Trinity Development Alliance (TDA) warmly welcomes Melinda Taylor, our new Director of Operations! 

Melinda brings invaluable skills, experience and energy to our organization. As a project manager and consultant, operational efficiencies and change management are the centerpieces of her experience. With an educational background which includes a bachelors of business administration degree, Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification focusing on Six Sigma principles, her vast portfolio of work includes focuses on concepts and integration, manufacturing, production, logistics, sales and marketing, finance and C-Suite initiatives, all requiring operational precisions to minimizing redundancies and overhead costs while maximizing output and return on investment. 

In addition to her professional and educational accomplishments, Melinda brings personal connections that gives her a unique perspective for TDA’s mission, vision and services to support rural communities and the people who call these communities home. 

The West Virginia native grew up on a farm in Appalachia, and her personal experiences and community gave her a profound understanding of the needs of rural communities. 

“I grew up in Appalachia, an area rooted in pride and hard work,” says Melinda. “Many rural communities, like where I grew up, have unfair and inaccurate stereotypes attached to them. This in itself leads to a hurdle that needs to be overcome and couldn’t be further from the truth.”   

She continues, “Many people in rural communities don’t want a hand out nor would they ever take it. It is quite the opposite. What they truly need is a little help and a hand up. TDA is committed to supporting the community with upgrowth. Workforce development is a vital part of every community. TDA has the ability to help develop, directly or indirectly, the skills needed to help the residents reach their true potential. 

Maybe it’s a single mom that wants to enroll in college but has to obtain a GED before she can do that.  TDA can help facilitate that. Perhaps it’s an elderly person that needs to be connected with Meals on Wheels to ensure that they get the proper nutrition everyone deserves. TDA can be that hand up that is needed.” 

Melinda kept that perspective after leaving West Virginia and heading to North Carolina to embark on a long career in the telecommunications industry. It was in North Carolina she met her beloved husband. The couple then welcomed two children, now a young teen and adolescent. In 2018, the family embarked on a move to Helena, Montana, which they quickly grew to love, and in some ways, it marked a return to Melinda’s roots. Family activities include traveling, hiking, camping, riding their SxS, fishing or skiing in their beautiful state. The family even expanded to include two young and active mini-Aussie shepherd puppies.   

With life established in her newly adopted home state, she is more ready than ever to share her skills, time and talent giving back to others.  

Melinda connected with TDA CEO Kirsten Dernbach back in their shared telecommunications days, and when she heard about TDA and what it stood for, she knew she needed to be a part of it. 

“There were many things that resonated with me at TDA,” shares Melinda. “You can tell from the logo that TDA has three separate pillars: community, upgrowth, and sustainability. TDA believes in helping the community from the ground up. Community can mean many things. It can be the area in which you live. It can be the people that live in the same building/property that you do. Community can mean the demographic in which you identify. TDA is committed to meeting you where you are and with what you need. Sustainability means that we are helping to build the future. We all need to be responsible and be forward-thinking for the next generation.

We’ve all heard the phrase pay it forward. What better way to pay it forward than to make things sustainable for the next generation?”

For Melinda, the upgrowth component of TDA resonated with her the most, with her experiences growing up. Putting all the pieces together, community, upgrowth, and sustainability, Melinda feels strongly that these elements can help support and solve issues connected with the complexities with affordable housing in rural communities. 

“Affordable housing has an unfair stigma tied to it and we need to change that,” says the director. “Affordable housing simply means being affordable to all. This can take many forms. We’ve all seen the impacts the last few years have had on our communities but the rural communities have been hit the hardest. 

With the new acceptance of remote work many are moving out of the city and into more rural areas. The housing market was not ready for such a massive shift and affordable housing is now scarcer than ever.  If we don’t act now affordable housing will only become harder to come by. This has a domino effect in our communities. Imagine the toll it takes on one’s mental health when they can’t afford a basic human right such as shelter. We all need to do better.” 

Speaking of the work it takes to help do better, Melinda’s can-do spirit reflects in one of her favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar: 

Keep going. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. 

Helen Montana area lake and mountains at sunrise.

This quote directly applies to her work at TDA and how she sees the present and the future for the nonprofit organization. 

“Short term, TDA will continue to support the communities in which we are involved in while we grow into new communities,” explains Melinda. “Long-term, I see TDA being a household name as a partner within the community, and the go-to contact on how to partner together to solve a need for the betterment of all.”