Loyola University Chicago

Executive and Professional Education Center

Housed in the Loyola Business Leadership Hub

Melissa Lagowski

Nonprofit Manager, NPO Consultant, Founder/CEO,
Big Buzz Idea Group

Melissa created Big Buzz Idea Group in November 2004 as a boutique agency to provide management, marketing and event services to nonprofits and associations. Melissa is dedicated to providing the full operational support of an Association Management Company (AMC) or a la carte services from an honest outsourcing partner that will allow charitable organizations to run more effectively.

With 26 years of corporate and nonprofit experience, Melissa has consulted national organizations, managed local chapters, provided virtual office assistance to numerous NPOs, launched and executed large fundraisers, conceived innovative and lucrative new programming, and she has coordinated client conferences, workshops dinners, and awards functions.

She manages monthly consulting platforms, mastermind groups and virtual roundtables to assist nonprofits to become self-sufficient and proficient in management.

Her largest project to date is Ribfest Chicago, where she is responsible for every facet of the event including festival promotion, sponsorship development, entertainment booking and vendor procurement and management. The event draws 60,000 people annually and was featured on Food Network’s “Eating America” with Anthony Anderson (2014).

Melissa is a member and Executive Director of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago Area Chapter.

Awards and accomplishments include:

  • Woman of Influence by The Chicago Business Journal (January 2016)
  • NAWBO Chicago Presidential Award of Excellence (2014)
  • Enterprising Women of the Year (March 2014) by Enterprising Women Magazine, and
  • Influential Women in Business Award by the Daily Herald Business Ledger (2012).

Melissa completed the Nonprofit Management Essentials program through the Allstate Foundation and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. She graduated from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Graduate (2013), and she completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Her program emphasis was public relations and event planning.