A native of Athens, Alabama, Melanie has dedicated her entire professional career to fighting for equitable systems and sound public policy solutions that create deeper, sustainable change in Alabama. She is a proud graduate of The University of Alabama, where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. As President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of Alabama, the state’s only philanthropic foundation investing with a gender focus, Melanie drives strategic direction, fiscal management and accountability of a multi-million dollar budget; and maximizes the value of the organization with a range of state and community stakeholders. Leveraging her decade-long experience in non-profit management and governmental affairs, Melanie has boldly expanded the direction of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham growing targeted philanthropic investments to roughly $800,000 annually, bolstered cutting edge research, and instituted public policy advocacy to secure long-lasting, systemic change for women and communities – a strategic decision that to date has yielded three historic statewide policy wins for women, including passage of Alabama’s first Equal Pay Statute. Previously, Melanie has served as Executive Director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children and as the Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.
The concept of leadership may often seem elusive and accessible for only the chosen few. I denounce this notion and embrace the brave and startling truth that we are all chosen. I am chosen. Chosen to nurture my own humanity by radically fighting for the humanity of others.