ūüóěÔłŹūüĆļ Spring News, Features, and Updates ūüĎčūüŹĹ

April 9, 2024

Spring News, Features, and Updates

Nominations for LA Class XXXIV ‚Äď WOW!

We are thrilled to announce that we received 183 outstanding nominations for LA Class XXXIV!  Thank you to the many of you who submitted so many excellent candidates.  As always, it will be a very difficult process to evaluate everyone since it is such a stellar group of nominees.  As a reminder of how classes are chosen, the process is outlined below.

  • Nominations will be considered by the Regional Councils throughout the state, and each council will prioritize the nominations for its specific region.
  • After all regional council meetings are conducted, Leadership Alabama‚Äôs Executive Committee will review the prioritized lists from the regional councils and select 65 ‚Äď 70 individuals for the class and then present this ‚Äúfinal‚ÄĚ list of nominees to the Board of Directors for its approval at the May meeting.
  • All nominations are given thorough consideration, but not all will be selected to participate in the class.¬†¬†The Leadership Alabama Board of Directors will approve the final class roster, as noted above.¬†¬†Consideration will be given to building a class that represents Alabama‚Äôs diversity, both professionally and geographically, as well as in the areas of age, gender and ethnicity.
  • Following the May board meeting, Leadership Alabama will email those selected for membership and copy the nominators.¬†¬†For those not selected, Leadership Alabama will contact only the nominators.

Class XXXIV will be announced in July, so stay tuned!

‚ÄúConnecting Engaged Leaders and Establishing Lasting Relationships‚ÄĚ

As boldly noted in the heading on the home page of LA‚Äôs website, Leadership Alabama is dedicated to ‚ÄúChallenging, motivating and engaging Alabama‚Äôs proven leaders,‚Ä̬†and¬†Deborah Bell Paseur¬†(LA Class XII and LA Board Member) of Florence personifies those actions in all areas of her life.¬†¬†She steadfastly connects leaders throughout our state, whether pertaining to legal, humanitarian or educational issues, and her efforts continue to be met with great results and high praise.¬†¬†Last month, the Shoals Chamber of Commerce named her¬†‚ÄúCitizen of the Year 2023‚Ä̬†in recognition of her exemplary leadership and engagement in her community and noted many of her achievements, as we are honored to share ‚Äď

  • Served as Lauderdale County District Judge for 28 years, the first woman elected district judge.
  • Co-founded Safeplace Domestic Violence Shelter and Counseling Program.
  • Serves on the Alabama Law Institute‚Äôs Children‚Äôs Code Committee, Adoption Committee and Standing Committee on Family Law, all in support of statewide policies and safeguards for children throughout the state.
  • Served on several committees appointed by the Governor and Chief Justice regarding civil and criminal law, children‚Äôs cases and judicial administration.
  • Served as president of the Shoals Scholars Dollars Board of Directors, a program created to give every student in The Shoals the opportunity to continue education beyond high school.
  • Serves as a member of Florence Rotary Club; Past Assistant District Governor & Past President; Graduate, Rotary Leadership Insitute; Recipient of the Rotary International District Vocational Service Award.
  • Serves as co-chair of Shoals Chamber of Commerce‚Äôs Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
  • Serves as a Registered Mediator for the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution.
  • Chaired Leadership Alabama‚Äôs Shoals Regional Council for three years.

Congratulations, Deborah Bell Paseur! Thank you for motivating and engaging leaders in the Shoals and in the state of Alabama.

LA Class XXXIII ‚Äď Huntsville Retreat March 7 ‚Äď 9, 2024

Just as Leadership Alabama‚Äôs Board of Directors met in Mobile prior to the January retreat, the March meeting in Huntsville was planned with the same objective in mind ‚Äď to provide another opportunity to network with members of Class XXXIII and Huntsville/NE Alabama LA members before the retreat commenced.¬†¬†On Wednesday evening, the¬†Honorable Tommy Battle¬†(LA Class XXIII), hosted an ‚ÄúEarly Bird‚ÄĚ cocktail reception at Mars Music Hall, the Von Braun Center‚Äôs most recent expansion venture that is changing the landscape of Huntsville‚Äôs music scene.

On Thursday morning, the entire class was ‚Äúofficially‚Äô welcomed by¬†David Nast¬†(Immediate Past Board Chair & LA Class XX) and the¬†Honorable Tommy Battle, and both offered an excellent introduction to the area and the many partnerships that fostered such dynamic growth in the region. During lunch, officials from¬†Redstone Arsenal¬†and the¬†FBI¬†presented a briefing about the upcoming afternoon activities, which was informative and ‚Äúset the stage‚ÄĚ as background information about the areas within Redstone that the class would be visiting. The afternoon session included a missile firing at the¬†Redstone Test Center, a K9 and fire demonstration at the¬†U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and a briefing and site visit to¬†NASA‚Äôs Payload Operations Integration Center for the International Space Center.¬†¬†The class was exposed to factions within Redstone that only a few individuals ever experience, and it is always an honor to be able to take the Leadership Alabama classes to this intriguing ‚Äúcity within a city.‚ÄĚ

The day concluded with dinearounds in area members’ homes, and as with past retreats, they were exceptional, scoring a 4.96 on a 5.0 scale on the evaluations.  The class always appreciates the opportunity of being in small, intimate groups where the dialog is lively, the food is fabulous and the hosts are amazingly gracious.












Friday morning, the class started at the¬†Redstone Federal Credit Union¬†with coffee and breakfast, and then the session launched with an update about the Alabama Legislative session from a panel of three class members who are currently serving our state ‚Äď the Honorables¬†Will Ainsworth, Lt. Governor and Senate president;¬†Jamie Kiel, AL House of Representatives District 18; and¬†Kelvin Lawrence, AL House of Representatives District 69.¬†¬†The interactive and engaging conversation was moderated by¬†Chuck Holmes¬†(LA Board Member and LA Class XXX),¬†and as shared on the evaluations,¬†‚ÄúOur classmates did a good job of providing current updates on difficult topics within an environment of varying opinions.‚ÄĚ


Everyone noted that they enjoyed hearing from classmates, listening to the various perspectives and interacting with one another through Q&A.¬†¬†Afterwards, the class traveled to the¬†Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering and was welcomed by¬†Matt Massey, ASCTE‚Äôs president, who presented an excellent overview of the school‚Äôs purpose, processes and results, followed by a school tour with students.¬†¬†‚ÄúVery informative, very impressive, a must visit, a unique facility, fantastic!‚Ä̬†were just a few of the comments offered by the class.¬†¬†Continuing with the theme of serving children and students,¬†Lee Marshall¬†(LA Class XXIX),¬†shared the genesis of her nonprofit,¬†Kids to Love, and its mission of meeting the needs of children in foster care through a presentation entitled,¬†‚ÄúServing Children Through Every Step.‚Ä̬†¬†This is the fourth consecutive year that Lee has been included on the Huntsville agenda, and her message continues to be powerful and enlightening.

