Our Team

Melanie Hicks, Founder & CEO

Melanie Hicks, PhD is the founder and CEO of InPursuit Research Institute. With more than 18 years of experience, Dr. Hicks has supported dozens of corporate, small business and nonprofit organizations to create successful sales strategies through proposal services, business consulting and social enterprise advisory services. Throughout her two decade career, she has written well over $100M in proposals and grants and served as a consultant and advisory to nearly 100 clients. As a Forbes contributing author, she also works to broaden knowledge about leadership, business development and blended value.

Dr. Hicks currently serves as the Vice President, Education Solutions Group at MGT Consulting where she leads business development for PK12, Higher Education and Education Transformation Practice areas. Dr. Hicks previously served as Assistant Provost at the University of Tampa where she created UT’s first Office of Sponsored Programs and oversaw the University’s 52 department budgets, and all grants and contracts. She also taught courses in Social Entrepreneurship, Environmental Policy, Public Private Partnerships, among others.

Prior to joining the University of Tampa team, she served as the Director of Research for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, an advocacy organization, and concurrently as the Managing Director of the Florida Independent College Fund, a 501c3 foundation. While at ICUF/FICF she implemented a four‐prong system for federal and state grant funding applications resulting in enhanced collaborative partnerships and led ICUF’s governmental affairs research for advocacy in Tallahassee and Washington, DC.

Dr. Hicks began her career as the Aide to Mayor of Tallahassee, a special projects coordinator with the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability and as an adjunct professor of Public Administration for Florida State University and Barry University. Among her published works is a chapter in Moc Ideja, a grassroots policy manual written for policymakers in Bosnia and funded by the US Department of State. She has works on psychological contract theory, nonprofit marketing and social entrepreneurship. Dr. Hicks also previously served as a contributing author to The District and Doctor’s Life Magazines.

Dr. Hicks holds a doctorate from the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Miami and bachelors in Organizational Communications from the University of Central Florida.

 Her awards include the Rod Rose Paper of the year award for the Journal of Research Administration, the Joyce Keller Volunteer of the Year Award, the Florence Bayuk Scholarship for academic excellence; the University of Miami Outstanding Scholastic and Public Service Achievement Award; Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society; and the Rho Lambda Honor Society. She is an active member of the Forbes Business Development Council and regular publisher on Forbes.com.

Outside of her professional activities, her hobbies include writing, paddleboarding, biking, hiking, and yoga. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Randy, stepdaughter, Lauren, and her fur baby, Eva.


Jamie Klingman, Board Chair & Vice President

Jamie Klingman is the Broker/Owner of three real estate brokerages. Boutique Realty Florida is a full-service residential and commercial firm, specializing in making real estate as accessible as possible utilizing technology such as MatterPort and DotLoop. Real Leads is a referral firm for agents who want to collect referral commissions without having to join local boards or MLS. QuickList Real Estate is a flat-fee, high tech firm. The Klingman Group is an intermediary firm serving companies between 500k and 5 million in buying and selling.  

Jamie also has interests in several online companies and an instructional design company. She has started and sold several of her own companies, and currently serves as a M&A/Business Broker, sharing what she has learned with others who are ready to make a change.

A graduate of the University of Florida (B.S.) and Chadron State College (MBA) and currently pursuing her Doctorate in Business Administration, she has spent her career finding the win-win opportunities. Actively involved in her community, she has served in numerous leadership positions, including being past Board Chair to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and of the Chair of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce (2014).

She was recognized for her commitments and efforts by being named a Lightning Community Hero (2014), Small Business of the Year Leader of the Year Finalist for the Greater Tampa Chamber (2019), Network for Executive Women Business Woman of the Year (2014), Up and Comer under 30 (2010), and the Ann Simmons Service Award (2011). In her spare time, Jamie enjoys playing the piano, cycling, and boating. She has a wonderful husband and two honorary (step) daughters as well as four four-legged children.