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Year: 2021

ūüĆü Happy Holidays from Leadership Alabama

December 20, 2021

Oh what a difference a year
(and vaccines!) can make…

Cheers to being together again in 2021!

We look forward to a happy new year of programming and celebrating “Leadership Alabama… 30 and holding!”
in July 2022 (more details to follow soon!)

Sending merry and bright holiday wishes to you and yours this season from Leadership Alabama.

Kate and Ashley

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Leadership Alabama
Class XXXI Opening Retreat
October 2021 – Montgomery

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Alabama Leadership Initiative
Class IV Opening Session
November 2021 – Montgomery

ūüĎČūüŹľ Upcoming Events and Updates from Leadership Alabama

December 14, 2021

Special Field Trip to Atmore!
Join us for the incredible opportunity of visiting the Poarch Band of Creek Indians community.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
1:00 p.m. ‚Äď 5:00 p.m.
Poarch Creek Reservation, Atmore

Poarch Creek Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan (LA Class XXVIII), Vice Chair Robbie McGhee (LA Class XXX) and Tribal Council Member Keith Martin (LA Class XXXI) invite Leadership Alabama members to join current LA Class XXXI members to come see and learn about what’s happening in Atmore with the tribe.

The afternoon will include a special welcome and cultural performance, a tour of the Poarch Creek community and reservation, and a tour of Muskogee Technology.  We will gather and meet at the Poarch Creek Community Center at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.  More details and directions will be sent to those who RSVP.  For planning purposes, please RSVP by Wednesday, December 29, 2021.

Email Ashley to RSVP and/or request more information.

Nominations for Class XXXII
(Program Year ‚Äď October 2022 through May 2023)
It is hard to believe that the nomination process for Class XXXII will soon begin.  Nominations will open on Monday, January 17, 2022, and we will send an email with all of the information and online application at that time.  The nomination process will close on Friday, February 25.

Additional reminder emails will be sent before January 17.  We simply wanted you to be aware of the date so that you have plenty of time to gather your thoughts about qualified candidates who you would like to submit.

‚Äú30th¬†& Still Holding!‚ÄĚ Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, July 27, through Friday, July 29, 2022
The Grand Hotel
Point Clear, AL
After a two-year delay, we are so excited about our upcoming anniversary celebration this summer.  Most speakers have been confirmed, the band is booked, fabulous meals are being planned and we are ready to celebrate with you!  In January, start watching for information via emails about registering with Leadership Alabama to attend the event AND reserving a room at the Grand Hotel (two separate items).

IMPORTANT¬†‚Äď Per the Leadership Alabama Board of Directors,¬†‚ÄúAll dues paying members are cordially invited to join the anniversary festivities.¬†¬†If you haven‚Äôt paid your annual dues of $175 but plan to attend, please pay online or via mail (see below) so that you will be able to register and reserve a room when the process begins.‚ÄĚ

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2021 ‚Äď 2022 Leadership Alabama
Membership Dues & Contributions
Thank you, thank you to the many of you who have already paid your annual dues and included additional gifts, as well.  Your generosity has been truly overwhelming, and thank yous and tax receipts (for those who paid by check) are being completed as you read this email.

For those who haven‚Äôt had a chance to do so, yet,¬†we humbly ask you to submit your annual dues of¬†only $175¬†for this fiscal year, July 2021 ‚Äď June 2022.¬†¬†You can make an immediate and secure payment online simply be 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.

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Click here to pay your dues online.
Click here to print invoice and mail your payment.

You're Invited!

December 7, 2021

Join us in Atmore for the incredible opportunity of visiting the Poarch Band of Creek Indians community.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Poarch Creek Reservation, Atmore
Poarch Creek Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan (LA Class XXVIII), Vice Chair Robbie McGhee (LA Class XXX) and Tribal Council Member Keith Martin (LA Class XXXI) invite Leadership Alabama members to join Class XXXI members to come see and learn what’s happening in Atmore with the tribe.

