During the Carroll Chamber Women’s Business Alliance luncheon, the WBA named Dr. Melanie McClellan as the 2016 Woman of the Year. Paula Gillispie, 2015 WBA Woman of the Year, introduced McClellan to a record audience at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center. Dr. McClellan serves as the director of the University of West Georgia Office of Community Engagement.
Known for giving back to the community while also excelling in her profession, Dr. McClellan served 11 years as the Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management at UWG. After retiring, she almost immediately came back to fill the position of Interim Director for UWG’s Student Affairs Master’s program before taking the position in Community Engagement at UWG. As is represented in her high level of community involvement, the mission of the Office of Community Engagement is to “support mutually beneficial partnerships that make the region a better place to live, work, learn, and play.” In each of her leadership roles at the university, she has continued to inspire her staff to take opportunities to grow professionally and personally.
In 2005, Dr. McClellan led efforts to house victims of Hurricane Katrina at UWG. She not only organized housing for these individuals, but she formed partnerships within the community that provided resources such as food, clothing, personal hygiene products, and more. She has volunteered with various Chamber of Commerce committees, including the Workforce Education Task Force, Habitat for Humanity, and Adult Mental Health. She is currently a member of the Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club, as well as the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.
Her nomination cited her active leadership role in the community. “I would describe her as intelligent, engaging, energetic, and passionate about empowering other women to seek their full potential. Having pledged her life to the high calling of education, I consider her a leader that can look in the mirror and know that she has helped make a difference in the world,” the nomination stated.
The WBA award was created to honor a well-rounded woman who excels in her professional life and gives back to her community. Nominees include strong role models who inspire and empower women to enhance their community. This year, there were nine strong nominees.
The awards event also included an inspiring program provided by Aimee Copeland, a UWG graduate who overcame life-changing trauma to reach out professionally to groups and children with disabilities across the country. Quoting Jung, Aimee shared, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”