Interview with Melanie Hidalgo-Britt, Coded by Kids

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.

This interview is with Melanie Hidalgo-Britt, the Chief Marketing Officer for Coded by Kids, a nonprofit that uses tech and innovation education to fight social and economic inequity.

How do you define your leadership?

I work towards creating an environment that is supportive, empowering, and growth-oriented. 

How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working?

You can read all the books there are on leadership and management to help you improve but nothing beats experience: experience in terms of leading a team and also seeing the leadership styles of others. I have been lucky enough to be exposed to both great and extremely poor examples of leadership. Both have taught me the difference between being a manager and a leader. I was very much a manager when I was a noob and now am very conscious about being a leader instead.   

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

You learn the most from the hardest experiences. My greatest learning experience came when an employee felt micromanaged, sought support from another manager, and transitioned to that department. I was working on a promotion for the employee at the same time. I had no clue about anything until it happened. It absolutely changed my outlook on management vs. leadership and the importance of both — and it solidified the necessity of empowering my team and creating a trusting environment. 

What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?

The way marketing communications is typically done in non-profits minimizes its usefulness in growth and creating opportunity. Coming from a corporate environment and utilizing typical for-profit strategy and tactics for Coded by Kids is novel and it shouldn’t be. All non-profits are “selling” something and should treat their strategy for marketing and growth as such.  

What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know?  What advice do you have for them?

The marketing communications field covers so many different types of roles and responsibilities. You don’t have to decide what you want to do on day 1. Get in the door and then find a mentor or 2 or 3. You don’t have to navigate your career alone.

Interested in more? Check out the full interview series here.

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