2020 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, visit their personal fundraising page linked below:
Miller Beale Girvin
T. Marie King
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo
Angela D. McKenzie
Carolyn Sloss Ratliff
Dr. Adrienne Starks
Mashonda S. Taylor
MEET THE HONOREES
Miller Beale Girvin
CEO, Alabama Capital Network
Born and raised in Birmingham, Miller Beale Girvin is the CEO of the Alabama Capital Network (ACN), a group of businesses and individuals supporting the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our state.
A graduate of Princeton University, Miller started her career in Washington, DC, with then-Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, before moving into the communications and public affairs realm.
She currently serves as a member of Governor Ivey’s Innovate Alabama Commission and the EDPA Strategic Pillar task force. In addition to membership in the Rotary Club of Birmingham, where she is the current Board Secretary, Miller serves on advisory boards for the Innovation Depot, the EDGE Incubator in Tuscaloosa, UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Oakworth Capital Bank and Lakeshore Foundation. She is a 2018 graduate of the Alabama Leadership Initiative and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Birmingham. In 2018, the Birmingham Business Journal named her on both its Top 40 Under 40 and Women to Watch lists.
Miller and Josh are the proud parents of two daughters, Hamilton, age 7 and Bibb, age 5.
Director, The Hackney Foundation
Brenda Hackney is the President of The Hackney Foundation and the owner of Jefferson Giles, Investments, LLC. Brenda has extensive experience in finance and financial consulting. She received her bachelor’s and masters from Samford University and CLU and CHFC professional designations from The American College. She is an active community member serving as a past chair of both the Lakeshore Foundation and the Rotary Club. Additionally, she is on the corporate board for the Alys Stephens Center and the nonprofits boards of the Baptist Health Foundation, Mitchell’s Place, and the YWCA Central Alabama. She is also a past board member of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. Brenda is married to T. Morris Hackney and has two children Mitchell and Anne Morris. Brenda enjoys golf, reading, and walking.
Vice President, Associate Services, BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama
Elizabeth Hamlin, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama · Vice President, Associate Services. Elizabeth has an extensive career where she leads a team of dedicated and talented human resources professionals in supporting the workforce of the largest provider of healthcare benefits in Alabama.
Elizabeth prides herself in serving and giving back to others. She has served in numerous volunteer and leadership roles with organizations committed to improving the lives of women and children. Elizabeth serves on the Boards of Girls Inc. of Central Alabama, a non-profit organization which delivers life-changing programs and experiences that equip girls to overcome serious barriers to grow up strong, smart, and bold; she is Chair of the Board; and Project Corporate Leadership. She has previously served on the Boards of Childcare Resources and Children’s Village. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management as well as its local chapter,
Birmingham Society of Human Resource Management, a graduate of the Momentum Women’s Executive Leadership Program and is a Sustainer with the Junior League of Birmingham. Originally from Michigan, Elizabeth has lived in Birmingham for 30 years and considers herself as a transplanted southern girl.
Senior Vice President, Retail Market Manager, IBERIABANK
A native of Dothan, Leigh has called Birmingham home for the last 22 years. She currently serves as the Retail Market Manager at IBERIABANK providing the strategic direction and leadership for the Birmingham branch network. Her banking career has spanned two decades where she has served as a private banking relationship manager, regional marketing and training director, and various roles in branch leadership.
Leigh is an active and committed volunteer in the Birmingham community. She currently serves on the boards of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center, The Exceptional Foundation, and is a member of the 2020 United Way of Central Alabama campaign cabinet. Leigh is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Birmingham and a past president of The Junior League of Birmingham where she held numerous leadership positions and served as a sustainer advisor for many years.
Leigh is a graduate of The University of Alabama. She and her husband, Will, have two children – Sam (13) and Elizabeth (11), and a golden retriever named Honey (1).
Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development, HOPE Credit Union
Kendra Key is Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development with HOPE. She leads HOPE’s New Markets Tax Credit program and co-leads HOPE’s Opportunity Zone program. Kendra sources, manages and structures transactions making use of community and economic development programs including healthy food financing, affordable housing, charter schools, community facilities and commercial projects, and builds and maintains relationships that support all HOPE lines of business throughout the State of Alabama.
Prior to joining HOPE, Kendra practiced law at a corporate firm in Birmingham, Alabama where she was a member of the Public Finance and Real Estate practice groups. In that capacity, she represented parties in affordable housing, new markets tax credit, municipal bond and real estate transactions. Her practice also included land use planning and economic development. A Tuscaloosa native, Kendra holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School.
T. Marie King
Head of Local Voices Network Birmingham, CORTICO
T. Marie King is an activist, speaker, trainer, and community consultant with nearly 20 years of service, education, and community experience. She travels to cities across the nation serving as an authentic voice for progression sharing her passion of creating pathways to healing, teaching nonviolence, and building a better global community. King has spoken at various seminars, conferences and presented to more than 250 groups and organizations touching youth, college students and adults.
She joined Cortico, a non-profit 501(c)(3) in cooperation with MIT's Laboratory for Social Machines, as Head of Alabama Local Voices Network seeking to foster constructive public conversation in communities and in the media to improve our understanding of one another.
King is a trained facilitator on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a faculty member with the Satyagraha Institute. She holds a B.A. in Urban and Global Economic Development from Beulah Heights University; and M.A. in Leadership and Divinity from Luther Rice University.
She recently published her first book; Six Simple Keys to Living a Lifestyle of Forgiveness.
