By Alabama NewsCenter Staff
This year’s Harvard University Young American Leaders Program (YALP) included 10 leaders from the Birmingham area who joined others in learning more about successful public-private partnership collaborations.
The Birmingham area participants were:
- Staci Brown Brooks, director of Marketing Communication at Alabama Power.
- Anil Chadha, executive vice president at Regions Bank.
- Jay Eichelberger, general manager of Southern Operations at Altec Inc.
- Miller Girvin, executive vice president of Innovations and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
- Rachel Harmon, executive director of Birmingham Promise.
- LaRhonda Magras, CEO of YWCA Central Alabama.
- Mark W.C. Martin, CEO of Build Urban Prosperity.
- Mashonda Taylor, executive director of Woodlawn United.
- Ford Wiles, independent creative and strategic partner.
- Emily Wykle, director of External Affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
This is the third year Birmingham-area leaders have participated, and the first year that the annual program was conducted virtually after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Young American Leaders Program grows out of a deep concern and a great hope uncovered by our research on U.S. competitiveness,” said Jan Rivkin, professor and co-chair of Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. “We’ve found that the most promising innovations for competitiveness are local, they span sectors, and they require long-term commitment. The young leaders nominated from Birmingham over the last few years have a remarkable track record of coming together across sectors to transform their hometown. This year’s Birmingham cohort had so much to share with – and to learn from – other regions.”
The 130 YALP participants represented 13 metro areas: Birmingham; Boston; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Miami; Milwaukee; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Nashville, Tennessee; Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City; San Antonio; and San Jose, California.
The focus of their workshops and classes with Harvard Business School professors was public-private collaboration to improve workforce and economic development, and quality of life for all in their cities.
“I learned so much from the other participants and the Harvard professors that I am looking 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 helped clarify – after an especially trying year – what still remains possible through big thinking, collaboration and empathy.”
Alabama Power, Altec, Regions Financial and UAB are among the local champions of the program.
“At Alabama Power, we’re committed to providing opportunities for employee development. Through efforts like the Harvard Young American Leaders Program, we’re investing in the next generation of business and community leaders,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services.
“We are so grateful to our champions in Birmingham who made it possible for our program to succeed this year,” Rivkin said. “They stepped up in magnificent, generous ways – creating a safe place for the participants to gather in person locally, helping with technology setups and working with us to ensure a fantastic experience.”