A graduate of the historical Little Rock Central High School, Melanie Hillard matriculated and received her BA in Business Administration from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and obtained her MBA from UA Little Rock. In May 2015, Hillard was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by Shorter College, North Little Rock, AR. An employee of Eli Lilly & Company since 2003, she excels as a top performer, receiving Platinum performer nominations and many recognitions, including MVP, Market Leader, and Partnership awards.
While at Rhodes College, she was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® and became a charter member of Omicron Chi Chapter (Memphis, TN) and later served as President. Hillard was named Rhodes College Black Student Association Distinguished Alumni in 2020.
After graduation, she immediately transferred into Beta Pi Omega Chapter in Little Rock, AR and has served the sorority and chapter in many capacities and on all levels, including chapter Vice-President/Program Chairman (2011-2014) and President. As VP/Program Chairman, Hillard recognized that Beta Pi Omega chapter was implementing remarkable programs that impacted many schools, churches, and organizations, but was not being recognized by the region. Thus, Hillard led the
Program committee in submitting award books for the Regional Conference and launched a winning streak of awards celebrating the wonderful work being done in the Greater Little Rock communities.
The 2015-2018 Hillard Administration’s vision for the chapter was to foster, “A D.E.L.I.B.E.R.A.T.E. Chapter of Sisterhood…where every soror is valued, and every soror is celebrated!” The acronym represented Desire-Effort-Love-Integrity-Boldness-Effectiveness-Respect-Tenacity-Efficiency. During her tenure, the chapter’s membership grew exponentially and won numerous regional and international awards for its service and mentoring programs; including receiving the First Place International Graduate to Undergraduate Mentoring Award with Gamma Alpha and Epsilon Phi Chapters for three straight years! Hillard was awarded the Outstanding President’s Award during the 85th South Central Regional Conference.
Beta Pi Omega effectively implemented “Launching New Dimensions of Service,” the program theme of International President Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson by embracing all five targets and the signature program, ASCEND℠. Under Hillard’s leadership, the chapter sponsored two tours of HBCUs located in Tennessee for students participating in the program. Throughout Hillard’s administration, the chapter fostered many partnerships with various community organizations to expand the breadth of its program implementation. Partnerships including Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Little Rock Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated®, Arkansas Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, the Broadway Bridge Project, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Union AME Church, and schools in the Little Rock School District and eStem Public Charter Schools, just to name a few. At the end of her term, thousands of volunteer hours by chapter members, resulted in thousands of people being impacted by the work of the chapter. Beta Pi Omega was recognized by the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus with The Annie Abrams Community Service Award in February, 2016 and by the Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission for our multi-year partnership in observing the MLK Day of Service.
Under Hillard’s leadership, Beta Pi Omega was recognized as an Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) Platinum Chapter for the first time in the chapter’s history and that tradition continued throughout her term.
Hillard believed in leadership development and fostered a spirit of inclusion. As a result, several new committees and initiatives were implemented. A Leadership Empowerment Access Database (L.E.A.D.) was created to accurately identify the demographic and talent make-up of the chapter. The Golden Sorors committee was formed to ensure that our most revered members (Diamond & Golden) were attended to appropriately. The Brand committee was established to provide consistency and professionalism in the promotion of Beta Pi Omega’s programs and events.
During the 84th South Central Regional Conference, Hillard served as Co-Chairman of the Diamond, Golden, and Silver Soror Reception. During her tenure as President, Hillard had the distinct honor of crowning two of the sorority’s highest jewels for their service of over 75 years to the organization. Mrs. Hazel Bullock was celebrated as a Diamond member in 2016 and Mrs. Marian Fowler Armstrong was celebrated as a Diamond member during the Chapter’s 80th Chartering & Founders’ Day Celebration in 2017. President Hillard was
thrilled to host Rev. Dr. Robin E. Hedgeman, great granddaughter of our sorority’s founder, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, as the keynote speaker.
During Hillard’s tenure, Beta Pi Omega Chapter, in partnership with The Ivy Foundation of Little Rock, increased its scholarship awards to $25,000 annually to local high school students and undergraduate members. In addition, the mortgage of the Ivy Foundation of Little Rock house was retired.
In 2019, Melanie A. Hillard was appointed by the International President, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, to serve on the International Investigations Committee as a Regional Investigator. She was also appointed by the South Central Regional Director, Ms. Joya T. Hayes, to serve as the Arkansas Cluster Coordinator for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.® South Central Region in 2020.
Hillard is deeply committed to the betterment of her community through other organizations, as well. She serves on several boards and was the 2018 Event Chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Hillard is an active member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 12th Episcopal District, and serves Union AME Church, Little Rock, AR, and the Arkansas Conference, faithfully.
Hillard is the wife of 26 years to her best friend, Jessie C. Hillard, Jr. and they have been blessed with two amazing sons, Allen and Elliott, who are kind, intelligent and God loving young men.
Melanie has a true heart for service and believes that “service is simply love made visible.” Above all, Melanie tries to live by the scripture found in Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”