February 11, 2019 Who's Next?

The Future Generation of Local Women Leading the Way

Celebrating the young women who serve our community with purpose, passion and professionalism.


Image Mary Samuels *Partner, Environmental & Natural Resources, Balch & Bingham LLP *

Motivation

Guiding clients through complex, ever-changing environmental regulations to ensure compliance and find the best solutions for their business needs. I also like the variety of work. Even though environmental law is a fairly specialized area, there are several different subsets within this practice area and every day is different.

Hopes

Continued smart growth in Birmingham. I have enjoyed the revitalization of the downtown area over the last ten years and hope it continues. I especially love Railroad Park and the new trails connecting communities that encourage and enable people to get outside and enjoy this beautiful city.


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Lauren Kallus

*Accounting Manager, EBSCO Industries, Inc. *

Motivation

EBSCO Industries is an international company with a diverse portfolio of businesses, and I thrive in this dynamic environment. I am challenged to continuously learn, improve processes and deliver value, which makes each day exciting and fulfilling. The most rewarding part is collaborating with other team members around the world who share common goals of serving our customers and driving sales. In addition, I am honored to work for a company that is committed to giving back to the community, and I share this goal through my work with the Junior League of Birmingham and the YWCA of Central Alabama.

Hopes It has been exciting to see the renaissance of downtown Birmingham, which has added to the city’s thriving cultural experience. In particular, I appreciate Birmingham’s culinary scene, which continues to gain recognition with its award-winning chefs. I am a huge fan of Dolester Miles’ coconut pecan cake! I hope that the city will continue this positive momentum, and I am proud to call Birmingham my home.


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Sara Newell

Senior Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of Central Alabama

Motivation

There are not many organizations where people who want to help improve their community can work on big, systemic problems in a sustained way. In my position, I get to consider not only the needs of a specific population or a particular service industry, but I have the luxury of being able to think about what is needed by our community as a whole. I am honored to be a part of an organization that has both the capacity to think creatively about solutions to our biggest community problems and the resources to direct funds at the most promising strategies.

Hopes

Birmingham has a lot to be proud of, and we know how to accomplish a great deal with limited resources. But we have to first believe in ourselves and collectively commit to improving the quality of life for all our citizens. There is tremendous disparity here between those who have education and opportunity, and those who don’t. I believe our viability as a region is connected to our commitment to ensuring equity of opportunity for all.


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Ashley Rhea

Attorney, Rhea Law LLC

Motivation

My firm primarily represents individuals with disabilities who have encountered discrimination in the workplace or at school. I feel a personal connection to many of my clients because I have a physical disability. Many times, I have experienced very similar circumstances. I love empowering my clients to assert their rights under the law.

Hopes

I hope that Birmingham can continue building an inclusive community for individuals with disabilities. We have many great nonprofit organizations that serve the disabled community. At the same time, we do not provide reliable services such as public transportation that individuals with disabilities disproportionately rely on. We need to make inclusive initiatives a priority.


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Katie Peebles

Vice President, Retail Banking, Progress Bank

Motivation

The most rewarding part of my job is the relationships that I have built through the years. I have been in banking for almost 15 years and have been a part of my customers most exciting life events. Everything from weddings, buying a new house to starting a new business. Being able to experience these milestones with each of them is something that I am grateful for.

Hopes

I moved here in 2005 after I graduated from Alabama and I have watched Birmingham experience tremendous growth in that short amount of time. The renewal of downtown has been one of the most exciting things to see. Birmingham is somewhere that I am proud to say that I work and live. I hope that our city continues down this exciting path of revitalization and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Birmingham.


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Calle Mendenhall

Attorney, Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP

Motivation

The opportunity to speak for people who cannot speak for themselves against large corporations is the most rewarding aspect of my position as an attorney for Farris, Riley & Pitt. Individual voices matter and can effectuate change. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in litigations where unsafe products were ultimately removed from the market. Knowing that I have played some role in that process is an incredible feeling.

Hopes

I am so thrilled with the growth of the downtown and surrounding areas and I hope that continues. As part of that, I hope Birmingham works with established businesses to help them continue their successes and also provide incentives for new industries to locate here. Keeping talented individuals in Birmingham is a necessity. Finally, I hope that Birmingham citizens get involved in their communities. Everyone should feel like they have a role in making Birmingham one of the top Southern cities.