Meleika Gardner

Why WE WILL?  What matters to you in the Community?

Prior to joining the Board of We Will, I had interviewed founder Alexandra Eidenberg about the We Will organization and she had expressed how she really wanted to focus on diversity. I did some research on their work and spoke with several of the members. I attended their big luncheon and felt the energy of the women in the room. I am an action person with a lot of concepts and ideas, so I like to surround myself with creative, pro-active people. I knew this was an organization I could be a part of and, more importantly, bring my energy. Alexandra had asked me what would be the first thing I would want to do as a Board Member of We Will. I have lost close family members and friends to gun violence due to systemic racism, so my heart, passion, and drive has always been for the Black community. I currently have a social media vlog called Evanston Live TV where I provide a platform for the people to have a voice and bring people together who wouldn’t normally engage. This is who I am. 

 

Who are you professionally?

Professionally I run a video production company that promotes people, products, brands, and organizations. This is how I came to meet We Will. They needed a video for their luncheon, so their executive director reached out to ELTV Enterprises LLC, better known as Evanston Live TV to the community, to produce a video for them. I also produce human interest stories to provide a platform for people to have a voice. Evanston Live TV helped to increase voter turnout for our local mayor and alderman election. The city thanked Evanston Live TV because they had not had that many residents show up to the polls since the 1970s. I put the candidates in my car and drove them around Evanton so they could point out what their plans were.  I brought each candidate into everyone’s home via video, so they could get to know them on a human level and not just a campaign speech or a name on the ballot. I bring an entertainment background. In my youth I toured as a dancer for LaFace Records out of Atlanta, GA, worked for a music label in Beverly Hills, CA, owned a freelance casting agency in Los Angeles, CA, and managed local music artists. I am also a member of the Screen Actors Guild. 

I worked in sales where I opened up the Los Angeles market for an energy and telecommunications company. I built a team of over 400 across the country and put on big monthly leadership training at the W Hotel in Hollywood, CA. I was promoted to National Director within less than a year. 

 

Tell us more about your personal life?

I appear to be an extrovert, but I am very much a homebody and loner. I spend time at home at my desk visualizing, planning, thinking, strategizing, listening to music, and having a glass of wine. Pure heaven! I come out of my cave ready to hit the street to do work! I love Zooming or Face Timing with my nieces and nephew. They fuel me and keep me focused on why I do what I do! I have to do my part in making this a better world to live in for them and their children and so on. 


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