This year Harvard University Young American Leaders Program (YALP) included 10 Birmingham-area leaders who joined others to learn about successful public-private partnership collaborations.
Participants from the Birmingham area were:
- Staci Brown Brooks, Director of Marketing Communications at Alabama Power.
- Anil Chadha, Executive Vice President of Bank of Regions.
- Jay Eichelberger, Managing Director of Southern Operations at Altec inc.
- Miller Girvin, executive vice president of innovations and entrepreneurship at the Alabama Economic Development Partnership.
- Rachel Harmon, Executive Director of Birmingham Promise.
- LaRhonda Magras, CEO of YWCA Central Alabama.
- Mark WC Martin, CEO of Building urban prosperity.
- Mashonda Taylor, Executive Director of Woodlawn United.
- Ford Wiles, independent creative and strategic partner.
- Emily Wykle, Director of External Affairs at University of Alabama at Birmingham.
This is the third year that leaders from the Birmingham area have taken part, and the first year that the annual program has been conducted virtually after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Young American Leaders program was born out of deep concern and great hope revealed by our research on American competitiveness,” said Jan Rivkin, professor and co-chair of Harvard Business Schoolit is United States Competitiveness Project. “We found that the most promising innovations for competitiveness are local, span multiple sectors, and require long-term commitment. The young leaders appointed to Birmingham in recent years have a remarkable track record of working together across sectors to transform their hometown. This year’s Birmingham cohort had so much to share with and learn from other regions.
The 130 YALP participants represented 13 metropolitan areas: Birmingham; Boston; Chattanooga, TN; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Miami; Milwaukee; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Nashville, TN; Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City; San Antonio; and San Jose, California.
The focus of their workshops and classes with professors from Harvard Business School was public-private collaboration to improve labor and economic development, and quality of life for everyone in their cities.
“I learned so much from fellow participants and Harvard faculty that I look forward to implementing in my career and in my civic contributions,” Alabama Power’s Brooks said of the program. “Participating in the Young American Leaders program has helped clarify – after a particularly challenging year – what is still possible through careful thought, collaboration, and empathy.”
Alabama Power, Altec, Regions Financial and UAB are among the program’s local champions.
“At Alabama Power, we are committed to providing development opportunities for employees. Through efforts like the Harvard Young American Leaders Program, we are investing in the next generation of business and community leaders,” said Jeff Peoples, executive vice president of customer and employee services at Alabama Power.
“We are very grateful to our champions in Birmingham who have made our program successful this year,” Rivkin said. “They have stepped up in a beautiful and generous way – creating a safe place for attendees to congregate in person locally, helping with the setup of technology and working with us to ensure a fantastic experience.”