;
  • Step 5: Once enrolled, you will receive additional invoices as scheduled payments are processed as agreed upon in the payment plan agreement. Individuals will continue to receive electronic invoices until the workshop/training registration fee is paid in full.

How to Make Payments:

We accept the following methods of payment:

  • Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express);
  • Bank Wiring Information is available upon request;
  • Checks and money orders payable to Company of Experts, Inc. and mailed to:
    • Company of Experts, Inc.
      P.O. Box 371062
      Las Vegas, Nevada 89137

Invoicing to Track Payment Progress:

Registration payments will be processed on the agreed upon dates listed in the payment plan agreement, with the first payment due upon enrolling in the payment plan program. After each payment is processed, you will receive an invoice within two (2) business days that lists the workshop you are registering for, all payment activity to date, and any amounts outstanding. Individuals will continue to receive electronic invoices until the workshop registration fee is paid in full.

Late, Missed, or Returned Payment Fees:

  • Failure to pay registration fees as specified in the Payment Plan Agreement can affect a your registration status.
  • Payment Plan Agreements will be cancelled after two (2) scheduled payments have been missed.
  • Failure to pay installments on time on more than one (1) occasion will make you ineligible to participate in the Payment Plan Program in the future for other workshop or trainings hosted by the Company of Experts, Inc.
  • All checks returned for insufficient funds will incur a $30 penalty.

Do You Have Questions?

Should you have any questions regarding your Payment Plan, please email Melissa Robaina (Melissa@CompanyofExperts.net) or Kathy Becker (Kathy@CompanyofExperts.net) or you can contact them at our office at 702-228-4699.

NOTE: Participants on a payment plan are required to pay the entirety of their workshop registration fee. This registration fee is not refundable. Registration fees can be transferred to another Company of Experts’ training (if space is available), but will include a $25 transfer fee.

Strategic Networking

Today’s professionals know that networking has moved out of the conference room and into their daily lives via social media, community involvement, and professional development opportunities. The internet has revolutionized the way we interact with others; the way we build brand identity, and the way we communicate. Effective networking  is no longer a skill only upper echelon leaders must have—it’s now an expectation for all professionals.

Why should you take this workshop?

  • Many professionals are not sure how to effectively network; they need training to feel more comfortable;
  • Networking myths and misconceptions are common and create hindrances to professional development; getting to practice in a safe environment while learning the skills builds confidence;
  • Today’s leaders are expected to know how to network but few have received training in how to do it or know what successful networking looks like; when you know what success looks like you can develop specific actions steps to achieve it;
  • There is a growing need to network via social media but not everyone understands how to do so strategically; receiving an overview of the big 4 and learning how to use your time effectively will allow you to develop a customized networking strategy to build brand identity;
  • Asking for what you want/need from your network can be daunting unless you know how; gaining the skills and knowing how will increase the odds of having your request answered.

Who is this workshop designed for?

This workshop is designed for anyone interested in enhancing their networking skills.

‘Strategic Networking’ Workshop Outcomes

This one day workshop includes mini-lectures, and experiential learning (individual, pairs, trios, small group, and large group) as well as auditory and visual materials to enhance the learning experience. At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will have the knowledge to:

  • Describe what successful networking is, who does it, the various venues to network, and the benefits of networking;
  • Conduct a self-assessment of their networking skills, so they can list their strengths and identify areas to enhance;
  • Challenge preconceived ideas and myths about networking, so they can describe how they create limiting beliefs and interfere with networking;
  • Identify the characteristics, behaviors, responses, and outcomes of both unsuccessful and successful networking;
  • Create short and long term networking goals that inspire them to continue developing their skills;
  • State the different networking purposes/roles, so they can develop customized strategies appropriate for each networking opportunity;
  • Gain awareness of networking fundamentals so they can recognize and use different activities to optimize networking efforts before, during, and after the event;
  • Practice networking in a safe environment so they can build their confidence and apply the techniques they are learning in the moment;
  • Receive an overview of the Big 4 social media resources so they can develop a plan for how to use their time most effectively to build their brand identity;
  • Get practice asking for what they want/need from their network.

If you are interested in participating in this workshop, please check out our Event Calendar to see a complete listing of our upcoming trainings and workshops.

