Melanie Dunlap was introduced to NAWBO like most new members—as a woman business owner through another woman business owner, Lynda Bishop, who was part of NAWBO Phoenix at the time. “I had gone out on my own to start my most recent entrepreneurship journey, a wellness center,” she recalls. “I met Lynda at a networking event, and Lynda was invited to a NAWBO event, so invited me. I’m a ‘hippy girl’ so here I went to this NAWBO event at the Phoenix Country Club and after I walked in, I tried to head for the door but there was Lynda.”
Melanie is so glad she stayed. As the chapter’s only alternative healthcare practitioner, Melanie quickly saw how the women of NAWBO could pull her forward. “Those were the women I could learn from and wanted to be like,” she says. “They had good businesses and were smart. That’s what kept me going to NAWBO.” Melanie participated in a NAWBO Phoenix program as a mentee and mentor and ran a “neighborhood NAWBO” group. She also served on the Board for five years in different positions, including the Executive Committee for three years.
While Melanie took a pause from NAWBO to beat breast cancer twice (and for her husband to successfully fight lung cancer), she’s back. This time, she is NAWBO HQ’s Membership Coordinator with a focus on helping to create the same exceptional NAWBO experience in more communities across the United States.
Melanie has always loved health. She was originally a phlebotomist, then while going to school to become a lab technician, she discovered the North Carolina School of Natural Healing. “The first night in my first herb class I was hooked,” says Melanie, who has been an herbalist for 25 years. Since then, Melanie has only added to her portfolio of expertise. She’s a licensed massage therapist, reiki master teacher and certified labyrinth facilitator and cancer coach. She also runs women’s circles, red tents and retreats. All these things led to Melanie getting her doctorate in naturopathy in 2017.
Melanie, who is now based outside of Atlanta, Georgia, practices as a wellness coach focused on mind, body and spirit in addition to her work with NAWBO. She’s started a local women’s networking group as well. “The women are loving it and next year, I’ll see if I can get some of them in NAWBO,” she says. “Most are new to entrepreneurship, so it’s been really wonderful giving them this opportunity.”
Melanie is just as active in her community. She is a member and ambassador for her local Chamber of Commerce, on her Rotary Club Board, on the Board of Community Helping Place and a volunteer at the local free clinic. Additionally, she graduated from the Chamber’s Leadership Lumpkin program and Lumpkin County’s Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy and is now in the Lumpkin County 101 program. Another fun fact: Melanie is running for City Council. “There are six council seats and zero women and we’re 60 percent of the county here,” she says. “If I get people thinking and inspire other women to run, I’ve accomplished a good purpose.”