Melanie Husk used her creative talents and a UNF education to reinvent
herself throughout a career as a successful entrepreneur and an effective
Husk, who is vice president of marketing and communications with Baptist
Health, graduated from UNF in 1977 along with her soon-to-be husband, Gary. They
earned bachelor's degrees in graphic design and started their own design and
advertising business in Charleston, S.C.
"We decided to add up as many stress factors in our lives as we could. So we
got married, moved to another city and started a business all in the same
After establishing a successful Charleston business with a reputation for
creativity, Melanie and Gary decided to crack the Jacksonville market which was
dominated by a few big ad agencies at the time.
Returning to their hometown in 1982, Husk Jennings eventually employed more
than 30 staffers and boasted a roster of clients that included Dr. Pepper, CSX,
and Citibank Universal Card. The agency also assisted UNF in a successful
During the agency years, Husk said she found herself particularly attracted
to one field - health care. Baptist Health was one of her clients which she
characterized as "an incredibly well-run organization with an extraordinary
While running a PR agency the Husks were also raising a family. The Husks
have two daughters, Courtney and Abby. The family loves a host of outdoor
activities which they enjoy with their two dogs.
In 2005, Husk went through another transition from agency partner to hospital
executive. "I hit a point at which my internal compass was beginning to change."
She sees her role at Baptist Health as one in which she can use her talents to
make a difference in peoples' lives. At Baptist she is responsible for branding
and marketing as well as internal and external communications for the
five-hospital health care system.
Reviewing her career pursuits, Husk harkens back to her UNF education as her
touchstone. "UNF was incredibly innovative. Dave Porter and other professors in
the College of Arts and Sciences put me in a good position to succeed." Husk
attributes UNF with giving her and her husband the motivation to form a creative
Her involvement with UNF continues today. She has been a member of the UNF
Foundation Board since 1994 and in 2005 received the Outstanding Alumni
Those bonds have allowed Husk to watch the continued growth of UNF since her
graduation. "It's phenomenal to see what UNF has added to the community. I'm
very proud to be a graduate of UNF. Sometimes I stand back and feel a bit of
amazement about where it is today."
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