Afternoon includes a:
-Special welcome and cultural performance
-Tour of the Poarch CreekCommunity and Reservation
-Tour of Muskogee Technology

We will gather and meet at the Poarch Creek Community Center at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. More details and directions will be sent to those who RSVP.

For planning purposes, please RSVP by emailing awhatley @ Wednesday, December 29, 2021.

ūüíę Making An Investment in Alabama‚Äôs Future‚Ķfor only $175!

November 10, 2021

2021 ‚Äď 2022 Leadership Alabama
Membership Dues & Contributions

After a year‚Äôs postponement due to COVID, the¬†Alabama Leadership Initiative‚Äôs (ALI) Class IV¬†launched last week in Montgomery!¬†¬†We were thrilled to greet¬†58¬†energetic, bright and accomplished ‚Äúyoung‚ÄĚ leaders (aged 25 ‚Äď 41) to the program, and the two days together were filled with fabulous speakers and moving, emotional site visits.

Leadership Alabama salutes the following people for graciously sharing their time with the class¬†‚ÄstGrits Morris, LA Board liaison to ALI;¬†Steve Murray,¬†Dr. Ed Bridges,¬†the Honorable Steven Reed;¬†the Honorable Anthony Daniels;¬†the Honorable Garlan Gudger;¬†the Honorable Tim Melson;¬†Bill Graham¬†and¬†Bryan Stevenson¬†‚Äď and¬†we thank the fabulous venues that opened their doors to us for programing¬†‚Äď The Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Landmarks Foundation, the Equal Justice Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Peace and Justice Memorial Center.

Your dues and gifts enable us to continually offer quality programming of the highest caliber, and we thank the 250 members who, only since late September, have generously paid their annual dues of $175, with many including an additional gift, as well.

Once again, we respectfully ask you to submit your annual dues of¬†only¬†$175 for this fiscal year, July 2021 ‚Äď June 2022.¬†¬†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 and mail a check.


What do your annual dues and generous gifts support?  Alabama’s Bright Future, as evidenced below.

ALI Class IV’s opening session at the Alabama Department of Archives and History

Bryan Stevenson with EJI speaks with the class.

Dr. Ed Bridges delivering his great Alabama history presentation through the economic periods.

Professional Communication and Likability –
Bill Graham works with ALI members on personal and professional development.


Return on Investment... Thank YOU! ūüĎŹ

October 14, 2021

Look what your dues and gifts enable Leadership Alabama to do for current and future classes!  Class XXXI, with 64 members, launched last week, and the agenda was chalked full of incredible speakers in historic and impactful venues.

We were thrilled to hear from –
The Honorable Steven Reed, LA Board Chair David Nast, Thomas Rains, the Honorable Myron Thompson, the Honorable Teresa Pulliam, Bennet Wright, Dr. Ed Bridges, the Honorable Anthony Daniels, the Honorable Greg Reed, Greg Canfield, Alex Flachsbart, the Honorable Kay Ivey, Jimmy Parnell, Jeff Helms, Matthew Durdin, Brian Hardin, Paul Pinyan, Dr. John Dorsey & PHF fellows, Stacia Robinson and John Saxon.

We were thankful for the beautiful venues that welcomed us –
The Frank M. Johnson Federal Courthouse and historic court room, the Montgomery Museum of Art, the Alabama State House, ALFA’s Montgomery Headquarters, Montgomery members’ homes for dinearounds and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

The Honorable Steven Reed, City of Montgomery mayor (Class XXVIII), welcomes Class XXXI to Montgomery in the Jury Assembly Room of the Frank M. Johnson Federal Courthouse.


Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R) and AL House Minority Leader
Anthony Daniels (D), Class XXVIII


Class XXXI in session!


Former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, Class V, & Governor Kay Ivey, Class XI


Again, none of this would be possible without your¬†annual dues payment of only $175 and your generous gifts, and we respectfully ask you to submit your dues for this fiscal year, 2021 ‚Äď 2022.¬†¬†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.

