The Advisory Board provides guidance for curriculum and speakers, and participates actively in lectures, symposiums, and discourses. Board members serve as mentors for students and fellows. They are selected for their commitment to ethical leadership in areas related to a dynamic future for our state.

Catherine Alexander-Wright (1998 Fellow)

Catherine Alexander-Wright is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a concentration in Management and Community Practice. She started her career approximately 20 years ago, working for the Alabama Department of Human Resources as a child abuse/neglect caseworker. She then moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where she worked for a private law firm serving immigrant victims of crime, and later, for the District Attorney’s office as a victim/witness legal assistant. While in NC, she also served as a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis response volunteer. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has spent much of her career working with Latinx/immigrant families who were attempting to negotiate the child welfare or court system, including survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She transitioned from her role as Programs Director at ¡HICA! (the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama) in September of 2018, when she became the Director of Domestic Violence Services for the YWCA of Central Alabama: overseeing all operations for domestic violence services for the YWCA, serving Jefferson, Blount, and St. Clair counties, which includes a staff of approximately 45 employees, two confidential shelters, and a family law center. She was promoted to Associate Vice President of DV and Supportive Services in April 2020, which includes oversight of DV Services and the organization’s comprehensive case management and trauma-informed care initiatives. She was President of the Board of Directors of the Jefferson County Children’s Policy Cooperative from 2017-2019. She is the current Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is a 2018 graduate of the Alabama Organizing Project’s Grassroots Leadership Development Program and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Vestavia Hills. She is a member of Alabama Arise and the Interpreters and Translator’s Association of Alabama. She is also active in the Parent-Teacher Organization at her daughter’s elementary school. Her specific areas of interest for future growth include: intimate partner and gender-based violence; child abuse and neglect; inclusivity of marginalized communities (including but not limited to immigrants and/or Limited English speakers); economic, language, and social justice; safe and affordable housing and child development programs; grant writing and management, social service program evaluation and quality assurance; and trauma-informed care. She is a Blackburn Institute Fellow, participates in the Fellows Involvement Network, and is part of the Blackburn Institute’s Advisory Board, with a term starting in 2021.

Current Term: 2024-26

Akiesha Anderson-Shodiya (2016 Fellow)

Akiesha Anderson is a legislative attorney that splits her time between Southern California and Montgomery, AL. Akiesha grew up in Montgomery and received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology (with a minor in Business Management) from Alabama State University, a Master’s in Public Administration from Auburn University-Montgomery, and a law degree (along with a Certificate in Governmental Affairs) from The University of Alabama.

With over a decade of experience working in the public, government, and non-profit sectors, over the years, Akiesha’s had the honor of working with several civil rights organizations, elected officials, a university, and a think tank. This has included working for U.S. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell, the Montgomery County Commission, and UCLA School of Law. She has also served as Chief of Staff for the Alabama House of Representatives’ Office of the Minority Leader and as the Policy Director for Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice. In the past she has also served as a criminal justice reform lobbyist and wrote or helped advocate for several pieces of legislation that have since been enacted into law. This included writing and lobbying for HB95 – Rep. Jeremy Gray’s 2022 “Grace Period Bill” which has been signed into law and gives people leaving prison six months to get on their feet before having to pay back certain court-imposed fines and fees as well as stops courts from garnishing money placed on inmates’ books.

In addition to her other work, Akiesha is also involved in her community serving as past chair of the Blackburn Institute’s alumni / fellows network, current co-chair of the Alabama chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, current chair of the NAACP Montgomery Metro Chapter’s Legal Redress Committee, current board member and legal counsel for Women in Training (WIT), current board member for Alabama Edge / XMAN Performance & Development, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and member of Phi Beta Lambda Business Fraternity.

Akiesha is also a small business owner and author. She has published two books and runs Anderson Admissions Academy – a business designed to help underrepresented students navigate the law school admissions process.

Current Term: 2023-25

Olivia Bensinger (2014 Fellow)

Olivia is from Troy, Alabama and a 2014 graduate of the University of Alabama. Olivia received a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from New College, for which she focused on Ecological Economics. She also majored in Spanish and minored in Latin American Studies. While at UA, Olivia was involved in the Environmental Council, working primarily to bring local, organic food to campus dining halls. Immediately after graduation, Olivia attended Harvard Law School, where she served as a managing editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Right after law school, Olivia spent a little over two years as a litigation associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in New York City. Then she moved to Huntsville to clerk for Judge Lynwood Smith in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama for about eighteen months. Olivia has most recently moved with her husband, Andrew Key, and two dogs, Rosie and Ellie, to Hanover, New Hampshire, where she works as an attorney at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.

Current Term: 2023-25

Danielle Blevins (2007 Fellow)

Danielle Blevins is from Pleasant Grove, Alabama. She grew up with strong ties to the Birmingham community. Danielle spent five (5) years working at WBRC-TV (FOX6) before attending law school at UA. Her alma maters include Ramsay High School (Birmingham), The University of Alabama (B.A. Communications), and The University of Alabama School of Law (Juris Doctor). Danielle is a 2007-2008 Blackburn Fellow. Additionally, she was a student aide in the Blackburn Office at Temple Tutwiler in 2008.

Currently, Danielle is in Washington, D.C. and is an Attorney-Advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of the General Counsel. She is a member of both the Alabama and D.C. Bar associations. Additionally, Danielle co-founded Mission Reconcile, a faith-based nonprofit that focuses on racial reconciliation between single race/culture churches. In 2019, Danielle and Mission Reconcile were awarded the Daniel Community Scholars’ Civic Pitch Project Award, a $10,000 programming grant facilitated by the Blackburn Institute. Additionally, she is also a D.C. liaison for Blackburn within the Washington, D.C. community by connecting fellows to one another and planning local networking events. Danielle also spends time moonlighting by observing media trends and strategies, journalism ethics, and Supreme Court opinions. Moreover, Danielle spends her spare time volunteering at Joseph’s House, a home for the homeless who are terminally ill, including those with HIV and AIDS, with her church, mentoring, reading, traveling, watching television and movies, and the frequent nap, all the while taking care of her four plant babies and being a good neighbor.

Current Term: 2024-26

Star Bloom

After graduating cum laude from Bryn Mawr, Star’s marriage to Stan Bloom took her from New York City to Tuscaloosa. For 22 years she ran the manufacturing side of their apparel company- an unusual path for an Anthropology major! In 1983, recognizing the apparel industry had no future in America, they closed the business. At that time she choose to see how she could contribute to education in the state which then and now suffers from low expectations, racism and poor financing. Sometimes in a paid position, but usually as the volunteer “in charge”, she has worked in elementary, secondary and higher education programs. Improving access to good education for all remains one of her top priorities. Starting as Director of Computer Education at Tuscaloosa Academy, she became a part of several UA projects related to Distance Learning. One of the most exciting was helping create a middle school curriculum called Integrated Science which involved over 3,000 teachers and 80,000 students located in schools systems as diverse as Miami and Quebec. In 2004 she also began teaching for Honors College and introduced an after-school mentoring program serving students in high poverty schools. Much of this work was supported through grants she wrote. Eventually, the mentoring project (Al’s Pals) became campus wide and when she retired as director in 2016, over 1,200 UA students were serving .as mentors. The program continues to thrive today, Some of her honors which relate to this work include: The University of Alabama’s Henry and Julia Tutwiler Distinguished Service Award, Civitan Citizen of the Year, Junior League Sustainer Award, Capstone Hero Award and the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame. Two other long standing priorities involve Tuscaloosa’s One Place (TOP), a Family Resource Center she helped start which is almost entirely grant funded and now has 50 employees and Bloom Hillel- Bama’s Jewish Student Center which her father-in-law, Bill Bloom established in 1934.

Current Term: 2022-24

Kyle Buchanan (2003 Fellow)

Assistant Vice-President of Business Development and Regional Services at UAB Health System; 2004 graduate of the health care management program at Culverhouse College of C&BA; Masters degree in Health Services Administration (MHSA) in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan in April of 2006; Interests include the business of health and associated policies, health disparities, and healthcare administration in the southeastern U.S.

Current Term: 2022-24

Buchanan Kyle

Dr. Henna Budhwani

Dr. Budhwani is a public health scholar and social scientist who conducts studies designed to reduce health disparities, improve health equity, and inform thoughtful policy that is good for humanity in resource-constrained settings. To date, Dr. Budhwani has worked in over fifteen countries and has published studies from Pakistan, Nepal, India, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cameroon. Her scholarship focuses heavily on understanding behaviors of stigmatized populations that are at risk for experiencing adverse health outcomes. For her commitment to improving health in local and global communities through research, public health practice, and education, Dr. Budhwani has received multiple accolades. In 2015, she was a finalist for Birmingham Young Professional of the Year. In 2016, she was named one of Birmingham’s Top 40 under 40 and was awarded the Vulcan Award by the Mayor of Birmingham. In 2017, she was honored by the Women’s Fund and was a nominee for Delta Zeta International Woman of the Year. In 2020, Dr. Budhwani was co-recipient of the Robert Carr Research Award awarded from the International AIDS Society (IAS), the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR).

