The Communications and Marketing Division of the City Manager's Office handles all communications, marketing, and branding requests, as well as overseeing all City social media accounts. Communications and Marketing also oversees the Citizens' Academy.
A graduate of Florida A&M University, Merissa began her career in journalism in 2000 and has been recognized nationally and internationally for her murder investigations including on Lakeland Lottery Winner Abraham Shakespeare. Merissa has been featured on every major true crime show including E! Investigates, CNBC’s American Greed, Oxygen Snapped, BET’s Murder in the Thirst and TV One’s “Sins of a City” in May. Merissa is scheduled to appear in a new crime series, "Web of Death" on HULU.
In 2008, Merissa participated in the New York Times Leadership Academy at Harvard University. Merissa transitioned to Public Relations in 2013 as the city of Auburndale’s communication manager. She was the city’s first communication manager overseeing press communications, crisis communications, social media, and special events. She was instrumental in creating the city’s Comic Book Convention that brought celebrities from television and film. Merissa spent five years with Polk County Public Schools as the senior coordinator of special events and international teachers. She is a community advocate serving on the United Way of Central Florida Board and assists annually with the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Merissa in the 2013 recipient of Winter Haven Girls’ Inc She Knows Where She Is Going Award and the 2017 recipient of the Polk Emerging Leaders Award. She is an alumna of Leadership Polk and a member of the Florida Public Relations Association, Dick Pope chapter.