Katie Boyd Britt
Katie Boyd Britt, a 2004 cum laude political science graduate of The University of Alabama who also received the JD from UA in 2013, was named chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) in September 2016. Prior to joining Sen. Shelby’s staff, Britt was an attorney with the Butler Snow firm in Birmingham, where she was a member of the business services and finance and real estate groups, with practice emphasis in corporate law, business reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending and estate and trust planning. At UA she was president of the Student Government Association and Chi Omega. Her memberships included the Anderson Society, The XXXI, Blackburn Institute, Mortar Board, Blue Key, Omicron Delta Kappa, Human Relations Council and student member of the board of trustees. She received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the Most Outstanding Student Award and the John Pearson Award. Britt serves as president of the executive committee of the board of advisors.
Joseph D. Bryant, a 2001 UA journalism graduate and the first African-American editor of The Crimson White, serves as director of communication for the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, where he oversees public information and communication strategies. Prior to joining the Housing Authority, Bryant spent 12 years as a reporter at The Birmingham News, where he covered the mayor’s office and city government. At the Capstone, Bryant worked not only for The Crimson White, but also for Alabama Public Radio and the office of communication in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. His honors include Freedom Forum Fellow and Chips Quinn Scholar. Bryant is a native of Dothan and a graduate of Daleville High School, where he was 1997 class president. Bryant serves as vice president of the executive committee of the board of advisors.
Calvin Han is an honors graduate of The University of Alabama, having earned the bachelor of business administration degree in 2009. He went on to earn the master of business administration degree from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Han co-founded Sustained Dialogue (SD) at UA and served as both president and moderator. Following graduation he worked in brand management and marketing for Procter & Gamble Co., an international leader with brands such as Tide, Dawn and Mr. Clean. Today he serves as brand manager for U.S. Consumer Health Care for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Along with his day job, he also runs a boutique management consulting company, Ibon Brand Group (IBG), which he co-founded in 2013. IBG is focused on serving private equity-backed brands, with client sectors ranging from over-the-counter consumer health care to men’s grooming, from pet care to sports nutrition. Han serves as secretary for the board of advisors.
Divya Patel is a 2006 accounting graduate of The University of Alabama and holds a master’s degree in accountancy from Belmont University in Nashville. She earned her 2002 high school diploma from the Alabama School of Math and Science. Patel began her career as an auditor at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and currently works as director of operations in the family business with the Windsor Hotel and Quality Inn in Americus, Georgia. Her civic activities include City of Americus Downtown Development Authority member, board member/treasurer of the Tourism Council and board member of the Junior Service League. At UA she served as president of the International Student Association and was a member of the Pan-Hellenic Association and the 2005 Homecoming court. She serves as treasurer for the board of advisors.
Chair, Academic Success and Student Retention Committee
Victoria Javine is a clinical professor in the Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies in The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. She teaches upper-level undergraduate and graduate finance courses. In addition to teaching, Javine conducts research in behavioral and personal finance and corporate finance and engages the community through speaking and participation in parent night financial literacy seminars. Javine is faculty advisor for UA’s Alabama Finance Association and serves on the board of directors of the Academy of Financial Services. She earned the BS in finance at UA in 2002 and went on to earn the PhD in finance at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As a student she shared her passion for economics and finance with others as a tutor and teaching assistant for introductory courses. In 2000 she was selected as a Blackburn Institute Fellow and was a founding fellow in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. Javine serves on the executive committee of the board of advisors as leader of the academic success and student retention committee.
Chair, Global and Community Leadership Committee
Rashmee Sharif earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Alabama, double majoring in management and Spanish as an undergraduate and earning the MBA in 2013. As an undergraduate, she was heavily involved in numerous service- and international-related activities on campus. From 2006–2008 she served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied international relations and Spanish. Prior to obtaining her MBA, Sharif was an instructor at the University, teaching courses in global studies from 2008–2012. Additionally, she was a study abroad director, leading Alabama students to Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank for three consecutive summers. Now a change manager with Cigna’s operating effectiveness team, Sharif lives in Birmingham and is enjoying life back in sweet home Alabama with her husband. She serves on the executive committee of the board of advisors as leader of the global and community leadership development committee.