We send a huge, gratitude-filled hug to the MANY of you who have already sent dues and additional gifts Рplease know how much they are appreciated!  We are updating the dues/contributions and corporate gifts pages on the Leadership Alabama website, and they will be posted next week.   Additionally, for those who sent checks, a tax receipt will be mailed to you within the next few weeks.

Click here to pay online.

Click here for a paper invoice.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Kate & Ashley

Again, let’s welcome Class XXXI!
Ryan Austin, Birmingham; Will Barrois, Mobile; Chris Blankenship, Montgomery; Tommy Brigham, Birmingham; Kenyen Brown, Mobile; Anna Buckalew, Montgomery; Dawn Bulgarella, Birmingham; Greg Butrus, Birmingham; Greg Carnes, Muscle Shoals; Ronnie Chronister, Huntsville; Brooke Coleman, Birmingham; Susan Comensky, Birmingham; Allison Black Cornelius, Birmingham; Tommy Coshatt, Auburn; Derrick Cunningham, Montgomery; Mike Daria, Tuscaloosa; Cathy De La Garza, Mobile; Michael Douglas, Decatur; Trey Echols, Birmingham; Marquis Forge, Autaugaville; Brian Gary, Montgomery; Joe Hampton, Birmingham; Ben Harrison, Cullman; Sharon Haynes, Rockford; Betsy Holloway, Birmingham; Todd Jackson, Birmingham; Stephanie Kennedy Mell, Huntsville; Felicia Long, Montgomery; Delbert Madison, Montgomery; Emily Marks, Montgomery; Keith Martin, Atmore; Scott Mayo, Decatur; Steve Miley, Scottsboro; Anoop Mishra, Birmingham; John Montgomery, Birmingham; Mac Moorer, Birmingham; Chris Newlin, Huntsville; Tim Parker, Tuscaloosa; Russell Pigg, Florence; Kelli Powers, Decatur; James Rane, Abbeville; Amy Rauworth, Birmingham; Jim Richardson, Birmingham; Lashunda Scales, Birmingham; Tuerk Schlesinger, Mobile; Tasha Scott, Montgomery; Chad Scroggins, Columbiana; Jack Sharman, Birmingham; Jeb Shell, Mobile; Andrea Smith, Birmingham; Bryson Stephens, Birmingham; Hal Taylor, Montgomery; Chad Tindol, Tuscaloosa; Lynn Troy, Huntsville; Susan Waldrop, Birmingham; Steve Walker, Birmingham; Bestor Ward, Mobile; Karockas Watkins, Huntsville; Phil Webb, Heflin; Clare Weil, Montgomery; Ray White, Huntsville; Ashli Wilkins, Dothan; Elizabeth Winter, Tuscaloosa; Bob Woodall, Dothan.



ūüďć2021-2022 Leadership Alabama Membership Dues

September 24, 2021

Leadership Alabama is finally moving ahead again!¬†¬†On the heels of countless Zoom sessions, remote board meetings and scheduled, postponed and rescheduled retreats and celebrations, we are thrilled to announce that¬†Leadership Alabama Class XXXI¬†will launch on October 7 in Montgomery,¬†Alabama Leadership Initiative (ALI) Class IV¬†will start its program year in November and plans are being finalized for the¬†‚Äú30 and STILL Holding!‚Ä̬†anniversary celebration on¬†Wednesday, July 27, through Friday, July 29, 2022¬†at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear.¬†¬†Additionally, after an August break, the¬†Leadership Alabama Commission on Race and Equity¬†(LACRE) is ready to jump back into its very important work.

As the work accelerates, we started this fiscal year (July 1) with a streamlined budget, eliminating additional expenses from the general operating budget after eliminating $26,000 last year.  We were very conservative when establishing the 2021/2022 budget, and we continue to look for ways to streamline processes and reduce expenses.

