How Jamelia and Melissa got the most out of their Board positions

How Jamelia and Melissa got the most out of their Board positions


Are you looking for new ways to take your career to the next level? Do you want to network and collaborate with the best and brightest in the media, entertainment and technology industries? Are you an active member of The WICT Network: Southeast? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then perhaps joining The WICT Network: Southeast board is the right move for you. The call for candidates for The WICT Network: Southeast 2023 Board is officially open, and we need great people like you to run for the open positions. 

For those of you who are thinking about running and want to know what it takes to run and serve, we’ve asked current board members Jamelia Smith (Vice President) and Melissa Harris (Director of Programming) some key questions that may help guide your decision making.

What made you decide to make a run for a position on The WICT Network: Southeast board?

Melissa Harris (MH): After presenting our chapter’s first virtual seminar in 2020 on the topic “Resiliency”, I was invited to run for the 2021 Director of Programming – Knoxville board position.  

After our chapter won the 2021 best chapter award for programming, I was invited to run for the same position for Nashville.  

Since I’ve planned and facilitated training and speaking events for my entire career, this board position was perfect for my interests and skills.  

How did you prepare for the campaign?

MH: Running for any type of office uses communications selling skills – you are selling yourself to others so they will vote for you. I approached the campaign like a sales call, business proposal response, or job interview that included many of the following strategies: 

  • Analyze the Board job position description. 
  • Update your LinkedIn profile including an effective headshot.
  • Ask people in your network to provide testimonials that you can add to your campaign verbiage.

After you were elected, what was your commitment (meetings, conference calls, events, etc.) on top of your day job?

MH: Various meetings took time such as the monthly board meeting and the bi-monthly programming committee meeting, but they were also planned and executed in a highly effective manner. It was easy scheduling time with others since everyone is so collaborative and team focused. We also used tools such as Slack and Google Drive to streamline communications.


I was told in advance that the Programming Committee board position was a ‘working’ board, so I wasn’t surprised about my time commitment. Some weeks I spend a few hours and other weeks I spend many more.  

Jamelia Outlaw Smith (JOS): The WICT Network: Southeast Board is a ‘working board’ which means we get stuff done! The great news is that we are a big board, and all believe that many hands make the load light. We all pitch in and help each other and support one another whenever needed. It can be a lot of work at times but its so great to be surrounded by such wonderful people.  

What impact has The WICT Network: Southeast board had on your career?

JOS: I’ve been an active member of The WICT Network since joining the industry in 2004.  My involvement continues to stretch my leadership skills and gives me the confidence to take on work that I never thought I could manage. Working with this incredible group of women has also helped me find my voice as a leader and inspired me to take on new challenges and grow my leadership skills.  

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to run for the board?

MH: Running for a Board position is a critical element in climbing the corporate career ladder. It provides you with lifelong colleagues and friends in an environment where you can grow, learn and excel. 

  • If you win your board election, great! Onward to exciting new adventures! 
  • If you don’t win, great! “Brush yourself off, pick yourself up, offer to volunteer and try again next year!”   


No matter the outcome, be sure to reflect on the lessons you learned while running for the board and how they will support your continued career growth.

There’s no better time to run for a board position than now. Don’t delay, do it today!  When you retire and reflect on your career, you’ll be grateful that you did.


The WICT Network: Southeast is looking for enthusiastic, organized and dedicated members who would like to run for the 2023 Board of Directors! Serving on the Board is a great way to expand your leadership skills, connect with a diverse group of professionals and make a positive impact on the industry. Click here for more information and how to submit a nomination.