Last week the Business Council of Alabama announced Helena Duncan as president and CEO. As the state’s largest business advocacy organization, BCA’s stated purpose is to aggressively represent Alabama’s business community.
For more about Alabama’s newest CEO, her leadership philosophy and expectations for the future, here are “Four Questions with Helena Duncan.”
During your 30-plus-year career in the banking industry, you served in a variety of roles before becoming a top executive at a $22 billion asset bank. How has this experience influenced your approach to business advocacy?
From my early years as a bank teller all the way to my position as Regional President at Liberty Bank & Trust, I was able to see the struggles of main street businesses firsthand. Individuals would have a business opportunity and come to me for lending. Many of those main street businesses I worked with closely are impacted by the pro-jobs and pro-growth legislation that we advocate for here at BCA. Now, I am in a position to remove some of those obstacles I’ve seen throughout my career and help create more opportunity for businesses.
Part of the mission of BCA is to battle against well-funded, anti-business groups and fight expensive mandates and regulations. What is your leadership philosophy as you take the lead pursuing this mission?
Our newly developed strategic plan has been focused on fresh and innovative ways to advocate for the business community in Alabama, but our mission remains the same: work hard for pro-jobs and pro-growth legislation. When hired, I was tasked with building relationships, not only with our members, but with those within the branches of our state government. I will continue to grow existing relationships and cultivate new relationships as I lead BCA. I will do everything I can to continue building upon the firm foundation set, while protecting Alabama businesses from unnecessary mandates and costly regulations.
In your previous role in the organization, you led Investor Relations. What have you learned from your members that will shape BCA’s priorities moving into the 2023 legislative cycle?
Many businesses I spoke with in my Investor Relations role were trying to stretch a dollar a long way and get the most they could out of their BCA investment. We are going to prioritize legislation that grows our economy and prioritizes businesses. Our legislative agenda is first and foremost set by those same BCA members. We have a very extensive legislative process with our BCA policy committees that ensures we are listening to the needs of our members and effectively advocating on their behalf. BCA is strong and effective because of our members – and we will continue to make their needs our top priority.
How do you envision the future of BCA as far as the role it plays in Alabama’s political and economic climate?
BCA continues to serve as the voice for Alabama business. We have a talented, creative, and energetic staff and we continue to search for new and innovative ways to serve the business community daily. BCA has been fortunate to have dedicated leadership who work tirelessly to build a strong organization, and we are stronger than ever because of that commitment. BCA remains steadfast in our mission to give a voice to Alabama’s job creators in Montgomery and in Washington, D.C.
Watch “10 Questions with Helena” to learn more about BCA’s new leader and how she plans to continue the organization’s mission serving as the voice for Alabama businesses.