Melissa Johnson, appointed by President George W. Bush as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, is a nationally recognized leader in physical activity, fitness and health promotion. As Executive Director, she manages the activities and operations of the Washington, D.C. based Council, an advisory committee to the President and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Council supports the President’s HealthierUS and the HHS Steps to a HealthierUS, initiatives designed to build a strong nation of healthy Americans through regular physical activity, sound nutrition, prevention, and avoidance of risky behaviors. Ms. Johnson works with Council Chair John Burke, Vice Chair Dorothy “Dot” Richardson, and 18 other appointed Council members to recommend programs and strategies to Americans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be physically active every day.
Ms. Johnson’s more than twenty years of leadership experience include Executive Director of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1997-2002), which was formed by Governor Pete Wilson and chaired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governor’s Council promotes healthy lifestyles to Californians of all ages and abilities with a focus on older adults, youth, physically challenged, and the corporate sector. Ms. Johnson managed all operations, programs, corporate partnerships, new developments, fundraising, budgeting, public relations, promotions, marketing, events, strategic planning, and board activities. She also served as vice president and western regional chair of the National Association of Health and Fitness, formerly the National Association of Governor’s Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports.
From 1992-1997, Ms. Johnson was Director of Operations for National Fitness Leaders Association (NFLA), a national not-for-profit organization formerly based in Washington, D.C. She coordinated and directed NFLA’s Healthy American Fitness Leaders Awards program, in partnership with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Ms. Johnson also worked in corporate health promotion, designed wellness programs, and served as spokesperson for a variety of fundraising events for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
A native of Newport Beach, California, Ms. Johnson has a Masters of Science degree in Health/Fitness Management from American University in Washington, D.C., where she taught as an adjunct professor, and a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from UCLA. Formerly a competitive gymnast, she leads an active lifestyle as an avid weight trainer, cross trainer, yoga and pilates enthusiast.