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NEWTON GENZ: Against the odds, Melanie Coltharp lets nothing stand in her way
Melanie Coltharp - photo by Special Photo

Melanie Coltharp is a 2020 honors graduate of Alcovy High School. She excelled so well in the classroom that she dually enrolled during her junior and senior years at Alcovy, which gave her the jump on finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Georgia State. 

At just 20 years old, she is a business manager who oversees the operations of multiple companies in the Covington/Newton County area, including The Social Goat, The Selfie Studio, East Georgia Tax and East Georgia Probation just to name a few. 

She’s a President’s List Scholar and a registered tax preparer and notary. But the thing she says she’s most proud of is how she actually went about securing work with a local business owner who owns multiple companies. 

“It may seem silly, but I think finding this job with Jennifer Hartman has been my biggest accomplishment,” Coltharp said. “I stepped out of my comfort zone and walked into her office and told her about myself and how I’d love to work with her, and almost three years later, here I am. She’s opened so many doors and has taught me so many things.” 

Believe it or not, a career in business wasn’t her first interest. Coltharp says the turning point came when she was preparing to switch her major to something in the medical field. 

“But my boss told me how much she liked me working for her and that she’d like me to take on more,” she said. “I enjoyed the work, so I decided to work towards a business major while learning as much as I could from her.”

On a normal day, Melanie handles each company’s bookkeeping, she collects sales receipts and paperwork for monthly filings and reports and helps keep things organized, in addition to the work she does as a tax return preparer. 

But what makes her story powerful is how she’s accomplished so much despite battling personal obstacles.

Melanie found out in the fifth grade that she had scoliosis. 

“I was growing so rapidly there was nothing my doctor could really do that would be beneficial or sane,” she said. “So we monitored it until I stopped growing so I could have the surgery.” 

By that time, Melanie’s spine curve increased by 50 degrees and her spine was rotating. She had reconstructive surgery in the seventh grade which meant a reduction in some of the activities she loved. 

“I needed help doing a lot of things for a while, and it was just hard,” she said. “I missed out on some sports and activities that year, but even though I couldn’t actively play, I still strived to be on the field supporting my team.” 

She did admit that her desire to not give up cheer throughout high school caused her to “push my limits.” But it also birthed a resolve in her that ensures she’s not easy to give up on anything she wants to do. She’s seen that mentality carry over into her work as a budding businesswoman. 

“One day, I’d like to open a company or two of my own and have something I could one day pass on to my kids,” she said. “I also would really like to become a mentor to other young leaders, helping them find their passion and helping them succeed in life, despite hardships. I want to give the same kind of guidance that I’ve received.” 

She’s also looking forward to learning about the other young businessmen and women, leaders and entrepreneurs in the area. 

“I think recognizing young leaders will be beneficial to our community’s business owners, seeing what potential lies in their future employees. It needs to be shown that there are young leaders around with great potential who strive for success no matter what.”