Board Retreats and Training

The board sets the tone and direction of the organization. Effective board leadership and governance helps ensure that an organization can operate to its fullest capacity. Creating an effective board is a continual process that includes recruitment, engagement and development.

Today, teams and organizations face rapid change like never before. Globalization has increased the markets and opportunities for more growth and revenue. However, increasingly diverse markets have a wide variety of needs and expectations that must be understood if they are to become strong customers and collaborators. The ability to manage change, while continuing to meet the needs of stakeholders, is a very important skill required by today’s leaders, managers and boards (profit and non-profit). Planning effective board development is fundamental to an organizations transformation.

With more than thirty years working with corporate and non-profit boards, we can help you recruit, train and plan.

What Makes Us Unique?

For nearly 25 years, Company of Experts has been at the forefront of organizational and individual consulting and training,  tailored to meet the rapidly changing needs of leaders in today’s global economy. Our strategy involves developing individuals, groups and organizations into true “centers of excellence” by cultivating their collective strengths and appreciating the value that is present in all human systems (large or small). By utilizing the existing talents, strengths and resources, our clients are able to connect to their positive core in ways that heighten their energy, sharpen their vision, and inspire action for positive, sustainable change.

How are we different?

  • Expertise. Each of our Experts on Call have a strong commitment to the theory and practice of their subject area — bringing a balance of education, consulting, and on-the-job experience to all of our trainings.
  • We are relationship-focused.  We believe the success of any human endeavor is dependent upon the relationships between those involved. We value each person and strive to develop a rapport, trust, and understanding with all of our clients by investing time and energy into understanding each client, their business, and their aspirations.
  • Trainings are small and intimate. The size of each of our training varies based on the location of the event, but rarely exceed 24 participants. Our intimate training sessions allow for extensive interaction between our trainer(s) and participants – allowing each participant to receive more assistance with individual needs.
  • Intensive and experiential. “We remember best what we experience. We understand best what we identify with. We learn best by doing.” We are aware of the importance of personal experience in the retention of learning. This is the underlying principle used in all of our workshops.
  • Support. Our intimate consulting and training philosophy create the perfect environment for networking, motivation, and support with other workshop participants. We encourage participants to continue to share their challenges and experiences with one another even after our trainings have concluded. Support from others can provide the strength needed to continue on the path of positive, sustainable change.
  • Infused with Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a collaborative, strengths-based approach to both personal and organizational development that is proving to be highly effective in thousands of organizations and communities around the world. It is a way of bringing about change that shares leadership and learning, fully engaging everyone in the process. AI empowers our participants to create the processes they wish to use in order to put belief into practice and acquire their goals.
  • Mentoring and Coaching. To ensure the successful implementation of the skill sets taught during our consulting and training, we believe that ongoing mentoring, coaching and supervision provide the on-going support.
  • Certification. Many of our workshops include certification – at no additional cost to you. Certification demonstrates to your customers, competitors, suppliers, staff and investors that you use industry-respected best practices.
  • Cost Effective. Evolving positively in today’s changing environment requires that we constantly improve and build upon our skill sets. We support non-profit, education, NGO and Governmental agencies by providing cost effective trainings and consulting so that more individuals, groups, and organizations who are expected “to do more with less”. We now offer group rates that provide additional savings.

Smart Grant Writing: Certification/Re-Certification

Competencies for Grant Writing Certification

To complete a full-length, fundable grant proposal that includes the following elements:

Element 1: Abstract or Executive Summary

Include the following unless otherwise specified in the grant application materials:

  1. Briefly describes the problem your proposal will address.
  2. Presents the solution offered in the proposal.
  3. Lists the outcomes, or measurable changes that are expected to result from the project.
  4. Provides information about the applicant organization’s capacity to carry out the project.
  5. Mentions key collaborative partners.
  6. States the amount of grant funds requested.

Element 2:  Statement of Need

  1. Provides evidence (including numerical data) that a problem exists in a community to be served.
  2. Focuses on a need or problem that the proposed project can reasonably address.
  3. Defines a specific target population within the community to be served.
  4. Explains why the problem is important to address.
  5. Describes the problem in terms of the population’s needs, rather than the needs of the applicant organization.
  6. Cites sources of supporting information and data presented.
  7. Includes data required by the funding source (if any) to be eligible to receive the grant funding.
  8. Presents reasoning as to why the problem should be addressed in the community to be served as opposed to other communities with the same problem(s).
  9. Avoids circular reasoning.
  10. Briefly introduces the proposed solution to the problem, aligned with the purpose for the grant funding.

