Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meet Dr. Kathryn Byrd - Woman of Distinction 2011

Through her work with the League of Women Voters, Dr. Kathryn Byrd of ­Tuscaloosa brings the message about voting rights to the public. Since retiring as a speech-language pathologist, Byrd has served in the Tuscaloosa City Schools on the Magnet School Task Force and currently on the Dropout Prevention Task Force. She has also volunteered in the schools teaching English as a second language. Byrd headed the Alabama State Department of Education Speech Pathology Task Force for 10 years, which included development of a speech pathology manual for the ALSDE.

Byrd’s professional honors include being named elementary school nominee to the Jacksonville State Teachers Hall of Fame for Tuscaloosa City Schools, nominated for the Roland Van Hattum national award for school-based SLPs and recipient of the ­Loretta G. Brown Award as outstanding public school clinician. Byrd has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year by Volunteers in America for teaching English to Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean students.

As a Girl Scout leader, she focused on being a positive role model for the girls and was awarded the Thanks Badge. Byrd’s motto is, “Take one step at a time to avoid being overwhelmed and therefore giving up.”

Byrd will be recognized at the West Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on April 7. For more information, visit

Troop 1010 Participates in World Thinking Day

Troop 1010 of Gardendale participated in a World Thinking Day event, where they learned and taught others about the country of India.

About World Thinking Day
Each year on 22 February, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world celebrate World Thinking Day (WTD). Girls participate in activities, games, and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. World Thinking Day is part of the WAGGGS Global Action Theme. World Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community—one of nearly 150 countries with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Back Row Left to Right: Sarah Knutson, Sarah Avington, Camryn Moore, Jennica Ferguson, Heather Dennis, Kailey Boyd, Shae Stephens, Madison Carlton

Front Row Left to Right: Abigail Lawson, Abigail Murray, Lauren Winslett, Lauren Brown, Ellie Grace Hallmark, Alexandra Malone, Bethani Hobson, Adrian Sandlin, Aleah Abdullah

Monday, March 28, 2011

GSNCA Surpasses Cookie Sale Goal

The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama reports that the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program was a success, surpassing last year’s total sales by 9.17%. This year’s goal was 115,000 cases (or 1,380,000 boxes), and GSNCA sold 119,024 cases (or 1,428,288 boxes). Total, GSNCA sold $4,999,008 worth of Girl Scout Cookies. Thanks to everyone who purchased cookies as part of this annual financial literacy program.

“The Cookie Sale Program is the primary financial literacy program for the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama,” said Hilary Perry, director of communications and advocacy. “Girls have opportunities to learn about goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. It is the largest girl-led business in the country and generates over $700 million nationwide, and over $4.9 million in GSNCA’s 36-county territory. All proceeds stay within the local council.”

Troop 66 Helps With Parents Night Out

Troop 66 of Forestdale volunteered at Children’s Hospital last week in support of Parents Night Out. Parents Night Out is an event by Children’s Hospital and AT&T Pioneers to give parents a fun break without leaving the hospital. Girl Scouts helped set up, assisted in serving meals to the guest and stayed after to clean up. The night was filled with games and clowns to give parents a much deserved break. Girl Scouts who participated included: Tamara, Dellyssa, Felicia, Danielle, Kanaiya, Nadia and Brianna, along with their troop leaders LaQuita Collins and Angela Jordan.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girl Scouts Recognize West Alabama Women of Distinction

The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama will recognize eight outstanding women at their annual West Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon, Thursday, April 7, 2011, at the Indian Hills Country Club from 11:30-1:00 pm. This Luncheon seeks to recognize women from Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties.

The Women of Distinction program pays tribute to women who have made special contributions to their community through civic, academic or professional involvement. Honorees are selected from a selections committee comprised of volunteers and community leaders.