Current Term: 2023-25

Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell (2012 Fellow)

An alumna of Troy University and The University of Alabama, Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell serves as the Executive Director of Phi Eta Sigma, the nation’s oldest and largest honor society recognizing first-year college students. With previous experience in leadership development, student governance, and citizenship, Dr. Caldwell has most recently served as the Director of the Believe UA program at The University of Alabama, where she helped students to reach goals through mentoring, resilience, and coaching programs. At UA, Dr. Caldwell also advises The XXXI and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, and she was the recipient of the 2018 Crimson Spirit Award and the 2017 SGA Foundation Award. Her students selected her as a member of the Anderson Society and the XXXI Women’s Honorary. She also served as the chair of the 125 Years of Women at UA celebration.

Dr. Caldwell is an active member of the Tuscaloosa community. She founded Lean On: Alabama, a statewide non-profit that focuses on the promotion of collaboration among women of all generations in the state. Dr. Caldwell has been a member of the Alabama Girls State program’s staff for more than 20 years. She is also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, the United Way of West Alabama’s Volunteer Allocation Team, and the Women of the Capstone. Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell was named by the Alabama Media Group as one of 30 Women Who Shape the State in 2017.

Current Term: 2022-24

Mary Margaret Carroll

Mary Margaret Carroll began her career with Fine Geddie & Associates in January 2013.

Mary Margaret, a native of Ozark, was born and raised in the Wiregrass region of Alabama. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Alabama in 2006. As an undergraduate student, she interned for U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, served as Student Government Association President, and was the student representative to the The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. Mary Margaret earned the degree of Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama 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. She received the Dean Nathaniel Hansford Award for Leadership in 2010.

Mary Margaret has government experience on the federal and state levels, in the legislative and judicial branches. Mary Margaret was the Assistant to the Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby in Washington, D.C. 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, Mary Margaret served as a staff attorney for Judge Craig S. Pittman on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals for two years.

Mary Margaret is on the Britton YMCA Board of Directors, serving as an advisor for both the Youth Judicial and Youth Legislature programs; a member of the Montgomery Junior League; and a member of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery. She is also a member of the Alabama State Bar, to which she was admitted in September 2010.

Current Term: 2022-24

Carroll Mary Margaret

Dr. Cheree Causey

Dr. Cheree Causey is retired from The University of Alabama. Dr. Causey is interested in seeing the Blackburn Institute honor the vision, legacy and example set by Dr. John L. Blackburn.

Current Term: 2023-25

Prince Cleveland (2002 Fellow)

Prince currently works for the Democratic fundraising firm of Cunningham, Harris, Osborne and Associates as a finance director. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration. His activities as a student include SGA Attorney General, Vice President of the Student Leaders Council, Vice President of the Graduate Student Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Current Term: 2024-26

Justice Sue Bell Cobb

Graduate of University of Alabama, BA and JD. Retired as Chief Justice of Alabama Supreme Court after serving 30 years on the bench. Served as trial judge holding court in almost 40 counties and 12 years on AL Court of Criminal Appeals. Founding member & Chair of Alabama Children First Foundation, a nonprofit which shapes policy for the children of our state. Worked tirelessly on issues such as juvenile justice reform, replication of model drug courts throughout the state, sentencing reform, judicial selection reform, and access to justice. Additionally, during tenure as Chief Justice saved taxpayers millions of dollars by championing eFiling, making Alabama the first state in the nation to have statewide eFiling of all civil cases.

Current Term: 2024-26

Cobb Sue Bell

John Covington

John is a 1973 chemical engineering graduate of the University of Alabama. He is the founder and CEO of Chesapeake Consulting a management consulting firm since 1988. Chesapeake has offices in Annapolis, Maryland and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. John has written five books on leadership his most recent What I Learned About Leadership From My Dog.

Prior to founding Chesapeake he worked in Industry as an engineer and manufacturing executive. Chesapeake encourages their employees to be active in community affairs and as a company they donate 10% of their company profits to charity.

John is a Distinguished Fellow in the College of Engineering, the Chemical Engineering Department and a Centennial Fellow in Chemical Engineering. He serves on the Deans Leadership Board in the College of Engineering and was past National Chair for the Capstone Engineering Society.

Part of John’s volunteer work involves helping people that are unemployed find a job and he has given a presentation to Blackburn students on that topic.

John is active in his church, and enjoys hiking, biking and training dogs. He and his wife Linda have been married since 1972.

Current Term: 2022-24

John Covington

Bradley Davidson (2002 Fellow)

Bradley is a 2002 Blackburn Fellow and Executive Director of Empower Alabama, Alabama’s leading voter registration organization. A native of Selma, he is very interested in issues that affect the Black Belt, especially education, workforce development, and tax policy. Bradley is a graduate of C&BA (finance) and received his masters degree in economics from Vanderbilt University.

Current Term: 2023-25

Davidson Bradley

Dr. LeeAnn Denham (2005 Fellow)

Dr. LeeAnn Denham is a practicing Radiologist with Women’s Imaging Associates based in Birmingham, Alabama. Through her work there specializing in women’s imaging, she increases access for women to receive the highest level image interpretations throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Born and raised in Birmingham, LeeAnn graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006 from The University of Alabama with a degree in Chemical Engineering. While there, she was actively involved in numerous organizations, including the Blackburn Institute as a 2005 Student Fellow. LeeAnn was honored to be named to the 2005 USA Today All-USA Academic Team during her time at UA for her summer internship work with Southern Company in emissions reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency. She then went on to pursue her career in medicine by earning her Doctorate of Medicine from The University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2010 and continuing at UAB to complete both her Radiology residency and Breast Imaging fellowship. LeeAnn had the pleasure of working with Alabama Coastal Radiology in Mobile, Alabama for two years before returning home to continue her work with a focus on Breast Imaging with Women’s Imaging Associates in 2018. LeeAnn is passionate about increasing access to quality healthcare as well as optimal breast cancer screening and treatment. She resides in Birmingham with her husband Jim and their children Elizabeth and James.

Current Term: 2023-25

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a retired business executive and civic volunteer based in Birmingham.  He retired from Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE:VMC) in February 2020 after a decades-long career, and now has a private consulting business, Donaldson & Associates, serving clients on matters concerning sustainability, strategic communications, and public affairs.  He also serves as senior advisor to Summit Strategy Group, Los Altos, California.  At Vulcan, he served as senior advisor to the chairman and chief executive officer and as vice president of external affairs & corporate communications, with responsibility for the company’s community and governmental relations initiatives in the United States and Mexico.  Additional responsibilities included the company’s sustainability initiatives and its charitable giving program through the Vulcan Materials Foundation.

In addition to serving on the Advisory Board of the Blackburn Institute and as a member of the Blackburn Society, David is the current chairman of the board of directors of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA).  He also serves on the board of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) – Alabama.  A partial list of past responsibilities includes chairing the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy – Alabama Chapter, and serving as a Director of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Wildlife Habitat Council, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Alabama Governor’s School, and Teach for America, Alabama Chapter. He is a graduate and on the regional members’ council of Leadership Alabama, past president of Leadership Birmingham’s member’s council, and is a member of the Birmingham Kiwanis Club.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in English from The University of the South and a master’s degree in public and private management from Birmingham-Southern College.  He studied Renaissance history and literature at University College, Oxford University, and completed Harvard-MIT’s executive Program on Negotiation.   David and his wife Debbie live in Homewood and have two sons, Walker, (Blackburn Fellow, Class of 2012), who lives in Denver with his wife Jess and new daughter, Merritt Elle Donaldson, and Ben, who lives in Nauvoo, Alabama where he and his fiancée Meredith work at Camp McDowell.

Current Term: 2022-24

Joe Eatmon

On May 1, 2022 Joseph Eatmon Sr. stepped down as Head Men’s Basketball Coach of Shelton State Community College to become the College’s Dean of Community Relations. In his new role Eatmon will focus on building and maintaining relationships between the college and community. Even as Head Men’s Basketball Coach Eatmon played a major role in ensuring the athletic department was actively involved in the community. The Five-time National Junior College Athletic Association Region 22 and District 12 Coach of the Year Joseph Eatmon Sr. finished his sixth season at the helm of the Shelton State men’s basketball program. Eatmon guided the Buccaneers to five Alabama Community College Conference championships and owns a career record of 182-39 overall, including an 162-29 record at Shelton State and an 80-13 mark in ACCC play. A total of 58 student-athletes have graduated and gone on to play for four-year programs since Eatmon arrived in 2012. He has also coached one Region 22 Player of the Year, along with a pair of All-Region 22 First Teamers, two Region 22 North Division First Team selections and four Region 22 North Division Second Team honorees. Eatmon is a 2022 Graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa and is very active in the Tuscaloosa area serving on the Board of Directors for Temporary Emergency Services, Director of Ministry to Men for the Tuscaloosa District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Barnes YMCA Men’s Club, Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Foundation, Tuscaloosa Branch of the NAACP, Mentor at Tuscaloosa Juvenile Detention Center, along with many other community outreach projects. Eatmon graduated from the University of West Alabama with both a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education as well as a Masters of Art in Teaching degree in education with an emphasis on physical education. Eatmon, his wife (Erica) and their three children (Joseph Jr. 14, Jordyn 12, and Joi 7), reside Tuscaloosa, AL.

