SPRINGFIELD — The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) has announced that Eastfield Mall and Auburn Crossing General Manager Melinda Graulau has been chosen as its 2015 recipient of the Leadership Community Service Award. The award will be presented at the Leadership 2015 graduation ceremonies on April 16 at the Springfield Sheraton.
Leadership 2015 is a unique collaboration between the ACCGS and Western New England University (WNEU) to teach middle- and upper-level managers the crucial thinking and problem-solving skills needed to prepare participants to be effective leaders in service to the community and their workplaces. Since 1990, the award has been presented annually to a citizen or organization that exemplifies the program's values of leadership in the workplace and in the world and a commitment to community service.
A 2012 graduate of the program, Graulau moved to Western Mass. in 2009 to take on the role of general manager at the two shopping malls for Mountain Development Corp. She leads a team of 40 and is responsible for temporary and permanent leasing, expense control, personnel development, contract negotiations, and community relations.
"Since moving to the region, Mel has immersed herself in our community, including serving a key role on our affiliate board of directors, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce," said ACCGS President Jeffrey Ciuffreda. "She recognizes the value of public and private partnerships and worked closely with the city of Springfield to secure funding for an $8 million rehabilitation of Boston Road," he added.
Prior to joining Eastfield Mall and moving to Springfield, Graulau spent more than 20 years in shopping-center management and marketing with a variety of shopping-center developers, including CBL & Associates, General Growth Properties, Ramco-Gershenson Properties Inc., Horizon Group, and the Pyramid Companies.
Born and raised in Alma, Michigan, Graulau came to Massachusetts for the first time in 1988 upon graduating from college to pursue a career in retail, which eventually launched her career into the shopping-center industry in 1991.
She is a member of various Springfield ad hoc committees, including the city's new revenue committee, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the Dakin Humane Society board of directors and finance committee. She is a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past chair of its LiveSTRONG event, and currently serves on its finance committee.
Graulau also served as co-president of the Boston Road Business Assoc. and a participant with City2City Pioneer Valley and the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield's Washington symposium.
Graulau's other past leadership positions include former chairperson of the state operations committee for the Michigan chapter of the International Council of Shopping Centers; a former member and treasurer of Zonta Club of Farmington/Novi, Mich.; former treasurer of the Livonia (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce; and former board member for the Battle Creek (Mich.) Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.