Conference & Leadership Initiative Recognition Luncheon

March 22, 2024

Amy Bramlett

Amy Bramlett, Program Success Manager & Career Coach, Merit America

Amy’s journey began in 2006 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, where she played a pivotal role in assisting individuals with disabilities to secure gainful employment. For the next 12 years, she brought her expertise to the University of Alabama Career Center, guiding college students in exploring majors and careers, enhancing their career competencies, and successfully transitioning into their first internships and jobs post-graduation. Since September 2022, Amy has served as Program Success Manager and Career Coach for Merit America, a national nonprofit organization that creates pathways to family sustaining careers for Americans without 4-year degrees.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Alabama and a Master of Science degree in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University. With a career spanning 18 years in the field of career and workforce development, Amy is a dedicated champion of closing the gender pay gap and an advocate for Americans who do not currently earn a living wage. She looks forward to connecting with the many students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members participating in the Culverhouse Women in Business Conference.

Wendy Boyd

Wendy Boyd brings over 30 years of industry-related experience in sales, sales operations, strategic leadership, and learning and development. She has strong relationships with life distributors and excels at client service and engagement to grow, retain, and generate new sales.

Wendy brings extensive knowledge with Agency networks, has built successful Brokerage strategies, and understands how to adapt to market changes to drive growth. Before joining Transamerica in 2022, she drove top-line and bottom-line business results in an agency network and successfully executed strategies to meet and exceed sales goals in life, annuity, disability, and long term care business lines.

Wendy lives near her family and friends in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her Australian Labradoodle, Miller. She enjoys working out at Orange Theory Fitness, attending sporting events (especially the University of Alabama athletic events), music and concerts, skiing, and playing golf.

Patricia Cade

Guided by the profound belief, “If I can help one person along my way, then my living will not be in vain,” Patricia A. Cade, President/CEO of Consulting Done Write, LLC, has dedicated her life to making a positive impact on those around her. Hailing from the small town of Thomaston, AL, nestled in the Black Belt of Alabama, Patricia realized early on the importance of seizing opportunities.

Patricia’s educational journey reflects her commitment to growth and learning. She was the recipient of numerous awards during her formative years at Amelia L. Johnson High School including Salutatorian of the Class of 1984.  She earned an Associate of Arts & Sciences in Computer Information Systems – Network Administration from Kaplan University, a Bachelor of Arts in English/Computer Information Systems from the University of Alabama, and a Master of Public Administration from Ashford University.

With a diverse professional background, Patricia’s passion for working with the underprivileged led her to focus on nonprofit management. For a decade, she held leadership roles with Boys and Girls Clubs in Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi, embodying her vision of giving back. A decade-long tenure at Mercedes Benz International followed, where she contributed her skills before returning to grassroots organizations within her community.

Answering a divine calling, Patricia worked with the National Black Church Family Council and later co-founded the Tuscaloosa Area Black Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, she joined Cahaba Medical Care as a Community Development Coordinator/Assistant Grants & Projects Coordinator. Diligently promoting outreach programs, she played a pivotal role in securing over $10 million in grants for Cahaba Medical Care and other community-based organizations in Central Alabama and the Black Belt.

Patricia’s commitment to community service is unwavering. She currently serves as the President of the Religious, Recreational, Educational Association for Developing Youth (READY), a youth development nonprofit in Thomaston, AL, and the Assistant Secretary for the Elite Lindenite Organization, Inc. Additionally, she holds leadership roles in the Alabama State Black Chamber of Commerce (Executive Committee), and the Alabama Department of Public Health Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition (Early Detection Committee – Chair). She is the recipient of the 2024 Elite Lindenite Organization’s African American Achievement Award.

On the personal front, Patricia is the proud mother of four highly favored young adults: Kenesia Cade, TaNarius Cade, Dr. Arnelya Cade Chatman, and Demetreius Cade. She is the daughter of the late Clark Cade, Jr., and Ethel Mae Agee Cade. A devoted member of St. Paul African Methodist Church, Patricia serves as President of the Trustee Board, Director of the Health Ministry, and Choir President. Beyond her impactful work, her favorite pastime is showcased at local festivals under “Momma Cade’s Backyard BBQ,” where her love for cooking brings joy to the community. Patricia’s story is one of resilience, service, and a steadfast commitment to uplifting those in need.