This year’s Women of Distinction honorees are:
  • Kathryn Byrd of Northport, State Co-President, League of Women Voters
  • Sally Edwards of Tuscaloosa, Director, Child Development Resources
  • Katherine W. Fitts of Tuscaloosa, Civic Leader and Volunteer
  • Hon. Tammy Jackson Montgomery of Coatopa, District Court Judge, Sumter County
  • Eleanor Park of Demopolis, Independent Marketing Director, Team National
  • Lori Royer of Tuscaloosa, Compensation, Employment & Workforce Development Director, DCH Health System
  • Dr. Billie Jean Young of Marion, Artist-in-Residence and Faculty Member, Judson College Fine Arts Department

In addition, Dr. Joyce Levey of Tuscaloosa will be awarded this year’s Karen LaMoreaux Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chairing the Luncheon is Committee member Jean Caldwell of Centreville. Other Committee members include Kathy Byrd, Elizabeth Colwick-Hamner, Teresa Costanzo, Josephine Davis, Angela Fulmer, Carol Gilliland, Pat Guin, Betty Hardee, Madeleine Hill, Shelley Jones, Nancy Lambert-Brown, Marie Lawrence, JoAnne Miles, Cathy Randall, Jane Searcy, Pam Smith, Geri Stone, Karen Thompson, Loo Whitfield and Carol Woodruff.

Proceeds from the West Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon provide direct support to Girl Scouts in North-Central Alabama, which serves more than 15,000 girls in 36 counties. Sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, DCH Health System, Judson College, McAbee Construction, Inc., Mercedes Benz US International and Walter Energy. Other local companies and individuals have generously sponsored additional corporate tables. For more information on sponsorships, please contact Julie Carter at 800-734-4541 x1030 or visit . Tickets to the Luncheon cost $50 for general admission and $35 for Girl Scout members.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Meet Dr. Sally Smith - Frances E. Couch Award Recipient 2011

Dr. Sally Smith is this year’s Frances E. Couch Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. She is the owner of Sleeping Giant Veterinary Clinic. Along with working at the clinic, she also teaches anatomy at ­Talladega College and participates in Career Day at ­Talladega High School.

Dr. Smith is a contributor in the innovative Alabama School for the Deaf Health Sciences Program which opens career opportunities to students that were previously out of reach for many deaf students. One of the students from the program shadowed Dr. Smith and received on-the-job training. The student stated, “She inspired me to pursue a career as a veterinarian assistant.”

As a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, Dr. Smith has been a member of the former Cottaquilla Council board of directors and of the property committee and served on the board of Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. Her daughter is also involved in Girl Scouting and has received the Gold Award, and her sons became Eagle Scouts. Dr. Smith is currently on the Eagle Board of Review for Boy Scout Troop 4032 and is the proud recipient of two Eagle Mother pins and a Gold Mother pin.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University.

Dr. Smith continues to be involved with projects at Camp Cottaquilla and says, “All of my work on various boards and committees has been to try to ensure that the camp activities I enjoyed so much as a Girl Scout are available for others.”

Dr. Smith will be honored at the East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 24. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet Sandra Stephens - Woman of Distinction 2011

As former CEO of SouthFirst Bank, Sandra Stephens was the direct manager for lending divisions, deposit operations, information systems and compliance, internal auditing, investments and budgets.

While with SouthFirst, Stephens served with the Community Bankers Association of Alabama and was selected to participate in the association’s “Women in Banking” committee. She is president of the Sylacauga Rotary Club and on the board of the B. B. Comer Memorial Library Foundation. Stephens is a former member of the Junior League of Tuscaloosa and the American Society of Women Accountants.

Stephens graduated from Walker College with an ­Associate’s in Science degree. She also received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Montevallo.

Stephens’ leadership abilities allow her to deal with people in a calm and effective manner. She believes, “If you have goals and dreams, you can achieve those with hard work and dedication.” For Stephens, serving others is what truly brings joy and happiness in her life.

Stephens will be honored at the East Alabama Women of Distinction luncheon on March 24. For more information, visit

Alumnae Spotlight - Nancy Covert

Nancy Covert, President of Dale Carnegie Training of North and Central Alabama, joined Girl Scouts in 1970 as a Browine and continued to Cadettes. Originally from Bloomington, IL, Nancy attended Illinois State University and now resides in Alabama. She is married with two children and her daughter is a Girl Scout.

During your experience as a Girl Scout, what would you say was the most valuable lesson you retained?
I learned a lot of sales and leadership skills. Selling Girl Scout Cookies and calendars were my favorite things to do. I am also motivated by recognition, so earning badges was my top priority. I earned every available badge while I was a Brownie and Junior.

What was your most awarding experience in Girl Scouting?
In addition to my church, Girl Scouts was an organization that taught me values by participating in things like Girl Scout camp and selling cookies.

