Dr. Melva Williams teaches the fundamentals to future business leaders

From the second Dr. Melva Williams walked into our Shreveport Times newsroom, we knew she had something special, radiating both beauty and success.

Williams, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management at Southern University in Shreveport, was one of six finalists for this year’s Virginia K. Shehee Most Influential Woman Award.

The Shreveport native has already built a long legacy of achievement in academia and business.

“I’ve always been a businesswoman in one way or another,” Williams said.

Continued:Meet the Six Finalists for Virginia K. Shehee’s Most Influential Woman of 2022

Corporate America has turned to higher education

Dr Melva Williams, pictured February 24, 2022, is a finalist for the Virginia K. Shehee Most Influential Woman Awards.

Williams graduated from Grambling State University in 1999, and after graduation, she began her journey in the business world.

“I started my career as a human resources manager for a national clothing chain,” she said. “It was my first real job after college. My goal was to work for an American company.”

Williams did just that for several years before entering the higher education arena. In 2003, Williams joined the Southern University team.

After several years of working in various positions at Southern University, Williams decided to return to school to earn her doctorate. In 2008, Williams graduated from Jackson State University with a Ph.D. in higher education.

In 2011, Williams was Associate Dean of Centenary College and she remained there until 2013. After two years at Centenary, she returned to Southern University.

Throughout her perseverance toward higher accomplishments, Williams remained a steadfast citizen of Shreveport. “I just consider Shreveport my home,” she said. “I love it, and it’s really the people that make this place.”

Williams served on several boards in Shreveport for many years. Among them: Christus Shumpert Hospital; Robinson Cinema Center; Caddo advice on aging; YWCA; extensions of excellence; and the Shreveport Charter Foundation.

Continued:Local resident sees town as a good investment: ‘It’s possible to be successful in Shreveport’

The merger of American business and education

Dr Melva Williams, pictured February 24, 2022, is a finalist for the Virginia K. Shehee Most Influential Woman Awards.

“What you can find me doing most of the time is teaching business leaders soft skills and things they can do to communicate effectively,” Williams said.

Although Williams has left corporate America, she works daily to teach others the fundamental skills to navigate this world.

She partly attributes her teaching ability to her parents.

Williams’ mother was a teacher at Blanchard Elementary School for 30 years and her father was an administrator at Southern University in Shreveport.

“It’s really cool to follow in his footsteps,” she said.

Williams was born and raised in Shreveport and attended schools in Caddo Parish. “I was the first seventh class at Donnie Bickham when it opened,” she said.

Williams would later help build the Magnolia School of Excellence, which was the first new school built in Caddo Parish in over 30 years.

“I was in the first new school built in Caddo Parish in seventh grade, and then several years later I built the first new school in Caddo Parish,” Williams said. “Isn’t it coincidental or something?”

Williams’ career remains on an upward trajectory. She was recently announced as a finalist for president of West Virginia State University. The decision for this position has not yet been announced.

Continued:Climbing the Ranks at Shreveport Fire: Interim Chief JP Lane

Makenzie Boucher is a reporter for the Shreveport Times. Contact her at [email protected]

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