By Becca Broaddus
Meredith Lockhart considers herself a bit of a free-spirited, creative type. Traditionally, “business-minded” isn’t the natural extension of those qualities.
“When I first entered Baylor, I was intimidated by business,” Lockhart said. “I thought you had to be Type A and love numbers. I didn’t believe I could do something like that.”
But after changing her major three times, she decided to give business a chance.
“As soon as I started taking classes in the B-school, I fell in love with it,” she said. “I loved the fact that you could make such a difference in the world using business.”
After graduating in May 2011, Lockhart lived at home interning and waiting for the perfect job. She found that perfect first job the following November—working in marketing at Neiman Marcus. It was the perfect fit, at the time, anyway. After two years, she left to become a videographer. After that, she accepted a position at a small, private school she had attended growing up, Providence Christian School of Texas. Now, she has two job titles: director of admissions and marketing at Providence and business owner.
She admits it’s been a winding career path, but the one common thread between the jobs is working with people. Lockhart’s passion for people drives her work and her small business, Melt Goods, an online jewelry company that employs refugee women.
“In the fall of 2015…the Lord allowed me to see [refugees] as image-bearers of God instead of facts or statistics or news stories,” she said. “One day, I realized the best way to make a difference in the lives of refugees is to provide support, hope and purpose through employment.”
So Lockhart enrolled in a jewelry making class at the local community college and started Melt Goods. Currently, she creates her custom jewelry with two Muslim Iraqi women, Huda and Saja, who were both relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area after fleeing Iraq. Lockhart hopes to employ more refugees as her business grows.
“They’re a blessing to my life,” she said. “People project stereotypes onto them because they’re refugees, or they’re from a certain country, or believe in a certain religion. A lot of times, not only are they untrue, they’re very far from the truth. I’d like to bridge the gap between Americans and refugees.”
Right now, she runs the business out of her “tiny room,” but she has big plans. In addition to expanding product lines to other accessories, she’d like to harness her experiences to teach like-minded entrepreneurs how they can employ and help refugees.
“One of my main goals for Melt is to inspire other people to start similar companies,” Lockhart said. “I have a dream of starting (or at least helping start) a co-working studio that is specifically laid out for creatives and manufacturers…who are employing refugees. It would be a safe place for refugee women to work and build a community, significantly reduce studio costs for startup companies like mine, and offer a place to host workshops and educational classes for refugees.”
Ultimately, she didn’t need to be a Type A personality or love numbers to change the world through business. She needed passion, persistence and a healthy disregard for so-called “traditional career paths.”
Baylor Business Review, Fall 2017