Current Term: 2023-25

Ben Foster (2006 Fellow)

Ben Foster joined the Blackburn Institute in 2006 as a student. His previous roles with the Institute have included serving as Chair of the Fellows Involvement Network and as Community Education Leader for the student officers. Ben is a native of Coaling, AL and currently lives in the Birmingham area. A two-time graduate of UA, Ben holds an MBA (’13) with undergraduate studies in Telecommunication & Film and Political Science (’09). He currently works in financial services. Previously, Ben worked on political campaigns including the 2010 Alabama Governor’s race. He is a member of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham where he is a past board member. Ben is passionate about increasing political awareness and engagement in the state. He also works to promote Birmingham’s music scene as he sees the arts as a critical element of economic development, helping attract professionals to places where there is a high quality of life.

Current Term: 2022-24

Dr. Meg McCrummen Fowler (2008 Fellow)

Dr. Meg McCrummen Fowler is director of the History Museum of Mobile. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History & Society from Tulane University, where she also earned an M.A. in History of Art. She is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama and holds a B.A. in history and French. Before joining the History Museum of Mobile, Meg served as a visiting scholar in the Center for the Study of War and Memory at the University of South Alabama and taught in the Art & Art History department. In 2018, she completed a curatorial fellowship at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mobile Rotary Club and as district vice president for the UA National Alumni Association. She was selected as one of Mobile Bay’s 40 Under 40.

Current Term: 2023-25

Fournier “Boots” Gale

Fournier J. “Boots” Gale, III, is general counsel and corporate secretary for Regions Financial Corporation and serves on the company’s Executive Council. Regions is a top U. S. bank holding company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Prior to joining Regions in 2011, Gale was a founding partner of Maynard Cooper & Gale PC in Birmingham, Alabama. Since founding the firm in 1984, it has grown to be one of the Southeast’s leading law firms. A hallmark of Gale’s 40-year legal career has been his ability to understand new regulatory and legal environments and to help his diverse clients navigate complex issues.

Gale holds both a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Alabama, where he served as editor in chief of the Alabama Law Review. He is a former president of the University of Alabama Law School Foundation and has been active in many civic and community organizations, including Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. He has served as general counsel to the Business Council of Alabama since its inception.

Gale is a former president of both the Alabama State Bar and the Birmingham Bar Association. He was a member of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for nine years and served as the chairman from 1998 to 2000. Nationally, he has served on the ABA Standing Committee of the Federal Judiciary (Eleventh District) and the Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.

Current Term: 2022-24

Gale Boots

Britney Garner (2006 Fellow)

Since 2006, when she became President of Students for Bob Riley for Governor, Britney Mitchell Garner has been a visible presence in Alabama Republican Politics. While an undergraduate at the University of Alabama she was Vice President of External Affairs for the U of A SGA, where she served as the point person between the SGA and outside persons and organizations. In 2009, Britney became a Grassroots Coordinator for the Tim James for Governor campaign. After the 2010 primary, Britney became one of two State Field Coordinators for Dr. Robert Bentley’s campaign. Following Dr. Bentley’s election to the governorship, Britney served first as Finance Director (2011) then Political Director (2013) for the Alabama Republican Party. As Political Director, Britney planned and executed all aspects of the 2014 ALGOP campaign, which saw a Republican sweep of all statewide offices and a supermajority of seats in both Houses of the Legislature. From 2014 to 2018, Britney served as Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, Alabama Chapter. Britney was AHA’s primary lobbyist for the Alabama Legislature as well as coordinating all state grassroots activities in support of better heart health for all Alabamians. Britney launched Garner Consulting Services in 2014 to provide comprehensive political campaign consulting services at all levels of government. Garner Consulting Services has directed successful campaigns for Alabama Supreme Court Justice and Chief Justice, Court of Civil Appeals, State Treasurer, State Commissioner of Agriculture and Industry, State School Board and several Alabama Legislature races. Britney holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Political Science from the University of Alabama and a Masters of Public Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery. Britney is married to Timothy Garner. The couple have a daughter, Mae, aged 2 and live in Birmingham, where they attend Mtn Brook Baptist Church.

Current Term: 2023-25

John Hammontree (2008 Fellow)

John Hammontree is managing producer of Reckon by, an in-depth and investigative brand he spearheaded the launch of in 2017. The team won the International News Media Association’s award for Best of Video for its coverage of Alabama’s special election in 2017. He also oversees guest opinions & commentary for, The Birmingham News, Mobile’s Press-Register, and The Huntsville Times, and is a member of the editorial board. John was awarded the Green Eyeshade Award for Best Editorial Writing in the Southeast in 2017 and is a two-time recipient of the Alabama Press Association’s award for Best Editorial. He was a finalist for the Scripps Howard’s Walker Stone Award for Opinion Writing in 2017. John is 2008 Blackburn Fellow, serving as Student Chair from 2009-2010. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 2010. Before joining Alabama Media Group, John worked in politics, public affairs and public relations in Washington, DC, and San Francisco. Immediately prior to joining the Blackburn Advisory Board, John served as Community Education Leader for the Fellows Involvement Network.

Current Term: 2022-24

Robert Harris, III, Vice-Chairperson (2007 Fellow)

Robert Harris is the Vice President, Community Lending for BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE: BXS), a Tupelo, MS based financial institution with almost $18 billion in assets and which operates nearly 290 full service branch locations as well as additional mortgage, insurance, and loan production offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, including an insurance location in Illinois. In this capacity, Robert is responsible for the Community Bank’s business development, product development, and community outreach efforts related to and supporting the Bank’s Fair Lending and Community Reinvestment Act initiatives throughout its eight-state footprint.

Previously, Robert was the CRA Community Development Officer for Cadence Bank, a now $11 billion dollar financial institution previously headquartered in Birmingham, AL. As the CRA Community Development Officer, Robert assisted in the management of Cadence Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities to include CRA and HMDA data collection, regulatory reporting, investment and lending monitoring, community service initiatives, and community partnerships. As the Community Development Officer, Robert had primary responsibility for the formulation and cultivation of Cadence’s public-private partnerships as they relate to CRA throughout the Bank’s six-state footprint and served as the CRA point of contact for business and civic leaders in those communities.

Previously, Robert was the Coordinator for Corporate Training and Development in Cadence’s Human Resources Department. In that role, Robert had a broad portfolio of responsibilities which included the evaluation and development of line of business learning plans, the creation of a corporate-wide leadership development initiative (Lead4Results), the administration of a credit analyst development program, and several other programs and initiatives. Additionally, Robert worked as the training project manager for the development and deployment of Cadence’s retooled Performance Management Appraisal and was the primary liaison to the Compliance Department for the Bank’s Compliance Training Program. While in Corporate Training, Robert held primary responsibility for the administration of the Bank’s Compliance Training Program and Learning Management System (LMS).

Prior to banking, Robert worked in Human Resources at Alabama Power Company and for a third-party consultant group contracted to perform a variety of organizational development functions for Mercedes Benz Inc. USA. Robert worked for several years at The University of Alabama and has a background in Student Affairs and higher education. Robert also has a background in politics and public policy having worked as a political staffer/consultant for several local, state, and national campaigns.

Robert is a graduate of The University of Alabama where he attended both undergraduate and graduate school and studied Political Science, History, and Organizational/Business Communication. Robert is also a graduate of the Barret School of Banking’s Commercial Lending and Bank Profitability Academies. Robert is very active in his community and serves on the Board of several local and statewide professional and civic organizations.

Current Term: 2022-24

Russ Henshaw

Russ was born in Huntsville, Alabama and lived in the Washington, DC area and Connecticut, but eventually returned to the state when he attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He graduated in 1995 with majors in political science and marketing. Since 1996, Russ has specialized in helping individuals, families, and corporations with their investment planning, investment consulting and portfolio management needs. As First Vice President, Investments, Russ uses a hands-on approach to managing investment accounts and it has been a passion of his to make sure clients investments are managed with a goal of absolute returns in all market environments. Russ is very involved with the community, church, and The University of Alabama. He is a member of The University of Alabama School of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board, Never Should Have Made It Club, and Red Elephant Club. He is also very involved in the YMCA Board and its development. He has been a Finance Chairman for the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville and currently the Chairman of the church’s Endowment and Planned Giving Committee. Russ loves to spend time with his family, his wife Wendy, and daughters Allie(17), Caroline(15) and Ella(12).

