Category: Momentum News

Any news related to Momentum alumnae, events, accomplishments, etc!

Giving Tuesday

The much anticipated holiday season is finally upon us! Going into Thanksgiving this week, we move into a time of reflection and giving thanks despite the unexpected year 2020 has brought us. While many people look forward to the spread of food on the table on Thursday, and the chaotic shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring, here at Momentum we look forward to Giving Tuesday. If you aren’t familiar with Giving Tuesday, it’s a global generosity movement and a day of giving to the organizations that work towards transforming their communities.

One way you can support Momentum Leaders this #GivingTuesday is to make a contribution to support women in leadership. Momentum relies on community support in order to continue our premier leadership programs and offer events within the community. Without this support, we would not be able to operate as a resource for women in leadership in the Birmingham area.

Another way you can support Momentum is to volunteer. Momentum is always looking for volunteers to help with our various events and programs. If you are interested in serving the Birmingham community by partnering with Momentum, be sure to check out our volunteer interest page on our website for more information.

Please consider supporting Momentum during Giving Tuesday 2020. Your gift will help us to continue to advance women in leadership as they continue to make an impact in their own communities.

Birmingham’s Moving Upward

It can be difficult to stay motivated as we push on toward a world without COVID. We may be biased, but we’re pretty proud of how our leaders are making a difference in our city. Our Upward program was created specifically for women in the beginning of their career to develop the next generation of talented leadership. Here’s just a few of our Upward alumnae who work diligently to create dynamic change.

  • Lauren Leach, Associate Vice President of Planning & Population Health, UAB Medicine
    • Leach has been working to coordinate unique solutions for working parents during the pandemic. After recognizing the need for childcare assistance for over 1,000 UAB employees, she helped strategize short-term relief.
  • Lee Thrash, Donor Relations Manager, United Ability
    • When United Ability closed due to COVID, she had to adapt quickly to continue promoting their cause. “…everyone had to change the way they operated. It really showed us all how amazing the participants in United Ability’s programs, the staff, and families really are – how much we all care for each other.”
  • Monica Aswani, Assistant Professor, School of Heath Professions, UAB
    • Dr. Aswani joined COVID taskforce UAB United on the Incident Command Committee to help flatten the curve of COVID cases.
  • Brenessa Lindeman, Associate Designated Institutional Official for the Clinical Learning Environment, UAB
    • Medical care is a valuable resource during the pandemic, and efficiency is of the utmost importance. Lindeman worked to introduce new technology at UAB that adds apps to patients’ electronic records so clinicians can provide improved patient care.
  • Britney Summerville, Vice President of Community Engagement, Shipt
    • Summerville founded Birmingham Bound, a program aimed at growing Birmingham’s tech community. “The organization is also ‘spreading the word across the nation that Birmingham is a tech ecosystem that should be on their radar,'” according to Summerville.

Meet Alumna LaKisha Mack

Momentum would like to congratulate LaKisha on her recent promotion to Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration in the School of Medicine.

LaKisha joined the School of Medicine (SOM) Dean’s office in 2014 as the Associate Dean for Finance and Administration to ensure organizational alignment in the areas of Finance, Human Resources and Facilities. Since then, she has worked with countless faculty and staff across the SOM, allocating and approving budgets, conducting financial forecasting, interpreting policies, and managing federal regulations regarding funded research. She collaborates with our health system colleagues and SOM department administrators and plays an integral role in SOM leadership recruitments and retentions.

In her new role as Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration she will ensure policy compliance for the SOM and the university, participate in strategic planning and collaborate with the university and health system on all administrative and financial activities. She will continue to oversee the development of the SOM Dean’s Office budget, and will also lead implementation of the University’s Resource Centered Management (RCM) budget allocation model within the SOM and coordinate the Academic Enrichment Fund (AEF) funding and approval process

LaKisha’s UAB career began more than 20 years ago, in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she was a financial assistant in the Center’s clinical studies unit.  Following that, she spent more than 10 years working in various roles across Central Administration, the School of Health Professions, and the Department of Medicine, both in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and the Chair’s office.

