LatinasAchieve Mentor Spotlight
Melody (Almogabar) Barr
What is your Professional Title/Position?
Melody Barr [MB]:
Deputy Assistant Director for Public Services with Housing and Community Development – City of Houston
Tell us about your Educational Background
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with minor in Theatre from the University of Houston-Downtown in 2002 and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in 2004
What has been your most memorable/rewarding experience as a Latinas Achieve! Mentor so far?
MB: To date it has been extremely rewarding just speaking with the women about to graduate. The dialogue is super important, just to listen and hear what the ladies have to say.
What professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
Providing strategy and funding to programs that serve some of the most vulnerable communities in Houston (i.e. Homeless, persons living with HIV).
What do you love most about your current position/career? Why?
I love what I do because it is impactful and directly affects the lives of people that do not always have a voice.
What has been your greatest inspiration in your work?
My father. He always strived to do what was right, regardless of who was watching.
How have you seen the role/status of Latinas in your community or profession change throughout your career?
MB: This is a really good question, as it is challenging to answer. For about 2 years, I was the highest-level Latina in my Department. Now there are two of us, no Latinos. Over the last 2-years I have seen two Latinas appointed CEO over major nonprofit organizations. There is a lot of work that needs to take place as it relates to equity and racial disparity professionally in the Greater Houston Area. What I do see, are changes happening as more people, not just Latinos, are asking questions related to equity.
What advice would you give to a college student interested in pursuing a career in your field?
MB: It is not an easy field, there has to not only be skill set – but heart to do the work that needs to be done. Make sure you are pursuing a career where you will want to fight the good fight.