Current Term: 2022-24

Russ Henshaw

Mike House

Mr. House is director of Hogan & Lovells’ legislative group. He is recognized as one of the top three legislative lawyers in Washington, DC by Chamber USA. Mike concentrates on legislative and regulatory matters before the U.S. Congress, White House, and various departments and independent of the executive branch. He represents national and multinational corporations, trade associations, and coalitions.

From 1973 to 1976, Mike served as Chief of Staff to Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Howell Heflin. He also had a dual role as Director of the Permanent Study Commission on the Alabama State Courts, which included the drafting and passage of the judicial article constitutional amendment in 1973, and the implementation legislation in 1975. Because of his work on court reform, he became the youngest person to ever receive an Award of Merit from the Alabama Bar Association.

From 1976-1979, Mike practiced law in Montgomery, Alabama. During that time, he was President of the Alabama Young Lawyers, and Chairman of the Alabama Citizens Conference on Alabama State Courts and the Alabama Citizens Conference on a New Constitution. He also was involved in numerous other professional and civic associations, including being a member of the board of directors of the American Judicature Society. In 1979, Mike was chosen as one of Alabama’s four Outstanding Young Men.

From 1979-1986, he served as Chief of Staff to Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama, managed his campaigns in the 1978 and 1984 elections.

Currently, Mike is a Member of the Society of International Business Fellows, the Council of Excellence in Government, President’s Cabinet of the University of Alabama, Chairman of the Farrah Law Society, University of Alabama Law School, Board of Directors of Alabama Law School Foundation and Member of the Board of Trustees of The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.

Mike and his wife, Gina, currently reside in McLean, Virginia.

Current Term: 2024-26

Photo of Mike House

Doug Jones

A lawyer at Haskell, Slaughter, Young and Rediker, LLC in Birmingham, AL since 2008, Doug Jones represents individual, institutional and corporate clients in complex civil and criminal litigation, with particular concentrations in class actions, securities litigation, white-collar criminal defense, False Claims Act and whistleblower litigation, environmental litigation and employment discrimination matters.

Prior to joining Haskell Slaughter, Mr. Jones served as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997 until 2001. As United States Attorney, Mr. Jones personally led the team of prosecutors and investigators in the re-opened case of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Mr. Jones served as lead trial attorney in the successful prosecutions of two former Ku Klux Klansmen for the murder of four young girls killed in the bombing. He also coordinated the federal and state task force that led to the indictment of notorious fugitive Eric Robert Rudolph, who ultimately pled guilty to four terrorist bombings and is serving a life sentence.

Since returning to private practice, Mr. Jones has represented individual and corporate defendants and targets in high-profile white-collar litigation in both federal and state courts and has represented both individual plaintiffs and plaintiff classes in complex securities and annuities litigation, as well as in other complex litigation and investigation matters. In addition, he was appointed General Special Master in Tolbert v. Monsanto and Pharmacia Corp., a massive environmental clean-up action involving PCBs in the Anniston, Alabama area.

He is an alumnus of Leadership Birmingham and was named in 2009 by the Alabama Supreme Court to the Advisory Committee on the Alabama Rules of Evidence.

Current Term: 2023-25

Jones Doug

Arianna Kellum (2022 Fellow)

Arianna Kellum graduated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing with Honors distinction. She is a member of the 2019 Blackburn Student Class and Chairperson for the 2020 New Student Class. Arianna enjoyed many opportunities to serve her community. She participated in UA’s Honors Health Action and volunteered for Impact America, where she learned about the health disparities and other inequalities that occurred in the state, which inspired her to join the Blackburn Institute. Arianna also participated in the Spanish for Healthcare course where she volunteered as an interpreter at the Maude Whately Clinic. In addition, Arianna helped those still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans through the Beyond Bama Service trip with the United Saints Recovery Project. Arianna not only served communities but also as a mentor to younger students through the Capstone College of Nursing and BFSA Scholars. Towards the end of her experience in Tuscaloosa, Arianna became a Capstone College of Nursing Ambassador and the Vice President of the all-female honorary, The XXXI. Currently, Arianna is working as an obstetrics nurse and hopes to pursue a Nurse Practitioner degree and use her talents to serve communities with less resources for prenatal care both in her home country and abroad.

Current Term: 2023-25

James Kemp (2015 Fellow)

James Kemp, Jr., a native of Birmingham, Alabama, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance in 2015. James immediately continued on to earn his MBA with a concentration in strategic management and marketing from UA’s Manderson Graduate School of Business. James’ passions have always been organizational operations, finances, leadership, and civic engagement. While at UA, James served as treasurer for UA’s chapter of the NAACP and the Mortar Board honor society. James currently serves as director of business operations for Kemp Management Solutions, LLC, a project management and consulting firm based in Birmingham. His responsibilities include managing the firm’s finances, overseeing its marketing strategies, maintaining and developing the firm’s IT structure, and providing delivery support on client accounts as needed. James became a member of the Birmingham Rotaract Club in June 2018 and served as the VP of finance for the 2019-2020 term. He married his beautiful wife Jasmine in October 2017 and they now reside in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham They have one son, Jotham Michael.

Current Term: 2024-26

Tim Kinsella

Raised in Dublin, Ireland, Captain Tim “Lucky” Kinsella, USN (Ret), joined the University of West Florida as the Director of the Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz Center for Leadership at the University of West Florida College of Business, following more than 33 years of service in the United States Navy, A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and of the University of San Diego, Tim served as a Naval Aviator and flew helicopters all over the world, including several combat deployments to the Middle East. He also served two tours in the Pentagon, was White House Liason for the Secretary of the Navy, and served at NATO headquarters in Mons, Belgium. Most recently Tim was Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Pensacola, where he led the installation through a devastating terrorist attack that claimed three lives and wounded nine others, a catastrophic hurricane that caused more than $500M in damages, and a global pandemic. Despite these challenges, under Tim’s leadership NAS Pensacola was named as the recipient of the Navy’s Installation Excellence award as the top US Naval Installation in the world. Tim is passionate about furthering educational opportunities for all children, and counts the establishment of a STEM academy at NAS Pensacola for all Escambia and Santa Rosa Title One fifth graders as his most important achievement. He also collaborated with the local State College to create a dual enrollment charter high school. His numerous awards include the Daedalian Award for Distinguished Airmanship, the Navy League of the United States John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership, the Valley Forge Freedom’s Foundation George Washington Honor Medal for Public Communications, and the Director of the FBI’s Community Leadership Award. Tim is married with three wonderful children, and his hobbies include golf, supporting Liverpool Football Club, reading history, travel, writing, and attempting to play guitar.

Current Term: 2023-25

Adrienne LaBudde

Adrienne is the Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians located in Atmore. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the state of Alabama’s only federally recognized Tribe. Prior to her position with the Tribe, Adrienne practiced law in Anniston. Adrienne graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Political Science and from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center with a J.D. and Diploma in Civil Law.

Current Term: 2021-23

Dr. Terry Lamar

Dr. Terry Lamar graduated from the University of Alabama in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Education and membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is currently the Director of Equity and Educational Initiatives of Hoover City Schools. At the secondary education level, Dr. Lamar has experience as a physical education teacher, school counselor, and an assistant principal. He gained further leadership experience as an assistant principal and school principal in elementary education during which he obtained a doctorate from Samford University. Dr. Lamar has a passion for working with at-risk students and providing guidance to families in need. He is a strong advocate for empowering the youth with the personalized tools they need to make wise, lifelong decisions. Dr. Lamar is currently completing the CLAS Certified Instructional Leadership Program designed to enhance the instructional knowledge of school leaders.

Current Term: 2022-24

Frank Lassiter

Frank Q. Lassiter, CFA Frank Lassiter is the Vice President, Acquisitions and Capital Markets, of Protective Life Corporation. Initially starting in Protective’s Corporate Finance group, his responsibilities have expanded in the last several years to include involvement in Protective’s M&A initiatives, focusing primarily on acquisition sourcing, deal structuring/execution and management of transaction due diligence efforts. He has been with Protective for approximately 12 years. Outside of work, Frank is an active member of Independent Presbyterian Church, where he has served in a number of roles, including Elder and Deacon. He is a past president of the UA National Alumni Association’s Jefferson County Chapter, a member of the Birmingham Red Elephant Club, a Cub Scout Den Leader in Troop 320 of the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a coach for his children’s sports teams, and he also serves in a volunteer capacity with Children’s of Alabama. Mr. Lassiter holds a strong interest in matters of local, regional and statewide economic/community development, and looks forward to engaging on these fronts through involvement with the Blackburn Institute and its Advisory Board. Frank holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and he earned Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Business Administration degrees from The University of Alabama in 1999 and 2002, respectively. During his time at the Capstone he was involved in a number of campus organizations including the Interfraternity Council (President), Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (Vice-President), WVUA-FM (Sports Director / Play-by-Play Announcer) and was also a member of The Jasons and Omicron Delta Kappa honoraries. Frank is a native of Troy, Alabama and has spent most of his life in Birmingham, where he currently resides with his wife, Caron, and two children, Harper (8) and Towns (7).

