Author: momentum

Preventing and dealing with burnout

Kayleigh is a college junior and marketing intern at Momentum.

50% of the American workforce is “burnt out.” Sara Holtz’s podcast, Advice To My Younger Me, featured Dana Campbell, a career strategy and burnout coach, on the issue.

In a clinical sense, burnout is characterized by, a heightened sense of cynicism, or a loss of personal efficacy. Researchers claim you must experience two of the three characteristics to be dealing with clinical burnout. This trend seems to be happening earlier and earlier in young professional lives, with a particular affect on Millennials. Why?

Millennials deal with a greater expectation of “round-the-clock” work. Also, Millennials tend to value meaningful work more than any other generation. Burnout is much more expected if someone is working a job radically out of alignment with their life values. The combination of long hours, and constant, unfulfilling work usually results in the characteristics of burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, a loss of personal efficacy.

So how does one prevent burnout? Dana Campbell offered these three tips:

  1. Define what “success” means to you. The definition of success should be holistic- not just career related. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?

  2. Realize that you are not your work. Your personal identity is not found in your corporate title.

  3. Stop listening to what everyone else thinks you should do, and figure out what it is that you are passionate about. Follow the thing that gives you the greatest sense of joy.

These tips extend beyond preventative burnout. Also, don’t be fooled into believing that Millennials are the only generation that faces burnout. These characteristics can be true for anybody. If you believe you are facing burnout, then here are the two tips Dana Campbell extends to you:

photo via Paula Davis-Laack
  1. Care for your nervous system. If you are in a sense of burnout, then your body is in fight-or-flight mode due to a heightened sense of anxiety and stress. Caring for your nervous system can best be done through conscious relaxation or restorative yoga.

  2. Forgive yourself. You aren’t alone. In fact, according to statistics, half of your co-workers are dealing with the same problem. Take steps towards a better life.

The most important takeaway I gained from Dana Campbell’s podcast was this: don’t be afraid to chase after what you really want. Life is too short to pursue unfulfilling dreams.

Change through micro decision-making

Kayleigh is a college junior and marketing intern at Momentum.

Recently, Fortune published an article entitled “Sallie Krawcheck: Why Corporate America Will Never ‘Get’ Diversity.” Sallie Krawcheck is an incredibly influential business woman in corporate America.  In her article, Sallie Krawcheck attempts to explain why workplace equality fails to grow in the midst of growing awareness. She says,

“Here’s my theory: We tend to talk about the advancement of women as a macro issue—something to be tackled by corporations, industries, society. But in reality, so much of it comes down to the micro.”

She goes on to describe micro forces that hold diversity back and micro decisions that have the potential to push diversity forward. Micro forces include bosses and our individual implicit bias. Micro decisions can be anything from supporting organizations that are “doing it right” to starting your own business. Sallie Krawcheck argues we can only combat micro forces with micro decisions.

photo via

Sallie Krawcheck’s thought process behind diversity in the workplace intrigued me. Building diversity is one of the core values at her company, Ellevest. Through that difficult process, Sallie Krawcheck has come to realize that true power comes from the everyday decisions women like you and me make.  If that is the case, then ask yourself this: what am I doing to implement my values into my daily decision-making? How am I pushing forward the mission I believe in?

At the end of the day, we can only be responsible for our own actions. Change starts small, but it has the power to grow into something quite dramatic. Start with you. Step into a mentoring role. Start the negotiation you have been shying away from. Find a network of people who hold similar values as you. Move in a direction that compliments the change you would like to see in the workplace. Change requires tenacity, but don’t be afraid to chase after it.

Potential Paid Leave Program

Kayleigh is a college junior and marketing intern at Momentum.

Ivanka Trump, a working young mother, proposed a $25 billion federal paid leave program as part of the president’s budget plan, according to the Washington Post. As of right now, the United States is the only developed country that does not guarantee new mothers or fathers a single day of paid time off. The proposal would guarantee six weeks of paid time off, which is less than other developed countries, but it is still progress.

