Melissa Cassel

Welcome Melissa Cassel, New JJA Partner 

With 20+ years as a Human Resources and Talent leader, Melissa’s expertise focuses on the technology, digital media, D2C and entertainment sectors. She’s placed hundreds of leaders into critical roles across Marketing, Operations, Finance and Legal, HR, Biz Dev, Strategy, Creative and Growth.

Founder Jim Jonassen sees this move as a significant win for JJA. “What struck the Partners was Melissa’s consultative approach, her tenacity in surfacing and closing the absolute best candidates and her desire to join a small specialist firm rather than one of the majors. We’re stoked to add her deep experience, professional relationships and fresh perspectives to our growing practice.”

Says Melissa: “JJA’s reputation among top growth and mid-market clients and investors is unmatched. Our client network includes some of the most innovative and exciting businesses that rely on us to build the leadership teams and organizations of the future as their requirements change. It’s so exciting to be a part of this journey.”

Melissa began her career as an in-house HR exec at Paramount Pictures, Warner Music Group and Legendary Entertainment. As Legendary’s first Head of Human Resources, she made critical leadership hires for the studio’s nascent TV, digital, and analytics divisions. She led business transformation initiatives and due diligence culminating in the acquisition by Chinese conglomerate Wanda.

As an HR leader within emerging growth businesses, Melissa has played a vital role in multiple successful exits. In 2017, she joined the entertainment and lifestyle company Saban Brands as SVP of Human Resources and Operations. She partnered closely with their CEO on global talent strategy and a business reorganization that led to Hasbro’s acquisition of their Power Rangers brand.
In 2019, Melissa joined entertainment tech platform Talent Systems, where she led global HR strategy, managed the business integration of multiple M&A initiatives and hired the leadership team responsible for driving the company’s acquisition by PE firm Redbird Capital.

Most recently, Melissa worked as Managing Director at the boutique executive search firm James & Co. There, she led leadership searches for media and tech clients, including Verizon Media, The Springhill Companies, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, TelevisaUnivision and Professional Fighters League.

Melissa graduated from UCLA, where she studied Psychology and HR Management. She and her family recently relocated from Los Angeles to Carlsbad, CA. She enjoys the beach, exploring San Diego-area restaurants and cheering on the UCLA Bruins and her newly-adopted San Diego Padres.
Contact Melissa at or (323) 821-4243