After a relaxing lunch break, the class immersed in¬†‚ÄúGreat Schools for Every Child in Alabama‚Ä̬†and heard presentations from another incredibly strong panel of classmates ‚ÄstMark Dixon, president of A+ Education Partnership;¬†Melvin Brown, superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools; Dennis Coe, superintendent, Dothan City Schools; and,¬†Jeremiah Newell, CEO, Mobile Area Education Foundation. The class thought it ‚Äúwas great to see the impact and discussion of classmates‚ÄĚ and that the¬†‚Äúprogram was very informative with very honest points of view given.‚Ä̬†¬†Chuck Holmes¬†closed the program day by leading the class through another thoughtful and reflective caucus before everyone gathered for a casual and fun dinner ‚Äúunder the Saturn V Rocket‚ÄĚ at the¬†U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology¬†and its incredible leaders were the closing session on Saturday morning, and once again,¬†Neil Lamb¬†(LA Class XXIX)¬†and¬†Danny Windham¬†(LA Class XXIII)¬†wowed everyone with an engaging, exciting presentation about HA‚Äôs work within the state, its global impact and its educational component through creating challenging, STEM curriculum for schools throughout Alabama.¬†¬†We all know what a HUGE success the DNA extraction experiment always is, and true to form, the class thought it was an¬†‚Äúawesome activity!‚Ä̬†¬†It was an excellent exercise for concluding the retreat and bidding goodbye to everyone.

Following the Huntsville retreat, LA Class XXXIII member Helena Duncan, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, shared her response to the following questions…

‚ÄúLeadership Alabama is a storied organization with a 35-year legacy of challenging, motivating and¬†engaging Alabama‚Äôs proven leaders.‚Ä̬†¬†What have you gained from being in the current LA class?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúLifelong friends!¬†¬†Working for Business Council of Alabama, I get the privilege¬†to travel the state and learn about all the amazing things going on to improve our economy. However, being a part of LA, I‚Äôm continuing to grow my knowledge of¬†the state and seeing it through the eyes of others that aren‚Äôt experiencing it daily as I do.¬†¬†Our great state never ceases to amaze me.¬†¬†It‚Äôs been a wonderful experience.‚Ä̬†¬†¬†¬†

‚ÄúHow does Leadership Alabama continue to serve our state with relevance and momentum?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúExposing our state and all that she has to offer will provide relevance and continue the momentum.¬†¬†We have to know it exists to be a part of it.¬†¬†The momentum is alive and well in Alabama.¬†¬†It‚Äôs important to expose business leaders to it to continue to generate excitement about our state and allow us to begin writing our own narrative. Business leaders across this state should all share in the responsibility of creating an environment for people to want to live here, raise their families here and work here. The exposure Leadership Alabama gives us will allow that to happen.‚Ä̬†¬†

LA Class XXXIII will convene in Birmingham for its last retreat of the program year on May 9 ‚Äď 11, and the next newsletter will include all of the great things that the class experienced, especially the graduation dinner and celebration, so stay tuned!

ALI CLASS VI April 24 ‚Äď 25, 2024 – Birmingham

ALI Class VI will gather in Birmingham in late April for its final session of its year, and a terrific program has been planned chock-full of engaging speakers and site visits.

The next newsletter release will salute this incredible program and remarkable young leaders as they graduate and continue their great work for our state.

‚ÄúOn the Boardwalk‚ÄĚ featuring LA Board of Directors…

Beginning with this release, future newsletters will feature two or three members of LA‚Äôs Board of Directors in order to share a closer glimpse of those who diligently serve our organization through their steadfast commitment to Leadership Alabama‚Äôs mission and objectives.¬†¬†As such, we are thrilled to take a stroll¬†‚Äúon the boardwalk‚Ä̬†with¬†Gordon Martin (LA Class XVII, Birmingham)¬†and¬†Jody Singer (LA Class XXVIII, Huntsville), and each was asked the following question.

Gordon, a native of Birmingham, serves as the inaugural director of the James C. Kenemer Center for Innovation and Social Impact in the Honors College at The University of Alabama and is an operating partner at Redmont Capital, a private investment bank.



Jody, a native of Hartselle, recently retired from NASA, where she served as the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, having been appointed in September 2018.  She was the first female director and managed one of NASA’s largest field installations.



‚ÄúAs you know, Leadership Alabama is a storied organization with a 35-year legacy of challenging, motivating and engaging¬†¬†Alabama‚Äôs proven leaders.¬†¬†During the past five years, including the current year, a record number of nominations, well beyond the class capacity of 65 ‚Äď 70 individuals, has been received for each upcoming Leadership Alabama class.¬†¬†Why do you think the interest in Leadership Alabama continues to escalate on such a large scale?‚Ä̬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Gordon‚Äôs response – ¬†‚ÄúThe record number of nominations for Leadership Alabama is a testament to its stellar reputation, its¬†world-class programming, its high-quality participants, and its fantastic staff.¬†¬†I think leaders recognize that Leadership Alabama provides them a unique chance to learn about the opportunities and challenges facing our state, as well as a chance to interact with, learn from, and develop friendships with other leaders¬†who are committed to making Alabama the best it can be.‚Ä̬†¬†

Jody‚Äôs response –¬†‚ÄúThe key to Leadership Alabama‚Äôs success is a product of the demonstrated commitment by its diverse and¬†dedicated members from all over the state to create a better Alabama.¬†¬†Visionary leaders want to be informed¬†on problems and priorities facing us and find proactive ways to help shape our future.¬†¬†Leadership Alabama provides a unique opportunity to build lasting networks and friendships, learn from each other, and gain new¬†perspectives.‚Ä̬†¬†¬†¬†

The end of the fiscal road is near…

As the end of Leadership Alabama’s fiscal year draws near (June 30, 2024), if you haven’t had a chance to submit your annual dues (based on this fiscal year) of only $175, it is not too late!  Please remit your annual dues via the link below or by sending a check/printed invoice to the office.

Click here to pay your dues online for July 1, 2023 ‚Äď June 30, 2024.
Click here to print an invoice to mail your dues check.

When planning for this year, we hoped 650 members would submit their annual dues, and as of today, 638 of you have done so.  As we have shared so many times, we are extremely grateful, for the steady flow of membership dues enables us to plan more membership engagement activities and informative sessions.

Thank you!                 Thank you!                 Thank you!

Questions?  Contact us by phone or email.
Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director
Cell: 205 905-9415
Kate Cotton
Operations and Development Director
Cell: 205 515-6515
Lydia Barnett
Membership Engagement & ALI Director
Cell: 205 563-1792

‚Ź≥ Nominations EXTENSION, ALI Dothan Recap, and a big LA Welcome ūüĎčūüŹĹ

February 22, 2024

Leadership Alabama is thrilled to welcome Lydia Barnett to our team as the Membership Engagement and Alabama Leadership Initiative (ALI) Director on March 1.  Lydia comes to LA from The Hope Institute, where she served as the program coordinator, supporting, planning and executing the Hope Leadership Academy sessions as well as other Hope Institute events.  Additionally, she has 13 years of teaching experience, starting with Teach for America in Memphis, TN and including public/charter school classrooms in four states.

She earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Auburn University and her M.Ed. in administration at Samford University.  She is married to Tyler Barnett, CEO of New Schools for Alabama, and they are parents of two young daughters.

