Melissa Holland

Co-Founder & CEO

Melissa Holland serves as the Co-founder and CEO of Awaken, a US-based nonprofit offering direct services to women and children affected by the commercial sex trade. Awaken is located in Reno, NV and Green Bay, WI. Melissa holds a Masters degree in Marriage Family Therapy from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Melissa started as a therapist offering pro bono therapy to women affected by prostitution. In 2011 she and Jen Robinson co-founded Awaken, a nonprofit who’s mission is to increase awareness and education surrounding the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and to provide housing and restoration for its victims. Awaken has worked with over 900 women and children affected by exploitation. Melissa is passionate about uniting communities in the fight to end the sexual exploitation.


How to Take a Successful Sabbatical

  • Many of us in the anti-trafficking field have committed so much of our lives to this demanding work. We are often saturated with trauma, going from one crisis to the next without truly catching our breath in between. With this level of involvement, our identity can become entangled with what we do, rather than who we are. A successful sabbatical gives us time to heal and be reminded of why we started this work in the first place. It reveals the truth about necessary healing we need and an opportunity to step into our true identity.

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