Melissa Watson Ward | DIHGLA Cohort 3 | IBWPPI

Melissa Watson Ward

Melissa Watson Ward

Melissa Watson Ward is the Deputy Affiliate Director for Emerge, where she collaborates with and provides support to the organization’s growing network of state affiliates. With more than 15 years of experience in community organizations, Melissa has dedicated her career to providing education, resources, and advocacy to decrease disparities and increase opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Motivated by a desire to be an active agent for change, Melissa pursued a career in politics to directly influence the face of government and increase diversity and equality among elected officials and decision-makers. In addition to her work with Emerge, Melissa is a veteran of the United States Army Reserves. She is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated.

Melissa’s commitment to making a difference has earned her recognition, including being honored as part of the 2021 20 under 40 by the South Carolina Black Pages and The State Newspaper. She has completed several leadership programs, including the Modjeska Simkins School of Social Justice, Leadership South Carolina, and the Sisters’ of Charity Nonprofit Leadership Program. Melissa holds a Master of Public Health, Master of Social Work, and Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology and Criminology and Criminal Justice from The University of South Carolina, as well as a certificate in Political Social Work from the University of Michigan. She is also a Licensed Master Social Worker and a certified Master Trainer through the Association of Talent Development.

Melissa’s personal mantra of “Saving the world, one person at a time” encapsulates her passion for making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities.

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