In the Department of Medicine, LaKisha was the Division Administrator and Director of Operations, building an infrastructure to support faculty growth and operational leadership across all three-mission areas – clinical, research and education.

A native of Long Beach, California, LaKisha attended Samford University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. She and her husband Donald have one daughter, Morgan.

What made you move to Birmingham?

I grew up and spent all of my time in California. I never really had the opportunity to travel much so when it was time for me to select a college I wanted to go out of state. At the time my grandparents lived in Birmingham, so I decided to migrate there for college. I always had the intent of going back home to California after I finished my degree, but then I met my husband and have been in Birmingham since. 

Why did you want to go through Momentum?

I actually did not know that I wanted to go through Momentum — it was recommended to me by my immediate supervisor and I really didn’t know what to expect. Therefore, while I did not originally seek out Momentum, I am glad I agreed to the recommendation because it certainly has offered me the opportunity to become much more self-aware of my areas of strengths and development both professionally and personally. 

What stood out to you the most about your Momentum experience?

The camaraderie amongst all of the women really stood out to me. We were a group of 30 women who started the program without knowing each other at all. Throughout the process, we really got close as a cohort. It was very profound for me to be in a room with women who were all going through similar situations as me both personally and professionally. 

How do you think your experience with Momentum prepared you for your new role?

First and foremost, it helped me build the self-confidence needed to know my self-worth. I now I know that I am just as capable, qualified, experienced and knowledgeable  to seek opportunities for which I would not have gone after before. I am just as competitive as anyone else with the same level of experience. Going through the Momentum experience has put me in the position to know my self-worth and that I have the ability to be able to speak and toot my own horn which I would not have done before. 

What advice would you like to give to women aspiring for leadership roles?

Go after what you want and do not let anything hold you back. If you feel like you have the tools for leadership positions, don’t let anything get in the way of accomplishing your goals. If there are areas of development within yourself then work on those and be self-aware, but know that you as a woman are just as capable to go after leadership positions as anyone.

How to Fit a Retreat into a Basket

Momentum’s executive programs usually begin with a two-day retreat, relaxing near a forest or pond. This year, we had to get creative in welcoming our new class! With a little help from Alabama Goods, Momentum logistics manager Katherine Thrower arranged locally sourced happies to create a “retreat in a basket.” Unlike the traditional fruit basket, each item had meaningful significance that was referenced in our sessions (don’t worry…we made room for snacks!). The whole Momentum team took part in dropping off baskets at each participants’ house to ensure they would feel celebrated!

“The retreat is about making them feel special because they are special,” says CEO April Benetollo. Each participant was analyzed based on their background, professional experience, and stage in life. If they were selected this year, “it’s the right time for them to be doing this.” This well-rounded group connected in breakout sessions and interactive activities to start the year off right. While the retreat focuses on emotional intelligence and awareness, the executive program shifts into different themes throughout the year.

Have you ever wondered what makes Momentum’s programming unique? We don’t just proofread your resume and send you on your way with a handout on teamwork. Momentum was founded with the goal of creating intentional relationships and personal growth.

  • The retreat sets the forecast for the rest of the year, asking participants, “Who are you?”
  • The next quarter focuses on the participant’s strengths and talents, asking, “How could you be directed to bring you more joy and value to your job/community?”
  • After that comes the real work. “How do you get there?” Momentum offers negotiation skills and resilience training to prep participants for the final stage.
  • Looking forward, the question remains, “How do you take that beyond you? What can you bring to your job, community, family, etc.?” Participants are encouraged to volunteer or join a local board to become more engaged with their community. In terms of professional growth, class members learn tactics to claim visibility, accept recognition, and share expertise with future game-changers.

Whether you’re in a program or not, Momentum has a place for you! Join us as a mentee or mentor today to meet more inspiring women in your community.

