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Leadership Alabama

News from Leadership Alabama

Dear Leadership Alabama members,
Throughout the past several months, as all of us have adjusted to very challenging circumstances, we have remained focused on Leadership Alabama’s overall objectives and mission, including the planning for upcoming events and retreats, finalizing retreat programming and speakers, orchestrating the selection process for LA Class XXXI, conducting board elections and carefully managing the financials. As such, we respectfully offer the following update.

“An Important Message”
We hope all of you read “An Important Message” sent on Monday, June 1, regarding the need for more action on social justice and racial equality. Without question, we are in a difficult time demanding heightened leadership, action and results. In response to that demand, we are working to create a group of Leadership Alabama and Alabama Leadership Initiative members who can provide invaluable insight and help guide Leadership Alabama forward on a positive, effective path. More details will follow in the weeks ahead – we simply wanted you to know that we are actively delving into these important issues that continue to keep our state and its citizens, particularly African Americans, from reaching their full potential.

Leadership Alabama’s Financial Outlook
With profound gratitude to all of you for your continued and valued investment in Leadership Alabama, we are “faring the storm” relative to our budget/income/expenses. We met fundraising & membership dues/contributions goals for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, eliminated $26,000 of expenses moving forward when finalizing the 2020 – 2021 budget (after greatly streamlining the budget last year), obtained a PPP loan, and are actively creating our fundraising plans and membership dues solicitation campaign for the upcoming fiscal year (beginning July 1). Additionally, we offer a huge round of applause and appreciation to Mr. Rich Bielen, president & CEO of Protective Life Corporation, for generously providing Leadership Alabama with donated office space. It has been such an incredible gift and has alleviated financial concerns regarding rent, especially during the pandemic when everyone has been working from home.

Rescheduled Graduation for Current LA & ALI Classes 
(2019 – 2020) 
  • The current LA Class XXX’s May 2020 graduation retreat was rescheduled for late October in Birmingham.
  • The current ALI Class III’s April 2020 graduation session was rescheduled for September in the Black Belt

Status of Selection of Leadership Alabama Class XXXI 
(2020 – 2021)

As you may remember, we purposely delayed the selection process due to the urgent circumstances surrounding COVID-19. As of this week, we started extending invitations to the candidates selected for Class XXXI, and the final class will be announced no later than Monday, August 10. The opening retreat is in October in Montgomery; however, in the event we are NOT able to convene as a group due to ongoing COVID restrictions, the program year will begin in January and extend through June.


Postponement of Alabama Leadership Initiative (ALI) Class IV
(Young professionals aged 25 – 40)

Due to ongoing COVID guidelines and concerns (furloughs, layoffs, unknowns about school calendars, the availability of young professionals, etc.), ALI Class IV has been postponed until the 2021 – 2022 program year. When nominations open next year, the maximum age (for that year only) will be 41, not 40.


Continuation of Current LA Board Officers
Since the LA board is not scheduled to be together again until Wednesday, October 7, it was decided that Gordon Martin (chair/Birmingham), David Nast (vice-chair/Huntsville) and Melissa Morrissette (treasurer/Mobile) would remain in their current roles until that meeting. Typically, all LA board changes (officers, new members, etc.) align with Leadership Alabama’s fiscal year, which is
July 1 – June 30.

With great pleasure, we announce the election of the following members — 
Election of LA Board Officers  (ultimately becoming chair of LA)
Linda Young/Treasurer
Wallace Community College, Dothan
(Chair 2022 – 2023)
Michael Patterson/Secretary
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Birmingham
(Chair 2023 – 2024)
Current Board Members Elected to a Second, 3-Year Term
Chip Bivins The University of Alabama System, Birmingham
Trey Clegg                   Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham
Melissa Craig               Bank Independent, Decatur
Helene Hassell           Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation, Mobile
Grits Morris                 Walker360, Montgomery
Sheron Rose                 Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery
Kennon Walthall         Avenu Insights & Analytics, Birmingham
Danny Windham        HudsonAlpha Institute/Biotechnology, Huntsville
LA Members Elected to the Board for First, 3-Year Term
Doug Bachuss              Nowlin, Bachuss & Gray, Decatur
Michael Kirkpatrick   DESE Research, Huntsville
Vanessa Leonard         Attorney, Rockford
Eva Robertson             Protective Life Foundation, Birmingham
David Silverstein         Five Stone Group, Birmingham
Emeritus Status – LA Board
Two of our highly valued board members, Preston Bolt/Mobile and Mike Warren/Birmingham, elected emeritus status as of October.
Rolling Off LA Board
After serving two consecutive terms, it is difficult to say farewell to the incredible board members rolling off in October – Jeffrey Bayer/Birmingham, Kelly Bownes/Birmingham, Sara Graves/Huntsville and Bill Wallace/Montgomery.

“30th and Holding…” – Rescheduled Anniversary Event

Simply as a reminder, our fabulous 30th anniversary celebration originally scheduled for this month has been rescheduled for next summer on Friday, August 13, through Sunday, August 15, 2021 at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL. More information will be sent in the next few months, and we hope you will plan to join the festivities!

Wishing you a healthy, safe and fun 4th of July!
With heartfelt thanks,
Kate Cotton                                    Ashley Whatley
Executive Director                         Director of Programs & Membership Engagement
205-515-6515                                 205-905-9415 *new cell*