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Team Bios

Melissa Brooks

After a childhood immersed in art and culture, it seemed natural to embark on a professional life working in the art world. I have worked in galleries and an international auction house.

After graduating from Lake Forest College with a BA in Art History, I was the Art Handler in the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at Christie’s, New York where I catalogued and prepared works for sale and managed the logistics of moving art from the warehouse to the sales floor.

My next adventure took me to The Pace Gallery, also in New York, where, as Archivist and Special Projects Coordinator, I worked with artists represented by the gallery, including Saul Steinberg, George Condo, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, and the Estate of Ad Reinhardt. Following the gallery, I worked on the Catalogue Raisonne of Alexander Calder as an Archivist.

These varied experiences afforded me a great appreciation for artwork, but also it enhanced the deeper meaning that is revealed when personal relationships with artists are formed.  

Since leaving the New York art world for Massachusetts, I’ve spent the majority of my time raising my three children. They have taught me that there is no such thing as too much kindness—even the smallest gesture can make a difference.

Serve Kindness allows me to merge my interests in art and artists with the practical act of spreading kindness. I see this business as a way to pass on my unique perspective and share the many lessons that life has taught me so far.

Jillian Darling

I grew up practicing the arts: dancing, drawing, and painting. I loved not only the practice of each, but also the idea of being a beginner and developing new skills.

Monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki wrote, “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.” I first heard this quote in a yoga class. It helped me break through old ways of thinking, embrace the world of possibilities, taught me humility, and brought me joy.

My passion for “possibilities” translated to a professional life spent working in startups in human disease research, non-profit management, and financial technology. I started as Project Manager and Research Associate, hired early on as the second employee of Exelixis Pharmaceuticals and tasked with leading one of their flagship programs.

I served as Executive Director of Friends of Young Achievers helping to establish the fundraising arm of the Young Achievers Science & Mathematics Pilot School and raise funds for STEM education and opportunities. Following this experience, I became Director of Administration for What’s What, a startup devoted to creating a safe online community for kids using facial recognition.

As Senior VP of Customer Experience for True Office (bought by NYSE in 2014) and later Director of Product Development for True Office Learning, I led a team to design, develop, pilot, and market an online interactive learning and analytics platform.

The unifying theme in my professional work was approaching unsolved problems with a beginner’s mind. By teaming with experts, I helped create programs and products that benefit humankind.

I am immensely proud of my past professional work but found myself craving a more creative and service-oriented life. I began to practice intentional acts of kindness and put myself on a path to becoming a healthier and happier person. Serve Kindness has allowed me to find even more fulfillment.

There are amazing people and organizations creating beauty and kindness in the world, and it is my hope that Serve Kindness can further support their work—one bowl at a time.