You will be able to reach Lydia via email at

Nominations have been pouring in, and we are thrilled that so many qualified and outstanding leaders are being submitted ‚Äď thank you!¬†¬†And, great news ‚Äď since we are in a¬†Leap Year, we are going to¬†‚Äúleap‚ÄĚ forward and¬†extend the nomination deadline until next Thursday, February 29.¬†¬†So, nominations for LA Class XXXIV will remain open for eight more days! Remember, you may nominate more than one person, and your nominees can be from any region of the state, not just your geographic region.

To date, we have received 
96 nominations,
as regionally noted below. 

  • Auburn/East AL – 7
  • Birmingham – 19
  • Cullman/North Central – 1
  • Decatur – 2
  • Huntsville/Northeast AL – 21
  • Mobile/Baldwin County – 13
  • Montgomery – 18
  • The Shoals – 4
  • Tuscaloosa/West AL – 4
  • Wiregrass – 7

Important note¬†‚Äď
Last week we discovered the online nomination form’s anti-spam filter on the LA website may have inadvertently blocked some valid nominations from entering the nomination system.¬†¬†Thankfully, the issue has been resolved.¬†¬†We have sent a confirmation email today to ALL nominators who successfully submitted a nomination through the online portal.¬†¬†If you submitted a nomination form but did NOT receive the email with subject Confirmation of LA Nomination, please email us to check the status of your nomination.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and we want to be sure all nominations will be received before the extended deadline, February 29.

Click the buttons below for qualifications, nomination guidelines, and the online nomination form.

Qualifications for Leadership Alabama
Class XXXIV Nomination Form


ALI Class VI at Golden Peanut Company in Headland, Alabama
(photo courtesy of Marlee Jackson)

ALI Class VI recently convened in Dothan/the Wiregrass, and Leadership Alabama was thrilled to host the class in this region (a first for ALI and the first time in 33 years for LA).¬†¬†The class gathered at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and was enthusiastically welcomed by Linda Young¬†(LA Class XXII and LA Board Vice-Chair). Mayor Mark Saliba¬†(LA Class XXV) offered insights into Dothan and living in the Circle City, followed by a presentation from¬†Phil Clayton¬†(LA Class XXXII) and¬†Melody Lee, Grow Southeast Alabama, about the growth in southeast Alabama and the accompanying career opportunities.¬†¬†The morning session concluded with¬†Trisha Black‚Äôs¬†presentation of¬†‚ÄúMain Street Alabama: Community Engagement, Revitalization and Investment.‚ÄĚ

Walter Hill (LA Class XXX) shared information about The United Way and how it creates opportunities, improves lives and strengthens communities for all areas it collectively serves in the state and challenged the class members to become more involved with their local United Way organizations.  The discussion about engaging with local United Way agencies was the perfect segue way to participating in the Poverty Simulation, an interactive and eye-opening experience.  The class was stunned to learn of the many obstacles that the underserve and those in need face as they try to navigate life in poverty situations.

That evening, local Wiregrass LA members joined the ALI class at the Turner Room at¬†Bob Woodall‚Äôs¬†(LA Class XXXI) business, with dinner being catered by KBC and Chef Kelsey Barnard Clark, who was just named a finalist for a James Beard Award ‚Äď Best Chef: Southeast. What an incredible treat! After dinner, Bob invited ALI class members for a spontaneous visit to one of the Dothan Mardi Gras dens. It was a fun and festive night to end a great day in the Wiregrass!

Friday‚Äôs session was dedicated to delving into all aspects of Alabama‚Äôs agricultural environment, including being welcomed by¬†Chris Walker, Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, and learning from¬†Dean Mitchell¬†(LA Class XXVII) about HudsonAlpha‚Äôs research, education and development initiatives in the Wiregrass.¬†¬†Since Dothan is the¬†‚ÄúPeanut Capital of the World,‚Ä̬†it was only natural for¬†Libbie Johnson, Alabama Peanut Producers, and¬†Emmanuel Bankston¬†(ALI Class V) to present¬†‚ÄúPeanuts in Alabama: Did you know?‚ÄĚ

Following the presentations, the class traveled by bus to the Golden Peanut Company, where they toured the peanut shelling factory (group photo above). Then, Jeff Helms, Alabama Farmers Federation, addressed the opportunities and strengths inherent with agriculture in Alabama.  The session concluded with an engaging, candid class caucus, which the class always enjoys at the wrap-up of each programming session.


As previously shared in several updates, the annual membership dues of only $175, coupled with the incredible support of organizations throughout the state, sustains Leadership Alabama’s operating and regional event expenses.  As we continue to expand statewide activities that will afford all of us the opportunity to be together more often, your annual dues and gifts become even more important to the success of our overall strategies.

If you haven’t had a chance to do so, please remit your annual dues online via the button below or click to print an invoice and send a check to the office.   

Click to pay online.
Click to print invoice.


During March and April, your regional councils will meet to review the candidates for LA Class XXXIV from their geographic regions. In conjunction with these scheduled dates, area membership events are also being planned by your regional leaders. The Shoals Regional Council is targeting a date in April, and the Montgomery Regional Council, in partnership with Leadership Montgomery, is planning a membership gathering in April, as well.  Additional information will be sent very soon.

LA Regional Councils


Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director

‚Źį Reminder! LA Class XXXIV Nominations are OPEN ūüďģ

January 30, 2024

As of today, we have received 15 nominations.  Please think about qualified leaders in your area and/or across the state and nominate them soon.
Nominations close on Friday, February 23, 2024.
You may nominate more than one person, and your nominees can be from any part of the state, not just your geographic area.

Recommended nominees will…

  • Show a commitment to their community and state through past and present activities;
  • Lead an area of influence to impact change;
  • Have demonstrated leadership in his/her area of influence to impact change; and,
  • Likely exericse substantial leadership in the future.

Click here for criteria, guidelines and ¬†Class XXXIV Retreat Dates…

Including information on:

  • Age Requirement
  • Organizational Considerations
  • Elected Officials
  • Attendance (see dates below)
  • Tuition

Leadership Alabama is open to all who meet the qualifications adopted by the Board of Directors, regardless of age, sex, race, religion or national origin. Participants are selected largely on the basis of demonstrated leadership ability.

Click here for Class XXXIV’s Nomination Form and Process


There is still time to renew your LA Annual Membership Dues!

As previously shared, Leadership Alabama‚Äôs fiscal year is July 1 ‚Äď June 30, so we are now in the second half of our financial year.¬†¬†To date,¬†578 members have paid dues of $175, and we are extremely grateful ‚Äď thank you!¬†¬†Of the 578 dues paying members,¬†260 sent an additional contribution, with¬†183 of those contributing at the¬†Gold Circle¬†level.¬† Click the button below.

Thank you, Gold Circle Donors!

Without question, your annual support of the $175 dues sustains our operating and membership activities, and it allows us to broaden our reach throughout the state.

A new regional council was recently created in the¬†Auburn/East Alabama region, and it is actively meeting and engaged in the current nomination process for LA Class XXXIV.¬†¬†Birmingham‚Äôs regional council, in partnership with Leadership Birmingham, hosted a membership event featuring Mr. Ron Blatman, producer of the ‚ÄúSaving the City‚ÄĚ documentary series, and it was well attended.¬†¬†Additionally, other regional events are currently being planned, so stay tuned.¬†¬†The upcoming newsletter will highlight all of these activities.