Element 3:  Project Design

  1. Includes a set of project goals that address the problems outlined in the statement of need and that are aligned with the purposes of the grant funding.
  2. Presents measurable benefits to the funder. This is a set of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives that offer multiple measures of success for each goal.
  3. Writes goals and objectives that reflect all priorities or required measures (if any) in the grant application.
  4. Describes a set of activities or methods to support each project goal.
  5. Provides a rationale for the selection of each activity or method, citing research when required.
  6. Tells who will benefit from each activity or service provided by the project.
  7. Tells how many people will benefit from each activity or service, and from the project in general.
  8. Tells who will be responsible for providing each service provided by the project.
  9. Constructs a timeline of project activities or tells when each activity will begin and/or be completed by. (Persons responsible may appear as column on timeline).

Element 4: Management and Staffing Plan

  1. Describes the applicant organization’s mission, history, and track record of success relevant to the proposed project.
  2. Explains how the current project fits into the current structure of the applicant organization (include an organizational chart if necessary).
  3. Describes the roles and qualifications of each key personnel who will be employed in the project, including the project director (when applicable).
  4. Includes the time commitments of key staff in the project.
  5. Describes the background and contributions of collaborative partners (if any) that will participate in the project.
  6. If required by the grant application, describes how the project will be sustained or how the benefits of the project will continue beyond the funding period.
  7. If required by the grant application, tells how the project will be replicated in other settings or how information learned through the project will be disseminated.

Element 5: Evaluation Plan

  1. Defines exactly how success will be measured in terms of specific performance measures or expected outcomes aligned with the project’s objectives.
  2. Includes strategies to measure both the processes and expected outcomes of the project (formative and summative evaluation).
  3. Includes multiple measures of success for each goal, using both qualitative and quantitative data.
  4. Tells how data will be collected and who is responsible.
  5. Describes any evaluation instruments (such as surveys or assessments) that will be used.
  6. Tells how data will be analyzed.
  7. Tells who will be responsible for conducting the evaluation.
  8. Describes the background and expertise of the evaluator.
  9. Tells how often, in what forms, and to whom evaluation results will be reported.
  10. Tells how periodic evaluation results will be used for improvement of the project (for multi-year projects).

Element 6: Budget and Budget Narrative

  1. Includes only budget items that are allowable expenses.
  2. Includes only budget items that directly relate to the proposal.
  3. Categorizes each item within proper budget categories (salaries, fringe benefits, contractual, facilities, equipment, supplies, travel, etc.)
  4. Provides details about how each expense were calculated.
  5. Includes specific amounts, rather than rounded estimations.
  6. Accounts for all requested funds (does not include a miscellaneous category).
  7. Includes a calculation for indirect costs within the guidelines of the grant application (if applicable).
  8. Includes an itemization of matching funds (if required).


  1. Begins by giving the reader an overview or quick summary of the project (the who, what, when, why, and where), before answering the first question in the grant application materials.
  2. Responds to questions in the order they appear in the grant application.
  3. Stays within page limitations.
  4. Keeps the length of each section of narrative proportionate to the number of points it is worth in the scoring rubric.
  5. Breaks up the narrative with charts, illustrations, bullet points, bold type, and/or italics to emphasize key points.
  6. Puts any required elements in bold to make them stand out in the narrative.
  7. Avoids the use of unexplained industry-specific jargon or acronyms.
  8. Written in the active rather than passive voice.
  9. Written concisely and to the point.
  10. Prioritizes clarity over the use of literary devices or flowery language.
  11. Adheres to all formatting requirements.

Supporting Documents

Includes all required supporting documents in the correct order (specified in the grant application materials):

  1. Cover page
  2. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
  3. Letters of support
  4. Resumes
  5. Forms
  6. Signature pages
  7. Assurances
  8. Bibliography or works cited
  9. Logic model

Smart Grant Writing: Workshop Outline

Lesson 1: Getting Ready for Grant Writing

  • A step-by-step method to turn your idea into a fundable grant project.
  • The 12 questions to ask before you start any grant writing project so you can be ready to tell the funding source exactly what they want to know.
  • 7 ways to improve your grant’s chance of success before you turn on your computer to type.
  • How to position yourself for grant funding even if your organization is brand new, has no track record, or a small operating budget.