Current Term: 2022-24

Tamara Lee

Tamara Young Lee is a higher education administrator and licensed attorney in the State of Alabama. She is the founder and owner of the Lee Elder Law Group, a boutique law firm dedicated to advising clients on elder law, probate and estate planning issues Before going into Higher Education, Mrs. Lee served as the Vice President of Business Development for Alabama Small Business Capital and Executive Director and General Counsel for the Southern Development Council, located in Montgomery, Alabama. She has received national recognition for her achievements in the areas of economic development and advocacy for small business financing. She was honored by the National Association of Development Companies with the organization’s “National Leadership Award for Executive Directors.” Mrs. Lee is a graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she received the Juris Doctorate Degree and a graduate of the University of Alabama where she received a B.S. Degree in Music Education. At Alabama she was the second African American cheerleader and was a piano student of the esteemed Amanda Penick. She was the recipient of a four-year Music scholarship and received the Black Faculty Academic Achievement Award from 1977-1981. Upon graduation from law school she was selected as one of 100 law school students in the country for the Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship, working in the Montgomery Legal Services Corporation Office. Committed to community service, Mrs. Lee is also actively involved in several local and national organizations and has served on numerous local community boards including the Montgomery Area United Way and Leadership Montgomery. She is a member of several professional and civic organizations including the Macon County Economic Development Authority, Alabama Bar Association, Alabama Lawyers Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Tuskegee Chapter of Links Inc. and currently serves as Chair of the Southern Area Links HBCU Initiative

Current Term: 2024-26

Matthew Lewis (2006 Fellow)

Matthew Lewis is a 2006 Fellow who graduated from the University of Alabama in 2008 with a double major in Political Science and History. While at the University of Alabama he was involved in numerous campus organizations and is intensely interested in the Alabama Constitution and how it affects everyday Alabamians. He has a passion for healthcare and access to equitable care for Alabama’s most vulnerable. Matthew’s career in Healthcare Administration began in 2008 and he has worked in numerous skilled nursing facilities throughout the state of Alabama. Currently he is the Administrator of a 225 bed facility in Opelika, AL. He sits on the board of A Brighter Alabama and is deeply involved in his local community.

Current Term: 2024-26

Matthew Lewis

Gordon G. Martin, Immediate Past Chairperson

Gordon G. Martin is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Alabama Power Company. A native of Birmingham, Gordon graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama, where he was elected President of the Student Government Association. He also earned a law degree from the University of Alabama; a Masters degree from the George Washington University; and is a French test shy of a Masters degree from Georgetown University. He has completed executive coursework at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University in England. In the area of economic development, Gordon served as Chairman of the Board of the Montgomery Riverfront Development Foundation, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. In the area of education, Gordon serves on the Board of Directors of the A+ Education Partnership and the McWane Science Center. He is a member of the President’s Cabinet at The University of Alabama, and previously served on the Board of Trustees of Huntingdon College. Gordon has also served on advisory boards at Auburn University, Auburn Montgomery, and Birmingham-Southern College. Gordon plays a leadership role at numerous charitable and civic organizations, including board service at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The American Village in Montevallo, the United Way of Central Alabama, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, the Alabama Archives and History Foundation, and the Alabama Heritage Foundation. Gordon is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, Leadership Montgomery and Leadership Shelby County. He was named Montgomery Advertiser’s Citizen of the Year in 2006. He and his wife, Margret, have five children, two of whom attend the University of Alabama.

Current Term: 2023-25

Martin Gordon

Dr. Mark Martin (2000 Fellow)

Dr. Mark Martin recently returned home to Alabama after nearly 15 years away to launch Build Urban Prosperity. Build UP is the nation’s first early-college workforce development program to comprehensively address poverty and urban blight, empowering youth to become educated, career- ready homeowners and landlords. He most recently graduated Harvard’s Doctor of Education Leadership program where he worked with Jobs For the Future and the Alabama State Department of Education on education-to-career transitions and workforce readiness, focusing on youth apprenticeships and the Swiss dual-education model. Mark previously served as the School Director at Langston Hughes Academy, a preK-8 public charter school he co-founded in 2007. He was a founding Board Member of THRIVE, Louisiana’s first public urban residential school, which posted the highest one-year academic gains in state history. Investing 15+ years educating children in poverty, Mark began his career with Teach For America in Atlanta’s Woodson Elementary, where he was honored as the Employee of the Year and as West Atlanta’s Cub Scouter of the Year, after founding Troop 351. Mark has served on numerous Advisory Boards including the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, the University of Alabama’s Blackburn Institute, University of New Orleans College of Education, and Christian Active Parenting. He has led and served on mission trips to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Swaziland, Africa; and Katrina Relief in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mark graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Finance from the University of Alabama and earned an MBA from the University of Georgia. Mark and his wife Tiffany have two children, Marilee and Rhett.

Current Term: 2023-25

Mark Martin

Dr. F. David Mathews

David Mathews is president of the Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit research foundation rooted in the American tradition of invention. Prior to his work with the foundation, Mathews served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Ford administration. From 1965 to 1980, he taught history at the University of Alabama, where he also served as president from 1969 to 1980. Mathews earned an A.B. degree in history and classical Greek. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Mathews has served on the boards of a variety of organizations, currently including the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, National Issues Forums Institute, Southern Institute on Children and Families, and Public Agenda. He has received numerous awards, and in 2007, the Alabama Center for Civic Life was renamed in his honor. He is also the recipient of 17 honorary degrees. Mathews has written extensively on Southern history, public policy, education, and international problem solving. His books include Politics for People: Finding a Responsible Public Voice and Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy. Mathews is married to Mary Chapman Mathews, and they have two daughters and six grandchildren.

Current Term: 2023-25

David Mathews

Warren Matthews

Warren Matthews was born and raised in Ozark, Alabama. Warren progressed northward for undergraduate (University of Alabama), law school (Vanderbilt) and graduate law school (NYU), worked and lived in Birmingham for a number of years, and then moved his family to Greenville, Alabama, where he and his wife Elizabeth (Stabler) have raised their two children in the house where Elizabeth’s grandparents lived for 70 years. Since 1991, Warren has practiced law with Burr & Forman LLP, a law firm with offices throughout the Southeast. He opened the Montgomery Office in 2000 and now also works out of the Firm’s Mobile Office. Warren’s legal practice is centered on economic development, assisting companies, oftentimes foreign companies, with locating, constructing, equipping, starting up and operating new and expansion projects. He has been involved with start-up and expansion projects representing over 28,000 new jobs and an estimated $20 billion of capital investment. Representative projects include work for Mercedes-Benz, Honda, ThyssenKrupp, Ipsco Steel, Hyundai, Kia, Kronospan and Brown-Forman. Warren has been named to Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Economic Development, Nonprofit and Tax Law. Warren takes great pleasure in being involved with nonprofit endeavors. He has over 25 years of experience representing a myriad of nonprofit entities. Examples include the Alabama Basketball Foundation (Final Four Tournament), Alabama Prep Football Foundation (Super Six Championships), Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Bar Foundation, Greenville YMCA and numerous private foundations. Warren is serving, or has served, the following nonprofits: Greenville YMCA (Chairman), Fort Dale Academy (Chairman), Montgomery Area YMCA, United Methodist Children’s Home, First United Methodist Greenville, Alabama Bar Association (Chairman, Bar Examiners). Personal interests include competing in pickleball tournaments with his wife, and playing golf and tennis.