Each state would be responsible for designing and running their own programs. So far, only California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey offer new parent benefits, with New York and Washington D.C. in the works.

As of today, workers in the United States can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after a birth, as long as they’ve worked at a company that employs at least 50 people for a year. Currently, 58 percent of American companies replace at least some wages during maternity leave, and only 12 percent cover some leave for dads.  The proposal includes working mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents. The inclusion of men in the proposal encourages equal responsibility in family planning.

Business leaders are hesitant to absorb the expense of paid leave, but there is value in providing financial support for mothers due to the research suggesting a large reduction in employee turnover.

Photo Cred:

The government’s initiative to improve benefits for working women by offering paid leave encourages me. The issue is gaining valued attention, since it would traditionally be addressed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. As I begin my career, I don’t want to feel as if I am compromising work for my family, or vice versa. The paid leave program could create a sense of security for working mothers in the United States.  I am grateful this is a topic of discussion in the White House. It shows the importance of having women like Ivanka Trump in positions of power. Women who will acknowledge gender issues and work against them.


Negotiating Success

Effective negotiation is one of the most critical skills to business success. Yet when asked to select the metaphor that best describes negotiation, most women chose “a trip to the dentist.” Ouch.

Last week Carol Frohlinger, an internationally known speaker and negotiation consultant, led Momentum’s leadership class through negotiation training. What we discovered is that with a new perspective and practice, negotiating can be a rewarding experience.

Some of the top stumbling blocks to negotiating identified by our group were:

  1. Overlooking the opportunity to negotiate
  2. Fear of rejection
  3. Worries about how negotiation will be perceived by others (pushy, needy, greedy)
  4. Difficulty obtaining “buy-in” from stakeholders
  5. Lack of confidence


Carol had the class work in groups to role play real-life negotiations using the framework she published in her book Her Place at the Table using three types of “moves”: Power Moves, Process Moves, and Appreciative Moves.


“Power moves encourage the other party to recognize the need to negotiate in the first place.

Process moves shape the negotiation agenda and dynamic so you can be a more effective advocate.

Appreciative moves engage the other party by fostering both trust and candor in the negotiation.” — Carol Frohlinger


sandy_margaret-annThroughout the day we examined how to gain agreement on the value of the thing being negotiated, and to create understanding that the value cannot be obtained without negotiation. Carol emphasized the importance of enlisting support and owning the process, both essential to managing what she calls the “shadow negotiation.” Finally, we explored ways to frame the talks so that our negotiating partners can “save face,” how to keep a stalled dialog going, and how to gain new perspectives that lead to agreement.

One interesting observation from the class is that women tend to find it easier to negotiate on someone else’s behalf than for themselves. Carol asked the class to imagine the opportunity to negotiate on behalf of someone we really care about:  a sister, a team we manage, a co-worker we respect. It was amazing to see how quickly some women outlined value, owned the process, and clearly stated their case when going to bat for someone else.


Negotiating is complex and highly situational. Having a framework to follow, some practical guidance, and time to share experiences definitely helped this Momentum class up their game.

Attendee Ira Hodges, from HealthSouth, shared these takeaways:

  • Negotiation takes place in every area of our lives
  • It’s okay to negotiate for yourself
  • Find the negotiation strategy that works for you; there’s not no one right way.

For additional tips and resources on negotiating for women, visit Carol Fohlinger’s website


Negotiation Skills Needed

helpWhen it comes to negotiation, women need a big “help wanted” sign. Researcher Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon specializes in negotiation and dispute resolution. Babcock’s research shows women have a strong dislike for negotiation, and they engage far less than men in negotiations that would result in higher salaries and better jobs. In a recent study Babcock asked men and women to pick metaphors that describe the act of negotiating. Women most often equated negotiating with “a trip to the dentist” while men chose “winning a ballgame.” So what’s going on here?
negotiating50ssmSome of the root cause lies in the way many women were raised. In our past, to be outspoken, to challenge authority, to ask for more, was not considered lady-like.  On top of societal norms, add a layer of law. Just one generation ago many states still required a man’s signature for many transactions initiated by a woman. It has only been 28 years since congress passed a law prohibiting states from requiring a man’s signature on a woman’s application for a business loan. Other factors that may add to women’s distaste for negotiation: fear of rejection, lack of confidence, and associating negotiation with greed are just a few.