Chair, Student Entrepreneurship and Innovative Initiatives Committee
David Bailey is chief executive officer of BTC Media LLC, a leader in digital currency communications. After founding yBitcoin, the world’s leading publication about digital currency, Bailey launched BTC Media, a corporate group that includes bitcoinmagazine.com, the original source for coverage of breaking Bitcoin news and features on people, ventures, deals and developments. BTC Media reaches millions of readers worldwide and represents advertisers ranging from start-ups to multi-billion-dollar Fortune-500 companies. Bailey is advisory board director at College Cryptocurrency Network and serves on the boards of national organizations including Bitcoin Shop. He is entrepreneur in residence at 402 Digital Partners, the leading digital currency investment fund in the Southeastern United States, where he advises on digital currency, emerging trends and investment opportunities. Bailey was a University Fellow at The University of Alabama, where he earned degrees in finance, economics and Mandarin Chinese. A Huntsville native, he now lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee, where BTC Media makes its headquarters. He serves on the executive committee of the board of advisors as leader of the student entrepreneurship and innovative initiatives committee.
Jessica Averitt Taylor
Jessica Averitt Taylor joined Northern Kentucky University (NKU) as an assistant professor of social work in 2012. She teaches about social welfare policy and social work and the community, as well as about communities and organizations. She serves as the director of FUEL NKU, the on-campus student food pantry. Additionally, Taylor is the faculty coordinator for the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project, which was begun in 1999 at NKU as a way to teach students more about nonprofits and philanthropy, with the belief that hands-on learning in these fields would produce graduates who are more likely to remain lifelong community stewards. Taylor earned both the MSW and the PhD in social work from The University of Alabama. Her research focuses on community engagement, teaching pedagogy and public health issues including food insecurity. At UA, she served as assistant to the editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.
Porcia Bradford Love
Montgomery native Dr. Porcia Bradford Love is a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at The University of Alabama, where she was a member of the Honors Program. Love held a number of leadership positions at UA, including director of the Community Service Center, and was a member of the Blackburn Institute. She was a recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and the William P. Bloom awards. Dr. Love completed her medical degree and dermatology training at Duke University, where she held the honor of serving as chief resident. She also completed a clinical research fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Love has served as a state commissioner for Alabama’s Commission on National and Community Service and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Alabama Dermatologic Society, the public service work group of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons and the leadership advisory board of the American Cancer Society. She is married to J.C. Love III, an attorney in Montgomery, and has one daughter.
Co-chair, Student Entrepreneurship and Innovative Initiatives Committee
Nicholas Beadle is a special assistant at the Office of Apprenticeship of the U.S. Department of Labor, in Washington, D.C. He plans and implements regulatory and policy changes aimed at expanding apprenticeship as an entryway into the American workforce, following a Trump administration executive order instructing the Department to remove barriers to apprenticeship amid the rising cost of higher education and a recent Obama administration rule adding protections for women, persons with disabilities, older workers, and LGBTQ individuals in apprenticeship programs. A native of the unincorporated community of Greenhill, Alabama, Beadle was an investigative reporter before entering law, receiving recognition for his stories on governmental misconduct, natural disasters, and hate groups. While a student at the Capstone, he won a National Scholastic Press Association award for his reporting on access to higher education. Beadle joined the Department of Labor in 2013 as part of its selective honors program for new attorneys, participating in the development of new civil rights and investment regulations and successfully representing the Department as amicus curiae in a Second Circuit appeal on access to mental health care. Prior to his current role at the Department, he worked as an attorney for the Department's Employment and Training Legal Services Division, negotiating agreements between the Department's workforce development programs and public and private partners, and developing new policies for the Department's disaster-response and youth-training programs.
A Colorado native, Ryan J. Browne graduated from The University of Alabama in 2009 with a master of fine arts degree in poetry. He taught for two years as an instructor in UA’s Department of English and for four years in Alabama’s state prisons with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, a program dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to those in prison in Alabama. His poems appear in The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, The Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review and elsewhere. He lives with his wife, son and dog in Madison, Wisconsin, where he’s opening a craft brewery. His first book of poems was selected for publication in 2011 and he runs Poetry & Pints, a reading series that brings local authors and audiences together over full mugs of free beer he makes by hand. While an instructor in the UA English department, Browne was the author of “Widening the Circle: Prison Arts Performances as Gifts,” published in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship in 2009.
Casey Brunson is a 2002 graduate of The University of Alabama and a 2005 graduate of Loyola University New Orleans School of Law (now College of Law). She is licensed to practice law in Alabama and Mississippi but prefers the challenge of leadership development and human resources management. As a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), she has worked in manyFortune- and U.S. News & World Report-ranked organizations as a member of the human resources leadership team. Casey is currently the vice president of learning and people for a growing regional dental services organization in the western United States. She earned a certificate in performance management and organizational development, industrial and organizational psychology from Colorado State University in 2013 and is now pursuing the MBA in finance. Past and future achievements notwithstanding, her proudest accomplishment is being a graduate of The University of Alabama and saying, “Roll Tide!”