Petite Can Mean Powerful

Deborah Boswell, long-time President of Professional Speech Services of Alabama, spoke at last week’s Intentional Tuesdays event about the power of your voice. As a woman who measures over five feet tall on a good day, I was ready for this presentation with my trusty pen to take notes. Deborah mentioned some key takeaways that you probably haven’t heard before. Here’s the rundown:

  • Focus on your breath. You don’t have to scream to be loud! Try to talk from your diaphragm instead of your throat or chest to command the room.
  • When you’re nervous, you probably have shallow breath. Take some deep inhales and exhales before a presentation. Personally, I listen to a Lizzo song or some words of encouragement from Brene Brown. You can view some more mindfulness resources here.
  • First impressions count. Think about your posture and what you’re wearing. I have been moved mid-presentation because multiple people thought I was breaking out in hives. Turns out, I was just nervous, so now I wear a turtleneck.
  • Be concise. No one likes a long meeting that could have been summed up in a quick email. Executives don’t have a lot of time on their hands, and the average person’s attention span, according to research by Microsoft, is shorter than eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish.
  • BLUF. Don’t bluff, but keep the Bottom Line Up Front. Capture their attention at the beginning so they stay with you for important information.
  • Conjunction junction, what’s your function? Diluting clarity, according to Deborah. Break up your sentences.
  • If you are the expert, behave like the expert! Stay confident; you’ve got this.

Wish you hadn’t missed Deborah’s presentation? Want to watch it again? Check out our new Youtube channel for her presentation and others!

Leadership Programs in AL

Momentum was featured in Bham Now’s list of leadership development programs you can apply to now in Birmingham! We are currently accepting applications for our Executive Class until April 30. This 9-month program develops leadership skills, confidence, and connections among Alabama’s most promising women. It begins this September!

With a combination of 360° assessment testing, following a personal leadership plan, co-mentoring, and expertise from top leaders, the curriculum is designed to:

  • Provide tools and resources to inspire and educate women to serve in leadership roles
  • Network these leaders to learn and work on problems together
  • Enhance the image of executive women in business and community
  • Attract and retain the nation’s brightest women to help solve business and community challenges

Dr. Lisa Graham and Dr. Julie McDonald were also featured in the article for their Dare to Lead workshop, based on Brené Brown’s research. These inspiring women created their business with the singular goal of helping professionals flourish at work and in life. They led a breakout session at our Vision 2020 Conference in March.

Momentum at Pepper Place Market

Join us this Saturday, November 9th, at  The Market at Pepper Place! Momentum will have a table at the market to raise awareness about our programs and future events.

We’ll be registering people to win free tickets to our January leadership series workshop: Keys to Personal Bandwidth with Julie McDonald and Lisa Graham. The  workshop is a great opportunity for professionals, both men and women, to learn how to maximize their resources to create a more sustainable, effective, and productive work life.

Registration for Momentum’s 2020 Biennial Conference will also be available. The growing event is set to meet an all-time participation high with attendance expected to be near 1,500 professionals from across the state!

Make sure to stop by Momentum’s table 8 am-12 pm while you shop the market. Students from UAB’s School of Communications will be passing out complimentary cookies and tell you all about Momentum!

We would like to hear your feedback! Comment below if you plan to come by the market this Saturday, attend the leadership series in January, and/or attend the conference in March.

Building Gender Equity at Work

Momentum held the first of its 2019-2020 Leadership Series this month. Susan Hodgkinson, Leadership Development Expert and best-selling author of The Dignity Mindset: A Leader’s Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work, was invited to hold a workshop discussing key themes from her book on achieving gender equity in the workplace.

The workshop was part of Momentum’s Leadership Series which is designed to offer men and women professional development opportunities with events occurring quarterly throughout the year. Hosted at Encompass Health, the event started with networking and breakfast before diving into the concept of gender equity.

