Name: Meg McElwain
Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class: 29
Title/Company: Mitchell’s Fund, Executive Director
Hometown: Grenada, Mississippi
If you could describe your Leadership Charlotte experience in three words or phrases what would they be? Leadership Charlotte was a pivotal point for me. I had been in Charlotte for ten years and a small business owner for five years. I worked all the time so most of my relationships were with professionals of the Baby Boomer generation. LC helped me build a solid group of friends, who now are the first I call to connect on business or community issues.
I keep the letter that I wrote to myself at the closing retreat in my safe and have read it a couple of times since my LC experience. I pulled it out for this interview. This excerpt is especially meaningful to me.
“Don’t stop being open and sharing yourself with others. Your friends at Leadership Charlotte have confirmed that this characteristic is part of what makes you special.”
Six years after I wrote that, in 2014, my two-year-old son Mitchell died from cancer. I committed even further to myself that I would be completely authentic in every way, in every thing that I do for the rest of my life. I am outspoken and independent. I was raised in The Deep South. I moved to Charlotte after graduation from Ole Miss. I am direct in my approach. I despise business politics. I no longer hide my Southern accent or drawl. I like to use Southern vernacular and idioms. As the old saying goes, “What you see, is what you get.”
What program day stands out in your memory and why? Religion Day on the campus of Temple Beth El stands out most in my memory. I’m a small town girl who did not have much education about the Jewish faith. I really enjoyed learning from my classmate, Michael Koss, and being a visitor at such a beautiful place.
What lesson did you learn from your experience in Leadership Charlotte? I learned that being authentic and transparent is okay and lends to greater credibility among other authentic leaders.
Favorite nonprofit or community organization in Charlotte and why: Mitchell’s Fund and our new non-profit counseling center, of course!
Mitchell’s House is a project of Mitchell’s Fund and a safe place offering counseling and play therapy services to children with serious illnesses, their parents and siblings. When a child is diagnosed, it can impact the entire family who can become anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Mitchell’s House offers services regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
Our licensed clinicians and play therapists provide services like:
- Trauma informed therapy and coping skills
- Medical play, art and sand tray therapy
- Sibling and parent support groups
- Procedural preparation and end of life therapy
Mitchell’s House fills a gap in services. It is the first-of-its-kind, a nonprofit with licensed counselors and services for children and families who experience medical trauma. We have strong partnerships with Kids Path, the pediatric hospice service line of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Charlotte Region, Levine Children’s, Hemby Children’s Hospital and the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant. Our referrals for clients are primarily from these medical facilities.
Greatest personal accomplishment and why: My living son, Frank Turner, IV, is my greatest accomplishment. He struggled with grief for his brother and a few years of transition from my divorce from his dad. Play therapists, great teachers, school counselors and leaders in my church, Myers Park United Methodist, have provided education and support for us. He is mature beyond his years in many ways. The elementary school years were hard for him. He found his people at Randolph Middle School. He will attend high school next year at Northwest School of the Arts as a piano major. I am so thankful for him and being his mama is my greatest joy and accomplishment.