211. Channelling Passion and Energy into Meaningful Work
Melinda is board chair of GunSense Georgia which advocates for common sense policies that assure public safety and reduce gun violence, and the Executive Director of Family Connection, Glynn County, a collaborative that works to advocate for children and families. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of Georgia’s WIN List, a political action committee for women candidates. Melinda’s earlier career was as a senior level marketing executive for several corporations and advertising agencies.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I always thought I’d be a writer, so I gravitated to journalism. When I got out of college I ended up getting a job at an advertising agency, because that’s what you did back in the ’80s. Creative people kind of gravitated to the advertising and marketing world. But, as a little girl I never thought, “I want to grow up and work in an ad agency.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
At her ad agency job, Melinda quickly racked up successes and promotions by working on the client services side. This led her to a corporate job at Arby’s, where her successes in marketing continued, pulling her further away from the creative side. But she “always felt torn.“I always felt torn. I wasn’t totally happy and didn’t feel like I was on the path I was meant to be on.” She began her long process of re-evaluating her career path, leading her into advocacy work primarily in the nonprofit arena.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
Partly as a reaction to something she describes as “very devastating” to her, Melinda got involved in advocating for sensible gun laws. Soon she and a few others formed GunSense Georgia. “I realized I had to channel my passion and energy into something that was meaningful to me. The mass shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut had just happened. So, I just thought it was a perfect storm of things that said, ‘I’ve got to do something to make a difference and this is something I really care about and want to change.’”
Steps to Success from Melinda Ennis
1. Recognize that women bring a vital perspective and approach to problem solving. Find ways to engage them.
2. Channel your passion into something meaningful to you.
3. Measure success in far more ways than money alone.
4. Collaborate and network with people and organizations whenever possible.
“It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1946
Connecting With Melinda Ennis
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