Welcome to the Omega Sports Women’s Only Podcast, hosted by Cleo Faucette. In this episode, we spoke with Miriam “Mimi” Melvin, two time Emmy Award-winning news producer at WRAL TV.
Even as a child, Mimi always wanted to be around adult conversations. She was naturally inquisitiveness. At a young age, she was interested in the news. So much so, at night she would hide so she could watch the news at 10PM. Her parents didn’t shield her and her siblings and they didn’t try to hide what was going on in the world. They wanted Mimi and her siblings to be informed and aware. Her parents did it in such a way that piqued her interest. She didn’t grow up to be afraid of everything, she just knew that “these are some of the things I need to know to stay safe”.
Before Mimi, there was Diann Burns. Diann Burns played a big role in influencing Mimi, showing her that Black women could be involved in the telling of the news. Burns worked at the ABC station in Chicago (WLS). According to Mimi, “she was not just a pretty black woman. She was intelligent and when she spoke, it captured your attention. No matter what story she was telling, she was going to treat each one with respect, and you’re going to be drawn in.” Mimi watched her report in the rain, in the wind, in the snow. Mimi saw her transition from a reporter to the desk in the prime time slot. Mimi was proud to have someone that looked like her as a role model, someone to say: “it’s possible.”
In June 1996, fresh out of college, Mimi got a job at WLS, working with Diann Burns. Mimi believes that we as women, have to understand that we are paving a way for younger women. We have to be welcoming and ready because we have to stand down at some point and propel the next generation of powerful women leaders even further than we are.
Sigma Gamma Rho
For the last couple of years, Mimi has been advising a couple of chapters in the Raleigh area, and it’s a role she played once before when she lived in the Kansas City, Missouri area. It keeps her youthful and allows her to do exactly what she does now – inspire people to do better.
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People always ask: “isn’t this only for college?” to which Mimi replies: “No, this is for life.” Sigma Gamma Rho was founded by 7 black school teachers. They are a historically black sorority, however, they now have women from all walks of life; different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. They are international. The goal is to serve your community and focus on women and children.
From writer to producer
Aside from working with Diann Burns, Mimi worked a part-time job selling clothes at a store in Chicago. She did this for the discount. It allowed her to wear suits and blouses and look professional in the newsroom.
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” People will judge you on your appearance before they listen to what you have to say. Burns even commented on how she liked Mimi’s style. While the others in her position were in casual wear, Mimi always dressed for greater things.
Mimi got her big break when there was a big story to be reported and all of the other reporters were out handling other stories. They needed someone to cover the story, and they pointed towards Mimi and told her to get out and cover the story.
Mimi’s motto is “don’t get ready – stay ready!”
Mimi went from assignment editor in Chicago to Associate Producer in Kansas City. Eventually, she found her way to a Producer role in Raleigh.
Two-time Emmy Award winner
Her Emmy’s are for “Best News Cast” and “Breaking News.”
Her first Emmy was for a story that unfortunately ended in death. While it is nice to be recognized for her work, Mimi doesn’t do what she does specifically for money and awards. She doesn’t want to exploit people. She believes you need to have respect, and you need to tell the whole story in a way that is fair and balanced. On that day, it went beyond the “who, what, where, and why.” It was about the people who were on the scene. She spoke with them about how they felt and she shared that moment.
“You don’t really know that you’re in an award-winning project while you’re doing it.”
One award Mimi is most proud of is not an Emmy at all. Rather, it is a National Association of Broadcasters award from 2020. She produced a documentary and a community talkback called “Black and Blue.” It covered how the community sees police and how the police try to do their job, and how everyone has to approach each situation.
Diversity in decision-making
In order to share everyone’s experience, everyone has to be at the table. As women, we have to be in a board room in order for men to see that we matter, our opinions matter, our dollars matter, and it’s the same with any race.
Mimi says that because it’s not your experience, you may not even notice those experiences. It’s not to say you’re a bad person, you just have not lived this. As black people, we have been forced to learn everyone’s history. It’s important for us to have people hear our story.
Importance of staying active
Mimi started running in 2013 because she wanted to mark being 10 years smoke-free. She wanted to do something big and the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh” marathon was coming up. She went up to Omega Sports, knowing nothing about stride and gate and all those other important shoe measurements. She had been running in cross trainers, and people told her she needed to get proper running shoes. She went to get measured at Omega Sports and got a pair of Saucony Guide. It’s a shoe she still loves because they have never failed her.
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A few years later, she met Daisy in the North Hills store. Daisy had Mimi try on a few pairs of shoes, but it all leads back to the Saucony Guide. Recently, Mimi had the pleasure of taking her “baby boy” to Omega Sports to get him a pair of Saucony Guides. He gets his feet from his mom, she says.
As a woman on the go, raising a family and maintaining a successful career, she makes time for herself. She works out because it is for her and it benefits her. Sometimes people say they are too busy, but she stresses that you have to make time.
“Always make time for yourself. The world does not stop if something happens to us. We think that everything hinges upon us. No ma’am it does not. We have to take care of ourselves before we take care of anyone else.”
Mimi loves to be ready with energy. Her favorites are the Nuun strawberry lemonade drink and Honey Stingers (which you can find at our Omega stores). She used to love the GU energy blocks but they got stuck in her teeth. Sock-wise, it’s all about Balega. And for a sports bra, she rocks Handful because “in them, everything stays where it has to.”