As a freshman at Cameron University, Angel Melvin, founder and CEO of Light Alive Marketing, already had a skill set that proved she was ready to promote local businesses. However, at that time, building an innovative marketing team herself wasn’t what she had envisioned.
Melvin practiced and expanded on many cornerstone concepts she learned at Cameron, and she is grateful for the experience she has acquired by connecting with members of the community, she said. As her freelance workload increased, she began recruiting creative team members.
“Professor (Don) Aguilar knew of my abilities and did everything he could to help me excel,” said Melvin. “He recommended me to Hossein Moini at Adventure Travel, and having someone as supportive as Moini as my first client set me up for real-world experience.”
By “tinkering” in design and HTML coding, when digital media was still in its infancy, Melvin was able to let her creativity flow. “Digital design was not a thing when I graduated high school,” she said. “It wasn’t like web design or graphic design is now; those weren't available at that time. I had to wait for technology to catch up.”
Since its inception, the firm has gone from weekly “sweatpants and hoodies” meetings in Melvin’s home to 13 team players who each specialize in his/her own skillset to create the perfect marketing experience for clients.
In recruiting new talent, Melvin credits much of her business’ accomplishments to her team, noting that Melanie Barfield, senior multimedia designer and Melvin’s “right hand”, has been a tremendous asset since day one.
“Bringing someone on board shouldn't be challenging,” she said. “I have certain standards to give our clients because I want our clients to have a great product and a great experience. Everyone on the team understands that.”
Believing in word-of-mouth publicity and being connected to local organizations and initiatives have also helped the business develop, said Melvin. After being introduced to some local organizations and becoming more involved in the community, in 2018, Light Alive needed a brick-and-mortar presence.
With new clientele and qualified members joining the team, the company quickly outgrew their previous location and moved operations to Lawton’s newest professional venture, One Degree Collaboration, a concept Melvin supports.
“One Degree is a conglomeration of professional businesses that complement one another by providing resources and tools to support other businesses,” said Melvin. As part of One Degree’s objective, starting in January, the marketing agency is going to teach classes and hold workshops to give useful tools to help local businesses thrive, she added.
Melvin grew up in Germany and received a degree in early childhood education from Fach-hochschule für Sozialwesen, BadKreuznach. Moving to the U.S.with her husband and kids, Melvin decided to attend Cameron, where she earned associate's and bachelor’s degrees in multimedia design, graduating cum laude and magna cum laude, respectively.
Her appreciation of higher education stems from her parents, she said. Her father, a highly respected environmental engineer, who also became a professor of environmental science, traveled the globe as companies requested him to work on their systems. “I’ve always admired his career and success,” said Melvin. “He’s retired now, but he still works as a consultant for companies who want to borrow his expertise.”
Melvin’s mother earned a degree in early childhood education and was an educator for a short time, but eventually chose to be astay-at-home mom primarily involved with the church and community projects, said Melvin.
Twenty years ago, Melvin and husband Steven were married while he was stationed in Germany, and began their family.
“Steven is a software analyst who just started working at Tinker Air Force Base,” said Melvin. “Our daughter Selina is a very creative and talented multimedia designer who is part of the Light Alive team, and Dylan is a senior at Elgin. He is concurrently enrolled at Cameron and is interested in physical therapy,” she beamed.
Light Alive provides marketing services to Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma, Hilliary Communications, Liberty National Bank, EZ GO, Elgin Realty, as well as nonprofit initiatives such as Embrace Hope Southwest Oklahoma, Leadership Lawton, and Women That Vote.
“Our main goal as a business is to help other businesses and organizations grow,” said Melvin. “It’s rewarding to be able to provide the tools and resources that help clients get to their next level.”
This year the company received awards from three international media organizations: the Hermes Creative Award for its Spirit of Survival Marathon logo design, the Communicator Award for print distinction, and the Summit International Award for the design of the Oklahoma Yellow Dot Program’s website. Locally, the company was also nominated for Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce’s Rising Star Award.
“More collaboration between businesses and organizations would create an environment for jobs and opportunity,” she said.“There are great businesses and organizations in southwest Oklahoma who are already doing a lot for the communities.”
Melvin, a graduate of Leadership Lawton Class 30, serves as the marketing chair for Lawton Business Women and is on Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce’s Ware District Committee. She also supports Elgin’s Community Champions and Winter Wishes.
Melvin and the Light Alive team proudly supported this year's Embrace Hope Southwest Oklahoma as well as Spirit of Survival which supports Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma. Unfortunately, both initiatives were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Managing the challenges of launching a new business and experiencing growth, as well as facing an unprecedented outbreak, Melvin is optimistic about what lies ahead for her business, community, and southwest Oklahoma.
“There’s been a lot of things happen to get us to where we are today,” said Melvin. “It’s been an amazing journey, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”