Current Term: 2024-26

Warren Matthews

Isaac McCoy

William Isaac McCoy is a professional mentor, and business development executive skilled at navigating the busy intersection of nonprofits, corporations, and social impact investment. During a 20 year-long academic and professional career marked by success, William Isaac — who goes by “Isaac” — has founded or led companies and nonprofit organizations that improved civic health and increased economic opportunities for communities and businesses. From 2010 to 2013, Isaac served as Vice President of Operations and Public Affairs at Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA), a faith-based organization that has aided thousands of families each year, in the Chicago land area, since its founding in 1968. In this role, Isaac was responsible for the development and management of the annual operating ($6 million) and capital budgets ($4 million). He directed the development, maintenance and monitoring of organizational plans to align with PLCCA’s mission, vision, and values. At PLCCA, Isaac also developed innovative initiatives through inter-departmental collaborations to enhance internal efficiency and effectiveness, and monitored, and appraised the performance of each department. Following his time at PLCCA, Isaac served as the senior operations manager for the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention (ILAACP), a statewide, membership-based charitable organization that strengthens prevention systems, policies, and programs in underserved communities through culturally-relevant research, training, and advocacy. In this position he managed the day-to-day operations for all the ILAACP initiatives. After directing initiatives at a leading advocacy nonprofit, the ILAACP, Isaac was invited to join the economic development policy team of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. Isaac was appointed to serve as Senior Advisor for Business Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). For nearly 50 years, MBDA has been the leading Federal bureau dedicated to supporting and growing companies and entrepreneurs from across the nation’s rich tapestry of ethnic communities. In this role, Isaac served as an agency liaison between various industry task groups, White House officials, and other Federal agencies; state and local organizations, and financial services companies in the effort to support minority-owned businesses. During his time advising White House officials and members of the business community, Isaac helped spearhead marketing initiatives, entrepreneurship programs, and technological innovation programs to spur the domestic and global expansion of minority owned companies (MBEs). Recently, as co-founder of Jamii Group, a social impact and business development firm, Isaac has combined his passion for education and mentoring entrepreneurs with the best practices and principles of corporate responsibility. By leveraging his Certifications in project management, business analysis, and other organizational specialties along with his advanced degree in Public Service Management, Isaac focuses on positive results and measurable outcomes. In 2017, the U.S. State Department selected Isaac to its inaugural cohort of Global Innovation Fellows. The inaugural class of Global Innovation Fellows (50 American entrepreneurs and 50 Chinese entrepreneurs) will be matched with one another to discuss business trends and accessing American/Chinese markets, as well as build relationships––all with the goal to promote shared economic prosperity, inclusive innovation, and civic responsibility across the globe. Now, as Dean of the Business School at historic Stillman College, Isaac brings deep knowledge of current business intelligence, capital investment opportunities, technological innovation, and community support systems to the table. His vision and strategy to achieve the School of Business’ goals & objectives focuses on these areas: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology, Accreditation, Fundraising, Globalization, and Civic Engagement and Responsibility. While guiding the next generation of business leaders, Isaac plans to develop partnerships in corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors, and build upon Stillman’s legacy of excellence. Isaac brings his experience and passion to serve his community on several boards and committees in Alabama and Illinois. In Alabama, he serves as an advisory board member for the EDGE and is a member of the Realizing the Dream Committee. In Illinois, he was appointed to the State of Illinois’ Charitable Trust Stabilization Committee (confirmed by the IL State Senate) and the Advisory Committee for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office (confirmed by Cook County Board of Commissioners). He serves as a member of the 100 Black Men of Chicago and is board member of New Path Transformation Foundation, Inc., and associate board member of Goodcity Chicago. Isaac holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree from DePaul University.

Current Term: 2022-24

Marion McIntosh (2005 Fellow)

Marion S. McIntosh is originally from Monroeville, AL, and currently works as a Process Engineer in automotive manufacturing. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering, May 2003 and August 2006, respectively. While at the Capstone, Marion served as a Regional Executive Board member, and President of the UA Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. He also served as an SGA Senator, and a 2005 Student Fellow in the Blackburn Institute. Marion gained experience working with students as a Residential Assistant and Hall Director in Housing and Residential Communities, and a Teaching Assistant in the Dept. of Industrial Engineering. In his spare time, he volunteers as a motivational speaker and addresses youth groups, minority engineering students, and professional organizations on topics ranging from collegiate success to community activism. He aspires to get more actively involved in public service and volunteers on various political campaigns. Marion currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering Coalition (AMSTEC) and is a Life Member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Current Term: 2024-26

Marion McIntosh

Dr. Rosalind Moore-Miller

Rosalind is a former military dependent, born in Vicenza, Italy with a number of places she calls hope. She received an undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, AL) with a double major in English & Political Science and also a master’s degree in Counselor Education with an emphasis in College Student Personnel. She has recently completed her Ph.D. in Social & Cultural Foundations of Education at The University of Alabama. She is the Director of Undergraduate & Graduate Student Involvement and is responsible for the co-curricular engagement of students at The University of Alabama in purposeful involvement and leadership opportunities. In her role, Rosalind combines collaborative efforts, student engagement, and needs assessment to create programs and services that open doors for student to have meaningful involvement experiences. In the past, Rosalind has served professional associations as the NASPA Region III Representative for the Administrators in Graduate & Professional Student Services Knowledge Community, advisory board member of the National Association of Graduate & Professional Students (NAGPS), and Internship Coordinator for a minority initiative called the Southeastern Greek Leadership Summit (SEGLS). Prior to her work in the Office of Student Involvement, Rosalind gained experiences in Housing and Residential Communities, Greek Life, Assessment, and Student Parent support programs. Her research areas focus on education access, intersectionality, policy analysis, minority student experiences, and other sub-populations interests/experiences. Rosalind has been actively engaged in the Blackburn Institute for the last 4 years as a partner and advocate of the Institute mission.

Current Term: 2023-25

Dr. Rosalind Moore-Miller

Taylor Nichols (2004 Fellow)

Taylor is currently Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama Office of Information Technology (OIT), where he has served since 2017 as general counsel to Alabama’s Secretary of Information Technology, a member of the Governor’s Cabinet. In 2021, he began serving in a dual capacity as associate counsel to the Alabama Department of Finance, specializing in procurement, information technology, and cybersecurity.  He previously served as Policy Analyst for Governor Bob Riley and Deputy Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey.  Prior to joining OIT, he served as counsel for the Alabama Department of Commerce.  

Taylor holds a B.S. in Economics, a J.D., and an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama and is a member of the Alabama State Bar, where he is a member of the Leadership Forum, Class 16.  He also serves on the University of Alabama’s advisory boards for the Blackburn Institute and the Division of Community Affairs and is a member of the PARCA Roundtable.

Taylor lives in Pike Road, Alabama and is a native of Tuscaloosa. He and his wife Whitney have two children.

Current Term: 2023-25

Taylor Nichols

Marjorie Kay Nix

Marjorie Kay Nix, widow of Frank A. Nix, graduated from Samford University with a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in piano performance. She is a member of the Samford Legacy League, University President’s Cabinet, and Women of the Capstone at The University of Alabama. She is a member at Brookwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama where she has served as church pianist, kindergarten teacher, piano instructor, children’s choir teacher, and is a member of the choir and handbell choir. She is the proud mother of 2 daughters and 1 son, all graduates from The University of Alabama, and 7 beautiful grandchildren. Her hobbies and interests include sewing, gardening, traveling, attending sporting events, and “baby-sitting” grandchildren.

Current Term: 2022-24

Marjorie Kay Nix

William O’Connor

Bill O’Connor is a public affairs consultant from Montgomery, Alabama. In the past he has served as the Director of Public Information for the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Executive Director with the Alabama Press Association, Assistant to the President of The University of Alabama as Director of Legislative Relations, Associate Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in UA’s College of Communication, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at The University of Alabama Systems, President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, and Managing Director for the Campaign for Alabama. Currently, he is an independent business consultant associated with Franklin Resources Group.

Current Term: 2022-24

OConnor Bill

Carol Patterson

Carol is a retired professional in the healthcare field, having spent fifteen years with CIGNA. She and her husband, Tom, were co-founders of TXEN and DAXKO. The Patterson’s are also devoted to family and church activities.

Current Term: 2022-24

Carol Peterson

Holly Piper

Former Hotel Executive; Vanderbilt University development officer, and small business owner; Civic and community leader. Daughter of Dr. John L. Blackburn.

Current Term: 2022-24

Holly Piper

Judge Chuck Price, II

Judge Charles “Chuck” Price, II is with the Birmingham Municipal Court where he presides over misdemeanor cases occurring within the City of Birmingham. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Judge Price is a graduate of Morehouse College and received his law degree from Creighton University School of Law. After graduating law school, Judge Price clerked for Justice Bernard Harwood on the Alabama Supreme Court from 2003-2004. After a brief stint as a clerk for the Alabama Securities Commission, Judge Price joined the civil litigation practice group of Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, LLC in 2005. While at Haskell Slaughter, Judge Price’s practice areas were split between insurance defense, securities and labor & employment. Judge Price eventually became a partner at the firm. After leaving Haskell Slaughter, Judge Price spent time as a solo practitioner continue to focus on insurance and labor & employment matters. Judge Price was appointed to the Birmingham Municipal Court in January of 2017. Throughout his legal career, Judge Price has served on various committees and held numerous officer positions with the Birmingham Bar Association, Magic City Bar Association, Alabama State Bar, Alabama Lawyers Association and National Bar Association. He has worked with various mentoring groups and routinely speaks at junior high and high schools in the area. In addition to serving on bar committees, Judge Price is currently a Board member of the Literacy Council of Central Alabama, and also serves on the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center Young Professionals Board.

Current Term: 2022-24

Gina Rigby-House, Secretary

Gina Rigby-House started at Aflac in the mid-1980s as a senior in high school, working part time in Aflac’s Columbus, Georgia headquarters while attending Chattahoochee Valley Community College. After moving to Virginia to study Business Administration and Political Science at Liberty University, Gina worked for Estee’ Lauder and Belk as an Account Coordinator before re-joining Aflac in 2000 as the company’s lead Republican strategist and lobbyist for the Federal Relations team in Washington, DC.

As 2nd Vice President, Gina represents Aflac in legislative and regulatory matters with the federal government, provides policy direction, assists in coordinating federal affairs initiatives, and serves as the Brand Ambassador for the company’s interests in Washington, D.C. In addition to lobbying, Gina is the liaison to both national party committees and manages the sponsorship and special events for the company in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining Aflac, Gina served as lead lobbyist and strategist for the Gas Appliance Manufacturers’ Association where she led the political arm of the association and worked with the appliance industry and the business community in support of product liability reform legislation at the federal and state level.

