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Lora McClendon: Generating a positive impact for Alabama – 2024 Women of Impact

Lora McClendon and her career are a testament to the power of vision, hard work, and dedication. 

McClendon had an interest in governmental affairs from a young age. She earned her BA in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and attended Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business where she obtained an MBA. After college, she worked on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer for both the South Carolina and Alabama congressional delegations.

Her time spent in D.C. was pivotal. It was there that she was exposed to the energy and environmental policy space which quickly became a point of intrigue for her. McClendon made many important connections over the course of her five years spent in D.C., some of whom would later become her colleagues in her current position at PowerSouth and two of whom would later become her bosses.

Once she moved to Alabama, she kept in touch with her contacts as she spent time in Montgomery as Chief of Staff for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. In this role, she was involved in an array of statewide initiatives. Her goal was to promote economic development across the state and partner with organizations to move others forward. When a position at PowerSouth became available to work with many of her long-held connections, she knew it was a perfect time to transition. 

In her current position, McClendon works to refine her professional skills through continuous learning. She notes, “You can have all of the experience in the world, but things are changing and there is always more to learn as you gain responsibility or understanding of the company you work for.” 

McClendon stays engaged with trade associations to keep informed about what is happening in the industry. She also stays close to experts in the company to further understand what the current challenges are and what can be anticipated for the future. She prioritizes relationships and ensures that she maintains an inquisitive nature in order to be a continuous learner. 

As for her sources of professional inspiration, McClendon cites the female mentors that she has had over the course of her career in both D.C. and Alabama. A few, in particular, showed her the ropes in D.C. and helped her network with others who shared her interests and could give wisdom from their decades-long experience. “They were great influences in that regard,” McClendon shares. One mentor in particular, Connie Myers, stood out to her on account of her willingness to support young women and their progress in the field. 

McClendon has played an important role across many projects over the course of her career, but one strikes her as the most exciting to see come to fruition. In a previous role, she led the community effort to support the 187th Fighter Wing, a unit of the Alabama Air National Guard based in Montgomery, in its pursuit of an F-35 unit to replace its aging F16s. It was a time-intensive project that required coordination between a wide variety of local, state, and federal stakeholders. The project saw success and the 187th Fighter Wing  is flying F35s today.

Beyond her professional efforts, McClendon is highly involved in the local community as she currently serves as a board member for River Region Trails, the Alabama FFA Foundation, and Goodwill Industries of Central Alabama. She is also an advisory board member of the Alabama Trails Commission and is a member of the Outreach Committee at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Looking to the future, McClendon hopes to continue her work with PowerSouth, generating a positive impact that will be seen for decades to come.

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