A Tuscumbia native, Kyle Buchanan serves as executive director of Alabama Community Care, Inc., a joint venture partnership of Huntsville Hospital Health System, DCH Health System, Indian Rivers Mental Health Center and Sentara Healthcare. This not-for-profit managed-care organization is designated as a probationary regional care organization created to provide managed-care services for up to 165,000 Medicaid members in a 23-county region in North and West Alabama, with expected annual revenues of up to $665 million. Previously, Buchanan served as vice president of operations at Helen Keller Hospital and as director of special projects and administrative fellow for the UAB Health System, as well as chief executive officer of Lawrence Medical Center in Moulton. He earned the BS in business administration from UA, as well as master’s degrees in health services administration and business administration from the University of Michigan and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, respectively. He serves as a board member of Leadership Alabama and the Blackburn Institute, and as secretary of the board of trustees at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. Buchanan enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters.
Mary Margaret Carroll
Mary Margaret Carroll
Mary Margaret Carroll began her career with Fine Geddie & Associates in January 2013. A native of Ozark, she was born and raised in the Wiregrass region of Alabama. She earned the BA in English from The University of Alabama in 2006. As an undergraduate, she interned for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, served as Student Government Association president and was the student representative to The University of Alabama System board of trustees. Carroll earned the JD from the UA School of Law in 2010. While in law school, she worked part-time for a law firm focused on banking, creditor’s rights and corporate law, and performed pro bono legal work through the law school’s Public Interest Institute and clinical program. A 2010 recipient of the Dean Nathaniel Hansford Award for Leadership, Carroll has government experience on both the federal and state levels, in the legislative and judicial branches. She was the assistant to the chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby from 2006–2007 and, during law school, worked for two federal judges on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Prior to joining Fine Geddie, she served as a staff attorney on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Carroll serves on the Britton YMCA board of directors as an advisor for both the youth judicial and youth legislature programs. She is a member of the Montgomery Junior League and the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery, as well as the Alabama State Bar.
A 2003 graduate of The University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Prince Cleveland also earned the master of public administration degree from UA in 2006. As a student, Cleveland was involved in numerous organizations. He served as president of the African American Association and as Student Government Association senator and attorney general. He is also an initiate of the Kappa Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He lives in Birmingham, where he is employed by EBSCO Industries. He is a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he is active in the youth and economic development ministries. He serves on the advisory board of the Blackburn Institute at The University of Alabama and on the young professional boards of the Birmingham Urban League and the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center. He also serves on the staff of American Legion Alabama Boys State.
Luke Connell serves as both chief communications officer and president of marketing and public relations for The Palladian Group in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he has worked on projects for a diverse client base including universities, hospitals, energy companies and government. In July 2015, Connell traveled to Uganda with a film crew to document the plight of orphans for the short film, “This is Home.” He is currently leading communications efforts for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, a public art installation funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. A Cullman native, Connell served as editor of The Crimson White before graduating from UA with a journalism degree in 2002. He worked as a reporter in both South Carolina and Alabama and served as city editor of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal for almost a decade. During his journalism career, he received multiple awards for in-depth reporting and feature writing. In 2013, Editor and Publisher included Connell on its list of “25 under 35: The Rising Stars of Newspaper Publishing.” He is married to fellow UA graduate Jenny Blackwood Connell.
Rebecca Cornwell earned a bachelor of arts degree at The University of Alabama, receiving her depth study through New College in interdisciplinary social justice and anti-racist activism, in 2005. She moved to Boston and joined Match Corps, a one-year urban education fellowship committed to closing the achievement gap. Following time away from education, during which she managed a music venue and toy store, she returned to the field of education through early childhood development. While working at an early education center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cornwell was introduced to applied behavior analysis (ABA), considered to be one of the most effective and evidence-based treatments to support children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She continued her education; taking courses at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and in 2013 completed the MEd as well as graduate certification in ABA for special populations. In February 2014, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Along with practicing evidence-based applied behavior analysis, she is interested in special education policy and health insurance policy, as well as equal access to education and healthcare. In November 2016, she began serving as clinical director of Great Leaps Learning Center in Montgomery.
Kathryn Crenshaw serves as an English teaching assistant in southern Brazil as part of the J. William Fulbright Program. Selected as one of 72 finalists from among thousands of qualified applicants, Crenshaw helps teach the English language while serving as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. In partnership with the Brazilian program English without Borders, she is responsible for leading classroom and community dialogue on English language and American culture through presentations, activities and workshops. A December 2014 graduate, Crenshaw earned her BS degree with a double major in economics and Spanish and a double minor in the Blount Undergraduate Initiative and Latin American studies. While at UA, she was involved in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration Business Honors Program, The Blount Scholars Program, New College, Phi Sigma Eta Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, Honors College, the International Honors Program and the Honors College First Friends Program. She is passionate about international politics, volunteering, running and travel and is interested in pursuing a career in investment banking focusing on the Latin American region.