What is one of your favorite Girl Scout memories?
My first year selling Girl Scout cookies, I told my Mom I was going to sell the most. She told me that I should consider lowering my goal because I was much younger than the other girls. I went to every door and presented my order form. I informed our neighbors that by selling cookies I was learning valuable skills that I would need in the future to run a company. I explained that this would allow me to raise money for our troop so we could go to camp. I didn't take no for an answer. If they still didn't buy, I went back the next day, just in case they changed their mind. I learned tenacity and I utilize this every day. I also delivered every box of cookies in my little red wagon, counted my money and sold the most cookies in the Centrillio Council!

Looking back now, how did Girl Scouts improve your self-esteem, confidence and education as a child? Are those effects still a part of your life today?
Yes, these are a big part of my life today. I use nearly all the skills I developed in Girl Scouts to do my job especially the sales and budgeting skills.

What advice can you give to young Girl Scouts today?

Join, get involved, make new friends, learn some hobbies and take advantage of the Girl Scout adventure! It is an experience you will never forget.

Girl Scouts of Japan Relief Efforts

We are devastated by the catastrophe in Japan and, on a personal level, are deeply concerned about our sisters there, the Girl Scouts of Japan. USA Girl Scouts Overseas has served American military and civilian families in Japan for many years, and has extremely close ties with Girl Scouts of Japan. In fact, many of our overseas troops and Girl Scouts of Japan are sister troops. We have received many calls from Girl Scouts around the country asking how to help and are happy to report that the policy that prohibits Girl Scouts from raising money for other organizations has been temporarily suspended. To contribute to earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, you can make an online donation to the newly established Girl Scouts of Japan Relief Efforts. At times like these, Girl Scouts throughout the world come together in sisterhood to help those in need. We have seen our Movement rally in support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters over the years, and will continue to do everything we can to help our sister Girls Scouts of Japan in the weeks and months ahead.

Girls are also encouraged to send expressions of friendship to their sister Girl Scouts in Japan by making origami cranes (Sadako). For instructions, see YouTube videos. The Girl Scouts of Japan made and mailed thousands of these cranes to the United States as an expression of peace and friendship after the September 11th tragedy.

Mail cranes to:
USAGSO - West Pacific
Unit 45005
APO, AP 96343-5005

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meet Marie Manning - Woman of Distinction 2011

Marie Manning is a newly elected member of the St. Clair County Board of Education. She began her career as a public school teacher, was promoted to principal and later was named superintendent of education. In 2006, Manning became head of enrollment services at Jefferson State Community College’s Pell City site.

She is a member of the Pell City Rotary Club, the Pell City Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of Leadership St. Clair County. She served as president and treasurer of the St. Clair County Educational Foundation, and is on the advisory committee for the YWCA of Central Alabama Domestic Violence Center of St. Clair County.

Among her awards, Manning has been named District VI Superintendent and Alabama PALS Educator of the Year. She was nominated for Pell City “Citizen of the Year” and was named Delta Kappa Gamma’s Key Woman Educator.

Manning received her B.S. degree in biology and her master’s in instructional media, both from Jacksonville State University. She has her N-12 Principalship Certification from The University of Alabama.

Manning states, “I have realized that hard work is necessary to make a life, whether it is our personal, professional or spiritual relationships.”

Manning will be recognized at the East Alabama Women of Distinction luncheon on March 24. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Gold Award Starts Recycling Program

Laura of Troop 1100 used her Gold Award project to establish a much needed recycling program at Grissom High School, her former high school. Laura worked with sponsors, her former principal and Grissom Goes Green Environmental Club to bring the option of recycling. The “Join the Cycle, Be Smart Recycle” program will allow students to recycle everyday things such as lunch milk cartons. The sponsors will pay the fee required to pick up the recyclable products.

In addition to her recycling program, Laura created pamphlets filled with crossword puzzles and other games to show kids that recycling can be fun. Laura is a freshman at Calhoun Community College and is the daughter of Dale and Marlies of Huntsville.

