I love New York City. When summer begins I always visit and hopefully meet up with a few new and interesting people. This summer, I was fortunate to meet Melissa Gonzalez founder and CEO of Lion’esque Style, a premiere website for the fashion forward.

Melissa was once a top Wall Street trading executive. Since leaving the industry, she has channeled her passion for uncovering intriguing stories into hunting for must-know yet under the radar brands in fashion and lifestyle. With her knack for being on the pulse of upcoming trends, Melissa is spearheading a new online destination experience – a marketplace for “what’s fresh” – and giving access to women who value having the inside scoop to unique, quality finds.

Born in New York City, she often travels and like many New Yorkers lives within the Tri-State area to be nearby the energy of the city. After attending Penn State University, Melissa continued her studies and lived in Spain for a period of time. She began her career in finance at Credit Suisse, but Melissa’s passion for creativity and with her mom’s encouragement to follow her dreams; she fled Wall Street for Fashion.

Though, finance and fashion are different industries, complimentary skill such as understanding clients’ interests, needs and idea pitching were honed on the trading floor and invaluable to the development of Lion’esque Style.

She was recently nominated as one of “The Top 20 Most Inspiring Individuals in New York” and as one of America’s Top 100 Young CEOs and is taking part in a major initiative towards being a voice for the future of start-ups in the US. As a voice for emerging brands and trends, she can also be seen nationally on the morning show circuits in segments like her “Favorite Emerging Brands Made in America” on WPIX NY and Melissa’s “Must Have Accessories” ABC Chicago segments.

And while Melissa has gained much through her success, she is always very mindful about giving back. She has been involved with CHCF / Committee for Hispanic Children and Families Inc. since her senior year at Penn State. Soon after graduation, Elba Montalvo (CHCF’s founder) invited Melissa to create the Young Professionals network – Junior Advisory board (JAB) where Melissa sat for two years as its Chair. Furthermore, since the launch of Lion’esque, Melissa has partnered with CHCF for the annual “Opening Doors for Women Luncheon.”

Spurred by post 2008’s bleak economic situation, Melissa and John Knowles co-founded the RSPOP Shops in 2009 in conjunction with the Roger Smith Hotel. As the city became saturated with empty storefronts, brands started to look for other business alternatives. Many underutilized street-level storefronts were converted to pop-up shops known as RSPOP.

She began with one 200 square-foot boutique and today Lion’esque Style has 3 storefronts spanning half of a block in midtown. Melissa continues to work with the Roger Smith Hotel on programming space with brands and contribute to

Lovely, approachable, and forward thinking, Melissa is definitely a New Yorker to follow.

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