An Alabama native, Sarah Dunlap earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in cognitive psychology, both from The University of Alabama. As a senior research associate at the University’s Institute for Social Science Research, she divides her time between evaluating innovative public health and educational programs and managing grant-funded projects, primarily in the area of gender differences in STEM education. Dunlap and her husband have two sons, ages 14 and 10, and share their home with one dog, one cat and one turtle. She reports that her sons enjoy everything from playing sports to nature walks, including her with them on all of their journeys. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking and practicing yoga.
Born and raised in Covington, Louisiana, Emma Fick received the BA in English literature and art history from The University of Alabama in 2013. A self-employed freelance artist and illustrator, she now lives in the greater New Orleans area. In October 2014, she began the Snippets of Serbia illustration project as part of a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Serbia. Her first book, “Snippets of Serbia,” was published in June 2015. She is now starting on Snippets of New Orleans and working on some fine art illustrated collections. At UA, she was the lead designer on a project called The Nest, an art installation built from debris from the devastating April 2011 tornado that destroyed parts of Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area. Children painted the branches that were then woven into a larger-than-life nest. Fick is always seeking new and exciting collaborations, and shares that the next Snippets of … location is forthcoming and that the wind is blowing toward Brazil.
David K. Germany is senior vice president and commercial relationship manager in Regions Bank’s Government and Institutional Banking Group, where he manages commercial client banking relationships throughout the North Central Alabama region. Since 2007 he has negotiated and structured deals worth more than $1 billion. Germany graduated from the Regions Bank management associate and commercial credit training programs in 2003 and completed the bank’s emerging leaders program in 2011. He has also served as a trust operations analyst and commercial credit analyst and became a certified treasury professional in 2008. Active in various economic, civic and community affairs, Germany is a member of Impact Alabama, Leadership UAB, the Birmingham Business Alliance Board of Directors, Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the UAB Minority Health Junior Board of Directors and the American Heart Association. He was selected for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s Project Corporate Leadership Class of 2005 and was the Youth Leadership Forum Program co-chair in 2011. A Birmingham native, Germany received the bachelor of science degree in investment finance from UA, as well as an MBA with a concentration in finance from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business.
Birmingham native Tyrell F. Jordan is a civil litigation attorney with more than a decade of experience litigating cases with and against the region’s largest law firms, and handling matters for and against some of the nation’s largest corporations. After working for a well-known firm for almost 10 years, Jordan formed his own practice in January 2015 to further pursue his passion for meaningful change. His practice focuses on personal injury matters on behalf of individuals who have been injured through no fault of their own, with an emphasis on bringing cases on behalf of children and their parents who have been victims of medical negligence. Jordan earned both his accounting and law degrees from UA, in 2001 and 2004, respectively. He was recognized as a Ronald E. McNair scholar, accounting academic all-star, moot court and trial advocacy competitor and honor court justice. A former intern at the Kettering Foundation, Jordan possesses a deep-seated passion for the promotion of citizen engagement in effecting the changes in our communities necessary to bear out the paragon of the American dream of fairness, justice and equality for all. A product of the Birmingham City Schools, he regularly speaks to youth on the importance of finding their passion and overcoming the odds.
Tuscaloosa native Kendra Key is a 2010 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, having earned the bachelor of arts degree in political science. After graduating from The University of Alabama, she worked as the legislative officer to the District of Columbia Public Schools and then as a legislative aide to Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Alabama). Key received her JD degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2015 and serves as a law clerk to a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She will return to Alabama this winter, where she will practice law in Birmingham.
Co-chair, Academic Success and Student Retention Committee
Elliot Knight lives in Montgomery and works for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, where he is the visual arts program manager and director of the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery. An Opelika native, Knight holds three degrees from The University of Alabama, including a bachelor of arts in visual communication, a master of arts in American studies and a PhD in interdisciplinary studies. He helped co-found and develop the nationally recognized Black Belt 100 Lenses Program, a participatory photography and arts program that worked with high school students in 12 Alabama Black Belt counties. Knight has developed and taught several courses at UA in the Department of Art History and in the Honors College. He also served as director of the Arts on Campus Living-Learning Community at UA. Additionally, Knight has served as an advisory board member for The Alabama Art Kitchen and the Beauty Amid Destruction project. He serves as a board member for both the Montgomery Public Art Commission and the Montgomery Art Guild, as well as on the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts junior executive board.
