Dr. Mechelle Roberthon: A Trailblazing Leader Pioneering Talent Development & HR Excellence to Empower Organizations

The 10 Most Influential Black Corporate Women to Watch in 2024

In a world where success is a shared journey and empowerment knows no bounds, the narrative of Dr. Mechelle Roberthon, the CEO of Dr. Mechelle Roberthon Enterprise, LLC, unfolds as a testament to the indomitable spirit of women.

Her story embodies the essence of courage, strength, kindness, and humility as she navigates the intricacies of her professional and personal life, and her journey becomes a symphony echoing the ethos of mutual upliftment, the transformative power of ideas, and the unwavering pursuit of justice.

This interview provides an insight into the chapters of her life, where we discover a resonant melody that harmonizes with the collective wisdom of remarkable women, transcending individual tales to become a universal anthem of empowerment and progress.

Going Beyond Titles to Unveil the Essence of True Success

“Success truly has to be identified within us individually,” says Mechelle. “I used to think that success was how high you can climb the corporate ladder. Now that I’m in a senior executive role and the owner of my own business, I’ve come to realize that success has more to do with having an understanding and clarity about the impact you intend to make, high-quality work, good relationship management, peace, and kindness.”

Emphasizing the importance of treating others well, Mechelle notes, “How well you treat others says more about your character than a title ever will. I’ve seen people go the extra mile for me and open doors for me all because I was kind to them. That’s success!”

Mechelle identifies moments of clarity and understanding as key markers of success: “I’ve seen the ‘aha’ moments when clarity around a task or project was reached. That’s success! When I build and maintain a relationship with a colleague. That’s success!” Mechelle advises others to define success for themselves and ensure that the definition is not superficial: “Whatever you do, ensure that the definition is meaningful, make it true.”

Bridging Childhood Dreams and Professional Triumphs

Reflecting on her early ambitions, Mechelle shares, “In my childhood, I harbored a strong desire to become a school teacher, often immersing myself in pretend classroom scenarios. I mirrored the actions of my own teachers, emulating their style.”

As she matured, Mechelle refined her career aspirations, transitioning from teaching children to educating adults in corporate settings. “Remarkably, I found myself not too distant from my childhood dream—I am still teaching, albeit to a different audience. This transition allowed me to pivot my focus while staying true to the essence of my early aspirations,” she observes.

Before establishing Dr. Mechelle Roberthon Enterprise LLC, Mechelle sought experience in talent development. “I volunteered as a career development instructor at a community college’s GED program, teaching young adults aged 16 to 26 about resume building, successful interviewing, professional attire, and conflict resolution, several days a week.” She also dedicated time to the social non-profit sector, making a difference in the lives of troubled youth, aiding individuals with disabilities in securing employment, and assisting children in finding mentors.

Mechelle defines her greatest achievements with pride, saying, “My proudest accomplishment remains the positive impact I’ve made on others, and my passion lies in serving and empowering individuals along their journeys.”

“I am a person who believes in asking questions, in not conforming for the sake of conforming. I am deeply dissatisfied – about so many things, about injustice, about the way the world works – and in some ways, my dissatisfaction drives my storytelling.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nurturing Talent and Transforming Organizations

Mechelle delves into the growth and success of her business: “Dr. Mechelle Roberthon Enterprise, LLC is my umbrella organization for all my personal branding ventures. For years now, I’ve had my feet in two worlds: Working internally in a corporate role and working independently for myself. Her current internal corporate role is serving as Vice President of Student Services at Unitech Training Academy; a proprietary school offering entry-level allied health and IT programs. From the outset, my mission was crystal clear: to empower organizations with cutting-edge strategies that fostered emergent talent and HR excellence.”

The journey began around 2015, as Mechelle deliberately crafted her professional brand through pro bono speaking engagements. “My presentations at conferences and workforce development workshops covered an array of topics, including social media proficiency, career advancement strategies, situational leadership, and effective networking methodologies. This phase served as a pivotal foundation for my subsequent trajectory,” she elaborates.

As Mechelle’s expertise gained recognition, it led to paid speaking engagements across membership associations, conferences, and contracted projects within corporate spheres. This recognition facilitated her transition into consulting. The pivotal moment arrived with her inaugural paid consulting project, wherein she partnered with a non-profit organization to address multifaceted workplace culture challenges encompassing issues like high turnover rates, diminished employee morale, and fostering enhanced employee engagement.

This initial consulting success marked the inception of a journey into providing strategic solutions for organizational challenges, propelling Mechelle into a realm where her insights and interventions could significantly impact workplace environments, steering them toward positive transformations and sustainable growth.

Navigating Challenges as a Leader in Diverse Work Environments

Reflecting on the hurdles she faced as a young leader, Mechelle shares her experiences: “I assumed leadership roles at a young age. I endured constant jokes about my age. There were constant social references outside of my understanding (I.e. music, television shows, movies, upbringing/parenting styles, etc.) and then more jokes followed due to my incompetence around those references.”