None of this work would be possible without your steadfast, ongoing support through your annual dues and contributions, and we are extremely thankful!¬†¬†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, 2021 ‚Äď 2022.

Since establishing the category of donors who contribute $500 or more through their dues & contributions ‚ÄstGold Circle Donors¬†‚Äď the membership in this category has exploded.¬†¬†Last year, 145 of you gave at this level, compared to 79 and 52 in the years preceding ‚Äď thank you!

Click to see 2020-2021 Gold Circle Donors

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.

We can’t wait to see you soon!
Kate and Ashley


ūüďį September News and Updates

September 15, 2021

With profound sadness, we shared the news in March of the death of Mr. J. Michael Jenkins IV, a beloved board member, former board chair and co-founder of Leadership Alabama.  In 1989, Mike Jenkins and Bill Smith, chair of Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, shared the vision of creating an organization that would unite people from all backgrounds, professions and perspectives in order to collectively learn about the state’s challenges and opportunities.  By annually convening a diverse group of state leaders, it would enhance the opportunities of creating solutions and initiatives that would foster the continued growth and success of Alabama.  From this partnership and shared passion, Leadership Alabama was born, and Class I launched in Montgomery in 1990.
In honor of Mike‚Äôs extraordinary leadership, commitment and vision, Leadership Alabama‚Äôs board of directors unanimously voted to establish the¬†‚ÄúJ. Michael Jenkins IV Scholarship Fund‚Ä̬†by allocating $10,000 from LA‚Äôs operating budget to this newly-created line item for the sole purpose of assisting young professionals (ages 25 – 40) participate in our¬†Alabama Leadership Initiative¬†(ALI) program.¬†¬†Mike was instrumental in the creation of ALI and felt strongly that rising leaders in our state should be able to participate in this transformative program regardless of their ability to pay.¬†¬†To make a contribution to this account, click the button to securely give online or mail a check to Leadership Alabama at P.O. Box 131394, Birmingham, AL 35213, and note that it is for the Jenkins ALI Scholarship Fund.


LA Class XXX
(2019 ‚Äď 2022)
The longest program year(s) in LA’s history!
As many of you remember from previous announcements, we had scheduled and rescheduled Class XXX‚Äôs graduation retreat in Birmingham three times prior to planning the ‚Äúfinal‚ÄĚ graduation retreat in Birmingham last month.¬†¬†¬†Sadly, due to the spike in COVID cases throughout the summer, coupled with the results from polling the class about meeting in person, its final session was postponed, yet again.¬†¬†We are still committed to assembling this incredible group of leaders, and we thank David Turner and Regions for offering to host a two-day gathering in early 2022, which will include speakers, a celebratory dinner and a class forum.¬†¬†So, while the members have yet to officially graduate, we raise a toast to this remarkable class and its enduring journey with Leadership Alabama. ¬†
Please help us welcome the following leaders to our organization!


“30 and STILL holding!”
Leadership Alabama’s Anniversary Celebration
If you haven’t already done so, mark your calendars for our anniversary celebration on Wednesday, July 27, through Friday, July 29, 2022 at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear!  We expect a sell-out attendance, so be sure to watch for emails beginning next month (October) detailing the schedule, speakers, registration information, hotel reservations, etc.
It will be a fabulous celebration, and we thank the Grand Hotel (again!) for being so flexible with our event rescheduling.


