Alumnus Marriel Hardy named one of Delta Business Journal’s Top Minority Leaders of 2019

One of Alcorn State University’s young alumni was recently acknowledged for making incredible strides in leadership in the Mississippi Delta.

Marriel Hardy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2010, was named one of Delta Business Journal’s Top Minority Leaders of 2019 in its November magazine. The monthly publication is designed to encompass business news and trends, agri-business news and trends, profiles of upwardly mobile innovators and the businesses they run, and much more. For almost two years, Hardy has led Coahoma Community College’s Office of Communications and Marketing in Clarksdale, Mississippi. 

The honor is indicative of the extraordinary job that Hardy and his team have done during his tenure. He acknowledges his appreciation for the magazine’s recognition.

“It is truly an honor being recognized, but also unexpected,” said Hardy. “To say this distinction humbles me is an understatement. Sometimes in life, you don’t always receive accolades or kudos for the work that you do. So, this recognition serves as a good indicator that the work that we are doing here at Coahoma Community College is effective. That is so rewarding and worthwhile.”

In his leadership role at Coahoma, Hardy prides himself on the camaraderie he’s built with his team. He values servant leadership and earning the trust of his employees by setting a positive example for them.

“Being a leader means being a servant. If a person is not willing to be on a mission of service, they will never be an effective leader. In my role, I try my best to work hand-in-hand with my team and never ask of them what I would not be willing to do myself. Leadership is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Having this responsibility has grown a high level of care and concern for the work that I do. I hope that my actions and the direction in which I steer my team is making meaningful impacts.”

Throughout his career, Hardy has learned useful leadership skills that he applies to his daily professional dealings. He acknowledges the leaders from his time as an employee at Alcorn, who guided him and provided him with valuable management abilities.

“As a professional, I find that there are leadership examples around you every day. I have been fortunate to work under the direction of some stellar leaders over the years. Specifically, at Alcorn, I served under several great leaders. Each person gave me a piece of them that I have carried with me to this day. Whether it’s having a caring nature, being detail-oriented, or knowing when to be stern and assertive, I have had great role models and examples over the years.”

Being a leader also presents challenges that one must hurdle. Hardy is thankful to have influential professionals by his side to help him overcome inevitable obstacles.

“I face many challenges. Making sure that everyone buys into the unit’s vision can be daunting. That is why I feel fortunate to have a network of mentors and the support of Coahoma’s President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner. He pushes me to surpass the obstacles and roadblocks.”

In facing his challenges, Hardy identifies with a younger generation that faces challenges every day. He hopes to inspire them with his perseverance and by motivating them to follow their dreams no matter the circumstances.

“I hope that I can be an example for young people. I have experienced setbacks, and I haven’t always made the best choices, but I didn’t let those situations stifle my progression. Young people today face so many challenges. That is why I volunteer as a mentor and make myself available to young people. I genuinely believe that you can accomplish anything if you work hard, stay focused, and believe in yourself. That is something that I want all young people to know.”

Having a reliable support system and confidence in their guidance makes Hardy’s job much easier. These qualities allow him to focus on his favorite part of his career, which is making Coahoma Community College into a staple in college media.

“I enjoy energizing my team to support the college in all of its efforts. When I think back to where we’ve come, I get excited about the next phase of this journey. We are becoming a contender in the realm of marketing and communications, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. Chronicling the success of Coahoma Community College is such worthwhile work. I have an affinity and love for supporting HBCUs.”

Despite emerging as a promising young leader and journalist, Hardy still sees room for improvement. He aspires to become even better in all aspects of his career.

“I hope to continue to grow and mature professionally. I want to build upon the foundation that has been laid here at Coahoma. In the past, we’ve seen great successes here, but we can do more. I aspire to continue to aid this dynamic institution to grow by ramping up the identity standards of the college, share newsworthy highlights with our constituents, and increase our internal communications efforts. There is much to be done, and we’re just getting started on the path to what I think is genuinely transformational change.”