Michele Coley

Michele Coley stands as a trailblazing figure in the business world, notably being the only African American female Allstate agent in Alabama. As the proprietor of thriving agencies in both Tuscaloosa and Hoover, she oversees a team of five dedicated employees. Armed with a Business Administration degree from Stillman College, Michele holds influential roles, including the 2023 Chair of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, President of the University of OTIDE Board of Visitors, and Vice Chair of the Tuscaloosa Zoning Board of Adjustments. Her zeal for education shines through in her mentoring and sponsorship of reading programs within local schools. Beyond her professional achievements, Michele is a devoted wife and mother, exemplifying leadership and championing positive transformation in her community

Tracy Croom

Since 2016, Ms. Croom has served as the Director of Procurement for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her team is responsible for securing contractual purchases for the Federal Reserve’s 6th District encompassing six offices located in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Louisiana. Prior to returning to the Federal Reserve System, she retired with nearly 30 years of service from the City of Tuscaloosa after serving as the City Clerk. She was responsible for the functions of the Office of the Mayor, Offices of the City Council, Office of the City Clerk and Tuscaloosa 311. As City Clerk, Ms. Croom also served as the lead department head in the absence of Mayor Walt Maddox. She began her career with the Federal Reserve System prior to working for the City of Tuscaloosa. She is also the proud CEO and founder of Grab Our Wealth, LLC.

Celebrating many firsts in her career, Ms. Croom was promoted the first minority female department head for the City of Tuscaloosa. Prior to serving as City Clerk, Ms. Croom was the City’s Associate Finance Director for over 21 years making her the first female minority administrator for the City. Graduating in 1983 as a married mother with two very small children and the only minority female at the University of Alabama with a BS degree in Finance with a Law Concentration, she began her professional career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Birmingham Branch as the first minority woman in management. She holds the distinctions of Certified Public Manager, Certified Government Finance Office and Certified Government Accounting Technician.

She has served on numerous local, state and national boards throughout her career. Under her leadership as president of the Alabama Government Finance Officers Association, the Certified Governmental Accounting Technician of Alabama (CGAT) program was developed and to date over 250 technicians from local and county governments, as well as, school systems throughout Alabama have earned the CGAT designation. Her most recent non-profit affiliations include serving as the Finance Director for the College Hill Missionary Baptist Church, a member of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee for the Healing Community Center in Atlanta, GA and assisting with Pathway Ministries and Abrahams House, Inc. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

To name a few of her accomplishments, Ms. Croom was selected as the University of Alabama Vivian Malone Alumnus of the Year (2022), Raphael Bostic Constellation Award Winner (2020), a member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative Task Force (2015), installed as a Stephen Minister (2015), recipient of the Trail Blazer Award by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s Women In Business Council (2011). She is the proud mother of some amazing children: Tamara, Kevin, Teresa and Kennis, and eight beautiful grandchildren Talia, Erwin Jr., Ethan, Chloe, Rockwell, Tinsley, Averi and Kylin.

Leigh Davis

Leigh Davis is senior vice president of Marketing and Economic Development at Alabama Power Company, an electric utility that serves more than 1.5 million customers.

Davis leads Alabama Power’s economic development efforts across the state supporting new and expanding industry and helping communities of all sizes enhance their prospects for economic growth. In addition, she oversees customer strategies and solutions in the areas of clean energy, connectivity, electric transportation, innovation, and energy efficiency for Alabama Power’s commercial and industrial customers.

With more than 25 years in the energy industry, Davis draws from broad and diverse leadership roles across Southern Company including Alabama Power, Southern Nuclear and Southern Company Services.

Prior to her current responsibilities, Davis was Vice President for Customer Services responsible for integrating critical aspects of the customer experience, including the use of innovative technologies and research, to support Alabama Power’s residential and commercial customers.

Earlier in her career, Davis served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Southern Company Operations. In that position, she was responsible for legal strategy, energy policy and compliance supporting Southern Company’s generation, transmission, engineering & construction services, system planning, environmental R&D and its competitive generation business units (Southern Power and Southern Wholesale Energy). As General Counsel for Southern Nuclear, Davis led corporate communications, legal strategy, compliance, and employee concerns departments.

Davis has also served as president of the Alabama Power Foundation and executive director of the Alabama Business Charitable Trust, vice president and regional technology officer, and vice president of corporate real estate for Alabama Power. As part of Plant Miller’s site leadership team, she managed the compliance, budgets, security, training, water chemistry and technology functions at one of the largest power plants in the United States.

