Setting an example for the next generation of leaders

Giving back has been a part of Melissa and Chip Tea’s DNA for over 20 years. Melissa recounts that she first started supporting United Way after she graduated from law school, earning her first paycheck.

Today, Melissa is a partner at K&L Gates, and has been one of the leading supporters of United Way. She regularly shares the importance of United Way’s work with the K&L team and impresses upon them how fortunate they all are to be in a position to help advance the mission and help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our region.

Melissa and Chip have been married for 20 years, and are very proud of their two children, Charlie (14) and Emily (12), who bring them tremendous joy. Melissa believes that her upbringing played a large role in her desire to help others; something she hopes to pass on. “I come from a long line of talented entrepreneurs but was the first in my extended family to attend college. Growing up, I learned the value of hard work and the importance of helping others, and I like to think that I am not only continuing to live by these principles, but am also raising my kids to do so, as well.”

Melissa serves as a member of the board of directors for the Women’s Center & Shelter. She volunteers at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and serves on its Government Relations and Advocacy Committee. She is also an active Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) member, and especially looks forward to the annual WLC Wine Tasting event.  “It is such a thrill to see the venue packed with so many successful women—and the food and wine are always great, too!”

Melissa and Chip are forward looking and hope that the next generation continues to advance the region’s strong legacy of giving. They see a clear generational shift in terms of how and why younger people volunteer and support non-profits. “Young people are very engaged in social issues and are generous with their time and money, but there is no question that as a group they have a different set of expectations when it comes to connecting with charitable organizations. As Tocqueville members, we have to figure out how to rise to those challenges and encourage many more life-long donor relationships.”