Colby Leopard, class of 2013, studied public relations and English at the Capstone. As a student, Leopard founded READ Alabama, a literacy mentorship program dedicated to improving the reading rates of elementary- and middle-school students in West Alabama. He worked for Creative Campus, a student-centered arts advocacy organization dedicated to building relationships that will serve as a voice for the cultural arts, as well as for The Crimson White, UA’s student newspaper. Additionally, he worked with Forza Financial, a non-profit student-run organization that seeks to empower Alabama’s most underappreciated business and community leaders through the utilization of small-business loans ranging from $500 to $5,000. Leopard graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Following graduation, he moved to Seoul, South Korea, to teach English as a second language for Avalon English. He currently lives in New York City, where he serves as manager of marketing, publicity and distribution at FilmNation Entertainment.
Victor Luckerson is a reporter for Time magazine and Time.com, covering business, technology and national affairs, as well as a staff writer for The Ringer (https://theringer.com/), where he writes about the fast-changing world of consumer tech. He has written about the inner workings of companies such as Facebook and Google and has traveled to towns like Selma to write about education issues. He earned the BS degree in journalism and history from The University of Alabama in 2012. As a student, he served as editor-in-chief of The Crimson White for two years, leading coverage of segregation in the Greek system and the April 2011 tornado. He earned many awards and accolades during his time as a student, including The Crimson White Best All-Around Journalist Award in 2009 and the UA Office of Student Media’s Innovation Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Additionally, publications and stories on which he worked earned numerous Society of Professional Journalists and Columbia Gold Circle awards, including the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award for Best Student Newspaper. Luckerson resides in Brooklyn, New York, and likes to spend time in his backyard, a rarity in the big city.
Co-chair, Academic Success and Student Retention Committee
Holly Morris Luther earned a BA in political science, as well as an MA and a PhD in higher education administration from The University of Alabama. She resides in Albertville with her husband, Michael — also a UA graduate — and her three children. She serves her community as part of the Marshall County Women’s Guild and as the women’s ministry chair of her church. She also serves as adjunct faculty for UA at the Gadsden campus. Prior to moving to North Alabama, Luther worked at The University of Alabama in the Division of Student Affairs and at the University of British Columbia, and travelled as an educational leadership consultant for her fraternity. She is a member of the Alabama Student Affairs Leadership Council. As a student at UA, Luther served as chapter president of Kappa Alpha Theta, as a captain of the Bama Belles and as an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key, Mortar Board, The Anderson Society, Order of Omega and The XXXI. She received the UA Outstanding Junior award and the National Alumni Association Outstanding Senior award, as well as a National Alumni Association fellowship for graduate school and an Outstanding Dissertation Research award from the College of Education.
Andrea Mabry is a photojournalist and event photographer who produces vibrant, resonating imagery. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in photojournalism in 2009 and a master of arts in American studies in 2012, both from The University of Alabama. While attending the University, Mabry worked for the Center for Community-Based Partnerships as a photographer and web developer. She also helped create the Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market and managed it for three years. After graduating, she moved to New Orleans to begin her photography business. Mabry relocated to Birmingham in 2015, where she continues to photograph corporate events, weddings and news.
Karla S. Martin
Karla Martin, a member of The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, earned the BS in elementary education from The University of Alabama in May 2006, and went on to earn the MA and PhD in education from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was chosen as a McNair scholar at UA and as a Royster Scholar at UNC. Martin served as a professor at UNC and at Illinois State University, where she taught history and multicultural education courses, an identity course and graduate-level courses in indigenous studies and educational sociology. In 2013, she was chosen to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University at the Center for Indian Education, where she worked with scholars to conduct research on Native American education and helped prepare fellow educators to work with students representing many tribes. Most recently, Martin has served The Poarch Band of Creek Indians in her role as the cultural director from 2014–2015. She began a new position as the community services division director in November 2016. In this position, she oversees and coordinates the efforts of the education, Boys and Girls Club, recreation and cultural and museum departments.
Coyn Mateer is vice president at Allegiance Capital Corporation in Dallas, Texas, where he began his career as a financial analyst in February 2013. A Mt. Vernon, Illinois native, Mateer earned the BS in finance in 2012 from the Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama. Before joining Allegiance, Mateer also served two internships at Wells Fargo Advisors. As part of the investment management consulting group at Wells Fargo, he assisted portfolio specialists in building optimal portfolios for top-tier clients. At UA, he was able to gain hands-on experience with financial statement analysis and intrinsic valuation techniques as a member of and key contributor to the UA Culverhouse Investment Management Group, a student-run investment fund managed by select UA students with oversight from an investment consultant and faculty advisors. During his free time, Mateer enjoys following the St. Louis Cardinals and the Alabama Crimson Tide, and stays involved in the community through building houses with Habitat for Humanity and volunteering at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.
