Melissa Layton | The Innovator 25 North America 2021

Melissa Layton

Director, Global Communications


Denver, CO 

Hometown: St. Louis, MO


“As PR pros, we can do our part to make sure everyone feels like they can be a part of the conversation in the stories we tell."

Melissa Layton has guided the communications strategy that has helped to fuel Croc's dramatic resurgence in recent years. Layton and her team brought the company’s inclusive “Come As You Are” brand mantra to life by centering its focus on authentic fan engagement. What also landed her on this list is, as Covid-19 spread, Layton and other senior leaders asked: why not give comfy, easy-to-clean Crocs to the healthcare heroes? Layton and the senior leadership turned a simple idea into a global movement. The company has donated more than 860,000 pairs of shoes since March 25, 2020.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I would say my proudest professional accomplishment would be helping to execute Crocs’ “Free Pair for Healthcare” initiative. Having the opportunity to play a leading role guiding a program that was truly authentic to who we are as a brand and gave people a reason to smile, especially during a time of such uncertainty, is certainly a career highlight. It’s everything you hope to accomplish in this industry, going beyond they day-to-day work to make an impact in someone’s life and form a genuine emotional connection with people.

We're at a pivotal moment on the future of the office and how we work. How would like to see 'office/work culture' evolve?
Throughout my experience in the industry, whether working from an office or remotely, the best environment is one where a team can openly collaborate with other departments – to reinforce a consistent voice across all aspects of the brand. As flexible work environments seem here to stay, it will be even more important to be integrated and collaborative with our teams in order to be the best communicators.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity?
It starts with living your values from the inside out. It’s not enough for us to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk too. We can do this by holding ourselves accountable and ensuring the people we work with genuinely represent all aspects of diversity. Then, the real progress comes from listening and learning, and having the necessary, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations, to ensure all voices are heard and there is true inclusion.

What makes you most excited or proud to be part of the PR industry? 
I’ve always been drawn to a good story, so working in an industry that allows me to constantly create and share meaningful stories that connect people to our brand, products and each other has me looking forward to what the future has in store.

What are your fears/concerns for our industry? 
Trust in the media. This is an ever-growing concern as the media landscape becomes more fragmented and the public polarized. As PR pros, we can do our part to make sure everyone feels like they can be a part of the conversation in the stories we tell.

What inspires you? This could be a person, place, activity, etc.
Music gives me life. It is the ultimate storyteller and one of the few things that can bring people together across geographies, cultures, religion and more. I’m constantly listening to music (when not in meetings!) because it gives me hope and inspiration, allowing me to let my creativity flow.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
How quickly our world evolves. From media and political landscape to climate change and business, everything continues to evolve at such a rapid pace. The question becomes, how do we make the best impact for the future, both professionally and personally?

What is your idea of happiness?
My happy place is with my husband and our dogs, off the grid in the mountains, just taking in the world around us. I believe happiness is enjoying the moments when we can take a deep breath and slow down. It is in those moments that I have some of my most creative ideas.