The Gold Award is highest level of Girl Scout achievement. This award recognizes the Senior & Ambassador Girl Scout’s commitment to herself, her community, and her future. The girl who goes for the Gold embraces challenges, achieves excellence, and works diligently to make the world a better place, in her own unique way. Her leadership, vision, and boundless energy is an inspiration to all Girl Scouts. Each girl earning her Gold Award demonstrates excellence through a leadership project totaling more than 65 hours. Girls who earn their Gold Award are also recognized by the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Armed Services, state legislatures, colleges and universities for admission and scholarship opportunities, and the American Legion.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meet Jane Leatherbury Newman - Woman of Distinction 2011

As a former teacher, Jane Newman has a love for education and the arts. She has been chairman of the board of directors for the Alabama School of Math and Sciences for the past three years. Newman created the Serendipity Dance Club, an organization that raises money to benefit the Hardin Center for the Cultural Arts in Gadsden.

Newman has served as benefit chair of Theater of Gadsden Masque, on the advisory board for the School of Nursing at Gadsden State Community College, on the board of Gadsden Metro Arts Council and as chair of Gadsden’s annual Fallfest. She has also participated as event chair for Hooked on Health, and is a member of the Antiquarian Society, Foundation for Women’s Health, ­Kappa Delta, Gadsden State Community College Endow­ment Committee and Callan Concert Association. She chaired the capital cam­­p­aign for the Humane Society of Etowah County, raising $1.2 million to build a new shelter.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Alabama, is the mother of three doctors and grandmother of seven.

Newman believes it is more meaningful to give than to receive. She states, “To those of us given more, more is expected, and I have truly received more than I have given.”

Newman will be honored at the East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 24. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet Kendall Lowe Hamilton - Woman of Distinction 2011

Kendall Hamilton joined her family-owned car dealership, Devan Lowe Inc. in Rainbow City, as executive manager after completing her MBA. Her responsibilities include managing departmental teams, marketing, coordinating GM performance programs, tracking expenses, customer satisfaction and conducting trainings. Hamilton’s proudest accomplishment is her creation of the Devan Lowe Honor Roll program, which promotes academic achievement by giving a car each year to a high school senior on the honor roll in Etowah County. Hamilton serves on the board of trustees for the Riverview Regional Medical Center, the board of directors of Darden Rehab, the United Way, the Industrial Development Authority and is chairperson of The Chamber of Etowah County. She is also involved as a First Friday Forum member, Rotary Club member and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alabama board member. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University and earned her MBA from The University of Alabama. Hamilton says, “When you pull together the collective gifts of time, talent and financial donations, you can make quite a positive impact on your community.”

Hamilton will be recognized at the East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 24. For tickets or other information, visit

Development of Southside Library Merits Gold Award

Shelley Boyers loves to read. When she learned about the recently opened library in her community of Southside, she decided to focus her Gold Award project on helping it become established and raising public awareness for the library. After meeting with the library’s director, she saw the need for a children’s corner. Shelley began raising money for expenses and recruiting volunteers to put her plan into action. She created an informational handout for the library, made bookmarks, and purchased crafts materials and furniture for the area. Shelley invited Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout troops to help her with a tree-trimming and story-time event for a local day school during Christmas break. To increase public awareness, Shelley organized a book drive and promoted National Library Week in April with posters and flyers. For the books she collected, she made a catalog and labeled shelves in the library. She also organized another event—a “Cat in the Hat” day for a preschool field trip, complete with costumes, crafts and snacks. “Through my project,” says Shelley, “I was able to use my leadership skills to ensure everything ran smoothly, as well as my creative skills when reading to the preschoolers.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet Brenda Emery - Woman of Distinction 2011

Brenda Emery was Assistant Vice President at Regions Bank for 24 years. Prior to that, Emery was an assistant branch manager for eight years where she led training sessions in branch operations, trained managers and even appeared in a training video for new employees.

Emery has helped with Habitat for Humanity and United Way in Nashville. She volunteers with R.S.V.P. for Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the elderly, and is also an entertainer at nursing homes, senior centers, schools and churches. Emery has worked with the Salvation Army Disaster Relief Kitchen, and also supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama and the Theatre of Gadsden.

Emery sang “America the Beautiful” at the Tennessee Titans Stadium and sang for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission video. In 2009, she won Ms. Senior Etowah County and Ms. Senior Alabama first runner-up. After claiming the title Ms. Attalla in 2010, she went on to win Ms. Senior Alabama and was Top 10 in Ms. Senior America.