If you haven‚Äôt had a chance to submit your $175 dues for this fiscal year, we would greatly appreciate it if you would consider doing it now.¬†¬†See below ‚Äď it‚Äôs super easy to do!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Click here to pay your membership dues online.
Click here to print a pdf invoice to mail your dues.

Questions? Contact us by phone or email.

Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director

ūüď£ LA Class XXXIV Nominations are now OPEN ‚ÄľÔłŹ

January 16, 2024

    Home     LA Program   Contact

Recommended nominees will…
  • Show a commitment to their community and state through past and present activities;
  • Lead an area of influence to impact change;
  • Have demonstrated leadership in his/her area of influence to impact change; and,
  • Likely exericse substantial leadership in the future.
Click here for criteria and guidelines…

Including information on:

  • Age Requirement
  • Organizational Considerations
  • Elected Officials
  • Attendance (see dates below)
  • Tuition
Please Note
  • You may nominate more than one person.
  • You may nominate anyone in the state, not just someone from your geographic area.
  • For candidates¬†NOT¬†selected for Class XXXIV,¬†Leadership Alabama notifies you, the LA member,¬†not¬†the nominee. People are often nominated without their knowledge, thus the reason we¬†only communicate with the nominator(s).
The Nomination Process
  1. A nomination form must be received by Friday, February 23, 2024 for a person to be considered for LA Class XXXIV.
  2. Nominations will be considered by the Regional Councils throughout the state, and each council will prioritize the nominations for its specific region.
  3. The Executive Committee will review the prioritized lists from the Regional Councils and then submit the list of nominees to the Board of Directors for approval.
  4. All nominations are given thorough consideration, but not all will be selected to participate in the class. The Leadership Alabama Board of Directors will approve the final class roster. Consideration will be given to building a class that represents Alabama’s diversity, both professionally and geographically, as well as in the areas of age, gender and ethnicity.
  5. Leadership Alabama will email those selected for membership and copy the nominator(s).

Leadership Alabama is open to all who meet the qualifications adopted by the Board of Directors, regardless of age, sex, race, religion or national origin. Participants are selected largely on the basis of demonstrated leadership ability.

Click here for Class XXXIV’s Nomination Form

LA Class XXXIII at Airbus in Mobile – January 12, 2024

Class XXXIV 2024 – 2025 Program Year

Retreat Dates
  • October 16 ‚Äď 18, 2024 (Wednesday ‚Äď Friday)
    (Attendance at all parts of the opening retreat, including all meals, is mandatory.)
  • January 16 ‚Äď 18, 2025¬†(Thursday ‚Äď Saturday)
  • March 6 ‚Äď 8, 2025¬†(Thursday ‚Äď Saturday)
  • May 14 ‚Äď 16, 2025¬†(Wednesday ‚Äď Friday)
Click here for more information about the Leadership Alabama class program year.
Questions? Contact us by phone or email.

Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director

ūüĆü Holiday Greetings from Leadership Alabama

December 19, 2023

Wishing you peace this holiday season and cheers to a happy new year!

Looking ahead …

Join Leadership Alabama for a special field trip to Atmore for the opportunity to visit the Poarch Band of Creek Indians community!
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
1:00 p.m. ‚Äď 5:00 p.m.
Poarch Creek Reservation, Atmore

More details will follow in the next few weeks.  Until then, please plan to join us and Class XXXIII members for another incredible experience to see and learn about what’s happening in Atmore with the tribe.  For planning purposes, please RSVP by Friday, January 5, 2024.

Click here RSVP or learn more details.

Nominations for LA Class XXXIV

(Program Year ‚Äď October 2024 through May 2025)

It is hard to believe that the nomination process for LA Class XXXIV will soon begin.  Nominations will open on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, and we will send an email with all the information and online application at that time.  The nomination process will close on Friday, February 23.

Additional reminder emails will be sent before January 16.  We simply wanted you to be aware of the date so that you have plenty of time to gather your thoughts about qualified candidates whom you would like to submit. 

2023 ‚Äď 2024 Leadership Alabama
Membership Dues & Contributions

Your support has been absolutely amazing, and we are profoundly grateful for your dues and contributions!  

For those who haven‚Äôt had a chance to do so,¬†we humbly ask you to submit your annual dues of¬†only $175¬†for this fiscal year, July 2023 ‚Äď June 2024.¬†¬†You can make an immediate and secure payment online by utilizing the pay online button below.¬†¬†Or, if you prefer a printed invoice for mailing a check, please click the invoice button.¬†¬†Simply print and mail with your check to Leadership Alabama, P.O. Box 131394, Birmingham, AL 35213.

Click to pay online.
Click to print an invoice to mail.
We look forward to seeing you in 2024!
Ashley and Kate

ūü§Ě Connections, News, and Highlights

November 28, 2023

‚ÄúConnecting Engaged Leaders and¬†Establishing Lasting Relationships‚ÄĚ

Uniti Fiber of Mobile & Project Horseshoe Farm of Greensboro

In October 2021 during the opening retreat in Montgomery for LA Class XXXI,¬†Dr. John Dorsey¬†(LA Class XXI), founder and executive director of Project Horseshoe Farm in Greensboro, AL, presented¬†‚ÄúBuilding on the Strengths of Rural Alabama ‚Äď Project Horseshoe Farm.‚Ä̬†¬†He shared the remarkable story of his circuitous path to Alabama and how he ‚Äúlanded‚ÄĚ in Greensboro, where he was met by an extremely impoverished yet welcoming community.¬†¬†After immersing himself in the local communities in order to fully understand the depth of the challenges, he established Project Horseshoe Farm (PHF), a nonprofit that focuses on providing services in four key areas ‚Äď Health Partner Programs, Youth Programs, Community Center Programs, and Housing Programs and Nursing Homes.¬†¬†By partnering with a myriad of organizations, businesses, schools, colleges & universities, and churches, the PHF staff and its remarkable team of PHF fellows, all chosen through a very selective and competitive process, personally interface and provide individual support to the many citizens who are desperately in need of assistance.

After John spoke, he introduced the site director of the Marion, AL location and five PHF fellows, all recent college graduates who chose to spend two years in rural Alabama working with an organization that is changing lives, improving living conditions, assisting with health issues and providing young students rewarding opportunities. The class was enthralled by everything that PHF had been able to accomplish in such a disadvantaged area of our state and asked a myriad of questions. One class member especially intrigued by PHF’s mission and outcomes was Cathy De La Garza, SVP and chief development officer at Uniti in Mobile.

Once Cathy returned to her office, she contacted John about the possibility of volunteers from Uniti performing service work Greensboro with PHF.¬†¬†As John shared at the time, ‚ÄúIt was a wonderful surprise and an incredible blessing.‚Ä̬†In spring of 2022, the Uniti team traveled to rural Alabama and had a great workday filled with energy, fellowship and of ‚Äúgetting things done.‚Ä̬†¬†As Cathy expressed, “Uniti was thrilled to be involved with PHF, a truly amazing organization.”¬†¬†Through funding and relationships, in addition to a passionate, committed team of professionals and caring fellows, PHF continues to achieve remarkable milestones as it continually focuses on the immediate and long-term needs/objectives of those it serves.¬†¬†A financial gift from Uniti helped fund positions for two fellows.