Gina serves on the Advisory Board for The Blackburn Institute at The University of Alabama and enjoys mentoring young people in the Blackburn program as well as students in the DC Extern Program of the University of Alabama Law School.

She is married to William Michael “Mike” House and has three stepchildren and four grandchildren. She enjoys gardening, traveling and spending time with her growing family.

Current Term: 2022-24

Gina Rigby-House

Julia Smeds Roth

Julia Smeds Roth, is an Eyster, Key, Tubb, Roth, Middleton & Adams, LLP partner, with over 30 years of litigation experience. Mrs. Roth’s experience is focused primarily in the area of family law, wills and estate planning, and litigation. She has also had substantial experience in other complex litigation, including class actions. She was the court appointed facilitator in In re Managed Care, MDL1334, Southern District of Florida. She is a registered divorce mediator.

Mrs. Roth has been involved throughout her career in professional services and activities. She was Chair of the Client Security Task Force of the Alabama State Bar to evaluate the fund and to make recommendations regarding its funding. She also served as the President of the University of Alabama Law School Foundation. The Foundation assists the University of Alabama Law School with its fundraising and support of the law school. She serves on the United Way Board and is Chair of the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors. She has served on the vestry at St. John’s Episcopal Church. She is past President of the Morgan County Bar Association.

In the past, from 1986 to 1992, Mrs. Roth served as special counsel to the Alabama House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee. She also served as a Law Clerk to The Honorable Sam C. Pointer, Jr., Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. She is a life-long Alabama resident with three adult children, three adult stepchildren, and five grandchildren. She is married to Nicholas B. Roth, also a partner in the EysterKey law firm.

Current Term: 2023-25

John Saxon

Attorney with John D. Saxon P.C., specializing in employment litigation; Former White House Fellow and counsel to four Committees of the U.S. Senate; Former Treasurer, Alabama Democratic Party; Chairman, Alabama Clinton for President Campaign; Chairman Alabama Wes Clark for President Campaign; Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.

Current Term: 2022-24

John Saxon

Rashmee Sharif, At-Large Member (2012 Fellow)

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 an 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 Operational Excellence team, Sharif lives in Birmingham and is enjoying life back in sweet home Alabama with her husband and son. She serves on the executive committee of the UA Community Affairs Board of Advisors as Chair of the Global and Community Leadership committee. From 2015 to 2018, Sharif served as Vice Chair of the Fellows Involvement Network (FIN).

Current Term: 2022-24

Bobbie Siegal

Bobbie Siegal has a passion for promoting inclusiveness, respect and mutual understanding among people from different backgrounds. Bobbie’s lifetime goal and work has been to teach and engage young people to help them appreciate their own value and dignity and to instill in them a sense of empathy and compassion for others. She has devoted a large part of her life toward teaching and has taught at UAB, Mountain Brook High School, and Tuscaloosa County Junior High.

Through her teaching and her volunteering, Bobbie has tried to foster cross-cultural relations so that our society can appreciate our diversity rather than be threatened by it. She has been an advisor of Camp Anytown, has served on numerous boards and has been honored by NCCJ, Girl Scouts of America.

Bobbie feels blessed to have had the opportunity to give back to her community and to have the love and support of her husband of 55 years, Don, and her 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Bobbie has received many honors, the most recent being selected as a 2016 recipient of Positive Maturity’s “The Top 50 Over 50” in central Alabama.

Current Term: 2022-24

Bobbie Siegal

Alex Smith, Chairperson

Since his graduation with a marketing degree from The University of Alabama in 1985, Alex had remained steadfast with his support and involvement of many facets of UA. Having served as president of the Atlanta alumni chapter in 1996, as well as national president of the National Alumni Association (NAA) in 2016, his main volunteer involvement has always been student recruitment. He hosted numerous college fairs and events in the Atlanta area and is thrilled that Georgia has become the number one feeder state for The University, helping comprise many of its honor students. Alex and Donna recently moved back to Tuscaloosa after 30 years in Atlanta when Alex was named national president of the NAA. Their move back to Tuscaloosa has allowed both to become more intimately involved in campus-related organizations such as the Blackburn Institute, The Culverhouse College of Business, and the Athletic Department’s 1st and Ten Club, as well as the local Tuscaloosa alumni chapter. On the professional side, Alex built his career in the financial services industry. After working as a financial advisor for Smith Barney and UBS for several years, Alex became a consultant to the industry. He started A. Smith Consulting in 2002, focusing on the advisory team dynamic within the industry. He offers marketing, client service, and practice valuation services to advisory teams across the country. His experience and organizational skills also encourage him to continue to support students and university causes alike in the areas of public speaking, corporate interviews, and professional development.

Current Term: 2022-24

Alex Smith

Bill Smith II

William F. Smith II (Bill) was born, raised and educated in Alabama and has worked as a civil trial attorney in Birmingham for more than 30 years. He has long been interested in race, gender, LGBTQ and economic justice issues. He has served as a board member for The Leading Edge Institute, a women’s leadership organization. Bill has been an active member of Baptist Church of the Covenant, a diverse congregation in downtown Birmingham, since 1995. He desires a more just society for all Alabama citizens.

Current Term: 2024-26

Christian Smith (2004 Fellow)

Christian Smith is Director of Development for the UAB Department of Medicine, as part of the School of Medicine Advancement Team. In this roles she works to identify and cultivate relationships to secure major gifts for UAB to advance medical care, training and research at the institution. Prior to that Christian worked for the YWCA Central Alabama in development and communications raising critical dollars to support the organizations mission of empowering women and eliminating racism, through programs like the Woodlawn neighborhood revitalization effort. Christian is an active community volunteer in Birmingham serving with organizations like the YWCA, Freshwater Land Trust and Rotaract, as well as serving as an Advisory Board member for the Jefferson County Childcare Development Center. Christian is a two time graduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Information Sciences and a Master of Public Administration and is proud to be a 2004 Blackburn Fellow.

Current Term: 2023-25

Christian Smith

Helen Smith

Helen Wilson Smith has been an Associate Director in the Center for Advanced Public Safety within the UA College of Engineering since 2014. In this role she manages grant and contract funded projects with state and federal entities focused on improving public safety. After receiving her BS in Computer Science at UA she spent 30 years working in software development in various corporations including BellSouth, Protective Life and Southern Company and served in roles from software developer to project manager to software development manager. She received her Project Management Professional Certificate in 2005 and while at Southern Company she advanced her interest in the environment by pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Management. Helen is a firm believer in lifelong learning and is currently pursuing a College Teaching Certificate at UA. She is also passionate about encouraging other women to pursue STEM careers. Helen’s other interests include travel, running and cooking. She is currently serving as the president of the Tuscaloosa Track Club, is a past president of the UA Tuscaloosa County Alumni chapter and a member of the Mystic Krewe of the Druids, which provides support and partnership to Five Horizons Health Services. Helen is married to Andrew Smith, a Tuscaloosa lawyer, and they have 4 children three of whom have UA degrees bringing the total in the immediate family to 7 UA degrees.

Current Term: 2024-26

Joan R. Smith (2007 Fellow)

Joan Smith currently serves as the Integration Lead for the US Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), supporting the future development of US Army Aviation. She is responsible for program management of multiple efforts that will enable a higher powered, more fuel efficient engine in the next generation of Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. ITEP has been identified as the Army’s highest priority modernization effort. These developments will ensure US armed forces remain the best equipped and most technologically advanced military well into the 21st century.

Her career with the Department of Defense began following her graduation from the University of Alabama in 2008 with a degree in Metallurgical and Materials engineering. First working as a Materials Engineer, she specialized in materials characterization, failure analysis, and mechanical testing of aviation and missile structures at the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). Joan then became a missile research lead responsible for all component testing and materials selection required for incorporating multi-functional electronics into composite structures. In 2012, she was selected as the first civilian to serve as Executive Officer to the AMRDEC Director, helping manage an organization of 9,000 employees and budget of $2.5B. She began working for Utility Helicopter Project Office (UHPO) in 2013 where she was responsible for the management of multiple programs that facilitated improvements to the Black Hawk Fleet.

Joan’s community involvement began with her work in Leadership Huntsville’s Connect program for young professionals. Through Connect, she became involved in leading community impact projects ranging from fundraising for the victims of the F5 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado to serving as the overall Connect Advisory Council Co-chair, helping impart the same “call to action” that she has to fifty young professionals who are also Connect graduates. Joan is also involved in the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, Junior League of Huntsville, and the Committee of 100. Joan also serves on the Committee of 100 political action committee (PAC), BizPac, whose mission is to identify, develop, and encourage visionary business-oriented candidates with a commitment to cooperative government to run for local public office, and support them as they serve the community.