After an August break, we are ready to jump back into our work.  While it looks like we still won’t be able to host statewide town hall meetings for a while longer, we will soon wrap-up our education-focused work with some written submissions related to education funding and plan our next listening session.  All previous zoom sessions, accompanying material, various resource materials and a list of the commission members are included on the Leadership Alabama website. Click underlined links for resources and members.
Leadership Alabama CLASS XXXI
Launching in October!
After a year‚Äôs postponement, we are thrilled to announce that Leadership Alabama‚Äôs Class XXXI is set to launch in Montgomery on¬†Thursday, October 7, through Saturday, October 9, at the Frank M. Johnson Federal Court House Complex.¬†¬†We are honored and thankful that the following state leaders will be presenting to the class ‚Äď The Honorable Steven Reed (LA Class XXVIII), David Nast (LA Class XX), Thomas Rains, The Honorable Myron Thompson, The Honorable Teresa Pulliam (LA Class XXX), Bennet Wright (LA Class XXIX), Dr. Ed Bridges (LA Class XIII), AL House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (LA Class XXIX), Senator Arthur Orr (LA Class XX), Greg Canfield, Alex Flachsbart (ALI Class III), Governor Kay Ivey (LA Class XI), Jimmy Parnell (LA Class XXVII) & ALFA leaders, Dr. John Dorsey (LA Class XXI) and his team from Project Horseshoe Farm, and staff members from the Equal Justice Initiative.¬†¬†Additionally, we offer a huge thank you to John Saxon (LA Class XXX) for expertly facilitating the upcoming retreat.

Recently featured in the Birmingham Business Journal, Class XXXI, with 69 members, is the largest class, to date.  Please join us in welcoming them to Leadership Alabama!
  • Ryan Austin, Hoar Program Management,¬†Birmingham
  • Will Barrois, Stirling Properties, Mobile
  • Chris Blankenship, AL Dept of Conservation & Natural Resources, Montgomery
  • Tommy Brigham, ARC Realty, Birmingham
  • Kenyen Brown, Maynard, Cooper & Gale,¬†Mobile
  • Anna Buckalew, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery
  • Dawn Bulgarella, UAB Health System, Birmingham
  • Greg Butrus, Balch & Bingham, LLP, Birmingham
  • Greg Carnes, University of North Alabama, Florence
  • Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics, a Leidos Company, Huntsville
  • Brooke Coleman, Daniel and Brooke Coleman Charitable Fund, Birmingham
  • Susan Comensky, Alabama Power Company, Birmingham
  • Allison Black Cornelius, The Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Birmingham
  • Tommy Coshatt, Alfa Insurance, Montgomery
  • Derrick Cunningham, Montgomery County Sheriff‚Äôs Office, Montgomery
  • Mike Daria, Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa
  • Cathy DeLeGarza, Uniti Fiber, Mobile
  • Michael Douglas, Decatur City Schools, Decatur
  • Trey Echols, Highland Associates, Inc., Birmingham
  • Rebekah Elgin-Council, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Chris England, City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa
  • Marquis R. Forge, MRaine Industries, LLC, Autaugaville
  • Brian Gary,¬†Jackson Hospital,¬†Montgomery
  • Joe Hampton,¬†Spire, Inc., Birmingham
  • Scott Harris, AL Dept of Public Health, Montgomery
  • Ben Harrison, Cullman Regional Airport, Cullman
  • Sharon Haynes, Auburn University, AL Cooperative Extension, Rockford
  • Betsy Holloway, Samford University, Birmingham
  • Todd Jackson, Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham
  • Stephanie Kennedy-Mell, Church Street Family, Huntsville
  • Felicia Long, Hill, Hill, Carter, Franco, Cole & Black, PC, Montgomery
  • J. C. Love III, Montgomery County Probate Court, Montgomery
  • Delbert Madison, ServisFirst Bank, Montgomery
  • Emily Marks,¬†Middle District of Alabama Federal Court, Montgomery
  • Keith Martin, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Atmore
  • Scott Mayo, Cook Museum of Natural Science, Decatur
  • Steve Miley, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville
  • Anoop Mishra, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Birmingham
  • John Montgomery, BIG Communications, Birmingham
  • Mac Moorer, Civic Volunteer, Birmingham
  • Chris Newlin, National Children‚Äôs Advocacy Center,¬†Huntsville
  • Tim Parker III, Parker Towing Company, Northport
  • Russell Pigg, North Alabama Medical Center, Florence
  • Kelli Powers, Decatur Morgan Hospital, Decatur
  • James Rane, Jr., Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc., Abbeville
  • Amy Rauworth, Lakeshore Foundation, Birmingham
  • Jim Richardson, RSM US, LLP, Birmingham
  • Lashunda Scales, Jefferson County Commission, Birmingham
  • Tuerk Schlesinger,¬†AltaPointe Health, Mobile
  • Tasha Scott, Maximized Growth, LLC, Montgomery
  • Chad Scroggins, Shelby County, Columbiana
  • Jack Sharman III, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC, Birmingham
  • Jeb Shell, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, Mobile
  • Andrea Smith, PNC Institutional Asset Management, Birmingham
  • Bryson Stephens,¬†EBSCO Industries, Inc., Birmingham
  • Renee Story, GE Appliances ‚Äď Decatur Plant Operations, Decatur
  • Hal Taylor, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,¬†Montgomery
  • Chad Tindol,¬†The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • Lynn Troy, Troy 7, Inc., Huntsville
  • Susan Waldrop,¬†Larimer Waldrop & Associates, Birmingham
  • Steve Walker, Protective Life Corporation, Birmingham
  • Bestor Ward,¬†Ward Properties, Inc., Mobile
  • Karockas Watkins, Ability Plus, Inc.,¬†Huntsville
  • Phil Webb, Webb Concrete & Building Materials, Heflin
  • Clare Weil, C. Weil Enterprises, Inc., Montgomery
  • Ray White, Warren Averett, LLC, Huntsville
  • Ashli Wilkins, Wallace Community College, Dothan
  • Elizabeth Winter,¬†Regions Bank, Tuscaloosa
  • Bob Woodall, Bob Woodall Air Care Systems, Inc., Dothan


