By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY – Yolanda Melville, an attorney for the Atlantic City high-powered law firm of Cooper Levenson and the national chair of the NAACP NEXTGEN alumni group, has been selected as a senior fellow at the Higher Heights Senior Leadership Fellowship Program, it was announced Thursday.

Melville joins 29 other African-American female leaders from around the country to participate in the nine-month nationwide program. Melville serves as legal redress chair of the NAACP Atlantic City branch, chairs Cooper Levenson’s diversity committee and serves a general counsel for various organizations.

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“Not too long ago, Black women were absent from the courtrooms, board rooms and even the frontlines of historic social justice movements,” Melville told Front Runner New Jersey. “Now, our skills and textured, cultural experiences are valued and specifically desired. The contributions of Black women have been, and will continue to be, vital to the advancement of all people. There is a real need to cultivate a cross-section of dynamic leaders throughout America.

“I have followed the work of Glynda Carr and the Higher Heights organization for many years. Higher Heights is the best (and to my knowledge, the only) organization with a targeted commitment to cultivating Black women leaders. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to join 29 phenomenal woman as the inaugural Fellowship class,” she continued.

The Higher Heights Leadership Fund is a national organization seeking to invest in Black women leadership. The inaugural leadership fellows program was created to give some of the top young African-American female leaders in the country the training to expand their careers and goals.

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“We are proud to bring together a superstar coaching and training team to execute this one-of-a-kind fellowship with Black women leaders at the center,” the organization said in a statement. “Working with Jessica Byrd and Three Point Strategies, Simone Ward, Dr. L. Toni Lewis, and an all-star team of Black women strategists, this program will seed leadership possibilities that will shape our world for years to come.”

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The training will offer senior level management skills strengthening, executive level coaching and mentorship, brand building, governing for transformation in expert public policy briefings and fundraising and budget management literacy.

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Melville has served as both moderator and nationally-recognized speaker on various topics, such as voting rights, housing and intergenerational leadership, and worked with today’s greatest civil rights leaders throughout the country.

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New Jersey Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, of Paterson, and Newark Board of Education member A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, the founder of the nonprofit SHE Wins Inc., were also selected for the fellowship.

Others selected for the Higher Heights fellowship include:

*Deidre Alexander, president, Women Educators of Color, Jackson, Miss.

*Chinita Allen, president, Cobb County Democratic Women, Cobb County, Ga.

*Portia Allen-Kyle, associate director of law and policy, The Voting Rights Lab, New York City

*Alicka Ampry-Samuel, city council member, New York City

*Dorcey Applyrs, chief city auditor, Albany, N.Y.

*Nicole Lester Arrindell, associate general counsel, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs

*Jasmine Banks, executive director, UnKoch My Campus, Fayetteville, Ark.

*Jennifer Blemur, director, Women Legislators’ Lobby, Washington, D.C.

*Karyn Bradford Coleman, chief of staff, Democratic Party of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.

*Jessica Estes, social worker, St. Louis, Mo.

*Bayliss Fiddiman, senior policy analyst, Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.

*DeDreana Freeman, city council member, Durham, N.C.

*Tawana Jacobs, public relations professional, Washington, D.C.

*Angela de Joseph, founder of Women of Color Roar, San Diego

*La’Tasha D. Mayes, president and chief executive, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Pittsburgh

* Tyi McCray, government affairs and strategic partnerships lead, Airbnb, Oakland

*Yvonne Miller, attorney, Washington, D.C.

*Nisha Randle, deputy communications director, Texas Democratic Party, Houston

*Dr. Tayanna Richardson, director of experiential education, Lake Erie College of Medicine School of Pharmacy, Erie, Pa.

*Jennifer Riley Collins, attorney, Jackson, Miss.

*Jasmine E. Sessoms, founder and president, She Can Win, Philadelphia

*Jalakoi Solomon, deputy national organizing director, Supermajority, Washington, D.C.

*Kerene N. Tayloe, director of federal legislative affairs, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Washington, D.C.

*Tiffani Teachey, mechanical engineer, Winston-Salem, N.C.

*Markasa Tucker, director of the African American Roundtable (AART), Milwaukee, Wis.

*Nia Weeks, founder and executive director, Citizen SHE United, New Orleans

*Shaundra Young Scott, director of voter protection, South Carolina Democratic Party, Columbia, S.C.

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