Next Alumni Board president gives back

Headshot_Mello-smallAs a Manchester student, Laine Mello ’12 found everything she needed to discover her best self – great friends, strong mentors, leadership opportunities, and courses and internships that prepared her for career success.

Now she’s saying thank you as the incoming president for MU’s Alumni Board of Directors.  “For me, it’s about giving back my time because Manchester gave me so much. I want to see Manchester succeed and I want other kids to have experiences like I did.”

A marketing major and art minor at MU, Mello is a marketing specialist based in Bloomington, Ind., for Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc., a contract development and manufacturing organization for the pharmaceutical, biotech and consumer health industries.

Before that, she was communications coordinator for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, and marketing and communications coordinator for Design Collaborative, an architecture, engineering and design firm in Fort Wayne.

Manchester paved the way for those jobs. “I was getting some real-life experience in some of my business classes – we would do projects with local organizations, or even with my art minor we’d help organizations by designing a pamphlet or helping them with their advertising.” Three professional internships – including two at the orthopedic company DePuy Synthes – opened professional doors as soon as she graduated.

But there was so much more, says Mello. She played basketball all four years and was captain her senior year. Coach Josh Dzurick and her teammates were “extremely positive” influences on her life then and remain among her closest friends. She also was active in the Accounting and Business Club (now the College of Business Club), working closely with Professor Tim Ogden, planning and running events for students and alumni.

Manchester helped her grow in other ways, too. “It really opened up my eyes to the rest of the world,” she says. “The culture. The conversations. The VIAs (Values, Ideas and the Arts). It’s definitely opened my eyes to different types of thinking across the board.”

Mello didn’t realize quite how transformative her Manchester journey was until she reached its end.  As a senior, she was named Student Leader of the Year based on a nomination by a first-year member of the basketball team. The honor was a surprise and a symbol, she says, that “I had come so far.” She went from having life-changing mentors who helped her through Manchester to being one for someone else.

Now she’s intentionally helping current and future Manchester students by leading the alumni board. “We’re a big part of Manchester’s success even though we’ve already graduated. It’s important to have people like us spread the positive word of Manchester after we graduate,” says Mello. Helping Manchester “is really an honor and a privilege.”

By Melinda Lantz ’81