The lack of negotiating skills among women may be one of the single largest contributing factors to the wage stagnation we’ve seen in the last decade. A recent Pew Research study shows women still make 20% less than men. It’s not surprising that Babcock’s research shows that men are more likely to negotiate starting salaries:

“In one study, eight times as many men as women graduating with master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon negotiated their salaries. The men who negotiated were able to increase their starting salaries by an average of 7.4 percent, or about $4,000. In the same study, men’s starting salaries were about $4,000 higher than the women’s on average, suggesting that the gender gap between men and women might have been closed if more of the women had negotiated their starting salaries.”

Negotiation affects far more than salary. Solid negotiating skills are needed to succeed in a variety of ways. Want to be assigned to a new and exciting project? You may need to negotiate how your current workload can be delegated. Making a big pitch to a client? You may need to negotiate the terms of the deal. Raising money for a volunteer cause? Good negotiating skills could mean the difference between a $50 and a $5,000 gift. Getting a toddler dressed? That may be the toughest negotiation of all!

carolfrohlingerThis week Momentum welcomes internationally known speaker and negotiation consultant Carol Frohlinger to Birmingham. Carol is co-author of Her Place at the Table and Nice Girls Just Don’t Get ItThis Thursday Carol with conduct an all-day training course for our current Momentum Leadership Class. This training will unpack the skills needed to seize opportunities to negotiate, line up the necessary resources, and gain buy-in from stakeholders.

During the class we’ll hear some of the shared experiences our women have in negotiating. We look forward to sharing those here, along with insights from Carol’s training, next week.

Facetime with Leigh Davis

spotlight-sept-2-16One of the greatest things about MOMENTUM is the powerful alumnae network. Periodically we interview these amazing women about their experience.

As senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Leigh Davis is responsible for generation energy policy, legal and operations strategies for Southern Company’s operations organization, which includes generation, transmission, engineering and construction services, system planning, research and environmental affairs, and the company’s competitive generation business units. She is a graduate of MOMENTUM’s Class of 2008.

What did you gain from your MOMENTUM experience?

Lifelong friends and a growing network of professional women leaders to learn from and lean on.

What is one piece of leadership advice you have been given that has helped you in your career?

Be yourself and have confidence in your own unique strengths and abilities.

What challenges do you think the next generation of women leaders face?

Increasing the value creation to be gained by having more substantive and diverse representation in all levels of leadership, especially at the higher levels of executive management. A lot of value creation is still being left on the table in every industry that an entire workforce would benefit from.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18 year-old self?


What three words do you think should characterize every leader?

Integrity, Courage, Excellence.

How do you find balance in your career, home and community life?

There is no balance. Preparation and prioritization are both critical so you can more fully enjoy your busy life with all of its competing demands. Leverage resources you need to fit your own lifestyle and needs without feeling guilty or comparing yourself to others. Be disciplined with what you choose to take on and what you shed from your life.

What other advice would you like to give to women in leadership roles or to those aspiring to lead?

Collaborate, be viewed as one who includes others. Seek to be as approachable, genuine, and trustworthy as possible.

MOMENTUM Announces Leadership Class 2016-2017


MOMENTUM, Alabama’s premier women’s leadership program, announces its 2016-2017 leadership class with a kick-off luncheon and orientation at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Keynote speaker  Olivia Affuso, PhD, UAB Department of Epidemiology, delivered an inpiring message on what we can accomplish when we embrace adventure and surround ourselves with strong supporters. The luncheon was followed by an orientation for the class, led by MOMENTUM CEO, Barbara Royal.

