How Michelline Hall is Driving Change and Impacting the Community

As the Chief Programming Officer for the Academy Center of the Arts, co-owner of Blackwater Branding, President of the Junior League of Lynchburg, wife, and mother, Michelline Hall is using her experiences and skills to change the local community for the better. Known for using her big-picture skills, she’s led many projects to benefit the Lynchburg community.

Within her work, Hall has learned that respecting and understanding the past efforts and contributions of others is one of the keys to creating a new path forward to facilitate current community needs. Listening to the needs of the community, she recently chaired a committee that revitalized the Day at the Park festival after a three-year hiatus. Her goal was to leverage successful events from the past to form new opportunities for local residents because it’s “crucial to continue organizing and promoting free family-friendly events that foster community closeness and provide reasons for celebration.”

One of Hall’s driving passions is her work to end period poverty—insufficient access to menstrual products, education, and sanitation facilities—in Central Virginia with the Junior League of Lynchburg. She was drawn to the women-led non-profit group because of its extensive community involvement in a diverse range of organizations that they founded or supported. Stepping into a leadership role within the organization was a natural fit for her and allowed her to use her skills and empathy to help others grow and thrive.

With such a rich leadership background in her volunteer work and business experience, Hall explained, “Entrepreneurship taught me to wear many hats and approach projects from different perspectives.

My experience in photography in particular has honed my project management skills and creativity, which I now apply in my current role.”

Hall’s leadership style throughout her career as an art instructor, photographer, branding expert, and as the Chief Programming Officer at the Academy Center of the Arts has long been characterized by warmth, openness, and honesty.

“I tend to adopt a democratic and collaborative approach, although I recognize the necessity of making difficult decisions to provide guidance when needed,” she said. “As a big-picture thinker, I value the input of detail-oriented individuals to ensure a balanced perspective. I prioritize inclusivity in my approach and maintain clear and direct communication with others.”

For Hall, communication and problem-solving are based on her drive to listen to hear the person speaking and not just to hear to respond. She actively works to gain insight into people and their needs so she—and those she works with—can be more effective and efficient at building up others.

As a champion of women in the community, Hall’s efforts to empower unique voices aren’t limited to those she works with in the community but also extend to her daughter, Keziah. She’s teaching her daughter to embrace her authentic self without fear so she can learn how to best serve the community around her.

“Keziah embodies strength, humor, and compassion; qualities I hope she will carry with her throughout her life,” Hall said. “My wish is for her to remain actively engaged in her community, spreading love and compassion wherever she goes. I encourage her, and others in her generation, to tackle challenges with perseverance, knowing that no obstacle is insurmountable. May she always recognize her responsibility to serve others and contribute to the solutions for community challenges.”

Living her life as a very clear example of valuing and giving back to the community, Hall also serves on the Lynchburg Museum Board, Jubilee Family Development Center Advisory Board, and the Poplar Forest African American Advisory Committee. She’s also a Master of Education student at Randolph College and will be finishing her degree over the summer.

“Each challenge, setback, and failure serves as a catalyst for growth,” Hall said of the lessons she’s learned through her work. “These experiences have equipped me with invaluable lessons, enhancing my preparedness, and expanding my ability to ask insightful questions, and more. Despite their discomfort, challenges are often the crucible where our leadership skills are honed, surpassing the lessons of unending success.”

Hall’s unique voice is a valuable asset to the Lynchburg area as she continues her insightful work in the community.