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LaFreeda Jordan: Serving others starts with a ‘yes’ and leaves an enduring benefit to all – 2024 Women of Impact

LaFreeda Jordan was born in our state capital the same day Martin Luther King Jr reached St. Jude Hospital during the historic Selma-to-Montgomery March in 1965.

“My father was so in touch with everything that was going on, he wanted to name me Freedom. My mother said no but she compromised and came up with LaFreeda to include the word free,” she said.

Jordan refers to her parents as her “foundation” and credits them for instilling in her the importance of education, being kind, helping others, and being of service to your community. 

Values that have served her well over a more-than 30-year career that includes director of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby’s North Alabama Congressional Office and in her current position as Chief of External Affairs with the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  

Growing up in Montgomery, the heart of the civil rights movement, Jordan was naturally drawn to politics and world affairs.     

“For me, what kicked it off was a current affairs class in high school,” she said. “It piqued my interest in politics and world affairs. And from there I majored in political science and had the opportunity to be involved in student government.” 

Jordan served as class president at Spelman College in Atlanta before graduating and joining Sen. Shelby’s staff.  

“It was an honor and privilege to work for Senator Shelby for over 26 years as his North Alabama representative,” she said. “It’s once in a lifetime you get to work with somebody that has that large of an impact.”  

Serving as the Director of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby’s North Alabama Congressional Office, Jordan was the Senator’s principal State liaison to NASA, Department of the Army, Department of Justice and the space and defense industry leaders.

Senator Shelby calls Jordan exceptional.  

“LaFreeda Jordan was an exceptional member of my staff for over 25 years, and today, she continues to serve our state and the great city of Huntsville,” he said. “I am grateful for her years of service and commitment to the United States Senate, UAH and the people of Alabama.”  

Jordan’s wealth of experience in the political realm led to her position at UAH where she works with local, state, federal, and community leaders in government, business, research and development.   

“Working with local, state and federal leaders and the University’s new leadership under President Dr. Karr, I have the opportunity to share their stories and tell our stories,” she said.

Jordan’s deep-rooted value for education is well-suited for UAH, one of the nation’s premier research universities.  

“The University of Alabama in Huntsville is doing so many wonderful things,” she said. “We have wonderful researchers, faculty, staff and students that are so bright, that are doing unconventional things. Things you wouldn’t expect college students to be doing.” 

Jordan keeps the Bible verse Luke 12:48 close to her heart, “For whom much is given, much is required”.  

“We’ve been often blessed with a lot of talents, resources, knowledge and time,” she said. “We should all be readily willing to give back to others.”

Jordan’s unwavering determination and support for our state and its people have earned her respect and admiration throughout the years.

“I’m a firm believer in treating people with respect, dignity and kindness. Treat people the way you would like to be treated. When you do that you gain a sense of respect from others,” she said.

“Also, be true to your word. If you say something, do what you say and do what you mean.”

It’s also important to give back, Jordan said.  

“Being a service to your community, you can help change and mold the different things that are happening in society,” she said. “If you don’t get involved, then change can’t happen.”

Jordan demonstrates her commitment to service in many ways including serving on numerous boards and is a member of more than 10 area organizations: Committee of 100, Huntsville Madison County Airport Authority Board, Air Space and Missile Defense Association, Huntsville Planning Commission, The ARC of Madison County Board, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links, Inc. Junior League of Huntsville, US Selective Service Board, and a past graduate of Leadership Greater Huntsville Focus Class 7 and Leadership Montgomery.

Remarking on the advice she would offer to others, Jordan emphasized knowledge is empowerment.  

“Take the time to learn everything that you possibly can when you’re offered the opportunity,” she said. “The more you learn becomes knowledge and power.”   

Despite her long, successful career supporting and advocating for North Alabama, Jordan still isn’t done.  

“The work is never done,” she said. “You plug away every day to always give back, never say no.

“You start with a ‘yes’ and then just try to help people one day at a time.”

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