Capstone On-Campus Management (COCM) is proud to announce this year’s Womxn’s Alliance Award for Leadership recipient, Vallyn Merrick. Award recipients are higher education leaders in the student housing profession and beyond, who prioritize educating and engaging with other womxn leaders nationwide. This award recognizes an individual who cultivates connections for womxn, navigates barriers through education & empowerment, supports womxn and celebrates the contributions, challenges, and success of womxn.
Vallyn Merrick is a regional manager at COCM and has over 15 years of experience in business management and residential life. In her current role, Vallyn manages 16 residential buildings across 6 universities. Prior to this position she worked as Director of Affiliated Housing at Bowie State University, Director of Housing at Coppin State University, and Community Director at Howard University. In her roles she has enhanced business opportunities with current clients and assisted with the development of the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community at Bowie State University. She is a proven leader with experience in both supervisory and team-oriented roles and stands out in her ability to navigate campus environments, tailor leadership styles and coach staff members to meet the needs of varying facilities.
Director of Housing Operations at Norfolk State University, Mecca Marsh, commented, “As one of the few womxn of color in leadership at COCM, Vallyn Merrick embodies this award. Vallyn is a woman who demonstrates exemplary leadership and has made significant contributions to her students, her team, the client, and the company. She has not only earned the respect of her superiors to rise as a regional manager and role model, but she has also earned the admiration of her peers. She empowers and supports other women in her workplace. She emphasizes building honest relationships, values input, has the mindset of an entrepreneur, and leads by example. She is changing the landscape in which women serve. She is also a woman who uses her voice to raise the bar for black women to be seen, heard, and valued. She is a role model and advocate for change. Her work is respected and recognized.”
Another colleague, Rafael Cordwell the Director of Affiliated Housing at Towson Millennium Hall, Paca and Tubman Houses, added, “Vallyn is a strong advocate for women within COCM. She is constantly encouraging the women of our company to challenge themselves by developing new relationships, trying new professional developments, and stepping into their greatness. Vallyn serves as a great mentor to women of color by encouraging them, coaching them, advocating for them, and recognizing their talents and skills.”
The COCM Womxn’s Alliance will continue to present the Womxn’s Leadership award annually to a member of the higher education community. COCM works with 35 campuses filled with talented, intelligent, and inspiring womxn. The Alliance looks forward to recognizing womxn who live the goals of the Alliance in their own community and for their students.
Inspired by professional organizations such as the Womxn’s Leadership Institute (WLI) from the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), COCM created the Womxn’s Alliance in 2012 to assist in supporting and promoting womxn’s issues in the workplace and personally.
“There are some women you cross paths within life that impact you in ways you’d never imagine,” said Melynda Davis, Director of Housing at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Chair-Elect of the Women’s Alliance Council “These women push us out of our comfort zones and challenge us to do things differently, allowing us to be the change we want to see.”
Capstone On Campus Management (COCM) is proud to have the Womxn’s Alliance to educate and engage not only within COCM but those in higher education. In 2019, COCM rebranded the womxn’s group to include a Chair, Chair Elect, Historian, Content Lead, Communication Lead and advisor. These eight womxn are collaborating to: cultivate connections for womxn, identify and navigate barriers through education and empowerment, encourage and support womxn in current and new initiatives and recognize and celebrate the contributions, challenges, and success of womxn. Efforts of the Alliance have included hosting monthly conversations on sponsorship, evaluation basis, workplace negotiation, “2nd shift,” executive presence, sexual harassment and discrimination and political awareness.
COCM, the company behind the Womxn’s Alliance is made up of a talented group of student housing professionals focused on providing management and consulting services for on-campus housing communities. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, they have been recognized as the leading provider of on-campus, third-party management services by Student Housing Business magazine two consecutive years. Their student housing professionals focus on helping their partners leverage campus housing to do greater things: recruit and retain students as well as enhance student success and satisfaction. COCM’s current portfolio serves over 33,000 students at 35 campuses across the United States.
For more information on COCM, please visit cocm.com