President, Miles College
In August 2019 Bobbie Knight was elected as the fifteenth president, and first woman to serve at the helm of Miles College. Knight, who is a Birmingham native, retired in 2016 after a successful career of more than 37 years with Alabama Power Company where she held various executive and leadership positions, including Vice President of the Birmingham Division (Alabama Power’s largest division), Vice President of Public Relations, and General Manager of Supply Chain.
Although retired from her professional career, Knight serves as Chair of the Board of Managers for the Birmingham Times Media Group. In 2018 Knight was appointed to the Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) and was immediately elected as Chair by her colleagues, and she continues to serve as Vice Chair of the BAA.
Throughout her career, Knight has received many awards and accolades including Outstanding Alumni in Public Relations by the University Of Alabama School Of Communications and a recipient of the Women’s History Award from the Birmingham Chapter of NAACP.
Knight has a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She is also a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Executive Leadership Program.
Knight is married to Gary Burley, retired NFL player, local philanthropist, and founder of ProStart Academy.
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo
Director, UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease
Dr. Marrazzo is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is internationally recognized for her research and education efforts in the field of sexually transmitted infections, especially as they affect women’s health and in the setting of HIV. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and was elected to the IDSA Board of Directors in 2018. She was Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine Council from 2015-2018.
Dr. Marrazzo conducts research on the human microbiome, specifically as it relates to female reproductive tract infections and hormonal contraception, and its relationship to women’s risk of STI/HIV acquisition. She was the Protocol Co-Chair for the VOICE Study (MTN-003), a placebo-controlled trial that randomized over 5,000 women in South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to oral or vaginal tenofovir-based HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. She chairs the Biomedical Science Committee of the HIV Prevention Trial Network, the group tasked with integrating the biomedical science agenda across numerous clinical trials of antiretroviral prevention agents. She is also the Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded STI Clinical Trials Group and Co-PI of the Leadership Group of the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit.
Angela D. McKenzie
Senior Vice President, Corporate Accounting Operations, Regions Bank
Fueled by her family and her faith, Angela is a first-generation college graduate who has risen through the ranks of Alabama’s only Fortune 500 company, starting as a staff auditor and then progressing to the rank of Senior Vice President of Corporate Accounting at Regions Bank. She serves on the steering committee for Regions’ Women in Finance initiative where she is helping design and implement efforts to support internal and external recruiting.
Angela graduated with honors from Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and completed the Alabama Banking School at University of South Alabama.
Angela serves on numerous boards, an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a chart member o of the Jefferson/Shelby County Metro Area Alumni Chapter of the ASU National Alumni Association and the Birmingham Chapter of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).
Angela treasures her family and is particularly proud of her daughter who followed in her footsteps at ASU, graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and now is a practicing attorney in Atlanta.
Carolyn Sloss Ratliff
Carolyn is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, and wellness guru. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in English and went back to Boulder in 1999 to get her Pilates certification. She spent 15 years teaching at Children's Dance Foundation before opening Birmingham's first Pilates studio, Pilates Place. Her current practice, Pilates South, is at Birmingham Physical Therapy. She’s held numerous board positions including the Junior Board of the YWCA; and, the Altamont School Board of Trustees, where she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni; and, the advisory Board for the Ratliff Charitable Foundation.
Currently, she serves on Boards at McWane Science Center, the Cahaba River Society, the Claypool Scholarship Committee at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the planning committee to bring an International Peace Conference to Birmingham in May, 2023, sponsored by the Institute for Human Rights at UAB, Rotary, and the Civil Rights Institute. She is a member of the Women’s Committee of 100, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Birmingham Historical Society and she loves her garden club and two book clubs.
Dr. Adrienne Starks
Founder and CEO, STREAM Innovations
Dr. Adrienne Starks founded STREAM Innovations, Inc., which is an up and coming 501 (c) (3) designated non-profit in Birmingham, AL. Under her leadership, their mission has been committed to helping students develop and explore their passion in Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STREAM) by providing exposure, experiences, and engagement with high expectations for their success.
Dr. Starks received a BS in Biology from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University (AAMU) and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her doctoral research focused on genetic variation influencing aging and quantitative traits in Drosophila melanogaster. She transitioned from fly genetics to study human variation in disease in her postdoctoral fellowship National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
In 2019, Dr. Starks was selected as one of the 125 AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors, which is a national initiative to increase in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) exposure for girls by celebrating women STEM as role models of success.
Dr. Starks was recently selected as an Under 40 Champion by her alma mater, Alabama A & M University. And most notably, she was selected to serve on the evaluation panel for the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge which will award $40 million for bold ideas to address equality for women in the U.S.
Mashonda S. Taylor
Executive Director, Woodlawn Foundation
Mashonda Taylor is the executive director for the Woodlawn Foundation, a holistic neighborhood revitalization organization committed to the elimination of generational poverty in the Woodlawn Community in Birmingham, Alabama. As executive director, Mashonda is committed to serving the residents of Woodlawn and leads all the revitalization efforts for the foundation.
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. Mashonda is a Commissioner for the Birmingham Planning Commission, 2018-2019 Executive Board Member for the Junior League of Birmingham, 2019 – 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Chair for the Junior League of Birmingham, Executive Board Member for Jones Valley Teaching Farm, and is an Advisory Board Member for the Blackburn Institute at the University of Alabama.
She is also a member of Class I of the Alabama Leadership Initiative, a Catalyst Fellow for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and a Trustee for Mount Hillard Baptist Church. In 2018, Mashonda was awarded About Town's Trailblazer award for her philanthropy work in the community.