ALI Class IV
Commencing in November!
After suspending the ALI program during the past year due to COVID, nominations for Class IV opened this past July, and once again, we received a record number of strong nominees ‚Äď 157!¬†¬†Of those nominated, 102 individuals submitted completed applications for the review committee‚Äôs consideration, and a class of 55 was recently selected and notified.¬†¬†Once everything has been finalized, we will announce the class roster.¬†¬†The class will begin in November in Montgomery, followed by additional sessions in Birmingham and The Shoals.¬†¬†Leadership Alabama thanks former ALI members Stephanie Baker, Katie Hancock, Jon Hegeman, Coreata Houser, Taylor Norton, Terrance Smith and Jessica Thomas for serving on the review committee by dedicating an exhaustive amount of time in reviewing and ranking each applicant prior to the committee‚Äôs session.¬†¬†Additionally, we thank LA board member Grits Morris, the LA board liaison to ALI, for serving.


Friday, October 8, 2021
Montgomery Area Membership Luncheon w/ Class XXXI
Capital City Club, Montgomery
Friday, January 14, 2022
Mobile/Baldwin County Area Membership Dinner w/ Class XXXI
TBD, Mobile
Friday, March 11, 2022
Huntsville Area Membership Dinner w/ Class XXXI
TBD, Huntsville
Thursday, May 12, 2022
Birmingham Area Membership Dinner w/ Class XXXI
TBD, Birmingham
Be on the lookout for an email coming to your inbox soon as we kickoff our annual request for membership dues and contributions!


We Must Remember

September 11, 2021

Flags honoring people killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 at Pepperdine University located at Alumni Park at Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA, Monday, September 8, 2020. The University honors those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, with its annual Waves of Flags display. In compliance with guidance provided by Los Angeles County due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the display will be closed to the public. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)


As a nation, we are tired, depressed, divided. We yell, we criticize, we label. We languish in silos, with closed minds and deaf ears, while shouting obscenities at those who think differently, act differently, and most definitely ARE different. Compromise is no longer a viable action; it has been replaced by unyielding resistance, skepticism and stoic determination. Yes, as a nation, we are tired.