Co-chair, Global and Community Leadership Committee
A native of Mobile, Stephen McNair received a BA in history from The University of Alabama in 2004. While a student, he served as vice president of academic affairs for the Student Government Association and was elected as a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and The Jasons. Following graduation he relocated to New Orleans, where he earned a master’s degree in historic preservation from Tulane University and accepted a position for the City of New Orleans as an architectural historian. He relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2009, where he earned the PhD in architectural history from The University of Edinburgh and lectured within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and the School of Architecture. After returning to Alabama in 2013, he established McNair Historic Preservation, Inc., a national full-service historic-preservation consulting firm. The firm specializes in historic tax-credit projects (commercial and residential), National Register nominations (individual and districts), design, materials, compliance and government relations.
A Birmingham native, Cassandra Mickens earned both the bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in journalism — in 2005 and 2008, respectively — from the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama. At UA, she was a staff reporter for The Crimson White and a Knight Community Journalism Fellow. Before joining the Children’s of Alabama Corporate Communications team in 2015, where she serves as senior coordinator, content and publications, she was a designer and copy editor at Alabama Media Group, editor-in-chief of Hoover’s Magazine, associate editor of the Shelby County Reporter and staff reporter at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. Her work has garnered awards from the Alabama Press Association, the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press Media Editors.
Co-chair, Student Entrepreneurship and Innovative Initiatives Committee
- Randall Minor is a shareholder and member of the public finance and real estate practices at Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., where he focuses on the representation of governmental and nonprofit entities in connection with the issuance of taxable and tax-exempt bonds, notes, warrants and other debt instruments. He also represents lenders and borrowers in a variety of commercial real-estate transactions and tax credit finance transactions, including low-income housing tax credits, new markets tax credits and historic tax credits. Minor earned the BS in quantitative finance from The University of Alabama in 2002 and the JD from Yale Law School in 2005. Prior to joining Maynard Cooper, he worked in the New York offices of another firm. Minor has significant experience drafting, negotiating and reviewing a wide range of real estate documents including purchase and sale agreements and project development agreements and ground leases, and has represented clients in connection with the acquisition, development, financing and disposition of numerous commercial, industrial and residential projects. He also possesses extensive experience representing developers and sponsors in a variety of land use and zoning matters, including rezoning, special permits, variances and alterations of historic buildings. He is an active and founding member of the Birmingham satellite chapter of the Urban Land Institute.
Manda Mountain has dedicated her career to making nursing homes less institutional and improving the lives of persons in long-term care. Mountain graduated from The University of Alabama in 2001 with an undergraduate degree in journalism and earned her master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She serves as the facility administrator of Highlands Health and Rehab in Scottsboro and is a board member of the Alabama Coalition for Culture Change, an organization that seeks to improve aging services for Alabamians.
Robin Preussel Phillips
Robin Preussel Phillips earned the BA from The University of Alabama in 2003, graduating summa cum laude and triple majoring in international studies, Spanish and philosophy with a Blount undergraduate initiative minor. Phillips was a member of The XXXI, Anderson Society, Phi Beta Kappa and Gamma Phi Beta sorority and received the Outstanding Senior award. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2006, where she served as a submissions editor for the Yale Journal of International Law and as an editor for the Yale Journal on Regulation. Upon graduation, Phillips served as a law clerk in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Following her clerkships, she worked in private practice at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP in Houston, Texas. In 2014, she accepted the position of senior counsel, corporate for BMC Software, a multi-billion-dollar private software company located in Houston. Phillips is active in professional and community organizations, including serving as a vice chairwoman of the journal committee for the business law section of the State Bar of Texas, and through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program and Bo’s Place, a Houston based non-profit bereavement center offering free grief support services for children, adults and families.
Melissa Vankirk Pouncey
Elizabeth Watson Riddle is a speech-language pathologist at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. She serves on the junior board of visitors for the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a member of Canterbury United Methodist Church. Riddle is a 2003 graduate of The University of Alabama with a bachelor of arts degree in communicative disorders. She received her master’s degree in speech pathology from the University in 2005. As an undergraduate, she was the 2002–2003 president of Capstone Men and Women, a member of Kappa Delta sorority and a member of The XXXI. Riddle lives in Birmingham with her husband, Zac, and their three children, Camilla, Watson and Emmaline.
Zac Riddle is a certified public accountant and is currently employed as senior accounting manager with Medical Properties Trust, Inc., in Birmingham. Prior to joining Medical Properties Trust, he was employed with BBVA Compass Bank and KPMG LLP. He serves on the general council of finance and administration for The United Methodist Church and is a member of Canterbury United Methodist Church. Riddle is a 2005 graduate of The University of Alabama with a bachelor of science degree in business and commerce administration and a computer-based honors program minor. He received his master’s degree in accountancy from the University in 2006. As an undergraduate, he was the 2004–2005 chair of the Blackburn Institute and recipient of the Sullivan and Bloom Premier Awards. He lives in Birmingham with his wife, Elizabeth, a speech-language pathologist, and their three children.