Her prior external affairs experience includes leadership roles in Governmental Relations and Environmental Affairs in Birmingham, Atlanta and Washington DC. She also served as Counsel in Southern Company’s DC office, focused on industrywide litigation and energy policy.

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Alabama, a juris doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law and an MBA from Samford University. In addition, she completed an executive education program in corporate finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As part of an international global partnership with Harvard Business School and INSEAD, she also completed a yearlong fellowship in the International Women’s Forum (IWF) executive leadership program.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Davis has been active civically throughout her career and serves on various philanthropic and corporate boards. She is a graduate of MOMENTUM, Leadership UAB, Leadership Birmingham and currently participating in Leadership Alabama’s XXXIII Class.

Jennifer Dempsey

Jennifer Dempsey is a Clinical Instructor for the STEM/CREATE Path to the MBA at The University of Alabama. Mrs. Dempsey has her MBA from the Executive MBA program at The University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising, Production, and Design from Auburn University.

Before joining the University, Jennifer was a Buyer at Hibbett Sports in Birmingham, Alabama. During her fourteen years with Hibbett, Jennifer worked in various areas, including Inventory Management, E-commerce, Marketing, Visual Merchandising, Financial Planning, and Product Merchandising. Jennifer started her career at Parisian department store, also in Birmingham, Alabama.

With her background and experience, Jennifer focuses on the retail, branding, and consumer sectors. Her goal is to educate students on the need to understand the business world, especially the values of teamwork, relationship building, and understanding the need for diverse backgrounds when creating solutions for customers.

Jennifer is currently a Ph.D. student at The University of Alabama, where her research is focused on marketing and branding communication strategies, specifically focusing on consumer-brand relationships. She is estimated to graduate in 2025 and plans to continue her work at The University of Alabama.

Jennifer lives in Hoover, Alabama, with her husband, Matthew, and their toy poodle, Fenway. She is a member of the Junior League of Birmingham and has served in numerous leadership roles. Jennifer enjoys spending time with family in her spare time, especially her beloved three nieces and one nephew. She also enjoys traveling and has visited 46 of the 50 US states.

Debbie Hughes

Debbie Hughes is an IBM senior executive who has worked with thousands of global enterprises and government agencies to strategically increase their corporate value, to identify and manage risks, and to communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders on topics of digital technology and cross functional business transformation.  She has led IBM P&Ls, offering mgt, services, industries, and IBM Asia Pacific geo. She currently works in New York City and San Antonio, TX.

Debbie is an independent director of Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority (TCEDA), a independent director board member of The Phoenix House.  She is a  recognized business leader in technology and diversity through Compter Reseller News (CRN) – Top Women in the Channel for Technology (8 Years). She is a strong communicator and frequent speaker/panelist on current  business topics. She is involved in charitable activities and investments bettering lives through education and creating a more equitable and sustainable future.

Debbie has had significant global experience leading multiple IBM services and technology businesses. She is currently leading IBM software and technology strategy in Insurance and Banking. She has been Vice President for IBM Global Technology Services, Consulting, Communitcation  and Financial Services Markets. As Managing Director of IBM Top Signature Accounts, USAA, she leads the IBM business to growth and profitability. As Global Managing Director DXC 2016 – 2022, Growth Markets, traveling thoughout the world, Debbie was responsible for the sales and delivery of infrastructure services to over 120 countries across Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, and APAC. As a Board and Audit committee member, she brings business oversight,  and cross functional diversity of experience.

Debbie executes IBM’s strategy and builds high performance teams to serve clients increase productivity, supply chain efficiencies, compliance, security,  and governance through the adoption and scaling  of  AI powered automation, hybrid cloud, and  new business models and processes.

Debbie leads with authenticity, collaboration, energy and integrity and seeks to team, learn and develop relationships in  her network.

Alesia M. Jones

Alesia M. Jones is the principal consultant and owner of AMJ HR Solutions, LLC. She founded the consulting firm in January 2022. Alesia brings more than 30+ years of HR leadership experience from multiple industries, having recently retired as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB is a world-renowned research university and health care center with more than 24,000 academic, administrative, medical faculty, maintenance, and operational staff. Alesia has led an HR team of as many as 130 professionals who worked in both consultative and transactional service capacities for the academic, research, service, and health care units throughout the institution. Alesia’s team was responsible for delivering all core HR services including talent acquisition, compensation & benefits, organizational development and learning. In 2023, UAB and the Collat School of Business honored Alesia and all her hard work by renaming the HR Management scholarship to the Alesia M. Jones HR Endowed Scholarship.