As an alumnus of the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering, Joan is proud to serve on the Capstone Engineering Society’s Board of Directors where she helps support the College of Engineering recruiting, program development, and alumni involvement. She also serves on the University of Alabama’s Blackburn Institute Advisory Board where she works to develop a network of leaders across Alabama devoted to understanding the challenges which face our state and act as agents of change.

Joan and her husband, Will, live in Huntsville with their five-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, and one-year-old son, Wilson. In her spare time, Joan enjoys cooking from her garden, hiking, and college sports.

Current Term: 2023-25

Smith Joan

Justice Smyth

Justice Smyth is the Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority (TCEDA). The TCEDA is the economic development agency for all jurisdictions within Tuscaloosa County, Alabama and is a one stop source for accessing site location data including available sites and buildings, financing, employee training and incentives for manufacturing, technology, and knowledge-based investments. Prior to joining TCEDA, Justice served The University of Alabama in dual roles as Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Alabama Transportation Institute and as Interim Director of the Alabama Mobility and Power Center. In these roles, Justice worked with key external stakeholders to identify and address transportation needs related to planning, finance, policy, economic development, and the emerging electric vehicle market. Justice previously worked as Director of Corporate Development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce where he was involved in the recruitment of 7500 new jobs and $1.5 billion in capital investment. Justice earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree in communication and information sciences from The University of Alabama, where he is now working to complete a doctorate degree in education. As an undergraduate, he was elected President of the Student Government Association and was selected for membership in the JASONS Men’s Honorary and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. Justice is active in his community having served as a board member for several professional and charitable organizations including the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, The Arc of Tuscaloosa County, and the Family Counseling Service of West Alabama. Justice and his wife, Morgan, are the proud parents of two daughters, Francie (3) and Sarah Collins (1). They are members of the First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa.

Current Term: 2023-25

Justin Stabler

Justin Stabler is the Operations Manager at PCI Aviation (located in Atmore, Alabama). Prior to becoming the Operations Manager in 2022, Justin worked for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Chairwoman and CEO, Stephanie A. Bryan, where he primarily focused on expanding the Tribal Government operation’s internal communications efforts. He served in this capacity for four years and worked directly with key management employees, including the Tribal Council of the tribe. As a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Justin finds great joy in working and serving his tribe in his downtime. Justin also serves as the chairperson for the Tribe’s Enrollment Review Committee and as the Treasurer/Secretary for their Tribal Gaming Commission. Along with serving his tribe, Justin is dedicated to helping other tribes and people in need. Justin has founded a non-profit organization that focuses on providing mission trip opportunities for people to attend. This organization also helps support local missionaries around the world by providing funding and assistance with projects that help reach people in their areas. Justin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Auburn University and his Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law from the University of Tulsa. He currently resides in Atmore, Alabama, with his two children, Jaye-Harper (7) and Jentzen (5).

Current Term: 2023-25

Donald Stewart

Donald W. Stewart is an attorney with the firm of Stewart & Stewart, PC with offices located in Bessemer and Anniston, Alabama; former State Legislator and United States Senator. While Student Government Association President, Donald provided leadership in the integration of The University of Alabama in 1963.

Current Term: 2022-24

Stewart Donald

Mashonda Taylor

Mashonda Taylor is the Chief Community Relations Officer for the Woodlawn Foundation, a holistic neighborhood revitalization organization committed to the elimination of generational poverty in the Woodlawn Community in Birmingham, Alabama. Since the foundation’s inception in 2010, they have developed a high quality mixed-income housing strategy, a cradle-to-college education pipeline, and community wellness programs to support and provide residents a better quality of life. As CCRO, Mashonda is committed to serving the residents of Woodlawn and leads all the Community Wellness efforts for the foundation. She is constantly establishing and building relationships in the community and evaluating not only the needs of the community, but also its assets. More recently, Mashonda is actively involved in the development of a Family Success Center that will house the foundation’s adult education and work force development programs. Mashonda is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Gonzaga University with a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. She is dedicated to community service and has served in many facets. In addition to being an Advisory Board Member for the Blackburn Institute, Mashonda is a Commissioner for the Birmingham Planning Commission, the 2018-2019 Volunteer Vice President for the Junior League of Birmingham, and Executive Board Member for Jones Valley Teaching Farm. She is also a member of Class I of the Alabama Leadership Initiative, a Catalyst Fellow for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, 2015 Class of Leadership UAB, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and a Trustee for Mount Hillard Baptist Church. When Mashonda is not serving in the Woodlawn or the greater Birmingham Community, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading about leadership development, and traveling.

Current Term: 2022-24

Dr. Louise Thibodaux

Louise (Lou) Thibodaux is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A. English) and of the University of Southern California (M.A. Occupational Therapy). She earned a Ph.D. (Medical Sociology) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where her research focus was on the re-integration of people into productive living following spinal cord injury. In 2002 she was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church and until her retirement on 2015 she served as Archdeacon for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Lou’s passions are teaching, servant leadership, and fostering intergenerational learning throughout life. In 2013-2014 she co-chaired the Bylaws committee for the Blackburn Institute. Working together with the Blackburn staff she assists recruitment of new students and supports enhancement of the growing network of Fellows.

Current Term: 2023-25

Rev. Dr. Robert Turner (2001 Fellow)

From Tuskegee, AL, Robert Turner graduated from The University of Alabama with a B.S. in Political Science. He then graduated with honors from Turner Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center with a Masters in Divinity, followed by his Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Former Student Chair of the Blackburn Institute; Executive Chief of Staff of SGA; President of College Democrats; and Vice President of Alabama Students for Constitutional Reform. Ordained minister and Pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church.

Current Term: 2024-26

Turner Robert

Lita Waggoner (2015 Fellow)

Lita Waggoner is the Assistant General Counsel to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. She is a two-time graduate of The University of Alabama, earning a B.S. in Public Health in 2018 and a J.D. with a Certificate in Governmental Affairs in 2021. A native of Pelham, Alabama, Lita joined the Blackburn Institute as a student in 2015 and was pinned as a Fellow in 2021. As an undergraduate, Lita was involved in the Student Government Association Senate, Eta Sigma Gamma health education honor society, and a Girl Scout alumnae association. She was also a member of The XXXI, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the Carl A. Elliott Society. In law school, Lita served on Alabama Law Review, the Student Bar Association Senate, the Dorbin Women’s Association, the healthcare transactions competition team, and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. She received the Order of the Samaritan, the Dean’s Community Service Award, and the Student Pro Bono Award for her community service. Lita is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®). In addition to serving on the Blackburn Institute’s Advisory Board, Lita is also a member of the UA Division of Community Affairs Board of Advisors and a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama.

Current Term: 2022-24

Joshua White (2011 Fellow)

Joshua White is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Philosophy in Management at the University of Alabama. Before beginning his Ph.D., Joshua spent five years with Regions Financial Corporation as a member of their corporate finance team. In 2010, he founded the Audie and Kathy White Cancer Research Foundation, a community-based, volunteer organization to raise funds for cancer research. The foundation honors his late parents. Joshua married his high school sweetheart, Brittany, in 2013 and they now live in Trussville, a suburb of Birmingham. He is a 2010 Blackburn Fellow.

Current Term: 2023-25

Joshua White

Tammie Williams

Tammie Doleman Williams is a 1987 University of Alabama College of Engineering graduate; she also holds a Master of Business in Administration from Samford University. She has been employed by Alabama Power Company for thirty-five years and is currently a Lighting Services Engineer in Birmingham, Al. Tammie’s breadth of experience with Alabama Power includes Distribution and Transmission line design, Capital Budgeting, Regulatory Affairs, Commercial & Industrial Marketing as well as serving as an Assistant to a Vice President. Tammie’s many civic involvements include Pell City Board of Education, St. Clair County Chapter of The Literacy Council, University of Alabama Parent Advisory Council, Pell City Education Foundation, United Way Bold Goals Education Committee, Capstone Engineering Society, Jefferson State Community College Workforce Advisory Board, Jacksonville State University Regional Inservice Center Board, Logan Martin Red Elephant Club and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is also a former math tutor and adjunct math teacher. Tammie has a strong passion for education and believes that every opportunity should be a learning experience. Tammie is married to Ronald Williams (1985 UA Alum); they have two children Tameron and Andrew who currently attend the University of Alabama. Tammie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and attending Alabama football games.

Current Term: 2024-26

Yardena Wolf (2013 Fellow)

Yardena Wolf serves as the Chief of Staff to Congressman Eric Swalwell. She lives and works in Washington, D.C. as the Congressman’s chief advisor on political and legislative matters, overseeing the DC and CA-14 District offices. Prior to this position, she was the Vice President of the New York office of Berger Hirschberg Strategies, a political fundraising firm. In this role, she managed the fundraising on over a hundred campaigns, PACs, and non-profits at the local, state, and national levels.

Yardena graduated from the University of Alabama in 2016 with her Bachelors in Political Science. She remains active in the Alabama community through the XXXI Women’s Honor Society and as an Advisory Board member of the Blackburn Institute.

Current Term: 2023-25