By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Friday, January 19, the Women Lead Oklahoma organization invites the public to their Trailblazer Luncheon featuring Mary Melon, president and CEO of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. The event will be held at the State Chamber of Oklahoma, 330 NE 10th Street, in Oklahoma City. Lunch will begin at 11:45, with the program at 12:15 p.m.
“The Women Lead Oklahoma Trailblazer Series features women who have led the way in their fields,” said Elizabeth Horn, Women Lead Oklahoma Program Director. “Our speakers share their journeys and answer questions about navigating the professional world. The series started in 2016 and has featured Melissa Houston, Avilla Williams, Meg Salyer, and Pat Potts.”
Mélon believes in the future of Oklahoma City and works to utilize her network and skills to align the Foundation with the OKC Public School District and the business community. She aims to provide not only hope for every student but the skills necessary to be productive members of the workforce and community.
“Our Focus has been on The Foundation’s mission: To advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting change in Oklahoma City Public Schools,” Melon states on the FOCPS website. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mélon had a nearly 20-year career at The Journal Record Publishing Co. She became publisher in September 2001, and president and publisher in 2006.
A graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class XIX and Leadership Oklahoma Class XVI, Melon is a past Chair of the Board of Leadership Oklahoma and received the 2010 Distinguished Leadership Award. She has served as co-chair of the Leadership Oklahoma City Signature Program and serves on that organization’s board.
Appointed by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Melon currently serves as the first woman on the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and Oklahoma City Urban Redevelopment Authority. Mayor Cornett also appointed her to serve as a commissioner on the Oklahoma City/County Health Department. She is a recent graduate of the National School Foundation Association Leadership Certification program and serves on that organization’s national leadership council.
Melon received the 2004 Association for Women in Communications Byliner award for Communications and the 2008 YWCA “Embrace Award” which represents YWCA’s mission of empowering women and eliminating racism. She was honored with the “Door Opener’ Award by ASTEC charter school in 2013, and inducted into the OCU Meinder’s School of Business Hall of Honor and the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. In 2015, Melon was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, a program of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.
A statewide nonprofit, Women Lead Oklahoma has two main programs – the Women Lead Academy and the Women Lead Network. The Academy offers workshops focused on personal empowerment and growth, ending negativity towards women and girls, self-care and self-love, and how to stand up to bullies. Other workshops help women navigate the business environment.
The Women Lead Network is a statewide program empowering women to become engaged leaders and active participants in their communities. The Network provides opportunities to connect in person at quarterly meetings across the state or through their online community.