MELA is thrilled to introduce two new teammates to our coalition partners

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The Mississippi Early Learning Alliance (MELA) is excited to announce two new members to the MELA team, Alexis Hicks and Mindy Phillips. Both Phillips and Hicks bring vital experience and connections to the important coalition-building work that MELA has undertaken for the past four years. Hicks has joined MELA in an entirely new role dedicated to advocacy and policy efforts, and Phillips fills the important position of managing our internal and external communications with our coalition partners and the broader early childhood community.

As the Director of Advocacy and Policy, Alexis Hicks will be vital in transforming coalition recommendations into tangible policy proposals. She will be key in connecting, engaging and educating decision-makers, leaders, and community influencers across Mississippi. Hicks will work closely with Mississippi Forum for the Future and other MELA programs to achieve the vision of a state-of-the-art Mississippi childcare system that supports Mississippi.

Hicks is a native of Hollandale, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s in Psychology, she received her master’s in Social Justice and Criminology from Delta State University. Over the years, she worked in numerous capacities serving systemically impacted populations across Mississippi. Hicks is involved in additional extracurricular activities that are focused on Mississippi’s underserved communities. She has also worked on public health initiatives and spearheaded advocacy campaigns to create sustainable change. “One of my greatest accomplishments was being selected to be a part of the inaugural cohort of Mississippi Women in the Lead,” Hicks said. Mississippi Women in the Lead is a leadership program designed to help Mississippi women become well-equipped to run for elected office and champion progressive and equitable public policies that impact the lives of girls, women, and other vulnerable populations across the state. She is passionate about bringing hope and restoration to children, families and communities affected by the criminal justice system.

Mindy Phillips’s role as the Director of Communications and Operations is to lead MELA’s work highlighting the successes of the Mississippi early childhood community. She will also oversee and execute the communications promoting Mississippi Early Learning Resources shared services site, a program for childcare and family care providers and raise awareness for the early childhood community about events and projects. 

Phillips is from Greenwood Springs, Mississippi, but she and her family have lived in the Jackson area for the past 13 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at the University of Southern Mississippi. All of her previous jobs had an element of public relations, but Phillips took her public relations career further at the Mississippi Pharmacists Association (MPhA) as the Director of Communications. Shortly after, Phillips became the sole employee of MPhA, where she worked closely with the Board of Directors to oversee all aspects of the association. “I am looking forward to working with MELA and our coalition partners. The future of Mississippi is in the hands of the children in our state. I believe a future national leader could be in the hands of a dedicated childcare provider today. All children deserve a chance to succeed, and it begins by giving a voice to the early childhood community,” Phillips said. 

Executive Director, Biz Harris said, “I am thrilled that these two leaders have joined our work, and I’m looking forward to introducing them in person to our coalition partners and others in the Mississippi early childhood community. Both women bring expertise that we need, and I am excited to see how their contributions increase our capacity to support systemic change for young children.”

Please join MELA in welcoming Alexis and Mindy to the Mississippi Early Childhood community, and learn more about their work and the work of MELA at To welcome them personally, email Alexis at Mindy at