 “MOMENTUM’s class members are selected from a wide variety of roles, such as legal, finance, HR, operations, marketing, and services, and across many industries including engineering, journalism, healthcare, banking, insurance, construction and more,” says Barbara Royal, MOMENTUM’s CEO. “Despite the diversity in their occupations, these classes consistently discover that they have many things in common and so much to share in terms of leadership and support.”

What’s in store for MOMENTUM’s New Class

Following orientation, the 2016-2017 class traveled to Muscle Shoals, AL, for a two-day retreat to begin the nine-month  training and mentoring program.   Monthly sessions will include topics such as communication, negotiation, strategic planning, resilience, and work life integration strategies.

Upon graduation in May 2017, these 27 women will join almost 330 alumnae of MOMENTUM and bring the number of companies, governments, and nonprofits involved in MOMENTUM to 140 organizations across the state.

2016-2017 Class Members

Lisa Arrington
Director of Human Resources
Balch & Bingham

Emily Boohaker
Associate Chief Medical Officer Quality & Patent Safety
UAB Health System

Paige Boshell
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Mary Beth Briscoe
CFO of UAB Hospital and UAB Medicine Clinical Operations

Susan Coan
Director, Organizational Learning
and Development

Kathryn Evans
Administrative Director, Orthopedics and Neuroscience Service Line
Brookwood Baptist Medical Center

Molly Harrison
Senior Vice President, Services

Ira Hodges
Director, Internal Audit and Controls
HealthSouth Corporation

Wendy Hoomes
Assistant Comptroller
Alabama Power Company

Kimberly Jackson
Manager, SE Business Operations
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

Angela Jarrett
Vice President, Claims and Benefit Administration
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Christy Lemak
Professor and Chair of Health Services Administration
School of Health Professions, UAB

Sandy Littleford
VP & Senior HR Partner
Protective Life Corporate

Patti Lovoy
Director of Development
Lakeshore Foundation

Carol Maxwell
Manager, Vulcan Foundation
Vulcan Materials Company

Hope Mehlman
Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, and Assistant Corporate Secretary
Regions Financial Corporation

Lori Moler
Vice President, Customer Service
Children’s of Alabama

Desiree Morgan

Vice Chair for Education
University of Alabama Hospital

Margaret Ann Pyburn
Executive Vice President
Cobbs Allen

Mandy Schwarting
Director of Pipeline Management

Sarah Kay Sexton Wos
Senior Vice President, Director of ERM & Risk Transformation
BBVA Compass

Sheri Snow
Wellness Manager
AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company

Susan Stabler
Senior Project Manager
Brasfield and Gorrie

Anna Velasco
Executive Director of Medicaid and Regulatory Affairs
VIVA Health

Tammy White
Director, Organizational Development
and Learning
St. Vincent’s Health System

Kelly Willis
Controller and Vice President
Synovus Mortgage Corporation

MOMENTUM Graduates 13th Class


Twenty-seven highly selected women business leaders graduated on May 23 from MOMENTUM, Alabama’s preeminent women’s leadership program. The graduation, hosted by Alabama Power Company, celebrated and honored the accomplishments of the thirteenth MOMENTUM graduation class.

This graduation marks the completion of MOMENTUM’s rigorous nine-month program, which over 300 women have completed. Alumnae now include over 28 women C-suite executives (15 of which are CEOs or CFOs), 9 judges, and over 12 nonprofit CEO’s. MOMENTUM graduates have achieved executive positions in the fields of law, HR, education, technology, medicine, public utilities, banking, construction, manufacturing, insurance, and more. Graduation commencement speaker

Dr. Cameron Vowell, MOMENTUM alumna, philanthropist and civic leader, spoke about “And They Said It Couldn’t Be Done,” focusing on the impact of public/private partnerships in Alabama.

