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Melanie Engels ’08, Pharm.D., MBA, serves as pharmacy manager for Munson Healthcare in Traverse City, Michigan. She also gives of her time to serve on Olivet College’s Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board. She was even honored with the Olivet College Young Alumni Award in 2016, graduated valedictorian in her class and has been celebrated with many other awards and accomplishments. While she’s already made her mark on OC and the world, Melanie isn’t satisfied just yet.

Next up, Melanie will serve on the Olivet College Alumnae Panel at the third annual Cultivating Women Leaders event March 22. Under the theme Together We Rise, the event — and Melanie — will inspire and equip young women to embrace their inner strength and realize their potential as responsible leaders.

Roots at Olivet College

Melanie is quick to emphasize that much of her success stems from roots planted while at Olivet College. The small college experience allowed Melanie to get involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including Alpha Pi Upsilon, the Global Citizen Honors Program and Soronian, just to name a few. These activities were also paired with close relationships and strong support from her professors and peers.

“Olivet College is really where I transitioned from a high school student to an independent woman who can support herself, get out there and tackle the world’s challenges,” Melanie said. “The foundation of where I’m at today started at OC, and I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t taken those opportunities to grow and develop.”

A Strong Female Leader

As Melanie’s positive student experience has transitioned to her role as an engaged alumna, she has had opportunities to both lead and aid the College’s growth. She has previously served as both sponsor and facilitator at Cultivating Women Leaders events, supporting the event from behind the scenes. As Melanie prepares to take center stage, there is much to look forward to.

“I’m really looking forward to connecting with all the women out there, and coming together to network and learn from each other,” Melanie said. “I’m also excited to hear from leadership experts — it’s always inspiring to hear how others have faced and overcome trials.”

Melanie has experienced firsthand just how important it is for women to support one another. She notes that the majority of pharmacy students are women, but in stark comparison, hardly any women reach top-level management positions.

“I want to encourage women to pursue leadership roles,” Melanie emphasized. “We are capable and bring a different dynamic to leadership. We need to continue to strive to reach that level of leadership.”

Inspiring and Motivating Others

Melanie has already had a chance to connect with young female leaders at Olivet College. She recently presented an elevator speech workshop to the 2018 ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI).

“I really enjoyed working with the young women in the ATHENA program,” Melanie said. “They were willing to learn and engage. I instill a message that you should always pursue your goals and dreams and never let the naysayers keep you down. I was once told I would never get into pharmacy school because I didn’t have a strong background. If I had abandoned my goals, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You may face a lot of adversity, but it is so important to stay true to yourself and persevere.”

As Melanie has learned to stand firm in her own skills and beliefs, she is thrilled to be in a position where she can be a role model to others. While there will always be struggles, she also notes that there are always opportunities to learn and grow.

“As a leader, you will face hardships — and that’s OK. That shouldn’t stop you from moving forward and striving to be a good leader,” Melanie said. “Do not let setbacks prevent you from moving forward. It takes grit to be a woman leader — I’ve taken that from others — but it’s my favorite way to sum it up.”

Melanie is looking forward to sharing more of her inspiration and motivation with developing female leaders during her Alumnae Panel Presentation at the third annual Cultivating Women Leaders Event, March 22. Registration is open now — reserve your spot!

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