This year’s Young American Leaders Program (YALP) at Harvard University took part in 10 executives from the Birmingham area who, together with others, learned about successful public-private partnerships.

The Birmingham area participants were:

  • Staci Brown Brooks, director of marketing communications at Alabama Power.
  • Anil Chadha, Executive Vice President, Regions Bank.
  • Jay Eichelberger, General Manager 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 WC Martin, CEO of Build Urban Prosperity.
  • Mashonda Taylor, Woodlawn United General Manager.
  • Ford Wiles, independent creative and strategic partner.
  • Emily Wykle, director of foreign affairs at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

This is the third year executives from the Birmingham area have participated and the first year the annual program has been run virtually after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Young American Leaders Program was born out of deep concern and hope revealed by our research into US competitiveness,” said Jan Rivkin, professor and co-chair of the US Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School. “We found that the most promising innovations for competitiveness are local and cross-sectoral and require long-term commitment. The young executives nominated from Birmingham over the past few years have a remarkable track record of coming together across industries to transform their hometown. This year’s Birmingham cohort had so much to share and learn from other regions. “

The 130 YALP participants represented 13 metropolitan 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.

Her workshops and courses with professors from Harvard Business School focused on public-private collaboration to improve the workforce and economic development and quality of life for everyone in their cities.

“I’ve learned so much from the fellow students and the Harvard professors that I look forward to putting it into practice in my career and in my civic contributions,” said Brooks of Alabama Power of the program. “Participation in the Young American Leaders Program helped to clarify after a particularly difficult year what is still possible through great thinking, cooperation and empathy.”

Alabama Power, Altec, Regions Financial and UAB are among the local champions of the program.

“At Alabama Power, we strive to provide employee development opportunities. We are investing in the next generation of corporate and community leaders through activities like the Harvard Young American Leaders Program, ”said Jeff Peoples, executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services, Alabama Power.

“We are so grateful to our champions in Birmingham for making our program a success this year,” said Rivkin. “They’ve done a great and generous amount of work – they’ve created a safe place for attendees to meet on-site, help with technology setup, and work with us to ensure a fantastic experience.”