Above (from left): Joanna Lau, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, Barbara Melvin and Katarina Fjording at the Women for Women Summit.

On Thursday, June 23, 2022, Barbara Melvin, COO of South Carolina Ports, was awarded the Woman of Courage Award at the Second Annual Women for Women summit hosted by the College of Charleston School of Business. The award honors a woman who is a proven and impactful leader who has made a significant achievement in business, the military or politics.

The mission of the summit is to “celebrate, elevate, share and connect with women from across South Carolina.” Co-founded in 2020 by Joanna Lau, founder and CEO of executive consulting and investment company Lau Acquisitions and a member of the School of Business Board of Governors, and Katarina Fjording, head of Volvo Car University and Sustainability Americas at Volvo Cars and a member of the School of Business Board of Governors, this year’s summit featured women leaders in business, technology and government.

“Barbara has excelled and earned respect in a male dominated industry and has evened the playing field, not just surviving but thriving,” says Fjording. “She competes on equal terms without compromising her integrity and while staying true to herself.”

On July 1, 2022, Melvin will become president and CEO of South Carolina Ports. She will be the sixth leader in the history of the port and the first woman to lead a Top 10 U.S. operating container port. During her more than 20 years with South Carolina Ports, Melvin has held several senior leadership positions, including senior vice president of operations and terminals; senior vice president of external affairs; and vice president of government relations.

“I’m honored to lead a team as the incoming president and CEO of the port,” says Melvin. “I’ve always said I look forward to the day when it’s not notable that a woman is in this executive position. But for today, I’ll celebrate it. And I’ll leave the door open behind me. It’s so important that women continue to show up, that we do the work and that we defy expectations.”

Melvin is the second person to receive the Women of Courage Award. Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and United States Ambassador to the United Nations, was the 2020 recipient.