News

Year: 2024

🗞️🌺 Spring News, Features, and Updates 👋🏽

April 9, 2024

Spring News, Features, and Updates

Nominations for LA Class XXXIV – WOW!

We are thrilled to announce that we received 183 outstanding nominations for LA Class XXXIVThank 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’s Executive Committee will review the prioritized lists from the regional councils and select 65 – 70 individuals for the class and then present this “final” 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’s 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!

“Connecting Engaged Leaders and Establishing Lasting Relationships”

As boldly noted in the heading on the home page of LA’s website, Leadership Alabama is dedicated to “Challenging, motivating and engaging Alabama’s proven leaders,” 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 “Citizen of the Year 2023” in recognition of her exemplary leadership and engagement in her community and noted many of her achievements, as we are honored to share –

  • 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’s Children’s 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’s 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’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
  • Serves as a Registered Mediator for the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution.
  • Chaired Leadership Alabama’s 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 – Huntsville Retreat March 7 – 9, 2024

Just as Leadership Alabama’s Board of Directors met in Mobile prior to the January retreat, the March meeting in Huntsville was planned with the same objective in mind – 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 “Early Bird” cocktail reception at Mars Music Hall, the Von Braun Center’s most recent expansion venture that is changing the landscape of Huntsville’s music scene.

On Thursday morning, the entire class was “officially’ 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 “set the stage” 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’s 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 “city within a city.”

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 – 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, “Our classmates did a good job of providing current updates on difficult topics within an environment of varying opinions.”

 

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’s president, who presented an excellent overview of the school’s purpose, processes and results, followed by a school tour with students.  “Very informative, very impressive, a must visit, a unique facility, fantastic!” 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, “Serving Children Through Every Step.”  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 “Great Schools for Every Child in Alabama” and heard presentations from another incredibly strong panel of classmates – Mark 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 “was great to see the impact and discussion of classmates” and that the “program was very informative with very honest points of view given.”  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 “under the Saturn V Rocket” 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’s 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 “awesome activity!”  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…

“Leadership Alabama is a storied organization with a 35-year legacy of challenging, motivating and engaging Alabama’s proven leaders.”  What have you gained from being in the current LA class?”

“Lifelong 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’m continuing to grow my knowledge of the state and seeing it through the eyes of others that aren’t experiencing it daily as I do.  Our great state never ceases to amaze me.  It’s been a wonderful experience.”    

“How does Leadership Alabama continue to serve our state with relevance and momentum?”

“Exposing 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’s 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.”  

LA Class XXXIII will convene in Birmingham for its last retreat of the program year on May 9 – 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 – 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.

“On the Boardwalk” featuring LA Board of Directors…

Beginning with this release, future newsletters will feature two or three members of LA’s Board of Directors in order to share a closer glimpse of those who diligently serve our organization through their steadfast commitment to Leadership Alabama’s mission and objectives.  As such, we are thrilled to take a stroll “on the boardwalk” 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.

 

 

“As you know, Leadership Alabama is a storied organization with a 35-year legacy of challenging, motivating and engaging  Alabama’s proven leaders.  During the past five years, including the current year, a record number of nominations, well beyond the class capacity of 65 – 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?”     

Gordon’s response –  “The 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.”  

Jody’s response – “The key to Leadership Alabama’s 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.”    

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 – 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
ashley@leadershipal.org
Kate Cotton
Operations and Development Director
Cell: 205 515-6515
kcotton@leadershipal.org
LA Class XVII
Lydia Barnett
Membership Engagement & ALI Director
Cell: 205 563-1792
lydia@leadershipal.org

⏳ Nominations EXTENSION, ALI Dothan Recap, and a big LA Welcome 👋🏽

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 lydia@leadershipal.org.

Nominations have been pouring in, and we are thrilled that so many qualified and outstanding leaders are being submitted – thank you!  And, great news – since we are in a Leap Year, we are going to “leap” 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 –
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’s presentation of “Main Street Alabama: Community Engagement, Revitalization and Investment.”

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

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
205.905.9415
ashley@leadershipal.org

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director
205.515.6515
kcotton@leadershipal.org

⏰ Reminder! LA Class XXXIV Nominations are OPEN 📮

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’s fiscal year is July 1 – 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 – 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’s regional council, in partnership with Leadership Birmingham, hosted a membership event featuring Mr. Ron Blatman, producer of the “Saving the City” 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’t 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 – it’s 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
205.905.9415
ashley@leadershipal.org

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director
205.515.6515
kcotton@leadershipal.org

📣 LA Class XXXIV Nominations are now OPEN ‼️

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

Ashley Kaplan
Executive Director
205.905.9415
ashley@leadershipal.org

Kate Cotton
Operations & Development Director
205.515.6515
kcotton@leadershipal.org