Alumnae: Alumnae Profiles

Alumnae Profiles: Melodie Echols, C'91

Melodie Echols believes in staying open to opportunity and seeking divine guidance when faced with challenges, which is how she ended up heading the nonprofit Norwood Resource Center created to save the historic Birmingham, Ala., neighborhood in which she purchased a home. With the population of Norwood and Birmingham dwindling,
she works to make hers a model neighborhood and spur growth and revitalization throughout her hometown.

Ms. Echols and her team are working to have Norwood designated as an historic neighborhood, counter the lack of healthy food with the Norwood Learning Gardens and a farmer’s market that provide entrepreneurial opportunities and teach math and science enrichment to neighborhood children. The Center also offers an array of resources and services to help improve conditions for residents of all ages. “I want to
be a catalyst,” she says, to really improve the quality of life, to make Norwood and ultimately Birmingham healthy, sustainable places to live,
“so people will move back.”

She favors a collaborative model of leadership where people work together, and sees a bright future for 21st century leadership at her alma mater. “Spelman women are doing so many different things in the world that our spheres of influence have expanded,” she says. “Spelman women are branching out in all areas, and they’re prepared for diverse opportunities. I think that’s what the Spelman experience does – it prepares women for opportunities to lead and to serve.”

Career Highlights: Held positions in healthcare network and provider management, training and implementation, and fundraising campaign management in the nonprofit sector; worked to provide eye care for the indigent.

*This article can be found in the Spring 2014 edition of the Spelman Messenger*