iN oThEr’s Words
Mark David Williams
Senior Staff, Award Winning Artist
I have had the privilege of working with Melinda Bak as one of three Senior Leaders at North Heights.
Melinda has been instrumental in successfully leading our organization through a pre-existing, multi-layered crisis. Melinda's transparency and integrity in this process has encouraged willing staff to take the high road. In turn, they have stood with her in the face of great hardship, because they see her character, uprightness, and faithfulness.
Melinda has led effective restructuring (staffing) and reorganization (implementation) as she continues to oversee a staff of more than 200. In the midst of an institutional crisis which would naturally lead to a dip in attendance, participation and finances, Melinda's leadership has remarkably helped us to pay off debt and live within our means while positioning ourselves for future growth.
North Heights' $7,300,000 budget finished this past year in the black, an unusual undertaking in any year at North Heights.
Her leadership has directly contributed to accelerated outcomes, rare in past decades. This past year, programs have grown and system advancements have been made.
I can’t tell you how amazing it is to look back at where we have come in one year. I have been amazingly honored to work alongside Melinda for more than 8-years, as well as during this time of transition.
Her servant-hearted leadership, commitment to team, consummate work ethic, high moral character, and capacity to manage any number of competing challenges while remaining invested with those who struggle to do the same – has been an asset to this organization and a remarkable blessing for those of us who work closely beside her.
In addition to providing leadership for this institution, Melinda's brilliance in organization, finances, staff structuring, and incredible dedication and work ethic bring many of us great hope for the future.
ACR Director of Development
Melinda is the type of leader you WANT to follow, not the type who demands you follow. People want to work harder because she "raises the bar" of expectations. She sees the best in others, and they rise up to the level of her expectations.
I have seen Melinda in extremely stressful and negative situations, and she maintains her composure. She is still hard working in these situations, but most importantly (and most unusually) does not return the negativity. She also encouraged those of us working with her to do the same. She modeled a very high standard of behavior, and it was humbling to observe.
Melinda is a compelling writer. Her writings inspire and motivate others. While she can easily gear her writing toward a specific demographic, it's quite impressive to watch her address a multi-generational crowd, keeping everyone engaged. She can mix in both relational stories and deep context with apparent ease. After one of her speeches, people line up to discuss their individual situations, and she takes time for each one.
I have seen her transform budgets by simply asking for money with authenticity. Her honesty and transparency are refreshing. She wins the hearts of others, and we can't say no to her! She got me to donate more money than her predecessors had in 25 years of fruitless asking.
Melinda, I hope I get to work with you again soon.
Excel Energy, Former Board Chair
I have known Melinda since 2007. My initial observation was she was a highly talented individual who worked extremely well with inter-generational groups and was well respected.
Over the last two years, Melinda and I worked closely together. I continued to be impressed with her leadership, her ability to identify underlying root causes in issues, the ability to establish and maintain a vision during difficult challenges, and an uncanny ability to focus on the organization’s purpose while standing firm in her integrity.
Melinda understands organizational politics. It was interesting to watch her successfully negotiate different agendas for the good of the organization and to build a legitimate team focused on trust. While every person plays politics to some degree, Melinda is not overly political. She is not into personal power or seeking professional fame. She truly is a servant leader and wants the organization — not just individuals — to be successful.
A real leader will always face opposition and Melinda is not the exception. She is bold, tactful, truthful, and confidently holds her position. Melinda recognizes she does not know all the answers and seeks differing insights and surrounds herself with others that are not afraid of challenging her strategy. The changes make the strategy better, the team better, the organization better, and Melinda grew as well as a result.
Melinda is one of five professionals in my work experience I would work with again.