Brenda Emery believes we should all give back to our communities to show our appreciation for our many blessings. She says, “Giving back to your community is much more rewarding than anything you could ever take from it.”

Emery will be honored at the East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 24th. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Monday, March 7, 2011

Girl Scouts Celebrate 99 Years!

In preparation for the coming centennial, activities and events are being planned both locally and nationally in honor of the Girl Scouts’ 99th anniversary on March 12. The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama (GSNCA) will join a nationwide take-action project entitled “Girl Scouts Forever Green” which allows Girl Scouts of all ages, volunteers and alumnae to participate in a meaningful leadership experience that makes a positive impact on the environment. GSNCA will participate in Earth Hour, a global initiative that invites individuals, businesses, governments and communities to turn off their lights for one hour, to show support for environmentally sustainable action. Earth Hour will take place at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.

“In recognition of our 100th anniversary in 2012, we plan to challenge our entire 36-county area to join us in celebrating Earth Hour,” said GSNCA CEO Trish Coghlan. “The Earth Hour collaboration is one part of the Girl Scouts’ broader commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Help Girl Scouts Win the LEGO League Global Innovation Awards!

Did you know? There are 3 Girl Scout FIRST Lego League teams in a field of over 120 teams in the FIRST Lego League Global Innovation Award competition! The winner of the Global Innovation Award will receive a grant for up to $20,000 to fund a full utility patent for their device and start getting it out to others who need it. The top 3 are invited to the Awards Ceremony in Washington DC and will present their project to the US Patent and Trade Office!

The Flying Monkeys, a team from Iowa created a prosthetic hand device (the BOB-1) for a little girl in Georgia. This device allowed a 3 year old girl who was born without fingers to write for the first time. These Girl Scouts won the Regional and State Lego League awards for their innovation. They worked with patent attorneys in Des Moines, IA. The attorneys sponsored and mentored them through the provisional patent stage. The BOB-1 hand device is officially patent pending! They sit in 3rd place as I write.

The LOL Comets won the Los Angeles Region Champions Award. For their innovation, this third year team thought of the KAT Map- an indoor GPS for the blind they would like to build. They are currently in 41st place.

The Dbots, from Pasadena CA are currently in 104th place with their Shirt of Awesomeness. They were honored for their teamwork, robot design and project idea. They are working on the details of how to build a shirt that would be a back brace to help middle schoolers with heavy backpack loads and those with scoliosis who need a brace to correct their medical condition.

Right now the Girl Scouts need votes. That's all. Sharing this link and encouraging people to vote for them daily from every IP address available would do a huge favor to the girls and shows people all the wonderful things girls can do when they are empowered. Check out their amazing, novel innovations by following the links below and clicking on "view submission documents." Then take a moment and vote for your favorite Girl Scouts! Please support them! Vote daily! Vote from every IP address! Share their stories and encourage other Girl Scout supporters to vote as well!

To vote for the Flying Monkeys:

To vote for the LOL Comets:

To vote for the Dbots:

Voting closes on Friday, March 18 and Girl Scouts need to make a strong showing. PLEASE share this via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and any other way possible. Let's keep at least one Girl Scout team in the top 3 positions!

Meet Virginia Gauld - 2011 Mildred Bell Johnson Awardee

Coming from a family of educators, Jenny Gauld began her career in 1967 as a first grade teacher and retired in 2006 after serving as Vice President for Student Affairs at The University of Alabama at Birmingham for 16 years. Her professional journey took her through ten years as a counselor, ten years in various administrative positions with UAB Special Studies, and twenty years as Associate Vice President and then Vice President for Student Affairs at UAB, along with a faculty appointment in the UAB School of Education. Gauld received her B.S. from Emory University, an M.A. from University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

Highly regarded by her peers as a leader in the field of higher education, Gauld served on the boards of several professional organizations and was sought after regionally and nationally as a speaker on college student issues, adult education, and educational leadership. In the community she served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Fulbright Association, NCCJ and the Amelia Center. She belonged to the Rotary Club of Birmingham and served as chair of several of its committees for many years before moving her membership to Pell City in 2007. She was a member of The Women’s Network in Birmingham for 16 years and served as President in 1995.

