Share this Post
It’s never easy to take the leap from a corporate career to one focused on a higher purpose, but Melinda Taylor realized she could use the skills that made her successful in sales to help local women thrive.
Born and raised in Hickory, Taylor lived all over North Carolina before settling in Raleigh, where she founded BLOOMHERE, a space for empowering women. The nonprofit, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, provides a safe place to live and the space and resources for women who are survivors of abuse, addiction, prostitution and trafficking to heal.
Though Taylor, who serves as the director of BLOOMHERE, is new to the nonprofit world, she has years of experience in business and in working with women to help them feel better about themselves.
Taylor started her career working at a Clinique counter, where she says she received training that set her up for success, eventually becoming one of the top ten sales leaders in the country. Taylor then worked for a multi-million-dollar haircare company, building teams, traveling 90 percent of the time, setting more sales records and doing exactly what she thought she wanted to do: “wearing high heels and suits,” she says with a laugh, and doing it all without a college education.
Following a period of healing from a personal trauma, Taylor says she began thinking about women who couldn’t afford what she could, both luxuries like manicures and yoga classes, but also ways to heal and care for oneself that weren’t accessible to every woman. Taylor says she knew she loved to give back and wanted to find a way to do more of it. So, she gave up her hectic travel schedule, sold her home in Five Points, cashed out her 401K and set her sights on starting a nonprofit that would give women a place to lay their heads, heal, learn, feel safe and realize that they could change their lives for the better.
“Everyone has a story, and we don’t always know what’s going on,” Taylor says of what guides her vision for BLOOMHERE. “But we listen to others with compassion and encourage others to pursue their dreams.”
Taylor put her sales and business operations experience to work securing investors and she was able to rent a house for her nonprofit in August of last year. At the Bloom home in Raleigh, women survivors commit to a free, two-year stay. They experience recovery, including therapy and medical care, substance abuse rehab and physical health and wellness practice. They’re given employment and individual enhancement plans and skills training. Eventually, they can obtain leadership positions within the program, where they work to empower other women in need. After two years, the residents graduate, armed with the skills and means to be successful in the outside world.
“BLOOMHERE is helping women to heal from their past with dignity,” Taylor says. “I am continually so humbled by the process and found a gift of love and understanding and compassion. I thought living my purpose would be so easy, and it’s not. Having run a $25 million-dollar company doesn’t even compete with what I’m doing today.”
Looking to the future, Taylor says she’s working on a plan to buy more homes to assist, advocate for and empower women.
“Give a woman a bed, somewhere to sleep, and they will thrive,” Taylor says.
Photos by: Tyler Cunningham Photography
Share this Post