Chris Sanders is the communications director at Arise Citizens’ Policy Project (ACPP), a Montgomery-based nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of 150 congregations and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of low-income Alabamians through public policy. He also holds the same position at ACPP’s sister organization, Alabama Arise. He previously worked as ACPP’s tax and budget analyst and is co-author of ACPP’s 2015 edition of “The Alabama Tax & Budget Handbook,” a free educational resource available on the Arise website. A native of Smoke Rise, Sanders earned two degrees from The University of Alabama: a bachelor of arts in journalism and political science in 2004 and a JD in 2007. He is a 2002 Blackburn Institute fellow, served as an articles editor for the Alabama Law Review and interned at The Birmingham News. As a student, Sanders worked as the editor, news director and metro/state editor for The Crimson White, where he covered everything from city and state politics to the disturbingly large number of squirrel-induced power outages during the early 2000s. He still misses the old CW newsroom, and that’s why the green space near the Bear Bryant statue will always be his favorite place on campus.
In January 2017, Cliff Sims left his position at the company he founded to become the special assistant to the president and director of White House message strategy. A magna cum laude graduate of The University of Alabama, Sims is the founder and former chief executive officer of Yellowhammer Multimedia, which publishes Yellowhammer News and syndicates the Yellowhammer News Radio Network. Yellowhammer began as Sims’ personal blog while he was a student at UA and has expanded to become one of the country’s fastest growing independently owned media organizations. Sims’ articles and opinions have been featured in local and national publications including The Daily Caller, Politico, The Huffington Post, TheBlaze and Fox News. He has appeared on MSNBC as a commentator and guest-hosted the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham Show. Prior to founding Yellowhammer, Sims worked in the music industry as both an artist and businessman. He has had songs featured on MTV and in major motion pictures, helped manage a roster of award-winning producers and produced and promoted large concerts and charity events. He has served as a guest lecturer at The University of Alabama’s political science department, and was president of the College Republicans while a student at UA.
Justice Smyth is director of corporate development with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he is responsible for managing the new industry recruitment projects and marketing efforts on behalf of the City of Montgomery and Montgomery County. During his time at the Chamber, Smyth has been involved in the recruitment of more than 6,000 new jobs and $758,000,000 in capital investment. While a student at The University of Alabama, he was elected president of the Student Government Association and was also selected for membership in The Jasons and Omicron Delta Kappa. In addition to earning the bachelor of arts in journalism from UA in 2007, Smyth is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is currently pursuing designation as a Certified Economic Developer. He serves on the board of directors of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and is actively involved with the River Region United Way, Montgomery YMCA Boys Work Committee and EMERGE Montgomery. He and his wife, Morgan, are members of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery.
Sevanne Steiner is senior planner for the Downtown Urban Design District of the City of Fort Worth. The district’s goal is to create the most vibrant, walkable, mixed-use urban center in the North Texas region, focusing on exceptional design of both private and public places. Steiner oversees staffing of the Downtown Design Review Board and the administration of the Downtown Urban Design Standards and Guidelines. Additionally, she works on citywide policy for wireless infrastructure, wayfinding and community-initiated and funded art projects. Previously, Steiner served as the downtown plans examiner for the Historic District Landmarks Commission and Central Business District Commission with the City of New Orleans. She has been recognized for her work in historic preservation by The National Alliance of Preservation Commissions and by Historic Fort Worth, Inc. Outside of work, she volunteers at her local YMCA. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from UA and a master of fine arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is an accredited member of the Congress for New Urbanism.
William D. Suclupe
William Suclupe is a decorated Iraq War veteran who served in the U.S. Army prior to graduating from The University of Alabama School of Social Work. While pursuing his bachelor’s and master‘s degrees, Suclupe used the Post 9/11 GI Bill and was selected as a Pat Tillman Scholar and a Graduate Council Fellow. He served on many veteran-specific initiatives in various roles as a student, including president of the Campus Veterans Association and director of Veteran Affairs in UA’s student government. For his accomplishments as a student-veteran leader and advocate, he received the Mark Forester Award for Excellence, a student award given by the veteran and military community in honor of fallen Senior Airman Mark A. Forester. Suclupe serves as a program coordinator for UA’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. In this role, he oversees the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) Initiative, a community-based partnership between the University and the local VA Medical Center that strives to provide quality healthcare services to student-veterans.