Lesson 2: Finding the Right Funding Source

  • You will learn the top sources of grant funding in the United States.
  • How to use two websites that put a wealth of grant opportunities at your fingertips – no more endless searching.
  • How to pick the funding agencies that are most likely to say “yes” to your project.
  • What to write in a letter of inquiry to pique a foundation’s interest.

Lesson 3: Understanding the Grant Application

  • How to understand the language of grant application guidelines, a.k.a. request for proposal (RFP), request for application (RFA), or funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
  • How to use the grant application as a reference which allows you to find the information you need to know without going crazy trying to read 50 to 100 pages of grant lingo all at once.
  • The 12 key items to look for in any grant application and how to find them.
  • The differences between government and foundation grant applications and why this matters.

Lesson 4: Planning the Grant Writing Process

  • How to create a timeline for writing with multiple mini-deadlines.
  • How to establish sources of information for your proposal so you can avoid writer’s block.
  • How to identify and work with key people or project partners during the grant writing process.
  • The importance of identifying all of the supporting documents that will be required – forms, letters, signature pages, or other attachments early, and how to get the ball rolling on getting them completed.

Lesson 5: Constructing a Case for Funding that Flows

  • 10 features of a funded grant proposal, and how they fit together.
  • How to outline your writing, section by section, into one logical case for funding.
  • How to determine the optimal length for each section of your proposal…..so you will waste no words and maximize your score.
  • Simple ways to organize your grant proposal at the outset for easy reading and scoring.

Lesson 6: Writing a Compelling Problem (or Needs) Statement

  • 7 helpful tips for convincing a funding agency to contribute to a worthy cause in your community (not someone else’s).
  • Time-saving sources of statistics to document the need for your project.
  • Eye-catching ways to display information to strengthen your case for funding.
  • How to breathe life into your problem statement so as to trigger compassion and urgency in the grant reader.

Lesson 7: Stating Clear Goals and Objectives

  • How to write goals that create the dynamic feeling of a win-win with the funding agency.
  • Words you should and should not use when stating your objectives.
  • To follow our proven, 4-step formula for wording objectives – all you have to do is fill in the blanks!
  • How to avoid the #1 mistake novice grant writers make when writing goals and objectives that will KILL your chances of being funded.

Lesson 8: Pitching a Powerful Plan of Action

  • Our 7 secrets for selling your solution to a problem.
  • How to pair your activities with measurable benefits. This one strategy will make your action plan stand out among the competition.
  • Easy ways to organize your activities on a timeline so the reader can understand your action plan at a glance.  (You’ll get several templates for this).
  • Guidelines (and helpful models) for citing research to add credibility to your methods.

Lesson 9: Conveying Your Capacity, Credibility, and Commitment

  • Confidence-building ways to communicate your organization’s mission and history, even if your organization is new.
  • How to describe the expertise of key people – even if they haven’t been hired yet!
  • How to develop Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Letters of Commitment with other agencies to demonstrate community support for your project. (You will see examples of these from funded proposals to make it easy to write your own).
  • More tips to let to funder know the project will be in capable hands.

Lesson 10: Designing an Effective Evaluation Plan

  • Ideas for measuring the success of your grant project to assure the funder you are serious about delivering real results.
  • How to speak (and write) the language of an evaluator, even if you don’t have a background in statistics or research.
  • How to get a professional evaluation plan written for you – absolutely free!
  • How to know when you should involve a third-party evaluator and what questions you should ask when interviewing one.

Lesson 11: Building a Better Budget

  • Easily adaptable formats for displaying budgets and writing budget narratives.
  • Our handy formulas for showing estimated expenses to indicate that you’ve done your homework and are responsible with money.
  • Tips for linking your budget to your action plan to prove that every dollar will contribute to the cause.
  • Creative ideas for showing matching resources to give the funder the most for their money.

Lesson 12: Packing Your Proposal with Persuasion

  • Promising ways to promote your ideas as an authority….and be seen as an expert on your topic.
  • Our 7 Golden Rules of Grant Writing that have proven successful in bringing in grant money for over 10 years.
  • Clever techniques for making your key points pop off the page so that your reader will not miss them.

