A visit with Melanie Denney feels like coming home. Her gentle heart and open arms epitomize friendliness and generosity, while her laid-back humor puts any visitor at ease. Sit down with her to tell her your story, and she’ll share hers with you.
One of the four children of Charlene and Dickie Denney, Melanie comes from modest beginnings. While her mom stayed at home taking care of the children and the household, her dad, a skilled laborer, worked to provide. He could do just about anything mechanical, Melanie says. He was a hands-on kind of guy.
“I got that from him,” she reminisces. “I used to like to get things and not read the instructions and put them together just to test myself. And daddy was that way. My dad was so smart.”
When Melanie was still young, she remembers her dad working so hard to provide for the family and mom working just as hard being home with four children. He was working for a mechanical contractor and one day her mom said, “Dickie, you can do anything, and we should start our own general contracting business,” and that’s how Peachtree Mechanical, Inc was born. They both put in blood, sweat, and tears to make it work. “We all work hard as a family business. My mama, brothers, myself, and my sister in Dallas, Texas. It’s in the blood…and we always remember Daddy telling us, ‘Never say you can’t!’”
So the Denney family found a piece of land and built their dream house, establishing roots in the area that was to be their forever home.
“We were so proud of it,” she remembers. “And mama and daddy were so proud to continue to raise us in a nice big home. They were becoming really successful. Just work, work, work. I remember mama burning the midnight oil, staying up teaching herself how to do the books for payroll and taxes. This was all new to her.”
Melanie couldn’t have asked for a better role model than her mom. “I’ve always watched my mom and been in awe of her, how she’s so smart, and how people love to talk to her because she’s such a savvy businesswoman. And I learned from her. She’s always told everyone, man or woman, but mostly women, ‘You can do it! You need to go into business and I believe you can do it.’ A lot of people would listen to her and go into business for themselves. She’s always empowering other women. I’ve just followed in her footsteps and tried to learn everything from her.”
As a teenager, Melanie started working with her parents at Peachtree Mechanical. “I learned the math pretty quickly and was handling all the books and doing payroll at 16. I’ve always worked, all my life. Just growing up and watching my parents in the business, I wanted to be like them. I wanted to have my own empire and be successful and be an entrepreneur myself,” Melanie says. So she did just that. While continuing to work full-time at her family’s business, Melanie started her jewelry company, Melanie D Designs, with great success and continues to customize unique pieces to satisfy her creative energy.
And though being a successful businesswoman takes a lot of energy, Melanie still makes time to support her charity of choice, Bloom, a Fayette County organization which provides support to Georgia’s foster children and their families. She’s served on the board of directors and has sponsored many of their events, like the annual Frocks & Rocks Charity Fashion Show. Her own son, Christian, now nine years old, was in foster care before Melanie and her husband, David, adopted him. “With Christian being adopted, why wouldn’t I? It just made sense. There was an immediate connection from the first meeting I had with them. And I wanted to leave a legacy for him in something that I could do to give it back, helping others and teaching him to do the same.”
Earlier this year, through her connections at Bloom and mutual friends, Melanie discovered the unique opportunity to become the new publisher of the magazine. She had heard that the magazine had stopped publishing and told her good friend at a lunch date, “I wonder why! It’s such a great magazine!” When her friend told her she should call to ask about it, she said without the slightest hesitation, “Ok, I’ll call! I don’t know anything about publishing a magazine, but I can do it.”
Backing down from a new challenge is not in Melanie’s repertoire. In her typical zealous and faithful way, she pulled over into a parking lot on the way home to make the phone call that would set the wheels in motion on the start of another journey. She just knew it was the right thing to do. “It was divine intervention. It was a God thing,” she says. “I don’t know why God put this in my life and I don’t like to question him, but I knew this is going to help create other jobs for other women.”
Melanie feels like every woman not only has a story, but they have that fire in their belly, and they want to do more. “They want to shine. And some need that guidance, that cheerleader, to say you can do this! You can do anything! I’m a believer in giving back and helping other people. And I like to empower other women.”
She also knows what it’s like to be down and trying to figure out what to do next. “I would tell other women who are taking a leap of faith: You have to work in silence and let success be your noise. And don’t listen to naysayers. Keep talking to God about it. And keep that flow, keep that momentum, and that fire in your heart and soul. And keep believing in yourself. Because ultimately you’re the only person that’s going to make it work. Nobody else is going to work it for you.”
She’s looking forward to being part of a team who will be sharing engaging stories from local women within the community. “I want to leave a footprint. I want this to have helped so many different people. I want women in the magazine who have great hearts; women who make other people shine with their spirit; women who raise other people up; women who might not have much, but they have it all. I want the magazine to inspire women. I want women to see it or look on the website and feel like they have that power within.”
She has found the perfect pathway to help women in her community. “How exciting it’s been. It’s made me happy doing something with other women involved.”
Strong family values, hard work, and a giving nature all run deep in the heart of Melanie Denney. She is your new best friend, your champion and your new publisher.
Melanie is a woman on a mission to inform, empower, and inspire Fayette women.