In addition to UAB, Alesia has served in executive HR positions at BE&K, Inc., and BellSouth. She also served as an Adjunct Professor for UAB in the School of Business and occasionally returns to the lecture hall as an instructor and guest speaker for college-level Human Resource Management topics. Alesia is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, served as a member of the Governing Body for the southeastern regional HR Leadership Summit, and is professionally affiliated with World at Work, Birmingham Area Compensation Association, and Alabama College and University Personnel Association.

Since founding AMJ HR Solutions, LLC, Alesia has worked with several companies and organizations within the State of Alabama. Alesia has provided a variety of HR consulting services ranging from HR Investigations, Compensation Assessments, Talent and Leadership Development programs, Workplace Culture Reviews, and Executive Searches. AMJ HR Solutions, LLC’s goal is to exceed client’s expectations by providing informed and objective services.

Alesia has an MBA from UAB, and a BS from The University of Alabama. She is a certified Compensation and Benefits professional. She is active in the Birmingham community and civic organizations such as The Rotary Club of Birmingham, The Rotary Club of Birmingham Foundation, The HUB Community Development Corporation, The American Cancer Society, and The United Way of Central Alabama, Inc. She has served on various community boards, such as McWane Science Center, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, Railroad Park Foundation, Oasis of Hope Counseling for Women and Children, and the Women’s Exchange.

Easty Lambert-Brown

Easty Lambert-Brown graduated from Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA) in 1974 with a degree in near eastern archaeology and moved to the Boston area to pursue a career in that field. She found that doing the illustrations of artifacts was far more appealing that digging in the dirt so she started her apprenticeship under two staff artists at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University and became the staff artist there in 1985. Easty’s focus at that point was book design, illustration, and exhibit design.

The Lambert-Brown family (husband Ian and two children, Avery and Cabot) moved to Tuscaloosa in 1991 where Easty worked in both corporate and educational settings. In 1999, she went out on her own and started Borgo Design, a graphic design studio that provided a variety of design services. Since most of Easty’s work entailed designing complete books, she decided to start Borgo Press in January 2010 which morphed into Borgo Publishing in 2011.

Easty opened Ernest & Hadley Booksellers in December 2016 mainly so there could be an outlet for local authors to sell their books! Now in its seventh year, E&H has become a place where local and national authors as well as artists have found a community home.

Charli Matthews

Charli K. Matthews, the Founder & CEO of Empowering Brands, a digital media and marketing services company that manages the brands Empowering Pumps & Equipment, Empowering Women in Industry, and the Empowering Industry Podcast. She has worked with the pump and equipment industry since 2005 and is a known leader for building brands, growing online networks, and helping industrial companies embrace digital media. Her passion and deep understanding of how to leverage social media platforms has enabled Empowering Pumps and Equipment™ to become the Information and Connection hub for the industry.

Sandra Mortal

Dr. Sandra Mortal is a Professor of Finance at the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama. Her research interests are in the areas of corporate finance, corporate governance and diversity. In her latest stream of research she is interested in studying the interplay between diversity, corporate governance and executive labor markets. Her research has been published in reputed academic journals such as Review of Financial StudiesJournal of Financial and Quantitative Finance and Academy of Management Journal. Her work is often discussed in popular media such as Wall Street Journal and New York Times. In some of her most recent work, Dr. Mortal examines impact institutional investors (Such as State Street, and Black Rock) have had on corporate board gender diversity (another way of saying this – in adding women to corporate boards).

Prior to joining Bama, Prof. Mortal worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where she was involved with the implementation of the Dodd Frank Act. She has taught at various other universities including University of Missouri and University of Memphis.

Prof. Mortal received her Ph.D. from University of Georgia, MBA from University of Central Florida, and undergraduate degree from Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

Ashley Regner

Partner, Ernst and Young, LLP

Ashley Regner serves as EY’s Financial Services Markets Growth Leader for the Consulting Practice, and CPA based in Houston, Texas. Ashley has over 20 years of financial services experience, including industry operations and consulting experience focused leading enterprise-wide transformation agendas across Finance, Risk, Treasury and Data domains in the Banking and Capital Markets sector. Additionally, Ashley leads our America’s Southern Financial Services Sector Consulting Practice, leading over 3,000 of our talented associates.

