Interview with Melony Roy, WHYY

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.

This interview is with Melony Roy, the Interim News Director at WHYY. Read our full interview series here.

How do you define your leadership?

I would define my leadership in 3 tiers. 

First, I lead by example. People need to see you putting in the work before they’re willing to follow your lead. I show up on time for work, meetings and deadlines. I was told very early in my career, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” so looking good is part of my work armor. Most importantly, I’m always prepared. I have a curated list of news sources that I consume before I start work. I know what’s going on at my station, the other stations, nationally and globally. 

Second, I encourage my team members to be the CEOs of their positions. There are expectations and duties to fulfill for the company but I try to motivate them to think at the next level about their career growth and goals. I work with every team member to set at least 3 career goals annually so we’re always striving to get better at something, learn a new skill, or innovate. 

Lastly, I’m transparent. I share with them what I can as soon as I can. If there is news affecting the team, I give them a head’s up so that they hear it from me first in order to build trust.  

As cliché as it sounds, I really do believe that teamwork makes the dream work, so I try to listen more than I talk. 

How has your leadership changed in the past year?

In the beginning of the pandemic I felt like, “We got this, it’s only a few weeks.” It was more about making sure everyone had what they needed to work remotely and that we had a plan. But after the death of George Floyd and the racial reckoning, it was really hard as a Black woman to deal with all of that and the coronavirus plus lead a mostly white digital news team. I had to take a beat and deal with my own feelings first and then figure out how to create space for them to express their feelings and ask questions. I also had to set an example and be honest and vulnerable first. One day via Slack I told them, “I’m not okay, and if you’re not okay, let’s talk.” We shared as a group and some messaged me privately. They all have permission to call, text, or DM anytime. 

Overall, the past year has forced me to lead with more compassion, patience, and grace, for myself and for my team. The mental health of my team is just as important as their physical health. I check in often sometimes just to say hi and talk about what show they’re watching. It’s hard to tell how people are really doing when you’re not physically together.

The only upside to 2020 is that I feel a lot closer to the people I work with, I spend the most time with them virtually but we’re still finding ways to bond. 

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

I don’t have a story but one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that some people just won’t be receptive to you or your ideas no matter how nice you are or how hard you try. You got to put your horse blinders on and stay focused on the facts and not your feelings or their vibes. 

Who do you follow on social media that you would recommend to other women leaders?

  • Oprah
  • Brene Brown
  • Bozoma Saint John
  • Carla Harris
  • Shonda Rhimes 

Thank you to Melony for taking part in our interview series. And be sure to read the entire series!

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