In November 2023, Uniti hosted PHF and the new class of fellows at Uniti’s office in Mobile.  Cathy was honored to present PHF with a $15,000 check in additional support of its work in and for Alabama’s rural communities.

Please click on the buttons below for the video footage from the workday in Greensboro and the PHF visit to Uniti.

Uniti in the Community AT PHF in Greensboro
PHF Fellows visit Uniti in Mobile


Nominations for LA Class XXXIV

(Program Year ‚Äď October 2024 through May 2025)

Nominations for¬†Leadership Alabama Class XXXIV¬†will open on¬†Tuesday, January 16, 2024, and close on Friday, February 23, 2024, so be sure to watch for future reminders as January nears and start thinking about qualified candidates who you would like to submit for consideration.¬†¬†All program information ‚Äď dates, program overview, cost, online application ‚Äď will be sent via a Constant Contact email on January 16.


2023 ‚Äď 2024 Leadership Alabama

Membership Dues & Contributions

As in recent years, your support this year has been absolutely amazing, and we are extremely grateful for your dues and contributions!¬†¬†As of today —

270 members have paid membership dues of $175, with 122 members making an additional contribution.

96 of those making an additional contribution are Gold Circle donors, contributing $500 or more.   (Click here to see the list of Gold Circle donors.)  

For those who haven‚Äôt had a chance to do so, we humbly ask you to submit your annual dues of only $175 for this fiscal year, July 2023 ‚Äď June 2024.¬†¬†You can make an immediate and secure payment online by utilizing the ‚Äúpay online‚ÄĚ button below.¬†¬†Or, if you prefer a printed invoice for mailing a check, please click the invoice button.¬†¬†Simply print and mail with your check to Leadership Alabama, P.O. Box 131394, Birmingham, AL 35213.

Click to pay online.
Click to print an invoice.

Leadership Alabama’s Corporate Supporters

Just as membership dues and contributions are critical to the ongoing success and growth of Leadership Alabama, gifts from corporations and foundations are essential to every aspect of the organization.  It is our honor to salute their steadfast investment in LA’s mission and objectives.

Click to see our corporate donors. 

Join LA Class XXXIII at the Field Trip to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Community

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
1:00 p.m. ‚Äď 5:00 p.m.
Poarch Creek Reservation, Atmore

Once again before the Mobile retreat in January, we have a special and optional ‚Äúfield trip‚ÄĚ opportunity to stop in Atmore and visit the Poarch Band of Creek Indians community on¬†Wednesday, January 10, 2024.¬† Tribal¬†Chief Stephanie Bryan¬†(LA Class XXVIII),¬†Vice Chair Robbie McGhee¬†(LA Class XXX),¬†Tribal Council Member Keith Martin¬†(LA Class XXXI)¬†and¬†Attorney General Lori Stinson¬†(LA Class XXXII)¬†invite you to hear about what‚Äôs happening with the tribe and its many business ventures.¬†¬†The afternoon will include a special welcome and cultural performance, tour of the Poarch Creek community and reservation and a tour of Muskogee Technology.¬†¬†The program will begin at 1:00 p.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m., and we would be thrilled for you to join Class XXXIII and us for this engaging and fun afternoon. Watch for more details and sign up information to come soon!

Statewide Regional Councils

to Host Regional Events in 2024

Save the Date ‚Äď Birmingham Area Members!

The Birmingham Regional Council, chaired by¬†Donna Smith¬†(LA Class XXVIII)¬†and¬†Kennon Walthall¬†(LA Class XXV), in partnership with Leadership Birmingham, will soon send details about an event on¬†Thursday, January 18, 2024 featuring Mr. Ron Blatman, executive producer of¬†‚ÄúSaving the City: Remaking the American Metropolis‚Ä̬†documentary series.¬†¬†Be sure to watch for updates and registration information in the next few weeks.

Leadership Alabama is comprised of¬†nine regional councils ‚Äď Birmingham, Cullman/North Central, Decatur, Huntsville/Northeast Alabama, Mobile/Baldwin County, Montgomery,¬†the¬†Shoals, Tuscaloosa/West Alabama¬†and the¬†Wiregrass –¬†¬†throughout the state, and each plays an integral part in many aspects of LA‚Äôs programming and class selections.¬†¬†We’re excited to launch the Auburn/East Alabama Regional Council in the coming weeks!

Additionally, they represent LA in their respective communities by hosting regional events and informational sessions (in conjunction with the LA office).  In 2024, each is planning to facilitate an event for area members in order to learn about and discuss a current topic(s) relative to Alabama, so be watching for future announcements.

Click to see our Regional Councils.
Note these Important Dates, especially the
Area Membership Events with LA Class XXXIII!

January 2024

  • Thursday, January 11 – LA Board of Directors Meeting ‚Äď Mobile
  • Thursday, January 11 – Area Membership Dinner¬†w/LA Class XXXIII – Mobile
  • Thursday, January 11 ‚Äď Saturday, January 13¬†– LA Class XXXIII Retreat ‚Äď Mobile
  • Tuesday, January 16 – Nominations open for LA Class XXXIV

February 2024

  • Thursday, February 8 ‚Äď Friday, February 9¬†– ALI Class VI Session ‚Äď Dothan
  • Friday, February 23 – Nominations close for LA Class XXXIV

March 2024

  • Wednesday, March 6 – LA Board of Directors Meeting ‚Äď Huntsville
  • Thursday, March 7 ‚Äď Saturday, March 9 –¬†LA Class XXXIII Retreat ‚Äď Huntsville
  • Friday, March 8 – Area Membership Dinner¬†w/LA Class XXXIII – Huntsville

April 2024

  • Wednesday, April 24 ‚Äď Thursday, April 25 – ALI Class VI Session ‚Äď Birmingham

May 2024

  • Wednesday, May 1 – LA Board of Directors Meeting – Birmingham
  • Wednesday, May 1 – Area Membership Reception¬†w/LA Class XXXIII – Hoover
  • Thursday, May 2 ‚Äď Saturday, May 4¬†– LA Class XXXIII Retreat ‚Äď Birmingham

Bidding Farewell to Melissa Sherer

Leadership Alabama offers a heartfelt¬†adieu!¬†to Melissa Sherer as she rejoins her previous employer, Birmingham District Attorney Danny Carr, to expand upon and manage the work she originally implemented for his office.¬†¬†She has been a wonderful addition to the team, and we will miss her positive spirit and ‚Äúcan do‚ÄĚ attitude with everything she tackled.¬†¬†However, we certainly understand her desire to oversee and nourish the programs that she created to address juvenile justice reform for Jefferson County, and we wish her every success on her journey.


What’s new with you?

Moving forward, it is our hope to share great news/updates/announcements about Leadership Alabama‚Äôs incredible members ‚ÄstYOU¬†‚Äď but we need your help to do it.¬†¬†Please send us news about career changes, promotions, honors, recognitions, deaths, etc. so that we can include it in future newsletters.¬†¬†Simply email to Ashley Kaplan,¬†¬†or Kate Cotton,¬†


We look forward to hearing from you!

Ashley and Kate

ūü§Ě A Sound Investment / Dues & ALI Program Updates

November 7, 2023

A Sound Investment

Dues & Program Updates

2023 ‚Äď 2024 Fiscal Year

How exciting!  

