Malena Malone ’88 is a planner.
With an eye for detail and a mind for organization, it made sense that she would put those talents to use in her work as a fundraiser and events planner.
I have always found it rewarding to put my energy and talents toward events where I can make a positive contribution.”
For over 15 years, Malone has been an events planner in and around Washington, D.C. through her own business, Events by Malena. She is also Senior Manager for Meetings and Professional Development for the American Association of Museums. Malone enjoys planning events that generate funds for many worthy causes.
I have a hand in helping museums all over the country raise their voices to Congress in an effort to try and stem the tide of budget cuts that threaten to eliminate federal funding for zoos, historical homes, and museums both large and small. Museums can play such a valuable role in a child’s education outside of the school curriculum.”
Although she studied business administration and not music or theatre, Malone thoroughly enjoyed her summer work study assignment with Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. She has always had an interest in museums, music and the arts, and Malone credits SU for giving her a well-rounded educational experience within a close-knit setting.
Shenandoah has always fostered a community feel, whether you were an on-campus student or a commuter, as I was. It gave me one of the very first ‘feelings of community’ I had ever experienced as a young adult. I feel my education at Shenandoah was unique and that I was better prepared for the business world because of the real-world experiences that the professors brought into the classrooms.”
It is because of those experiences and a local connection that Malone had the desire to serve on the SU Alumni Board of Directors, and devote her time to helping Shenandoah continue to grow. Raised by her grandmother less than a mile from the SU campus, Malone never thought college was a viable option for her due to financial difficulties. However, she was able to pay her way through college with help from Shenandoah. She cites a popular country song, “The House That Built Me,” by Miranda Lambert, as a motivation for her service to the university.
The song is about a girl who goes back to her childhood home to rediscover her roots and try to reconnect with the memories and values that made her who she is now. My valuable education I received at Shenandoah allowed me to become the person I am today. Being a member of the Shenandoah Alumni Board is a chance to reconnect with my roots and be able to use my time and talents to give back to the ‘House That Built Me.’”
Malone lives in Woodbridge, Va. with her husband of 10 years, Michael, and their six-year-old daughter, Lyric. Their family life is immersed in music, as Michael has been a guitarist and songwriter for over 12 years. The latest album by his band, Division, was voted “One of the Top Ten Heavy Metal Albums for 2010” by The Washington Post. Malone and her husband are also members of a local cover band, Just Wanna Play, and their daughter is a stage veteran, having performed with the band “whenever we have a gig that doesn’t require her to stay up past her bedtime!” said Malone.