President and Chief Executive Officer
Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado

The son of an engineer, Jimmy was born in El Salvador and lived in seven countries throughout his childhood. During those years, he saw firsthand the powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their communities and children, especially in under-resourced environments.

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (cum laude) from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Jimmy is also an accomplished decathlete and had the privilege of representing El Salvador in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Prior to joining Compassion in 2013, Jimmy served for more than 20 years as president of the Willow Creek Association (WCA), an organization dedicated to helping local churches thrive. He was also instrumental in launching and hosting The Global Leadership Summit, an annual event created to bring excellent leadership development to local churches and other people-centered organizations. During Jimmy’s tenure, membership in the WCA grew to 13,000-plus churches and the Summit grew to span more than 100 countries, reaching an audience of over 170,000.

Jimmy and his wife live in Colorado. They have three married children and four grandchildren.

Compassion International President Jimmy Mellado with his wife, daughter and Compassion-assisted child
One Thing I've Learned as a Father

As a dad, granddad and president and CEO of Compassion International, one thing I’ve learned is how powerful extraordinary experiences are in a child’s life . . . experiences that will grow the heart and character of Jesus in them.

Jimmy's Perspective on Being a Father >

Jimmy Mellado competes in the high jump during the 1988 Seoul Olympics decathlon
The Best Perspective on Setting Goals

Properly handled, goals create good imagination, good conversation and good scaling. They can lead to a lot of learning and be catalysts to breakthroughs . . . Goals don’t define you, but they can pull things out of you that you never expected.

Jimmy's Perspective on Setting Goals >

Jimmy Mellado competes in the pole vault during the 1988 Seoul Olympics decathlon
What Leadership and the Decathlon Have in Common

Winning, losing, discipline, goals, character, strategy, focus, disappointment, set-backs, victories, teamwork, injuries, resource allocation, time-management, energy management—they’re all a part of leading an organization.

Jimmy's Perspective on Leadership >