Hodgkinson outlined two reasons why gender equity is not normalized in today’s culture. One, starting at a young age our brains become engendered by societal ideas of what it means to be female or male. Hodgkinson uses the well-known statement “you throw like a girl” to beg the question, what is the story that we are teaching about gender? Statements like these often portray “female characteristics” as weak in comparison to “male characteristics,” teaching women and girls that they are inferior. Two, the depiction of women as objects whose main purpose is to appease men is pervasive in our culture and the media. Hodgkinson cited vivid cases portraying inauthentic representations or no representation of women at all.

Hodgkinson challenged attendees to apply the Bechdel test to the films of today which measures female depictions in works of fiction. The test only requires a film to have at least two women characters whose names are made clear in the film, and converse with each other about something other than a man. According to Duke Research Blog, only 40-50% of U.S. films from 2015-2017 fail the Bechdel test, which is surprising considering the simple requirements needed to pass. The lack of female representation in media is just as concerning. Only 10% of voluntary contributors to Wikipedia are women, and only about 17% of the 1.5 million biographies in English are about women.

Feelings of inferiority cause a major problem in the workplace. In what is called the “Confidence Gap,” data show that women are less self-assured than men, and more likely to have Imposter Syndrome. So what steps can we take to resolve this concern and establish gender equity? Outlining seven tools to create gender equity through a dignity-driven culture, Hodgkinson makes it clear that the change is mostly up to business leaders. In order to create a dignity-driven culture, leaders must recognize that every team member has the same fundamental needs and choose to fulfill them. Leaders must also make space for the voices of women and people of color to be heard, and seek to increase their presence when there is a lack of diversity in business spaces.

Read Susan Hodgkinson’s book, The Dignity Mindset: A Leader’s Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work, to learn more about leading from a dignity-driven mindset.

To participate in the next Leadership Series event, register now for The Key to Personal Bandwidth workshop on January 9th, 2019 at Samford University.

We would like to hear your feedback! Comment below with your thoughts on gender equity and how you see it, or where it’s lacking, in the workplace.

Alivia Moore is a junior Public Relations student at UAB

 

April Benetollo Joins Bronze Valley Board of Directors

Bronze Valley recently added a new member to its board of directors. April Benetollo, CEO of Momentum, a program for developing leadership capabilities in executive and early-career women, was elected to the board at the end of September.

“April is an outstanding addition to our board,” said Bronze Valley President Neill S. Wright. “Her background as a leader in supporting entrepreneurship, encouraging innovation and working to expand opportunities for women translates well to helping us achieve the mission and objectives of Bronze Valley.”

Benetollo sees her role on the Bronze Valley board as a dual opportunity. First, she cites several statistics that bear out what she terms the “major biases against women founders” that Bronze Valley exists to help erase — for example, in 2017, only 2.2 percent of all U.S. venture capital money went to women-owned companies — as well as the opportunity to further develop the organization’s investment tracks around minority founders and innovation. Second, she’s pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of Birmingham’s ongoing emergence as a technology and entrepreneurial hub.

“More and more,” Benetollo says, “people are figuring out that, if you’re looking at the South, you don’t have to go to Atlanta or Austin or Nashville to work for a growing technology company. That’s exciting, and so is the future of Bronze Valley. It’s surely something that is needed, and I’m happy to have a role in the investments they make and the coaching and expertise they provide to startups and growing companies. Hopefully, Bronze Valley will inspire other entities and individuals to that level of involvement.”

A native of Birmingham and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama, Benetollo spent several years working in Paris before returning to Birmingham with her husband, Emmanuel, in 1998. A frequent speaker on leadership development, employee engagement, healthy teams, inclusive culture and emotional intelligence, Benetollo is a founding board member of TechAlabama, a nonprofit organization affiliated with TechBirmingham that is dedicated to developing STEM skills and increasing the number of Alabamians who pursue STEM-based careers. She also serves on the Marketing and Sales Advisory Board for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business and is on the advisory board of Bronze Valley portfolio company Mixtroz.

Read the full release here.