In response to the first email sent on Tuesday, October 17,¬†183¬†of you have already paid your 2023 ‚Äď 2024 membership dues, with many of you making an additional contribution.¬†¬†And,¬†67¬†of those are¬†Gold Circle donors (click to see!)¬†who contributed $500 or more!¬†¬†We are extremely grateful for your continued investment in Leadership Alabama and the ever-expanding and exciting LA and ALI programs.

For those who haven‚Äôt had a chance to remit the¬†$175 annual dues¬†for the current fiscal year, it is our hope that this message makes it easy for you to do so.¬†¬†You can make an immediate and secure payment online simply by utilizing the¬†‚Äúclick to pay online‚Ä̬†button below.¬†¬†Or, if you prefer a printed invoice for mailing a check, use the¬†‚Äúclick to print an invoice‚Ä̬†button and mail it with your check to¬†Leadership Alabama, P.O. Box 131394, Birmingham, AL 35213.

Your dues and support enable us to continually offer high caliber, relative and interactive programing, as highlighted below.   

Click to pay online.
Click to print an invoice.

Alabama Leadership Initiative Class VI Launches in Montgomery






Last week,¬†Alabama Leadership Initiative‚Äôs (ALI) Class VI¬†of¬†53¬†energetic and committed ‚Äúyoung‚ÄĚ leaders launched in Montgomery. Once again, the opening session was fast-paced, engaging, inspirational, and adventurous! We applaud the following people for graciously sharing their time with the class¬†‚ÄstMelissa Morrissette (LA Class XXI), LA‚Äôs board chair; Susan Scott Carothers (ALI Class V); Dr. Ed Bridges (LA Class VIII); and Bill Graham. ¬† ¬†¬†

Click here to see members of ALI Class VI.






Additionally, we thank the remarkable venues for opening their doors to us for programming ‚ÄstThe Co-Lab Collective, the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and Whitewater Montgomery, the newest area attraction and economic development success¬†which just opened to the public this past July.¬†¬†We capitalized on this premier destination and included for the first time an exciting and fun team building and rafting experience.

Following are some comments from the ALI evaluations from the Montgomery session.  As you see, your continued investment in Leadership Alabama/ALI’s programming touches many lives and further strengthens our state leaders during all aspects of their careers.

  • “I really enjoyed Bill Graham’s professional¬†likeability session. There was information that was easily retainable and actions I can immediately work on.”
  • “The EJI experience was the most impactful portion of this weekend for me.”
  • “Rafting put me out of my comfort zone but it was SO MUCH FUN! I feel closer with those on my raft and I can’t wait to see them in February.”
  • “This experience has helped me have hope in our future. I now¬†know there are influential leaders all over our state that will work towards a more fair and inclusive Alabama.”

With our continued appreciation and gratitude,
Ashley, Kate and Melissa

2023-2024 LA Membership Dues/Contribution ‚≠źÔłŹ

October 17, 2023

Leadership Alabama just launched¬†Class XXXIII¬†in Montgomery, and once again, ¬†we were honored to have so many incredible speakers present to the class.¬†¬†The class convened at the¬†Alabama League of Municipalities office,¬†where they were welcomed by¬†LA Board Chair Melissa Morrissette (Class XXI)¬†and¬†Greg Cochran (Class XXXII). Dr. Ed Bridges (Class XIII)¬†offered his extremely important, “stage-setting” presentation, ‚ÄúAlabama‚Äôs History: How Who We Were Shaped Who We Are.‚ÄĚ


Seven of Alabama’s Big 10 mayors joined us for a very engaging panel session ‚Äď
The Honorables Ron Anders¬†of Auburn,¬†Frank Brocato (Class XXXII)¬†of Hoover, ¬†Walt Maddox¬†(Class XVII)of Tuscaloosa,¬†Steven Reed (Class XXVIII)¬†of Montgomery,¬†Mark Saliba (Class XXV)¬†of Dothan,¬†Sandy Stimpson (Class II)¬†of Mobile and¬†Randall Woodfin¬†(Class XXVI) of Birmingham ‚Äď facilitated by¬†Chuck Holmes¬†(Class XXX).¬†¬†Afterwards,¬†Bill Poole (Class XXXIII)¬†offered an update on Alabama‚Äôs state budget and the future economic outlook.

The day concluded at Montgomery‚Äôs newest outdoor recreational destination,¬†Montgomery Whitewater, with a lovely cocktail reception with area LA members and a welcome from Leslie Sanders (Class XXV), chair of the¬†Montgomery¬†County Community Cooperative District. It was a wonderful venue and evening for Class XXXIII’s introduction dinner.



The following day, we started at the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and then proceeded to the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Federal Courthouse Complex, where the class heard from the Honorable Keith Watkins (Class XXI), Thomas Rains, the Honorable Teresa Pulliam (Class XXX), Bennet Wright (Class XXIX), Kimberly Boswell and Houston Smith, with the second day of the retreat ending with the ever-popular dinearounds in the homes of Montgomery members.  Saturday included an impactful and interactive poverty simulation facilitated by Chandra Scott of Alabama Possible and a very thought-provoking, candid caucus session orchestrated by Chuck Holmes.

As the work with Leadership Alabama and Alabama Leadership Initiative (ALI) classes continues and as we shared at the recent LA board meeting, Leadership Alabama began this fiscal year (July 1) in the strongest financial shape in its history.  We continually manage a very streamlined budget and are prudent stewards and so extremely grateful of your continued investment.

None of this work would be possible without your steadfast, ongoing support through your annual dues and contributions.¬†¬†Without question, membership dues & your additional gifts are the lifeline of our organization, and¬†we humbly ask you to submit your $175 dues for this fiscal year of July 1, 2023 ‚Äď June 30, 2024.

Since establishing the category of donors who contribute¬†$500 or more¬†through their dues & contributions ‚ÄstGold Circle Donors¬†‚Äď the membership in this category continues to outpace itself every year.¬†¬†Two years ago,¬†163¬†of you gave at this level,¬†and this¬†past fiscal year reached¬†197¬†‚Äď thank you!

You can make an immediate and secure payment online simply by utilizing the pay online button below.  Or, if you prefer a printed invoice for mailing a check, please click the invoice button.  Simply print and mail with your check to Leadership Alabama, P.O. Box 131394, Birmingham, AL 35213.

Click here to pay online.
Click here to print an invoice.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Ashley Kaplan, Executive Director
Kate Cotton, Operations & Development Director
Melissa Sherer, Membership & Communications Associate

ūüďį Highlighting News and Events... including LA Class XXXIII ūüĎŹūüŹľ

August 25, 2023

Highlighting News and Events and Introducing Leadership Alabama Class XXXIII

Leadership Alabama is preparing for another incredible year of programming and member events, and we are so excited about being with you as we travel throughout the state.¬†¬†In addition to the Welcome Receptions for new class members, the four LA retreats ‚Äď all including area membership dinners with the current LA class ‚Äď and the three ALI sessions, be sure to watch for other planned activities such as field trips and regional events that will be planned and announced throughout the year.¬†¬†¬†

‚ÄúConnecting Engaged Leaders and¬†Establishing Lasting Relationships‚ÄĚ

During last year‚Äôs program year, LA Class XXXII visited¬†Kids to Love, a nonprofit dedicated solely to meeting the needs of children in foster care.¬†¬†Its dynamic founder and LA member Lee Marshall¬†(Class XXIX) presented an engaging and very comprehensive view of the many initiatives that are Kids to Love‚Äôs foundation, from training and licensing foster care parents, to providing a communal home for young girls and a community of houses for those who age out of the system, to providing backpacks for 5,600 children, to facilitating ‚Äúshopping‚ÄĚ for families during the holiday season to creating one of the most successful training programs, KTECH, for connecting students to jobs in the Huntsville area.