Ashley graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama, where she received a degree in Business Administration in 2002, followed by a Master of Accountancy in 2003.  Prior to joining EY in 2015, Ashley was a Senior Vice President at Regions Financial Corporation for nearly 10 years across Finance, Risk and Audit departments.  Prior to Regions, Ashley worked in public account for nearly 5 years serving leading large banking audits across the Mid-South business market. 

Ashley also serves on the Culverhouse College of Business Administration Board of Visitors, as well as many community service organizations including Fort Bend County Zeta Tau Alpha alumnae chapter, and the Junior League.

Ashley is a licensed CPA in the State of Texas and is a member of the AICPA.

TK Smith

TK Smith is a Compliance professional with almost 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry; with a specialization in Compliance Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance, Program Governance and Management, Portfolio Management, and Business Operations.

Having been with Citigroup for 10 years, TK has held a number of roles at Citi and is currently a Director and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Talent Management discipline, a taxonomy within Citigroup’s Global Human Resources function. GDTM is responsible for setting and driving Citigroup’s agenda on talent planning, succession planning and leadership development while strengthening our diversity, equity and inclusion work across the enterprise with new ideas and approaches to challenge us and help us grow. In TK’s role as CAO, she manages a team who’s responsible for enabling a sustainable operating model and structure in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Talent Management discipline by implementing appropriate business processes, a robust risk & control framework, governance routines to drive the execution of the DEI and Talent Management strategies, and consent order delivery for Talent Transformation . Additionally, TK has oversight of GDTM’s financial management and performance, vendor management, internal and external exam management, issue management, and communications strategy.

TK holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a Public Policy area of focus, a Master’s in Business Administration with a Strategic Management area of focus, and a Bachelor’s in Commerce and Business Administration with a primary concentration in Management Information Systems Computer Science.

TK is committed to giving back to her local community thru mentorship programs and volunteer service throughout the year. In addition to her commitment to her local community, TK is equally committed to the University of Alabama’s community; where she devotes time throughout the year to give back to her beloved alma mater. She is also a member of the Culverhouse College of Business Board of Visitors.

Fun fact – In addition to being a staunch follower of her collegiate sports teams (Roll Tide) and professional sports teams, TK is a self-professed amateur sunset chaser and has captured over 500 sunset photos from four continents.

Greta Wages

Greta Wages is a Senior Clinical Instructor in the Management Department of Culverhouse. She teaches Human Resources courses on topics including Compensation and Performance Reviews, Employee Relations, Training and Development, Strategic Human Resources, and others. Greta is a native of Alabama and a proud graduate of The University of Alabama. She obtained her Master’s degree from Mississippi State University. Greta began her career in Human Resources in the automotive field in Tuscaloosa following her formal education.  After five years in automotive, Greta moved to food manufacturing and held several roles in Human Resources with two very large food companies for the next 16 years. Greta and her husband, John Rundles, made a strategic family decision to relocate back to Alabama following assignments in Iowa, Arizona, California and Georgia; they returned to Alabama in late 2014 and Greta returned to automotive HR. Immediately prior to joining the University of Alabama staff in 2023, she worked for approximately 5 years as the Regional Director of Human Resources for Coca-Cola United based out of Birmingham, AL.

Currently Greta and John currently reside in Northport, AL.

Meagan Wilson

Meagan Wilson is a first-generation college graduate living in Charlotte, North Carolina. She works as senior coordinator of Partnership Marketing at NASCAR, the #1 motorsports league in the country. An alumna of The University of Alabama, Meagan earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marketing through the Accelerated Master’s Program in 2021. While at UA, she was involved and held executive positions in several organizations, including Alpha Kappa Psi, First Fellows, Tide Talks, and Manderson Women in Business. While at the University of Alabama, Meagan also interned with Alabama Athletics, Stabler Sports- an NFL agency, FOX Sports, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, increasing her overall knowledge of sports business. 

In her three years at NASCAR, Meagan has supported the business of multiple NASCAR Premier and Official Partners such as Comcast Xfinity, Chevrolet, and Safety-Kleen, amongst others. Additionally, she serves as the director of marketing and media for BamaCharlotte, the official local alumni chapter of the National Alumni Association. Passionate about giving back to the community, Meagan is a mentor in Sports Girls Club, an organization dedicated to supporting and uplifting other women in the sports industry, and is a freelance social media consultant to Downtown and Mane, a Tuscaloosa hair salon.