Meet Melissa Ureña Castro, an energized outdoorswoman and world traveler who contributes a positive and forward-thinking perspective to her new role as Member of DLBA’s Marketing and Communications Program Committee.

“I was inspired to become a Committee Member out of sheer love for Long Beach,” she said. “I spend quite a bit of time in Downtown. When I saw all of DLBA’s efforts to revitalize Downtown and promote local businesses, I thought to myself, ‘I’d love to be a part of that.'” 

Melissa, a residential realtor for JohnHart Real Estate, often walks to her office in the World Trade Center on the west side of Downtown from her home on the east side. “Downtown Long Beach is small enough to be walkable but big enough to feel like you’re still in a metropolitan city,” she said.

Born and raised in Compton, Melissa graduated from Dominguez High School, then moved up the coast, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She lived in the San Fernando Valley for a few years after college. 

“Seven years ago, I moved to Long Beach and immediately felt at home,” she said.

While developing her real estate career at JohnHart, Melissa has been a keen observer of the growth and changes Downtown goes through. “As wonderful as our city is, there is always room for improvement,” she noted. “In my opinion, Downtown Long Beach has the perfect size and density, and the diversity of experiences one can have in Downtown is unlike anywhere else I’ve visited.”  

As a Marketing and Communications Committee Member, Melissa is in a prime position to help DLBA pursue one of its perpetual goals of bringing more pedestrian traffic to Downtown businesses and increasing the dollars spent at those businesses. “We want to get ever-better at spreading the word that Downtown Long Beach is fun, beautiful, eclectic, and inclusive, encouraging more folks to consider visiting or making a home here,” she said. 

During her free time, Melissa keeps things going at a high energy level, traveling extensively and enjoying local nature spots. “On the weekends you’ll catch me in Palos Verdes or Crystal Cove hiking with my husband Juan and our fur baby Cookie,” she said. “A leisurely brunch in Downtown afterwards is the perfect recharge for the week.”