Birmingham, Alabama – August 28, 2017 – Barbara Royal, CEO of MOMENTUM, released a statement last week to announce that she will be stepping down September 1st after fifteen years with the nonprofit organization. Royal will remain engaged with Momentum as a consultant for special projects.
“I can think of very few women who have had the level of influence on professional women in Alabama that Barbara has had,” said Vickie Saxon, President of Momentum’s board of directors and vice president of enterprise resources at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. “In addition to extraordinary vision, Barbara has a gift for bringing together all of the elements that make Momentum a truly unique experience for every participant,” Saxon said. “We have never uncovered another program like it anywhere; Barbara has built something that is truly unique and our business community is very fortunate to have a program of this caliber for their top female talent.”
Said Royal in her written statement to the Momentum Alumnae Program members: “Momentum is in the best overall position it has ever been relative to its standing. Our robust strategic plan, strong board, talented staff, and supportive alumnae are well-equipped to continue to expand our programs and maintain our upward trajectory in the years to come.”
Many leaders in the state have recognized the positive impact of Royal’s work with Momentum and her many other business and community contributions since moving to Alabama from Boston over 35 years ago. Royal was also instrumental in promoting ‘hands on’ learning in Alabama and laying the foundation for the McWane Science Center in the former Loveman’s building in downtown Birmingham. She has contributed service and raised funding for many nonprofits, including UAB, The Women’s Fund, and the YWCA of Central Alabama.
Royal will be honored with the upcoming This is Alabama’s 2017 “Women Who Shape the State” award, as well as a 2017 SMART honoree award by The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. She looks forward to continued engagement in community, travel and enjoying her family, including husband Dr. Stuart Royal and their five grandchildren.
After exploring the concept with top community and business leaders, in 2002, Royal began serving as Executive Director of Momentum. The goal was to elevate the professional potential and leadership capacity of women throughout the state of Alabama. Since its inception, more than 350 women have completed the rigorous nine-month program, developing their leadership skills and increasing their numbers, effectiveness and visibility. In turn, these women shape policy in their organizations and communities, impacting hundreds of women in their workplace and local networks. Graduates of the program have become mentors to emerging leaders, taking their seats on corporate and nonprofit boards, and running for public office.
April Benetollo, a Momentum alumna and the organization’s director of marketing and development, has been approved to serve as the interim CEO. Longtime staff member, Tina Upshaw, continues as director of operations. A search for a permanent CEO has been launched. Momentum is accepting applications through September 22, 2017. Candidates interested in Momentum’s CEO position and how to apply can learn more at www. momentumleaders.org/careers.
Momentum is Alabama’s premier women’s leadership program, empowering a diverse group of promising women to achieve their full leadership potential in order to impact the cultural, political and business environment of Alabama. Leadership training from professional, national speakers, leaders and facilitators funded through corporate sponsors, honor roll giving, Momentum Alumnae Program annual dues, and program tuition. For more information go to www.momentumleaders.org.
Media Contact: April Benetollo
Direct Line: (205) 202-6208