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A Patron of the Arts, An Advocate for Employers

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Melissa Sharp Murdock, Esq. 
Director, External Affairs 

Finding time to sit down with the mother of a one-year-old is never easy, especially when she is the director of external affairs for a global association of total rewards professionals. Melissa Murdock contributes to the mission of WorldatWork on so many levels that it’s hard to summarize her role on one page. For one, her passion for the issue of pay equity is clear. And her knowledge on the subject is deep.

How many years have you worked at WorldatWork?
Almost seven years. I started with WorldatWork in April 2012 as a public affairs manager. My role has grown and evolved significantly since I started.

What was your relevant experience prior to WorldatWork?
I moved to Washington, D.C., right after graduation from The Ohio State University (GO BUCKS!) in 2002. I started my professional career working as a special assistant to commissioner Russell Redenbaugh on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This was a position in the George W. Bush administration. My boss ended up resigning from the commission in protest, arguing before the U.S. House Oversight Committee that the commission should be shut down or reconstituted — a real eye-opening experience for me on how independent commissions run in Washington. After that, I worked for the National Federation of Independent Business for seven years in their media department. While there I went to law school at night to earn my law degree. I’ve been advocating for employers and on employment law policy for more than 15 years.

Have you been consumed by all things pay equity of late? Is it as significant in other parts of the world as it is in the United States?
Yes, pay equity has been a very hot topic for us lately. I’ve been following this issue for a number of years, as states have passed new pay equity laws. It’s incredibly interesting to me to see how organizations are reexamining how and why they pay people the way that they do. And this is definitely a global issue. Countries all around the world are passing pay equity-related laws attempting to move the needle on the gender wage gap. Some countries are focusing on pay transparency or disclosure requirements while others are requiring organizations to prove that they are paying men and women fairly. How rewards professionals defend their pay and rewards practices is central to achieving pay parity, but it’s not limited to a rewards problem.

Figuring out how to address workforce representation issues will require rewards professionals to partner with talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion and C-suite leaders. It’s an exciting and challenging opportunity for organizations to address. I’m thrilled to lead WorldatWork’s efforts on this topic as we assist rewards professionals who are tackling this topic within their organizations.

What do you do for fun?
I’m a new mom to my now one-year old son, Porter. So, fun lately has been seeing the world through his eyes and learning how to be his mother — which is such an incredible gift. In my free or “me” time, you can find me at a Pilates or dance studio. I’m a huge fan of the arts and try to check out as many theater productions as possible. DC has a very vibrant theater culture which I love to support. I also love to travel and learn about other cultures. Trying new cuisines and wines is one of my favorite things to do on vacation.

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