Melanie Jacob- Inclusive Media Strategist And Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant
Melanie Jacob is an Inclusive Media Strategist and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Consultant. Through her work, she supports multinational companies – via webinars, workshops, one-on-one coaching, and more! – along their journey towards building more diverse, equitable, and inclusive strategies and work environments.
Wonder Woman of the Week: Melanie’s Life Mission
Tammy: What were you put on this Earth to do? In other words, what’s your life’s purpose?
Melanie: I doubt that this will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I truly believe that I was put on this Earth to share knowledge with others. My mom and sisters will definitely tell you that I’ve always been a curious person. I can’t help but ask a million questions about what’s going on around me.
After all nothing beats the feeling that I get when I learn about a complete stranger’s cultural beliefs, find out a new word or expression, try a new food, or read an amazing book!
Tammy: What role does your work play in your life? How does it embody your values?
Melanie: My work is a part of me and I am a part of my work. I am a Black woman working in DE&I and I primarily focus on issues facing Black women and non-binary folks because I know first-hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racism, sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, colorism, and featurism. I talk about these issues because there are not a lot of people who look like me — in France, Europe, and the Caribbean — who address intersectionality, as originally defined by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
Wonder Woman of the Week: Words of Encouragement
Tammy: What message would you like to give to other women?
Melanie: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Yes, you will beat yourself up at night for making certain decisions, but hopefully, you will learn to forgive yourself. You only did the best that you could with the limited information you had at the time.
Tammy: Tell us about your relationship with clothing. What do you think about the act of getting dressed? What role does clothing serve for you? Does it hold a certain meaning or significance?
Melanie: My relationship with clothing is all about functionality. I’m really not a fashionable person. No surprise there! Haha. I like wearing simple dresses, of all lengths because I don’t have to worry about mixing and matching. I really can wear the same 5 dresses every single day and not feel bothered by them.
Influence of Clothing
Tammy: How has your relationship with clothing changed throughout your career?
Melanie: When I first started working in education, as a secondary school teacher in Saint Lucia, I was always made to feel like I had to cover up in order to “not distract the boys”. A male colleague actually reported me to the school’s principal once because he was afraid that the students would be able to see my armpits when I raised my arm to write on the chalkboard.
Yes, you read that correctly! So, when I moved to Martinique in 2014 and saw colleagues coming to work with their arms and backs out, and wearing dresses and skirts which were above the knee, I was in complete shock! Basically, the students did not care one bit about how their teachers were dressed. They respected all of their teachers equally, regardless of gender, the number of visible tattoos, age, race, etc.
That’s when I fully realized just how much of an impact sexism has on our society. So, by the time I moved back home for one year (in 2017), I really couldn’t be bothered again to listen to men and women lecture me on what it means to be a true professional.
With all of the social issues that we are facing in Saint Lucia, I can’t — for the life of me — understand why our politicians, and other powerful individuals, choose to focus so much of their attention on how women and femmes should dress to go to work and church! Needless to say, my relationship with clothing has gone from being very buttoned up to wearing whatever brings me joy!
Outfit that Makes Me Feel Like Wonder Woman
Tammy: Describe an outfit of yours that makes you feel like Wonder Woman when you wear it.
Melanie: There’s this brown dress that I ordered from Mango a few years ago. I wear it all the time and have photos of me wearing it all over my social media. In fact, I’ve worn it so many times that it inspired me to write a blog post about it last year! The title is, “OMG! I’m an Outfit Repeater”. I truly love that dress and really wish that I ordered a second one!
Follow Melanie Jacob, Wonder Woman of the Week
Visit Melanie’s website and Patreon account to learn more about her work and how to hire her as a media strategist and DEIB consultant. You can also follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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