2019 SMART HONOREES
The Smart Honorees are a prestigious group of women leading in their field and creating change in their communities. Join us as we celebrate them!
To make a donation or buy tickets in honor of an individual honoree, click their name below then donate or buy tickets via their personal fundraising page:
Megan LaRussa Chenoweth
Dr. Leesha M. Ellis-Cox
Dr. Bertha Hidalgo
Cathy Sloss Jones
MEET THE HONOREES
Gail is a dedicated member of the Birmingham community. In 2018, she and her husband Jeffrey chaired the effort to bring the Violins of Hope Program to Birmingham, which led them to establish the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund. As founding donors of this fund, the Bayers’ seek to build unity and a greater sense of trust and shared fates for people throughout the region. Gail has also co-founded the Gail and Jeffrey Bayer Family Foundation at the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the Gail and Jeffrey Bayer Family Religious School Fund at Temple Emanu-El.
Gail currently serves on the board of directors for the Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Grafman Endowment Fund and the advisory board for the Alys Stephens Center. She is a former board member of the Red Mountain Theatre Company, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Birmingham Chapter of the American Cancer Society and was a lay member of their national grant-making board.
Additionally, Gail has co-chaired numerous events, including the Heart Ball benefitting the Birmingham Chapter of the American Heart Association, the Hope Gala benefitting the Birmingham Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and events for Temple Emanu-El.
Gail was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas. She has been married to Jeffrey Bayer for 42 years. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.
CEO and Co-Founder • GLOW
Yazmin is the co-founder and CEO of GLOW, the first and only on-demand beauty app in Alabama that brings hair, makeup, and spray tan experts straight to your home. Her lifelong vision has become the mission statement for her ever-growing GLOW empire: To empower women to achieve excellence through beauty.
Yaz has over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, working for major beauty brands including Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, and Trish McEvoy in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
After studying Fashion Merchandising at Johnson & Wales University and traveling the country for work in the beauty and retail industries, Yaz moved to Birmingham to be closer to her mother. It is here that she found the love of her life, her faith, and ultimately where she found herself. She and her husband, Jim, have 3 children James IV, Sofia, and Savanah (ages 5, 7, and 16).
Her multi-cultural heritage has allowed her to attract and maintain a client base that is diverse and far-reaching. From the stay-at-home mom to the corporate power woman, GLOW is making sure that every woman has access to the same superior level of beauty as celebrities.
Today GLOW has over 53 vetted beauty professionals and has provided thousands of beauty services to women across central and north Alabama, Nashville and 9 other states and 24 cities.
Megan LaRussa Chenoweth
Style Director & Founder • Style Yourself Chic
Megan’s mission as a Style Coach is to empower, educate and inspire women to dress for the life they desire. She has worked with hundreds of women through VIP one-on-one Style Coaching, and her online Style Yourself Chic programs to help them dress to showcase their best self, and feel confident wherever the day takes them.
Megan grew up in Birmingham and has always loved fashion as a form of self-expression. She attended Birmingham-Southern College and studied Art History and French. She then trained in NYC as a Trend Forecaster analyzing the budding trends happening in the fashion industry. She took classes at the esteemed Parsons School of Design to continue her knowledge of fashion, color theory, fabrics and fit.
Upon returning to Birmingham she found her true passion, coaching women to look and feel their best through their overall appearance and wardrobe. She loves nothing more than working with her clients, as well as sharing her style tips and tricks on StyleBlueprint, Southern Living, and her own blog StyleYourselfChic.com.
Vice President of Public Relations • Alabama Power Company
Stephanie began working in the Southern Company system in 2007 as a real estate attorney at Georgia Power Company. Before joining Alabama Power Company in 2016, she also served as a regulatory attorney for Georgia Power Company and director of Corporate Communication for Southern Company.
Cooper has previously worked as an assistant district attorney in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, DeKalb County, Georgia, and deputy press secretary for the governor of Georgia. She is a board member of the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, active with the United Way of Central Alabama and a member of the 2018 Leadership Birmingham class, the Women’s Energy Network and the Lawyers’ Club of Atlanta. She has served as president of the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division and now represents on the State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors the 6,000 attorneys who live outside Georgia and are licensed to practice law in Georgia.
She is a graduate of LEAD Atlanta, an Outstanding Atlanta honoree and was named to Birmingham Magazine’s 2018 “Women Who Shape the State” and Georgia Trend magazine’s 2012 “Top 40 Under 40” list. Cooper earned her law degree from Georgia State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. She is married to Dane Cooper and they have a son, Pierce.
Dr. Leesha M. Ellis-Cox
Psychiatrist and Author
Dr. Ellis-Cox is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, dynamic public speaker, wife, mother, and best-selling author. She earned both her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and completed her general psychiatry residency training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. She has lived and worked in Alabama for the last ten years and provides psychiatric services to children and adults at several community mental health centers in and around Birmingham.