Jo Bonner, president of the University of South Alabama and a member of Class XXXII, was so moved by the work being accomplished ‚Äď all through donations and gifts without any government subsidies ‚Äď that he invited Lee to Mobile so that he could introduce her, her team and their incredible work to USA‚Äôs School of Social Work and to a wide spectrum of Mobile leaders and potential partners.¬†¬†He hosted an informational breakfast in the President‚Äôs boardroom at USA and invited area LA members and other community leaders.¬†¬†Ken Brown, South Alabama Market president of First Horizon Bank and a XXXII classmate of Jo‚Äôs, orchestrated a Business After Hours event at the Gulf Quest National Maritime Museum to share the critical need and accompanying services targeted for Mobile to support children in foster care and to recruit, train and license foster families.¬†¬†Graciously hosting the event were¬†The Honorable Sandy Stimpson (Class II)/City of Mobile,¬†Ken Brown/First Horizon Bank,¬†Jeb Shell (Class XXXI)/Hargrove Engineers & Constructors,¬†Eliska Morgan (Class XXXII)/Thompson Engineering¬†and¬†Jo Bonner/University of South Alabama.

Since visiting Mobile, partnerships and sponsorships have been formed that are allowing Kids to Love‚Äôs presence in south Alabama to grow at a rapid pace.¬†¬†The foster parenting training class held its orientation the first week in August, office space has been secured in Mobile and Baldwin County and the assembly of ‚ÄúTeam South‚ÄĚ has begun.¬†¬†Kids to Love now has social workers strategically placed across the state to serve its children and families in foster care as needs arise.

This is a new feature that highlights the transformative work of LA members connecting throughout the state. Do you have a success story built from a relationship or connection made in Leadership Alabama? We would love to hear about it and share with members in a future newsletter!

Leadership Alabama Class XXXIII

LA Class XXXIII launches on Thursday, October 12, in Montgomery, and it is our pleasure to share the class members with you.  Once again, we received a record number of nominations, and it is thrilling to welcome 76 outstanding individuals to our program.

Click “play” above to see the members and photos of LA Class XXXIII.
Click here to see the full class roster. 

Statewide Welcome Receptions and Luncheons for Class XXXIII

One of LA’s most storied traditions is hosting Welcome Receptions and Luncheons throughout the state to introduce the new LA class members to regional members.    The celebrations always provide an excellent opportunity for networking and visiting with old friends in addition to meeting those who will be experiencing Leadership Alabama for the first time.  Following is the schedule of events, and Constant Contact event invitations will be emailed to you, as well.  We hope to see as many of you as possible at these events, for your attendance and enthusiastic support always mean so much to the class members.

Thursday, September 14, 2023, 11:30 a.m. ‚Äď 1:00 p.m.
1856 – Culinary Residence
205 South College Street, Auburn, AL 36830

Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 5:00 p.m. ‚Äď 6:30 p.m.
Regions Bank Executive Dining Room, 20th Floor
1900 5th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203
Hosted by David Turner, Regions Financial Corporation 

Decatur/The Shoals
Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 5:30 p.m. ‚Äď 7:00 p.m.
MeritHouse Realty
113 2nd Avenue Southeast, Decatur, AL 35601
Hosted by Doug Bachuss, Nowlin, Bachuss, & Gray; Crystal Brown, Decatur Morgan County Chamber of Commerce; Kent Lawrence, TVW Electrical Supplies, Inc.; Jeremy Nails, Morgan County Economic Development Association; Kelli Powers, Decatur Morgan Hospital; Jamie Reeves, MeritHouse Realty; and, Wade Weaver, Adams Beverages

Huntsville/NE Alabama
Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Redstone Federal Credit Union Twickenham Rooftop
200 Davis Circle Southwest, Downtown Huntsville
Hosted by Penny Billings, Cadence Bank; Hank Isenberg, Iron Mountain Solutions; Michael Kirkpatrick, DESE Research; and, Joe Newberry, Redstone Federal Credit Union

Mobile/Baldwin County
Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Community Foundation of South Alabama
212 St Joseph St, Mobile, AL 36602
Hosted by Rebecca Byrne, Community Foundation of South Alabama; Henry O’Connor, Jones Walker; and, Jay Watkins, Maynard Nexsen 

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
36 Commerce St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hosted by Carl Barker, ServisFirst Bank  

Tuscaloosa/West Alabama
Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 11:30 a.m. ‚Äď 1:00 p.m.
The Bryce House
315 Bryce Lawn Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Friday, September 22, 2023, 11:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Wiregrass United Way
304 N Foster Street, Dothan, AL 36302
Hosted by Walter Hill, Wiregrass United Way and Harrison Morris, ServisFirst Bank

Statewide Regional Councils, the Backbone of Leadership Alabama 

Leadership Alabama is comprised of regional councils throughout the state, and the members of the councils are key to the organization in so many ways.  In addition to representing Leadership Alabama in their respective communities and hosting regional events & informational sessions (in conjunction with the LA office), they play an integral role in the nomination, review and selection process for each LA class by convening each year to thoughtfully discuss and vote on their regional nominations.  Their input and evaluations are integral to the ongoing success of compiling diverse, energized and interactive classes of premier state leaders who passionately embrace the mission of continually moving our state forward.   Those serving on regional councils are listed on our website (click below to view), and we salute their ongoing commitment to Leadership Alabama.

LA 2023-2024 Regional Councils

Again, we are so excited about the many upcoming opportunities to be together.  The regional receptions are always fun and engaging, and they are the perfect introduction for new class members to each of you and Leadership Alabama.  Watch for the next newsletter this fall with photos from the state events, a recap of the opening retreat and an update and roster about Alabama Leadership Initiative’s Class VI, which launches in November.

Saluting another exciting year!

Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director
Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director
Melissa Sherer
Membership & Communications Associate

ūüíę A Heartfelt Salute to YOU ūüíę

June 29, 2023

A Heartfelt Salute — to You!

As Leadership Alabama winds down another program & fiscal year, we are excited to share that it has been a phenomenal year because of YOU, the dedicated members who champion the organization, its programming, its regional events and us.  We are extremely appreciative of your time, commitment and resources, and our LA and ALI programs continue to be stronger and broader due to your active engagement.

With a huge round of applause filled with our gratitude, it is our pleasure to recognize those who supported Leadership Alabama during the past twelve months.  As the very long list illustrates, it takes so many talented and engaged members to facilitate successful programming, and the Leadership Alabama program would not be what it is today without the unshakeable dedication of so many.

