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NCCU Graduate Moves Up the Rungs on the Corporate Ladder

Carmelo Montalvo '13

N.C. Central University graduate Carmelo Montalvo, recently promoted to the C-suite of a startup company in Pittsburgh, credits his experiences as an HBCU student for much of his career success.

Mantalvo joined NCCU’s Class of 2013 as a sophomore after a one-year stint at Craven Community College in New Bern, N.C. He aimed to join the Eagle football team, but his love for academics took over. 

Intent on earning an academic scholarship, Montalvo good on that goal by becoming a Chancellor's Scholar. He earned a degree in biology and worked with Teach for America at the Southern School of Energy and Sustainability in Durham for two years. In 2017, he graduated with a master’s degree in health care policy and management from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2015, while still in graduate school, he was hired as Forest Devices Inc.’s first part-time employee and moved up the ladder swiftly. He was named to the Pittsburgh Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” list in 2018, and one year later became chief operating officer at Forest Devices.

Montalvo looks back fondly on his time at NCCU, noting that transitioning from an HBCU to Carnegie Mellon was a shift that helped prepare him for different aspects of his career.  

He describes himself as having developed the rare ability to talk with others in a way that makes them feel confident and comfortable. But he added that it can sometimes be lonely to work in a majority dominated business environment. 

“There have been times where I have been the only person of color in a room full of 300 people,” Montalvo said. “At NCCU, you have your own culture on campus, but moving into the healthcare industry, it's mainly old and white.”

Asked what advice he would give his younger self, Montalvo joked: “Buy bitcoin or invest in Google and Apple.”

Then he added that he would also tell his younger self that a portion of the value everyone brings to the workplace is their own unique perspective and background.

“My business acumen has been shaped by my background, and there is always purpose riddled in pain,” Montalvo said.

Montalvo believes that it is extremely important to be involved in the community and that public service is key to becoming a more well-rounded person. 

Unless you give back, there’s no way to pull anyone else up with you, he added.

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
by Media Relations and Internal Communications Coordinator, Kia C Bell [ this function might malfinction on the test server ]
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