America, we can do better; we must do better. Alabama, for the sake of all of us, our neighbors and the future of our state, we simply HAVE to do better. We owe it to each other. We owe it to the thousands of individuals who have selflessly served and continue to serve our nation. And, we definitely owe it to those who died on September 11, 2001 and to those who, following the horror and chaos, valiantly volunteered to protect all of us ‚Äď without any thought to what divides us.

Do you remember how we, as a devastated and wounded country, shelved our many differences and experiences in unity to defend, protect and extol our incredible nation? And now, twenty years later, as we toil through distrust, discourse and a pandemic, we need to stop. We need to remember and honor those who died, volunteered and ran into the abyss to shield us, ALL of us, from the unknown enemy attacking our country. Through all of our many cracks and fusions, they should always be the reason, the symbol, the reminder to all of us to return to decency ‚Äď to be thankful that we live in a nation without boundaries, restrictions or punishments, even when we are behaving at our worst, even as we address injustices ‚Äď past and current.

Alabama, proudly wave the American flag on this solemn 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, and recognize that even though we are flawed, it stands to symbolize all of us ‚Äď red, white & blue. It continues to wave in spite of our imperfections, and it continues to be a beacon to the world, even when the world isn‚Äôt watching. Most importantly, it continues to represent the freedom of thought, expression and action for each one of us, no matter what we think, where we stand or how we behave. May we all recognize its symbolic power of creating unity and loyalty to a common good by remembering those who died simply because they lived and worked in our incredible country, blemishes and all.

September 11, 2021

We Stand Strong

Dr. Henry Panion III, an extraordinary composer, arranger, conductor and educator, was a member of Leadership Alabama‚Äôs Class XII, which was in Huntsville at the Redstone Arsenal during the week of the attack. As he recently noted in an email to some fellow classmates,¬†‚ÄúThis week we will see many images and hear many stories from that horrific day.¬†¬†Thus, I thought I‚Äôd re-share my song,¬†‚ÄúWe Stand Strong,‚Ä̬†with you.¬†¬†And, as I laid across my hotel bed on the Friday night of the retreat, watching TV coverage of people walking the streets of New York looking for their lost loved ones, the words and melody of the song just seem to come from nowhere‚Ķyet, everywhere.

We invite you to download a high-res copy of the score to the song, as well as the recording of the song by former Birmingham Police Chief Annetta Nunn.






ALI Class IV Nominations are OPEN!

June 16, 2021

Alabama Leadership Initiative
In 2017, in order to offer young professionals the opportunity to develop personal leadership skills and to establish ongoing relationships with other young leaders across the state, the Alabama Leadership Initiative was expanded to a six-month program comprised of three two-day retreats. ALI exposes participants to the decision makers in Alabama who are sensitive to the challenges we face as a state and provides the unique opportunity to step inside the circles of those who mold the future of our state.

2021 ‚Äď 2022 Program Year

Thursday, November 4 ‚Äď Friday, November 5, 2021

Thursday, February 10 ‚Äď Friday, February 11, 2022

Thursday, April 21 ‚Äď Friday, April 22, 2022
The Shoals

Click here for ALI Class IV Nomination Form

The Alabama Leadership Initiative is statewide and focuses on three areas.

Class members connect with statewide experts in order to increase their knowledge of the issues impacting Alabama.

The Initiative provides a unique opportunity to bond with like-minded leaders from throughout the state.

Personal Development
The programming includes leadership training in various areas, including public speaking, effective board involvement and political involvement.

Qualified applicants need to have shown leadership and commitment in a professional capacity and within their own communities. Each class is limited to 40 ‚Äď 45 participants, and selection to participate in the program is dependent on the submitted applications.¬†*Due to the postponement of Class IV, 2020-2021 will be open to young professionals age 25-41.Tuition
Tuition for the program is $1,750, and there is scholarship assistance for those with financial need. An application for assistance is provided as part of the overall application process.