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. He helped start and served as president for a honor society type organization for minority men called GGC with the purpose of developing a network of young men all looking to make a positive impact on the University and each other. James currently serves as business operations manager for Kemp Management Solutions, LLC, a regional 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. He married his beautiful wife Jasmine in October 2017 and they now reside in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham.
Caroline Shook is a 2011 Blackburn Fellow and 2014 alumna of The University of Alabama. A marketing and French double major with a minor in public relations, Caroline was involved in a variety of activities on and off campus. Caroline both worked in the Blackburn office and served as a student officer during her undergraduate experience. After graduation, Caroline served as Press Secretary for a Democratic gubernatorial campaign. After the campaign, she joined the staff of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organization fosters learning, understanding, and appreciation of our people, communities, and cultures through programming in all 67 Alabama counties. At AHF Caroline was involved in handling the organizations social media and press relations as well as planning the annual awards luncheon. Currently Caroline lives in Birmingham and is the Social Media and PR Coordinator for Vineyard Brands, a leading, cutting-edge wine importer of more than 70 brands from around the world. Her responsibilities include handling social media for the company as well as managing press relations and national events. She is also uses her French degree to communicate with producers throughout France. Caroline is also involved in her community with the Cathedral Church of the Advent, attends and helps organize as many Blackburn Fellow events as possible, and is a supporter of the arts as a former member of the Alabama Ballet Junior Board.
Ben Jackson is from Birmingham, Alabama and is a 2018 graduate from The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce where he majored in finance with a specialization in value investing. While at Alabama, he was actively involved on campus. Ben served as the Portfolio Manager and Vice President of Investment Research for the Culverhouse Investment Management Group, a student led investment fund, and he additionally served as the Chief of Staff for the Student Government Association under the Lillian Roth Administration. He was a member of both ODK and the Anderson Society. Ben currently lives in New York City where he is an Equity Research Associate for Barclays Investment Bank. He is passionate about issues surrounding food scarcity and economic development in the state of Alabama.
Fellows select officers from among themselves to act as liaisons to the Blackburn Institute staff and the Advisory Board. These officers serve two-year terms, based on the academic calendar (August to July of even years). FIN officers are expected to participate actively in Institute events and attend Advisory Board meetings, as well as build programming and networks to support the mission of the Blackburn Institute.