Life’s Work: Planting Seeds for Empowerment

Photo is of Melody from the waist up. She is standing and wearing a black shirt and a black-and-white striped blazer. Her hands are on her hips. Trees are in the background.
Melody Wilson

In the first post of the series Life’s Work, I introduced you to my friend and former Harvard coworker Becky Hopkinson in Life’s Work: Providing Access to Opportunity. Today I am introducing you to my friend Melody Wilson. We attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign together and were roommates our sophomore year. Personally, I am proud to witness how her life’s work has blossomed since college. Join me in learning how Melody has found gratitude and fulfillment through her life’s work.

This Q&A has been edited for clarity.

Tell me about yourself.

I am an alum of the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have been working in social services for over 14 years. I am also opening a private therapy practice in August, Essential Counseling Group. When I am not working, I spend time with my two beautiful children. 

What does the term life‘s work mean to you?

The term life’s work means working on things that fulfill you and keep you motivated.

Do you have something or some things you consider your life‘s work?

I consider the work that I do as a Social Worker and Therapist as my life’s work. I feel that I am making a difference in those that I come across in various settings. I may not always see the seeds I plant grow, but I love the possibilities that they bring.

How has your life impacted your work?

Coming from the background of living in an impoverished neighborhood and coming across many people in tough situations, I have gravitated toward helping others.

How has your work impacted your life?

My work has given me a continued sense of gratitude and fulfillment. I truly enjoy the work that I do and find great pleasure in serving my clients.

What do you consider to be the highlights of your life‘s work?

The biggest highlights involve meeting clients in the most vulnerable positions and them ultimately becoming empowered. I had a client who was not able to navigate the healthcare system and have access to needed treatment for her suspected breast cancer. By the end of the time I worked with her, not only did she get the treatment needed to overcome the confirmed breast cancer, but she was navigating the healthcare system without any assistance from me.

What have you learned through your experiences?

I have learned that people are resilient and capable of changes both big and small. They just sometimes need support.

What do you hope to experience in the future?

I hope to have a successful private practice that will make a huge difference in the people whom we encounter.

How do you hope the workforce evolves in the future?

I hope that the workforce evolves to become one in which people are paid fairly for the work that they do: that the wages people receive will be able to support them completely. 

What action steps can you take now?

I can advocate for the needs of those who are disadvantaged. 

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