Melody Birmingham-Byrd’s destiny as a future leader was set in motion on Purdue’s campus.
“My fellow first-year students in Earhart Hall asked me to serve as their Freshman Board President. At such an early age, and being new to college, I had not considered taking on a leadership role. However, I believe that nomination from my peers was my first Indiana president position!”
Birmingham-Byrd transferred into the Polytechnic because she wanted to pursue a degree that provided both analytical and leadership courses of study, and she credits her degree and experience at Purdue with enabling her to enter her career with a balanced perspective of people, process and technology.
“My degree in organizational leadership not only enabled me to enter into a supervisory position with General Motors immediately after graduation with confidence and humility, it also provided me a solid foundation to build upon, as I continued to complete advanced degrees and certifications to expand my knowledge and opportunities beyond my first job.”
Birmingham-Byrd believes that there is still work to be done when it comes to providing opportunities to everyone who has the drive, desire and ability to change the world.
“The work I've done over my career demonstrates that progress is in the making, and that boundaries can be removed when it comes to what women, African Americans or people who come from non-traditional backgrounds in their industry can do when they have the desire, tenacity, ability and are provided the opportunity.”
Birmingham-Byrd has stayed involved with Purdue in a variety of ways, such as sponsoring the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue, partnerships on research projects, and visiting the campus to speak to various student groups. In 2018, Birmingham-Byrd was inducted into the Boiler Business Hall of Fame and was the Touchstone Award Recipient. Even though she is responsible for more than $12 billion in annual supply chain managed spending for the Duke Energy enterprise, her favorite leadership role is that of being a mother to her children, Major and Christian.
“I enjoy baking, golfing, traveling and dancing, but I must say my favorite hobby is spending quality time with my children—whether I'm attending their activities, venturing to new travel destinations or spending leisure time with them on the weekends.”