Lesson 13: Summarizing Your Story

  • How to write an impressive introduction – thus capturing the reader’s attention in the opening lines and make a positive first impression.
  • How to pack your proposal into a 1-2 page executive summary or abstract – to clarify the bigger picture for the busiest of bureaucrats.
  • How to turn your executive summary or abstract into an invitation to read more.
  • When to mention money in a proposal summary – and where.

Lesson 14: Polishing and Packaging Your Final Presentation

  • To create and use checklists to confirm that your content is complete. (You’ll get the checklists we use).
  • Our error-free editing advice so you can look for and catch the most common errors made in grant proposals (you’ll get a list of these, to save you from learning the hard way!).
  • How to handle all the forms and supporting documents (MOUs, resumes, letters, newspaper articles, etc.) without getting a headache.
  • How to avoid mailing mistakes so that your grants gets there by the deadline.

Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Facilitator Training

Professional development for the seasoned expert or beginner…

The activities of the Instructional Skills Workshop form the nucleus of the ISW Facilitator Training, a five-day workshop to prepare experienced faculty to facilitate the Instructional Skills Workshops. Participants refine their teaching techniques through the mini-lessons, and with guided practice and feedback, develop strategies for facilitating the group process. Participants have the opportunity to develop new knowledge and techniques for facilitating group development, to explore other teaching methods, to explore formative evaluation techniques, and to receive feedback on their own teaching and facilitating skills. Some chairpersons participate in the Facilitator Training to enhance their competence in providing constructive feedback for their teaching colleagues. The Facilitator Training provides an opportunity for individuals to concentrate on their own professional development in a challenging and supportive atmosphere. Participants can become part of a larger instructional development network.

In addition to delivering workshops, ISW Facilitators often assist in a variety of activities related to the improvement of instruction. Classroom observation visits, video-taping, involving students as a means of eliciting feedback to the instructor, and individual consulting and facilitating services are often provided. These activities are offered only at the request of individual faculty members and all interchanges are confidential. Facilitators with highly developed communication skills are often called upon to assist with college-wide in-service days, institutional evaluation, departmental meetings, and retreats. When upward mobility is not always an option, being an ISW Facilitator may provide alternate leadership development opportunities.

The third level of the tier is the ISW Trainer Development Workshop (TDW) where individuals who have completed the Facilitator Training can learn how to train Facilitators.

Do you have questions regarding our programs, trainings, consulting, or coaching? How may we help you?

Fill out the contact form below (please specify which workshop(s) you are inquiring about so as to provide you with relevant information and materials) and you will receive a response within two (2) business days. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)

Professional development for the seasoned expert and beginner…

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) program is a comprehensive three-tiered teacher and trainer development program that serves as the foundation for several professional development activities  The ISW typically is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators [See Instructional Skills Workshop Facilitator Training].

The ISW is offered within a small group setting and is designed to enhance the classroom effectiveness of both new and experienced teachers or trainers. During the four-day workshop that is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators, approximately five teachers or trainers design and conduct three “mini-lessons” and receive oral, written and video feedback from the participants who have been learners in the mini-lessons. Using an intensive experiential learning approach, participants are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching or training adult learners, the selection and writing of Intended Learning Outcomes with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluation of learning.

The ISW encourages reflection and examination of one’s teaching/training practices with feedback focused on the learning process rather than on the specific content of the lesson. Effective feedback skills, practiced in the workshop, are useful for classroom teachers or trainers and also as they fulfill their other organizational tasks.

The ISW engenders participatory learning and the building of community that can transfer back into the classroom and the school, college, university, or organizational setting. Participation in an ISW creates an opportunity for new teachers or trainers to learn about the unique culture and value system of the organization and can also be a renewing and revitalizing activity for more seasoned teachers or trainers. Added benefits are a sense of collegiality, team building, self discovery, and learning new approaches to working with others.

Do you have questions regarding our programs, trainings, consulting, or coaching? How may we help you?

Fill out the contact form below (please specify which workshop(s) you are inquiring about so as to provide you with relevant information and materials) and you will receive a response within two (2) business days. We look forward to hearing from you.

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