She recounts a specific incident at a local conference: “During the keynote session, he made an age-related joke directly to me. In his joke, he spoke in a condescending child-like voice towards me to mimic explaining a social reference that everyone of a certain age or older understood. He put his hands on his knees and bent down to explain this to me as if a parent were speaking to their young child. This was in front of all of the attendees, and yes everyone laughed. I remember feeling uncomfortable and annoyed.”

Another ongoing challenge Mechelle faces is being one of the few Black women in predominantly White work environments: “I’ve felt responsible to represent the voice of all Black employees because I was the only Black employee in a space where a crucial decision was being made or a conversation was being had about said employees. That always feels heavy!”

She further discusses the unspoken competition and barriers with fellow Black women and non-people of color: “Sometimes there is even unspoken competition or barriers with fellow Black women. That’s a challenge I don’t typically expect and it’s tiresome when I do because it’s such an unnecessary struggle. I’ve been ignored in a room full of non-people of color where they ignored my explicit opinions by not even acknowledging me. I have also spoken out against racist jokes and comments.”

Despite these challenges, Mechelle emphasizes the growth they brought: “It’s been difficult to continuously show up as my full authentic self without fear of rejection or expected assimilation to dominant culture norms. These challenges have significantly strengthened my confidence to voice concerns when something troubles me and to advocate against injustices. Undoubtedly, they have bolstered my resilience and fortified my grit.”

“The contest is a lion fight. So chin up, put your shoulders back, walk proud, and strut a little. Don’t lick your wounds. Celebrate them. The scars you bear are the sign of a competitor. You’re in a lion’s fight. Just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean you don’t know how to roar.” – Chief Richard Webber, Grey’s Anatomy

Overcoming Roadblocks on a Journey of Growth and Resilience

Mechelle reflects on setbacks in her professional journey and shares a specific instance related to her business: “Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, both at your peak and in challenging moments, is crucial. Identifying your gifts saves valuable time, money, and energy. When I encountered hurdles in graphic design for my business, I realized it wasn’t my forte. My initial logo lacked appeal and sophistication. Hiring a graphic designer became a game-changer, allowing my brand representation—logo, website, and business cards—to reflect professionalism and boost my confidence. I learned the importance of embracing others’ strengths instead of trying to transform my weaknesses.”

Mechelle also discusses challenges in her academic pursuits: “Additionally, every academic pursuit came with its obstacles: I worked full-time pursuing all three degrees, I received tough feedback from professors and classmates, sometimes I dealt with unclear tasks, and financial constraints to continue affording my educational pursuits.” Having a Bachelor’s degree (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Master’s degree (Capella University), and a Doctorate degree (Baylor University) came with a lot of sweat equity. Being proud alumni of these universities were harvest moments for Mechelle. She sowed seeds by late night studying, missing social events, crying out of frustration, and learning complex concepts.  She also emphasizes the lesson learned about the demands of worthwhile achievements: “I discovered that worthwhile achievements demand sacrifices. I was intentional in my prayer time to God about what my limitations were and what I needed. Relying on my support network for encouragement and assistance became pivotal in overcoming challenges.”

Becoming A Trailblazer in Talent Development

Mechelle’s contributions to the talent development industry include being a founding member and active participant in Andy Storch’s Talent Development Think Tank community, being a national and local member of the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and having served on the board of directors for five consecutive years for the very first ATD chapter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I’m proud to say that my board service includes me being president of the chapter in 2021,” she declares.

Mechelle highlights her international engagements and her impact on internal roles: “I also speak on various talent development topics internationally through conferences and podcasts, advising clients one-on-one to improve their learning and development practices. With every internal role I commit to, I truly give it my all. With my previous employer, I helped to secure a $196,000 training grant that afforded all of our team members free personal and professional development classes for one year.”

Enumerating her published works, Mechelle states, “My dissertation was published with ProQuest and is titled, Getting to ‘The Room Where It Happens:’ A Transformative Qualitative Collective Case Study of Black Women Holding and Pursuing Senior and Executive Leadership Roles (Not available to purchase or download until November 2024). I also published a solo magazine issue, TD At Work, with the Association of Talent Development (Vol. 37, Issue 2009, September 2020). The issue is titled, ‘Manage Well, Both Up and Down’. I have published expert commentary in a research report through the Association of Talent Development titled, ‘Developing Virtual Managers: Driving Excellence From Afar’.”

Sharing her word to define herself, Mechelle concludes: “If I had to sum myself up in one word, it would be ‘action-oriented.’ Achieving my goals is instinctual, and I’m driven to take concrete steps towards making things happen. I thrive on taking action to accomplish what I’ve set out to do — it’s simply how I operate.”

Navigating The Staircase With Ambition And Resilience

Reflecting on her journey as a woman in leadership, Mechelle draws inspiration from Langston Hughes’ poem ‘Mother to Son’ where he describes the tumultuous journey of a woman while she is encouraging her son to never give up.

She elaborates on the metaphorical staircase in Hughes’ poem: “In the poem, Hughes used the metaphor of a staircase to describe the mom’s journey. He referenced the conditions of the stairs, some being carpeted and some having splinters. Hughes described how every turn up the stairs presented unknown challenges including not being able to see in the dark. The mom repeats the phrase, ‘Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.’”

