Highlights from the 2018-19 Program Year

by | Jul 3, 2019 | General

Momentum’s fiscal year closed June 30th, which means this first week of July gives us time for pause, to breathe, and to reflect upon our collective work this past year.

With the help of our dedicated Board of Directors, Honor Roll supporters, graduates, and corporate sponsors, we were able to dramatically expand Momentum programs and services. Here are a few of the highlights from the year.

Tripled the Number of Women in Our Leadership Development Programs

In January we launched the inaugural Upward early-career program. Providing leadership training, professional development, coaching, and an extensive network to these women earlier in their lives, which can change the trajectory of their career and shape them into our future leaders.

We have two classes of 30 women each, following a nine-month curriculum that parallels the skills and relationships of the executive leadership program. At the time of this post we are little over halfway through the program, and by all measures Upward has exceeded our expectations. Our session surveys average 4-5 out of 5, and we consistently receive great feedback from the participants:

“I am loving Upward and feel so fortunate to have been accepted. I know it’s going to be a game changer for me. It’s encouraging me to do the hard work of really taking stock of where I’ve been, who I am, and where I’m trying to go.” Lee T., Upward participant

“Upward has given me amazing tools to understand how to work more effectively and efficiently. It’s also been inspiring to see so many women growing professionally and encouraging each other to dig deep and grow.” Heather F., Upward participant

“Through the Upward program, I’ve gained a coalition of individuals dedicated to supporting my professional and personal growth, challenging my perspectives, and inspiring me.”  Yolanda J. Upward participant

The current class will graduate in October. We are currently taking applications through August 31, 2019 for the 2020 program year.

Graduated Our 16th Executive Leadership Class

Each year Momentum receives more qualified applications than we can place in one class, and this year was no exception. Our selection committee strives for a broad range of organizations from different industries, as well as individuals with varied roles, backgrounds, ethnicity, and experiences. Class 16 was an all-star group of women who will be true leaders to watch and great additions to our Momentum Alumnae network. The executive class session survey ratings averaged 4.5 out of 5 for the program year.

Quarterly Leadership Series, Open to the Community

This year, Momentum offered four new workshops and events as part of a quarterly Leadership Series, open for registration to anyone in the community. At the completion of the series, nearly 1,000 additional participants will have received valuable professional development on negotiating, confidence, building inclusive teams, and jump-starting an early career. We are working on the details of the 2019-20 leadership series, offering more programs in October, January, March and June.

Men with Momentum Quarterly Work-Group Sessions

Momentum has also expanded work through Men with Momentum. The CEO Advisory Board for this program is a powerful list of men: Jim Archibald, Bradley; Rich Bielen, Protective Life; Shane Clanton, BBVA; Jim Gorrie, Brasfield & Gorrie; Mark Tarr, Encompass Health; Art Tipton, SRI (retired); John Turner, Regions; Selwyn Vickers, UAB; Tim Vines, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Momentum has hosted four new sessions with the Board and their delegates. These sessions are designed to expose the challenges to advancement for women and people of color, and to identify successful strategies for building leadership teams that are representative of the markets and communities they serve. The goal is for economic development:  to influence corporate culture and policies to make Birmingham more competitive for attracting and retaining diverse top talent.

Increased Community Engagement

This past year we introduced new ways for organizations to engage the outstanding leadership development available through Momentum, including corporate workshops, training classes, forums, and women’s resource groups. This year Momentum has provided content for these events, serving an additional 450 women at companies such as Altec, BBVA, and UAB.

More Mentors for Momentum

Momentum’s mentoring program has expanded. Anyone can request a mentor through Momentum, and there is no charge for the matches made nor training received. The number of women in Momentum’s mentoring program is approaching 1,000!

Momentum Mission Partners

Momentum has developed partnerships with other Birmingham nonprofits with synergistic missions. This year Momentum provided exposure, board recommendations, and volunteers to the following Mission Partners: Athena Collective, Birmingham Southern, Childcare Resources, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, Girlspring, Habitat for Humanity, Healthcare Educators of Alabama, Birmingham Education Foundation, YWCA of Central Alabama, First Light, Jessie’s Place, Pathways, Oasis, Safe House, Samford University, The Women’s Fund, and UAB.

What’s Ahead…

In addition to our executive Class 17, Upward early-career, and all of the programs outlined above, we have a few more impressive projects ahead!

Biennial Conference, March 11-12, 2020

We have big plans to expand and improve the conference in several ways:

  • More breakout rooms to accommodate up to 1500 participants (a 66% increase.)
  • Partner with women’s groups in other metro areas to publicize the conference statewide
  • Conference experience expanded to a day and a half
  • Exhibit hall to showcase companies and services of value to attendees

Of course we’ll have an outstanding roster of keynote speakers, session facilitators, and lots of opportunities to network.

Data Research, Vision 2020

Pending funding approval, Momentum will contract with a third party to conduct a data research to accomplish two things:

  1. Measure the effectiveness of our initiatives to advance women in leadership

  2. Gain an understanding of the workplace policies that affect women in Alabama and the economic impact of improving those policies

This data will be extremely useful in helping us build awareness and support in our community for what it takes to advance women in leadership.

Momentum Scholarship Initiative

Pending funding, Momentum will expand our scholarship budget to include a limited number of scholarships for low to moderate income women and women in the nonprofit/public sector to attend our conference and community leadership training.

Momentum Speakers Bureau

Part of advancing women in leadership is making sure our alumnae are seen and heard in the community. We are in the process of identifying the women in our alumnae network who enjoy public speaking and would like to be part of the Momentum Speakers’ Bureau. The speakers’ bureau elevates our alumnae, builds awareness for Momentum, and gives audiences more exposure to the many women leaders in our community.

Extending the Momentum Statewide

Momentum will partner with women’s groups in other metro areas throughout the state to promote our programs and events to their constituents, garner nominations for awards and class participation, and potentially co-present programming in cities such as Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, Tuscaloosa and Auburn.

We invite you to be part of this momentum!  We welcome support from women and men, in all kinds of ways:

  • Consider a gift to the Honor Roll. Your financial support is critical to advancing and expanding our mission! 
  • Encourage Alabama companies to support Momentum with a corporate sponsorship
  • Help us promote our conferences, events, programs, and enrollment periods. 
  • Volunteer to join our mentor network, work on a service project, or help with an event.
  • Join our speaker’s bureau and let others hear from you! 

To learn more about any of the initiatives outlined here, or to make a suggestion, call my direct line at 205.202.6208 any time! 

Onward and upward, 



April Benetollo
CEO, Momentum

Do you want to know how we can help you gain Momentum?

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