Kate, Ashley, and Melissa


Montgomery Retreat
October 2022  

Speakers (In order of appearance)

  • Delbert Madison – ServisFirst Bank, LA Board Member, LA Class XXXI
  • Melissa Morrissette – LLB&B Real Estate, LA Board Chair, LA Class XXI
  • Thomas Rains¬†–¬†The Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute
  • The Honorable Myron Thompson – Federal Judge¬†
  • The Honorable Keith Watkins – Federal Judge, LA Class XXI
  • The Honorable Teresa Pulliam – Circuit Judge, LA Class XXX
  • Bennet Wright¬†– AL Sentencing Commission, LA Board Member, LA Class XXIX¬†¬†
  • Dr. Ed Bridges – AL Department of Archives & History,¬†emeritus, LA Class XIII¬†¬†¬†
  • Chuck Holmes¬†–¬†AL Humanities Alliance, LA Board Member, LA Class XXX
  • The Honorable Tommy Battle – Mayor of Huntsville, LA Class XXIII
  • The Honorable Frank Brocato – Mayor of Hoover, LA Class XXXII
  • The Honorable Corey Hill – Mayor of Douglas, LA Class XXXII
  • The Honorable Jim McCamy –¬†Mayor of Scottsboro, LA Class XXXII¬†¬†
  • The Honorable Steven Reed – Mayor of Montgomery, LA Class XXVIII
  • The Honorable Randall Woodfin – Mayor of Birmingham, LA Class XXVI
  • The Honorable Kay Ivey – Governor of Alabama, LA Class XI
  • Sallye Longshore – AL Department of Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention, LA Class XXVI
  • Ryan Hankins – Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, LA Class XXVIII
  • Greg Canfield¬†–¬†AL Department of Commerce
  • Alex Flachsbart -Opportunity Alabama, ALI Class III


  • The Judge Frank M. Johnson Federal Courthouse Complex
  • Alabama State House
  • RSA Plaza Terrace
  • The Legacy Museum

Mobile Retreat
January 2023

Speakers (In order of appearance)

  • Stephanie Bryan – Poarch Band of Creek Indians, LA Board Member, LA Class XXVIII
  • Melissa Morrissette – LLB&B Real Estate, LA Board Chair, LA Class XXI
  • The Honorable Sandy Stimpson – Mayor of Mobile, LA Class II
  • Karlos Finley – Africatown Redevelopment Corporation, LA Class XXIII
  • David Clark – Visit Mobile, LA Class XXIII
  • Darron Patterson – Clotilda Descendants Association
  • Daryl Taylor – Airbus Alabama, LA Class XXX
  • Stephanie Prescott¬†– Airbus Alabama, LA Class XXXII
  • Bettsie Norton – Airbus Alabama, ALI Class IV
  • Michelle Hurdle – Flight Works Alabama/Airbus Alabama
  • Rusty Murdaugh – AUSTAL USA, LA Class XXXII
  • Tim Gothard – Alabama Wildlife Federation, LA Class XXVII
  • Wiley Blankenship – Coastal Alabama Partnership, LA Class XXVIII
  • Dr. John Valentine – Dauphin Island Sea Lab, LA Class XXIII
  • Richard Stimpson – Leavell Investment Management, LA Class XXX
  • Bestor Ward – Ward Properties, LA Class XXXI
  • Chris Blankenship – AL Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, LA Class XXXI¬†¬†
  • Chuck Holmes – AL Humanities Alliance, LA Board Member, LA Class XXX
  • John Driscoll – Alabama State Port Authority


  • Atmore – The Poarch Band of Creek Indians
  • Regions Bank Executive Board Room
  • Airbus
  • Flight Works Alabama
  • Austal USA
  • 5 Rivers ‚Äď Alabama‚Äôs Delta Resource Center
  • Gulf Quest Maritime Museum
  • Alabama State Port

Huntsville Retreat
March 2023  

Speakers (In order of appearance)

  • The Honorable Tommy Battle – Mayor of Huntsville, LA Class XXIII
  • David Nast – United Community Bank, LA Board Member, LA Class XX
  • COL Brian Cozine – Redstone Arsenal
  • Diana King¬†– NASA Marshall Space Flight Center,¬†retired
  • Kristen Pepper – NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Jody Singer – NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, LA Board Member, LA Class XXVIII
  • Lee Marshall – Kids to Love, LA Class XXIX
  • The Honorable Steve Marshall – Alabama Attorney General, LA Class XXVI
  • Rene Cummings – Mazda Toyota
  • The Honorable Paul Finley – Mayor of Madison, LA Class XXIX
  • Chris Hernandez Kinney – BOCAR
  • Jonathan Pettus – Dynetics, LA Class XXXII
  • Phil Clayton – TriRivers Waterway Development Association, LA Class XXXII
  • Dr. Neil Lamb – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, LA Class XXIX
  • Danny Windham – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotech., LA Board Member, LA Class XXIII
  • Kelly East – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology


  • Redstone Arsenal/Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Kids to Love
  • Dynetics
  • HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Birmingham Retreat
May 2023  

Speakers (In order of appearance)

  • The Honorable Randall Woodfin – Mayor of Birmingham, LA Class XXVI
  • Dawn Bulgarella – UAB Health System, LA Class XXXI
  • Dr. Jayme Locke – Professor & Director, Division of Transplantation, UAB
  • David Silverstein – The Five Stone Group, LA Board Member, LA Class XXVI
  • Dr. John Dorsey – Project Horseshoe Farm, LA Class XXI
  • Melissa Morrissette – LLB&B Real Estate, LA Board Chair, LA Class XXI
  • Joe Ayers – Woodlawn United
  • Dr. Robert Record – Christ Health Center/Woodlawn
  • Mashonda Taylor – Woodlawn United, ALI Class I
  • Trey Echols – Highlands Associates, LA Class XXXI
  • T. Marie King – Jones Valley Teaching Farm
  • Dr. Tommy Bice – i3 Academy, LA Class XXIII
  • Dr. Mike Daria – Tuscaloosa City Schools, LA Class XXXI
  • Mark Dixon – A+ Education Partnership
  • Dr. Michael Douglas – Decatur City Schools, LA Class XXXI
  • Dr. Jim Purcell – AL Commission on Higher Education, LA Class XXIX
  • Chuck Holmes – Alabama Humanities Alliance, LA Board Member, LA Class XXX
  • Dave Wood – Wood Fruitticher Grocery Company, LA Class XXX


  • Wallace Tumor Institute, UAB
  • Alabama Holocaust Education Center
  • The Birmingham Dream Center, Woodlawn
  • Jones Valley Teaching Farm
Click here to see the wonderful hosts of Class XXXII Dinearounds and Receptions

Corporate & Foundation Support, Gold Circle Donors, Annual Membership Dues and Contributions

As Melissa Morrisette, LA‚Äôs Board Chair, shared in her announcement on May 15, during the past 5¬Ĺ years, Leadership Alabama has experienced record-breaking growth while implementing operating and financial efficiencies.¬†¬†This exciting momentum is a result of your overwhelmingly generous support.¬†¬†We offer a heartfelt salute to all of you for your continued investment, and we pledge to remain faithful and prudent stewards of your gifts.

Click here to see Corporate & Foundation Donors.  
Click here to see Gold Circle Donors.  
(Members who contribute $500 or more)
Click here to see Members who matched their dues. 
(Members who pay $175 dues + an additional contribution of at least $175 up to $324)
Click here to see Members who paid dues and made an additional gift.
(Members who pay $175 dues + an additional gift up to $174)
Click here to see Members who paid their annual dues.