Two highlights included the presentation of 2015-2016 MOMENTUM Legacy Project, a collaborative art project by the graduating class, directed this year by artists Joy Godsey and Rachel Panter.  A second artistic highlight was the presentation of a commissioned quilt for MOMENTUM by Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective.  The Gee’s Bend quilt was an outcome of MOMENTUM’s special award and recognition of Mary Ann Pettway and China Pettway, representing the Collective during the March Conference.

Legacy Project - 2015-16 "Talking Circles"
Legacy Project – 2015-16
“Talking Circles”
Mary Ann Pettway, quilter; and Barbara Royal, CEO MOMENTUM display MOMENTUM quilt
Mary Ann Pettway, quilter; and Barbara Royal, CEO MOMENTUM display MOMENTUM quilt











Barbara Royal, MOMENTUM CEO, said, “It is increasingly clear, that to thrive, Alabama’s government, nonprofit and business organizations need to broaden and strengthen their leadership infrastructure.  MOMENTUM works with over 70 organizations to do so, and with this class we add another 27 outstanding women with sharpened skills to support our decision makers to meet their Alabama’s challenges.”

Since 2002, MOMENTUM has worked to promote, train, empower, and network women leaders in Alabama by providing them with the tools, resources, and environment to grow and develop in both their personal and professional spheres of influence. Congratulations to the 2015-2016 MOMENTUM Class Graduates:

·         Kristie Barton, Alabama Power Company

·         Laura Clarke, BBVA Compass

·          Becky Crain, Regions Bank

·         Karen Everitt, ProAssurance

·         Beth Francis, Brookwood Baptist Health

·         Linda Friedman, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

·         Alison Grizzle, AL State Department of Education

·         Gwen Hall, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of AL

·         Rachel Harvey, Brasfield & Gorrie

·          Connie Hill, PhD, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama

·         Michelle Holmes, Alabama Media Group

·         Lisa Imbragulio, JD, Samford University

·         Sarah Mitchell, Walter Energy, Inc. (retired)

·         Atisthan Roach, Vulcan Materials Company

·         Amy Savoie, Protective Life Corporation

·         Terri Scarborough, Brookwood Baptist Medical Center

·         Susan Sellers, JD, St. Vincent’s Foundation

·         Julie Shedd, American Cast Iron Pipe Company;

·         Jennifer Skjellum, TechBirmingham

·         Farah Sultan, MD, Vitalogy Wellness Center

·         Katherine Sweatt, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

·         Kim Tew, Synovous/First Commercial

·         Teresa Thornton, Alagasco

·         Jenny Wakeford, Children’s of Alabama

·         Letitia Watkins, VIVA Health, Inc.

·         Tricia Wells, HealthSouth Corporation

·         Melissa Wheeler, Luckie & Company

2016 MOMENTUM Leadership Conference Wrap Up

The 3rd biennial MOMENTUM Leadership Conference was a sell-out success. MOMENTUM thanks the conference steering committee, who worked many months to plan and produce this outstanding conference and everyone who attended and participated in this 2-day event.

What People are Saying…

IMG_7991This was a fantastic opportunity to surround myself with successful women. In a male dominated industry that is a rare treat.”

“Exceptional Day. Keynotes were outstanding. Breakout sessions were well organized and informative. Professional organized.”

“The CEO session was amazing and it was so empowering to be in the room with them and hear their backgrounds on how they were successful in different industries.”

“The speakers and moderator were excellent. It was enlightening and inspiring to hear the varying perspectives of BD1_0084each of the panelists. I did not want the session to end.’

“I learned that networking is not about being pushy or bothering someone but about connecting and helping others.”

“Helped to show how to learn about our own blind spots and how they prevent us from being inclusive.”

IMG_7997“Super informative and inspiring! I am taking charge of my health today!”

“Lots of great sharing of ideas, and hopefully a LinkedIn group will develop from it so that we can share resources in Birmingham.”



Take-aways from Keynote Speakers

Judge Glenda Hatchett

“When opportunities present themselves, don’t hesitate to take them. There is always more to come.”

HatchettStageThinking about what I can do to better myself and my community. I went home from the conference and cleaned out my closets to give clothing to a donation center to help children and women. Really motivated.”

