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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


Eagleton Faculty, Staff and Visiting Associates


Melanie Willoughby joined the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) in 1993 as senior vice president for government affairs and is now chief government affairs officer. Willoughby manages a team of eight lobbyists and is responsible for the Government Relations Department of the largest statewide business organization in the country, serving over 20,000 member companies. She develops legislative and public policy strategies to promote economic growth in New Jersey.

Before joining NJBIA, Willoughby served for eighteen years as president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. Previously, she was assistant vice president for marketing with the NJBIA. Willoughby started her career in the government arena when she joined the administration of New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne. She served as director of state and federal government affairs for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Willoughby serves on many state boards and commissions to represent the business viewpoint. She served as the vice chair of the New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Board from its establishment in 1992 until 2004. From 2004 to the present, Willoughby has served on the state's Mandated Health Benefits Commission. Willoughby served as co-chair of Governor Christie's Task Force for Unemployment Insurance Reform for three years. She is on the NJ Workplace Blood Donor Coalition and the NJ State Innovation Council.  In 2013, she was appointed by Governor Christie to the State Employment and Training Commission, where she leads their Employability Skills Task Force. She graduated from Rutgers College and served on the Rutgers University Board of Trustees from 1986-1992.