Gauld has used her leadership skills to serve the greater Birmingham community for over 40 years, and since 2006 when she retired has used those same skills to serve the Pell City community. Elected to the YWCA board in 1985, she served as its president from 1989-1995, and as Co-Chair of two successful YWCA capital campaigns. Chosen to participate in both Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama classes, she continued to be active in both alumni groups. She served on the Boards of the Literacy Council of Alabama, National Association for Community and Justice, and Birmingham YouthServe, and as President of the Boards of Leadership Birmingham, the Birmingham International Festival, and The Women’s Fund.

Her leadership roles in Girl Scouts began in 2003 as a Board member of the Cahaba Girl Scout Council. In 2008 she became an Executive Committee member of The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. She is a Board member of The Imagination Library of the Pell City School District and a Commissioner on the Pell City Housing Authority. As a YWCA board member and a Pell City resident, she led the way for the establishment of the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter for St. Clair and Blount counties.

Gauld’s civic honors include earning the Birmingham YWCA Woman of Valor Award and the 2010 Pell City Citizen of the year for her community service. Gauld has been a prior Woman of Distinction and has received numerous Girl Scout Thanks Badges. Gauld also received the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn – the Gold Award.

Gauld has helped many women and children in Birmingham and Pell City as well as enriched hundreds of students’ lives through her work and leadership as an educator. Though according to Gauld, her greatest accomplishment is being the mother of two incredible children and three step children. She has eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild. For someone who has accomplished so much, Gauld says she has a terrible sense of direction. “Thank goodness for my GPS!”

Gauld will be honored at the Central Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 4. For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meet Cheryl Williams - Woman of Distinction 2011

As president of A.G. Williams, Cheryl Williams is responsible for mortgage and property sales. Prior to her position with A.G. Williams, Cheryl Williams worked with Bellsouth for 26 years as a project manager.

Throughout her career with South Central/BellSouth, Williams received many honors and distinctions including regional computer project recognition awards, and company leadership awards for leading Savings Bond Drives, United Way Campaigns and the Weather the Storm campaign.

Williams graduated from Jacksonville State University and from UAB. She also has her CMI training and certification.

Williams defines a community by not only where you live but where you include your outreach missionary work. Williams takes part in annual mission work in Birmingham for the homeless, elderly and underprivileged children as well as in overseas mission trips to Central America. Williams is the first female to be a board member of Highlands United Methodist Church. Williams initiated and chaired the first night Women's Circle, the sack lunch program for the homeless, annual Christmas parties for DHR families, and served as Sunday School Superintendent, Youth Councilor and Acting Youth Director. She has also been the YWCA board of directors and served as treasurer. She is active in The Women's Network where she has served as president, president-elect and treasurer. In the past, she has been active as a Pioneer and with Civitan. Williams is also on the board of directors for the United Way of Central Alabama and FOR Nicaraguan Relief Fund.

Through her mission work around the world which includes teaching English to students in China, building a church in Panama, teaching Vacation Bible School in San Antonio and serving the poor in Nicaragua, Williams knows no small deed goes unnoticed. She states, “I always come back as a stronger person with a better understanding of the world I live in.”

Williams will be honored at the Central Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 4. For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet Vikki Grodner - Woman of Distinction 2011

Vikki Grodner is someone who follows her dreams. She is the owner of the Grodner Group, a marketing firm working with non profits. Grodner is a founder of the New Girls Network (NGN). This initiative brings together professional women once a month for a chance to meet and connect with other active women in the community.

Grodner is a graduate of the University of Alabama and a member of the current Leadership Birmingham class.

Her civic involvement includes serving as vice chair of Coalition Building for the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee. She has also helped coordinate Sisters/Chaverim African American and Jewish professional women’s dialogue group. Grodner accepted the Jewish Council for Public Affairs national Program Excellence award at their annual conference.

Meet Up for Change is Grodner’s own nonprofit. The goal of Meet Up for Change is to energize and engage grass root volunteers to affect change by taking pride in our community and ownership of the issues impacting it. The organization provides an online forum for any volunteer to recruit others in a project that will spruce up the metro area. The forum allows others to sign up to participate on Meet Up teams to tackle the project.

Grodner says “I am like Pac Man. The more projects I ‘gobble up,’ the more energy I have.”

Grodner will be honored at the Central Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on March 4. You can purchase tickets at