“Be involved. Be yourself. Speak up. Speak out.”



Diana Nyad

“BY FAR the best inspirational presentation I have ever seen!”NyadStage

“Keep your eye on that one thing you have always wanted to do. Have a support system. Everyone needs a team.”

“Everyone has a story. The quicker you overcome your setbacks the farther you would go.”



Links to 2016 Conference in the News “Wrestling with Self-Doubt as a Woman in Business” by Rosilyn Houston “Why Diversity in the Workplace is Good for All of Us” by Barbara Royal “The Importance of Finding the Right Mentor” by Vickie Saxon



Conference Steering Committee

First row L to R:  Sherry Logsdon, Regions Bank; Nan Priest, St. Vincent’s Health System; Cindi Vice, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama; Vickie Saxon, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama; Joy Carter, ACIPCO;  Ronnelle Stewart, Brookwood Baptist Health System; Debra Miller, Ken Chapman & Associates

Second row L to R:  Barbara Royal, MOMENTUM; Jennifer Buettner, Southern Company; Liz Hyde, Hyde Engineering; Tracy Thompson, Bradley, Arant, Boult Cummings; April Benetollo, Daxko; Michelle Lax, Vulcan Materials Company;  Connie Pruitt, retired, UAB;  Tina Upshaw, MOMENTUM; Joy Godsey, MOMENTUM; Cheryl Ross, MOMENTUM

Pictured separately:

Agnes Chappell pic

Becci Hart headshot B&W smallR Houston






Judge Agnes Chappell     Becci Hart                        Rosilyn Houston
City of Birmingham         Intermark Group            BBVA Compass

cara ross

Meredith Smith photo resize






Cara Ross                           Meredith Smith
Vulcan Materials Co.       Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC

Facetime with Dana Nolan

DanaNolan_DSC1659Dana W. Nolan
Executive Vice President, Head of Investor Relations

Dana Nolan serves as the Head of Investor Relations at Regions, a regional bank that operates throughout the South, Midwest and Texas and is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.  Regions is a member of the S&P 500 Index and ranks on the Fortune 500 listing of America’s largest companies.

Nolan joined Regions in 1989. Prior to assuming her current role, she was named associate director of investor relations in 2010 and had previously held a number of positions including Wholesale Funding and Liquidity Manager and head of Debt and Capital Management, both in the bank’s Treasury Division.

Nolan earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is a graduate of the Bank Administrative Institute’s Graduate School of Bank Financial Management at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and a member of the bank’s Senior Leadership group.

What did you gain from your MOMENTUM experience?
MOMENTUM provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with professional women and hear their stories of success, ambition, efforts and concerns.  It was an empowering experience that motivated me to invest in myself.

What is one piece of leadership advice you have been given that has helped you in your career?
Leverage your successes along the way.  Continually remind management of your accomplishments, skills and expertise.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18 year old self?
Rid yourself of preconceived notions of what you “should do” or what you are “supposed to be”.  Career options and choices are limitless.

What three words do you think should characterize every leader?
Humble, determined and visionary

How do you find balance in your career, home, and community life?
Successfully integrating career, family, and personal life continues to be an ongoing challenge.  While I’ve made decisions I regret, I try to learn from those experiences and adjust accordingly.  I am also more comfortable outsourcing certain household tasks and responsibilities which has been very liberating.

Is there a book that has been helpful to you in your career? If so, please share the title and author.
I enjoy reading a variety of books, but I am particularly fond of good biographies.   David McCullough is one of my favorite authors.  Clearly, biographies are informative, but they are often inspirational.  For me, they offer mentors at a distance and promote self discovery.

Is there anything else you would like to share? Advice you would like to give women in leadership?
Women have the tendency to focus and concentrate on tactical rather than strategic leadership. We need to put most decisions in a strategic context and then broadly communicate that context.   Identify new opportunities and trends in your environment and then chart a course that inspires women and men throughout your organization.