Advocate, Strategist & Humanitarian Leader
Written by Tawana Bain | Photo submitted by Jade Melvin
She is a high-energy, high-powered, advocate and strategist who came on board during TBain&Co.’s busiest season to help manage the gigantic undertaking that is Derby Diversity Week. From the moment she jumped onto her first Zoom meeting, she was all in– bringing her executive leadership skills along with her entertainment and corporate contacts– and creating an instant impact. Jade Melvin is a force.
Prior to joining Derby Diversity Week (DDW), Jade served as the Associate Director, Strategic Alliances and Programs at the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the nation’s largest and most impactful nonprofit advocacy organization for minority business owners. While there, she spearheaded the Emerging Young Entrepreneurs and Women of Color Programs. Previous roles include Senior Manager of Strategic Programs, where she led the Women of Color Outreach and Development Program at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs, and Program Manager at Dartmouth College’s Tuck Diversity Business Programs. During her tenure, she created groundbreaking programs and played a significant role in implementing the SheaMoisture Community Commerce Fellowship for minority women executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs.
Jade’s dedication to the entrepreneurial ecosystem has yielded tremendous results—from spearheading the first National Business Beyond Gaming Conference at the Minority Business Development Agency, to creating a bridge between undergraduate students and Latinx/Black small business owners at Dartmouth College and a virtual women of color-owned business campaign. She is a leading voice in minority-owned business advocacy and is known for her expertise in priming and propelling women of color entrepreneurs. A firm believer that people of color owning their own businesses plays a key role in social and financial equity for all, she parlays her extensive network to enhance minority business development. As a well-connected and sought-after advisor for women-owned businesses, Jade has assisted thousands of small businesses in achieving self-sufficiency through full inclusion in the national economy.
Jade currently attends North Central University, Jakes Divinity School, founded by world renowned Bishop T.D. Jakes, where she is pursuing a degree in Humanitarian Leadership. In January of 2023, Jade was recognized by Women We Admire as the Top 50 Women Leaders of Dallas, Texas. In March of 2018, she was recognized by the State of Connecticut General Assembly 100 Women of Color for her contributions in business, entrepreneurship education, governmental policy, and service for the social impacts she has made in the lives of people throughout communities of color. She was also an honoree of the Black People Rock, Connecticut Awards in 2020, The City of Springfield, Massachusetts Proclamation, and Dartmouth College’s Inaugural Black Lady Genius Award.
As a Black-Indigenous Pequot (pēkwät) woman from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (Connecticut southeastern territory), Jade believes in the importance of community and contributing in service to all people. Outside of work, Jade serves as an advisory board member for Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County and former member of The Links, Incorporated, former Girl Scouts of Connecticut Board Development Committee, Women of Dartmouth Honorary Board Member, and former Young Professionals’ Chair of the NAACP-Connecticut.