Melanie Willoughby, a tireless advocate for small business during her distinguished three-decade career in Trenton, will now put her experience and talents to work for New Jersey employers as acting president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Willoughby was named to the post after serving as senior vice president of Government Affairs at NJBIA for more than a decade and will now lead the organization’s efforts to assist its more than 20,000 member companies.
“I am proud to be a part of this long-standing, respected organization and to work with such dedicated and talented people as those at NJBIA,” Willoughby said. “Our goal is to help our members grow and succeed in an increasingly competitive business climate.
“For more than 100 years, NJBIA has been a leader in promoting entrepreneurship and fighting for businesses of all sizes. NJBIA will continue to be a leader by adapting to changing business conditions and finding new and better ways to meet the needs of our member companies,” she said.
Since joining the Association in 2003, Willoughby has led a highly respected lobbying team, fighting for pro-business policies in the Legislature and through four gubernatorial administrations. Under her leadership, NJBIA has maintained a reputation as a first-rate government affairs organization and the state’s premier business lobby.
Prior to joining NJBIA, she served as the president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, a statewide retail business organization representing over 3,500 stores. She also served in Governor Brendan Byrne’s administration as director of State and Federal Government Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
Throughout her career, Willoughby has served on dozens of state commissions and committees. She is currently on the NJ Council On Innovation, led by Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks, and is a member of the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services Workplace Blood Donor Coalition. In 2012, Governor Chris Christie appointed her to the NJ State Employment and Training Commission, and she recently finished a three-year appointment on the Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force, where she served as the co-chair.