Doctoral Alumna Impact | Melany Rabideau, DOL

Melany Rabideau, DOL

Hood doctoral alumna, Melany Rabideau, DOL'20, currently lives in Rwanda and serves as an Assistant Professor with the University of Global Health Equity overseeing the leadership curriculum. She is currently working on producing a children's book series designed for little readers and future leaders.

Melany Rabideau, DOL'20

Program

  • Organizational Leadership (DOL)
  • Business Administration (DBA)

Department

  • Education

"Our goal with creating this children’s book series is to put universal leadership lessons in the hands of children all over the world"

Please provide a brief bio including your educational and career background.

My name is Dr. Melany Rabideau from Frederick, MD. I currently live in Rwanda and serve as an Assistant Professor with the University of Global Health Equity overseeing the leadership curriculum.

With 10 years of leadership experience in United States healthcare and a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership, I took my passion abroad to learn and teach alongside global health change-makers. You can check out my work here.

Tell us about your children's book

As a professor and practitioner of leadership, I noticed a gap in the leadership literature for children. Adults spend a lot of time, money, and energy developing their leadership skills. Why not start earlier with inspiring and intentional leadership development for children? Therefore, I have invested my time and talents to produce the words for my first children's book series designed for little readers and future leaders.

As we normalize at home education and find ways to keep our children engaged in learning, this series will also be intriguing to parents with brilliant images and thoughtful messages.

The language is simple, repetitive, and rhythmic to assist with reading development along with profound sentiments. To make leadership lessons inviting to children, each book explores different characters and settings inspired by the beautiful regions of Rwanda - this will not feel like an academic activity!

What made you want to write a children's book? How did you come up with the idea?

Growing up, I loved story time (I still do!). I was privileged with access to many stories that were relatable – often told in my image. As you know, there is a lot of power in the stories we tell our children. From a young age, my ability to see myself in the story gave me the opportunity to internalize lessons learned that have lasted me a lifetime.

Unfortunately, not every child is afforded this same opportunity. Potential without opportunity is not just. Our goal with creating this children’s book series is to put universal leadership lessons in the hands of children all over the world.

How have your studies at Hood's DOL Program helped you as you've worked on this project?

My classmates were leaders in a variety of fields including education and parenting. I learned from the best regarding the importance of representation in and outside the classroom. It is important to mention the prioritization of inclusivity, equity, and diversity is not unique to our project. Thank goodness, we are not innovative in this idea.

There is an established community of global Black, indigenous, and other authors and illustrators of color building a library of literary resources. I strongly encourage you to seek out and support their important work. For example, check out these great books from another Hood alum, Essence Jones.

Our goal with this project is to keep that library growing - to lead by example. We all want the art of storytelling and leadership development to honor every child. Leadership is a lifelong devotion so our books make leadership lessons accessible to children from an early age.

How can readers help support your children's book?

Help us turn little readers into future leaders by supporting our Kickstarter. On our Kickstarter page, you can purchase advanced copies of our ebooks and even sponsor an entire book! With your help, our first stop is Rwanda but we have big plans to expand leadership lessons around the world. Every ounce of your support is greatly appreciated and vital to putting universal leadership lessons into the hands of children all of the world - with a Rwandan touch! 

You can also follow the progress of our project on instagram (@littlereadersandleaders_rwanda).

Any other information/ fun facts you would like to add?

What really makes a children’s book memorable are the illustrations. I have partnered with an amazing illustrator located in Rwanda; Dolph Banza. With Dolph’s talents, each book is a work of art specific to the cultural context of Rwanda. Check out our Kickstarter page to learn more about Dolph’s background as a leader in illustration.

Inspired by Melany's story to #GOFURTHER  in your educational & career pursuits? Learn more about Hood College’s Doctorate of Organizational Leadership by clicking here.