Sarah Kate Sullivan
Birmingham native Sarah Kate Sullivan earned the BS degree magna cum laude from The University of Alabama in 2007, double-majoring in journalism and Spanish with a minor in political science. She earned a master’s degree in international political economy from the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 2009, while serving as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club. The Rotary scholarship first brought Sullivan to Argentina, but she chose to return on her own accord after having spent several years working for the chancellor of The University of Alabama System, during which she managed economic development projects and strategic international initiatives. She is now a doctoral candidate at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, also in Buenos Aires, pursuing a PhD in political science with a focus on international political economy and Latin America. At UA, she earned many of the highest honors awarded to undergraduate students, including membership in the Blackburn Institute, Capstone Men and Women, Kappa Delta, Mortar Board, The XXXI, Blue Key, Anderson Society, Omicron Delta Kappa and the University Honors College. As a senior political reporter, she wrote as many as five economic and political stories per week for The Crimson White.
Ann Taylor Shaw
Ann Taylor Shaw earned a BA from UA in 2004, graduating summa cum laude and double majoring in economics and public relations. She moved to New York City, where she spent six years at The Abernathy MacGregor Group and Performance Equity Management, LLC, crafting strategic communications plans for financial services companies. She returned to the classroom at Baruch College, earning a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in policy analysis and evaluation in 2012 and finding her passion for working in higher education. Shaw spent five years providing counseling services and advocating for underrepresented groups as an admissions counselor for the City University of New York. While in New York, she was heavily involved in the UANYC alumni chapter and served a three-year term as a regional vice president on the UA National Alumni Association Executive Committee. While at UA, Shaw served as president of Capstone Men and Women and the Coordinating Council of Honor Societies, and was a member of The XXXI, The Anderson Society, Blue Key, Mortar Board and Phi Mu sorority. She received the UA Outstanding Junior Award in 2003. Shaw currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband Dan and son Carter.
Emily Vaughn graduated from The University of Alabama in 2012 with a degree in international studies and French and is an alumna of the UA Honors College. Following graduation, she worked in private wealth management in New Orleans. She then moved to Atlanta to join that city’s growing startup community. In Atlanta, she served as manager of marketing and community development for BitPay, a company dedicated to spreading the adoption of bitcoin, a digital currency. In October 2013, Vaughn joined Gem as director of marketing and moved to Los Angeles to continue her career in marketing cutting-edge technology for data security. Vaughn is passionate about using technology to empower individuals and to create a more connected world that delivers better information security, access to financial services and economic and social mobility.
Aimee Strothers Vinson
Aimee Strothers Vinson is a 2001 graduate of The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, where she majored in public relations with a minor in marketing. Following graduation, Vinson began her career in Nashville, Tennessee, working as an event planner and fundraiser for a non-profit organization focused on women’s health. Vinson and her family returned to the state of Alabama in 2004 and settled in Pike Road, just outside her hometown of Montgomery. Since that time, Vinson has served as CEO of her busy home, overseeing the divisions of finance, health and wellness, nutrition, continuing education, recreation and transportation for her husband and three children. She serves on the board of the Parent Teacher Student Association for the newly developed Pike Road School and also serves as a member of the Jimmy Hitchcock Memorial Award committee in Montgomery. Vinson is an active member of Frazer United Methodist Church, where she serves as nursery coordinator for the Pike Road campus. Her husband, Dr. Brent Vinson, is a 2001 UA graduate.
Kate Werner teaches first grade for Metro Nashville Public Schools MNPS. She received the BS in elementary and special education from The University of Alabama and the MEd in learning, diversity and urban studies from the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. Her activities while at UA include University Fellows, The XXXI, Computer-Based Honors and serving as the creator/director of The Art Exploration Project, an after-school art-mentoring program, through the Honors College. She is the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Student Initiated Effort Award, an award given by UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships to a project initiated by a UA student that demonstrates unique student collaboration with a community partner to address a particular need or concern in the community. Werner serves on a committee with the director of mathematics for MNPS to redesign the district’s math curriculum.
Justin M. Zimmerman is a 2007 initiate of the Blackburn Institute. He received a bachelor of arts in political science and philosophy in 2009, as well as a master of public administration with a concentration in organization management in 2011, from The University of Alabama. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., where he supports the Department of Treasury Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS) team as an acquisitions consultant with Octo Consulting Group. His responsibilities include financial management and analysis, as well as process improvement of EBS IT government contracts. Zimmerman recently earned his project management professional certification and plans to utilize his experience and education to propel a career in the foreign service as a management officer. In his downtime, Zimmerman mentors a 10-year-old named Noah as part of a D.C. initiative titled “Empowering Males of Color,” and he is planning a wedding with his fiancee, Vicktery Sanchez.