Drawing parallels to her own experiences, Mechelle shares: “Similarly, I’ve had challenges being seen and understood by others, getting jobs I desired, being ignored, being passed up for promotions, being unsupported by my leaders and colleagues, and so much more.”

Despite the challenges, Mechelle notes her successes with getting the jobs of her dreams, getting promotions and awards that she didn’t see coming, building really meaningful relationships with people outside of her normal circle of friends, getting opportunities to prove herself through stretch assignments, and speaking on some of the best stages with the best audiences. Summing up her journey, Mechelle defines it as “one of ambition and resilience.”

“The success of every woman should be an inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re courageous, be strong, be extremely kind, and above all, be humble.” –  Serena Williams

A Multifaceted CEO with Diverse Roles and Impactful Motivation

Discussing her major roles and responsibilities as CEO at Dr. Mechelle Roberthon Enterprise LLC, Mechelle shares: “My role encompasses a diverse spectrum of tasks, including event planning, client relations, social media engagement, and fostering partnerships. That encompasses evaluating invitations to speak at various events. This involves carefully considering the suitability and alignment of these requests with my expertise and schedule. Additionally, I curate tailored content specifically crafted for these speaking engagements, ensuring the material is both relevant and impactful for the audience.”

Beyond this, Mechelle’s duties also encompass engaging in 1-1 client calls, where she addresses their needs and offers guidance on talent development, skills development, inclusive employee practices, and learning technology optimization to help enhance workforce potential and HR practices within companies. She also maintains active engagement on social media platforms through content sharing and fostering meaningful connections with her audience. Additionally, Mechelle actively participates in partnership meetings to explore opportunities for collaboration with other talent development and HR professionals.

On the topic of maintaining motivation for herself and her team, Mechelle reveals, “Constant motivation is a struggle! I keep myself motivated by praying to God, reading the Bible, talking with close friends, doing business planning and brainstorming, driving, listening to music or a good podcast, eating good food, and watching a good show or movie. I’m always looking for inspirational things to keep me motivated. I follow positive influencers and professionals on social media like Dr. Caroline Leaf, Jackie Hill Perry, and Dr. Dharius Daniels. Sometimes just buying organizational tools motivates me because they help to bring order to my sometimes chaotic life.”

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” – Shirley Chisolm

Harmonizing Life’s Symphony and Embarking on a Thrilling Roadmap for Tomorrow

Describing her daily life in Lafayette, Louisiana, Mechelle shares, “A regular day in my life includes waking to read a devotional and the Bible, prayer time with God, getting ready for work, during my corporate work day I spend a lot of time in meetings/ reading and responding to emails/ working on follow up tasks from meetings and special requests/ strategic planning with my direct reports. After work, I relax a little, and then I work on my entrepreneurial business. This may look like conducting discovery calls with clients, creating content for upcoming speaking engagements, and business planning. I’m very involved in my local community. Sometimes after work, I attend civic engagements and committee meetings.”

Discussing her approach to balancing personal and professional life, Mechelle notes, “To achieve a healthier harmony between my personal and professional life, I’ve established clear boundaries regarding my time and commitments. Lately, I’ve taken steps to avoid overcommitting myself. This involves being more selective about taking on clients, speaking engagements, and civic duties. I’ve let go of the pressure to attend every event or say yes to every opportunity for fear of missing out. The sense of freedom that comes with this change is amazing!”

Looking ahead, Mechelle outlines her business roadmap: “Moving forward, I’m dedicated to amplifying my focus on my business. Presently, I’m in the process of restructuring my services, envisioning a fresh approach through diverse business advisory packages. I also plan to host learning experiences, and write books centered on conversations and observations about the workplace, talent development best practices, and leadership strategies.”

She delves into her personal goals, saying, “In the years ahead, I’m committed to continuing my therapeutic journey for personal growth. I’m also sticking to spending quality time with my husband, friends, and family, exploring new places, sharing laughs, lending a helping hand, and savoring every moment!”

To aspiring female leaders and entrepreneurs, Mechelle offers this sage advice: “Start by getting organized. Define the leader you aspire to be, seek out mentors to guide you, and make a list of ways to grow—webinars, conferences, books, you name it. Then, take action! Goals are just wishes without action steps. Every big achievement is a sum of small, consistent efforts.” She concludes with a reminder to be kind to oneself: “Lastly, be kind to yourself. It’s not about running on a never-ending treadmill. Take breaks, learn from mistakes, and keep moving forward. Remember, I’m here rooting for you every step of the way!”


In the symphony of Dr. Mechelle Roberthon’s journey, we find inspiration akin to Serena’s call for mutual elevation, Shirley’s advocacy for progress through action, and Chimamanda’s dissatisfaction that fuels storytelling. Her commitment to balance, resilience, and growth reverberates with the collective wisdom of these trailblazing women.

As Mechelle continues on her thrilling roadmap for tomorrow, her story stands as a testament to the transformative power of courage, strength, kindness, humility, and the relentless pursuit of progress. In the spirit of these remarkable women, Mechelle’s narrative becomes not just her own but a shared anthem, urging us all to ask questions, challenge norms, and celebrate the success and resilience that define every woman’s journey.