Leah Melnik considers herself a connector.
As a position management and recruitment coordinator for the Facilities Management Division, she supports more than 800 staff members across 13 teams throughout their employment journeys.
“I’ve always loved to connect people with jobs or career ideas,” she said. “We have a saying that where you start here is not where you end. We want you to stay.”
Melnik joined the FMD team in May 2022, but her path to human resources was a little unconventional.
She’s pursued many career interests, from administrative services to entrepreneurship and even culinary school. Melnik holds associate degrees in culinary arts and business as well as a BBA. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in human resources and an MBA at Georgia Southwestern.
Melnik worked for Athens-Clarke County School District for more than a decade and has held positions at several UGA colleges and units since 2014, including University Housing, the Mary Frances Early College of Education and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Although she has various interests and experiences, she has consistently focused on elevating those around her. When she came across the job posting for her current role, she knew it would be a perfect fit.
“My favorite thing is being a resource for others. That’s what I love about this job,” she said. “I like the support that human resources offers. You know there’s a consistent person and landing point to go to for any questions or issues, and they’re always going to be there for you.”
Much of Melnik’s day-to-day involves reviewing and updating positions in the UGAJobs platform, ensuring fairness and consistency in hiring proposals within the department and USG’s classification system, and responding to tickets submitted through the FMD HR help desk. She also provides strategic guidance for departments looking to hire or modify job descriptions for team members. And if she doesn’t have the answer, she knows someone who does.
Melnik mostly operates independently of the central University Human Resources team. She manages job postings, hiring procedures and position changes in FMD from beginning to end, consulting with Human Resources on specific questions or requests where necessary. But with this independence comes some complex requests.
Within the first few weeks of joining FMD, Melnik’s knowledge, skills and abilities were put to the test when an employee approached her for help.
“She had contacted HR first, and they sent her to her unit, so they thought we were capable,” Melnik said. “It was way out of my wheelhouse at the time, but I told her I could try.”
Melnik stayed with the employee for several hours, making calls and inquiries to get answers to questions about benefits and pay. She provided the employee with the necessary information and additional resources to support her down the road.
“In HR, we’re here to support you,” she said. “Sometimes, you get that one person who helps you, and you never forget them. No matter what the problem is, you call them first. I thought, I’m going to be that person for her.”
Melnik prides herself on offering personalized service to everyone she encounters and making sure to follow up regularly. Communication is key to building trust and strong relationships, she said.
“I really enjoy helping people find their success, even if I’m just a tiny part of that,” Melnik said.