In addition to her work as a full-time physician, Dr. Ellis-Cox is a leading authority on women’s and children’s mental health and a highly sought-after parenting expert. She has a heart for moms, especially those who struggle with mommy guilt, the nagging sense of inadequacy and constant fear of failing as a parent. Dr. Ellis-Cox, herself, is a mother to three energetic children ages 5, 8, and 12. Through her book, Ditch the Mommy Guilt: A Blueprint for the Modern Mommy; her conference Motherhood: The Remix; and her new online course for moms, Motherhood Deconstructed, she inspires moms to transform their mommy mindset. Dr. Ellis-Cox is changing the narrative for all mothers, creating a new story in which self-care is not a dirty word or trendy saying; but, instead, an essential component for moms striving to take better care of themselves so they can better care for their families. Happy, healthy moms raise happy, healthy children.
Dr. Bertha Hidalgo
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology; Associate Scientist, Nutrition Obesity Research Center • UAB
Dr. Bertha Hidalgo’s research focuses on health disparities related to cardiometabolic diseases, with a special focus on Latino populations and epigenomics. She has received research funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Program to investigate whether genetic and epigenetic differences exist between subgroups of Latinos for cardiometabolic diseases (e.g. obesity, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes) by first investigating differences in subgroups of Latino children and obesity in an epidemiologic study. She has also received the 2014 Back of the Envelope award to create a multi-ethnic biorepository for cardiometabolic diseases.
Dr. Hidalgo obtained her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University, MPH from the University of Southern California, and PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Statistical Genetics in the Section on Statistical Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Cathy Sloss Jones
President • Sloss Real Estate
Cathy serves as president and CEO of Sloss Real Estate Company, Inc., a, multi-disciplined real estate firm founded by her grandfather in 1920. Under her leadership, the company focuses on urban development and revitalization of the city center and on renewal of the community. Cathy and her company have been committed to redeveloping historic buildings, constructing new buildings that honor their surroundings, and providing planning services to others throughout the region. Significant projects include creating Pepper Place, a vibrant mixed-use district and Park Place, Birmingham’s first HOPE VI project.
A recognized civic leader, Cathy serves on numerous boards and as a member of UAB’s President’s Advisory Board. Cathy was an active participant in creating Birmingham’s City Center Master Plan, and created and manages The Market at Pepper Place, a nationally recognized public market.
In 2007, Cathy pursued graduate studies at Harvard University where she used her time to study innovative models for mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhoods. Since returning to Birmingham, she has applied that knowledge to her interest in developing locally-based food sources, the revitalization of urban centers and the overall health of the community.
Cathy has received numerous awards including and was named to the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2017, the most distinguished award given to an Alabamian.
Senior Vice President, Head of Media Relations and Issues Management • Regions Bank
Evelyn has 20 years of progressive experience in media relations, internal communications, issues management, crisis communications and project management. Prior to joining Regions in 2009, she managed media relations and internal communications for Wachovia Bank in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Evelyn served as a Communications Specialist for SouthTrust Bank and was a member of the SouthTrust Bank merger project office where she managed internal communications and media relations during the SouthTrust/Wachovia merger.
Evelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She is currently a community volunteer with The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, serving on the Grants and Allocations committee. She previously served on the boards of Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama, the March of Dimes Alabama Chapter, and the Public Relations Society of America, Alabama Chapter. She is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy program and was named to the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” class of 2007.
Evelyn resides in Hoover, Alabama with her husband, Dave and her two children.
Brewmaster • Dread River Distilling Co.
Michelle's immense passion for brewing began with enjoying great beer. Starting with the craft beer scene in New England, after finishing her B.S degree from the University of Connecticut, she traveled down the east coast and ended up in North Carolina, where her passion turned into a career. With more than 10 years of restaurant, bar, and brewery experience, Michelle is excited to provide a wide variety of small-batch beers to the Birmingham community. Using fresh and local ingredients, she hopes to explore different styles and flavor profiles and encourages everyone to try something new and different. Whether you are looking for something light and refreshing or dark and complex, her goal at Dread River is to supply an in-house rotation of brews for all beer lovers alike.
VP of Community Engagement • Shipt
Britney Summerville is the Vice President of Community Engagement at Shipt, a membership-based marketplace enabling same-day delivery of fresh foods and household essentials across the United States. Britney primarily focuses on the impact Shipt can make within the city of Birmingham and across the South to drive entrepreneurship specifically in the technology space. On a daily basis, she develops and nurtures relationships with the goal of leveling up Birmingham and Shipt as a center of technology and growth. Britney also created the Shipt Shopper Coaching and Retail Partners teams and the internal mentoring and education programs.
Prior to her career at Shipt, Britney was the Senior Vice President of Service at Daxko, a company that provides health club industry software, where she served on the executive team and led the software implementation, data conversion, training, and support teams.
Britney is passionate about the growth and development of Birmingham and serves on the boards of REV Birmingham and Wyndy, in addition to The World Games 2021. She has been recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as a 2018 Women to Watch and is a member of Kiwanis and the Birmingham International Airport Economic Development Taskforce.
Outside of work, Britney enjoys spending time with her two little boys, Smith and Max, and husband, Tony.