Yellowhammer News hosted its sixth annual Women of Impact Awards event last month at the Florentine in Birmingham to honor 20 of Alabama’s most influential women across government, business and nonprofit sectors in tribute to the extraordinary impact they’ve made on the state and its people.
The award recognizes women in Alabama who have earned the authority and power to move the needle in their industry. They are respected leaders, advisors, mentors, servants and advocates who empower others through the time they devote and the trails they blaze.
In addition to the 20 honorees, we presented the “Momma B” Award – named after the memory of Joann Bashinsky, a true Woman of Impact, who left a legacy of community and business advancement in Alabama and beyond – to Eva Robertson as the 2024 recipient.
Robertson, Vice President of Community Relations for the Protective Life Corporation and Executive Director of the Protective Life Foundation, now retired from her role, is certainly not retired from serving her state and those who have the good fortune to cross paths with her. She delivered moving remarks to attendees, which dignified the spirit of the award as well as the character of the Women of Impact campaign as a whole.
“This is so uncomfortable for the people here who laugh – they know me – and they know that I’m not afraid to talk in public. So it’s not that. It really is uncomfortable because I’m up here by myself.
Robertson shared deep appreciation for those closest around her, as well as those who invested in her and served alongside her along the way. She listed those people by name, including her husband, and colleagues who now carry on the torch at Protective Life.
“So, this is a really awkward moment because here I stand by myself – I have to say that on behalf of the 4,000 people that I imagine are here with me. What an honor. And for you to recognize that work; for you to recognize the impact. Thank you. And personally, I’m humbled by the opportunity to be here, standing alone awkwardly representing that work and saying thank you.”
The 2024 cohort of honorees included women from dynamic, influential industries and backgrounds. We published unique profiles of each honoree leading up to the event, which detail just a small portion of the scope and scale of their impact, hoping to capture a glimpse of the mentality they bring to their careers of service.
“This has been a record breaking year for Women of Impact,” Courtney Hancock, CEO of Soul-Grown Alabama, told the audience.
“You have each been chosen as women of impact for your unique contribution to our state. To honor your individuality we are excited to present each honoree with a one of a kind sketch done by a local female artist from Auburn, Alabama — truly embodying the overflow of your impact to women everywhere.”
Those in attendance were also surprised with a video message from a past recipient of the award, celebrating their special night and honoring their contributions.
“It is truly Alabamians like these 20 women who continue to power our great state to new heights through their stalwart leadership, transformational vision, and dedicated service in a variety of important roles,” U.S. Senator Katie Britt said.
“As a member of the 2019 Women of Impact class, I am especially proud to see such impactful, trailblazing leaders earn this honor,” Britt said. “Honorees, I am grateful for all that you do to ensure that Alabama’s future is bright, as well as the incredible example you set for future generations to follow.”
From energy and education to health and law to media, politics, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and beyond – the group assembled last month in Birmingham was an outstanding whos-who of the Yellowhammer State and those who continue to make it what it is today. Our 2024 list included:
- Ashley Robinett: VP of Shared Services, Alabama Power Company
- Caroline Aderholt: Board of Trustees, Auburn University
- Cynthia Crutchfield: CEO, Innovate Alabama
- Janice Pride: SVP, Bank Independent
- Karen Brooks: VP and Treasurer, Phifer Inc., Board of Trustees, University of Alabama
- Lafreeda Jordan: Chief External Affairs Officer, University of Alabama Huntsville
- Linda Maynor: Managing Partner, Maynor and Stiers LLC
- Lisa Devine: VP of Weapon Systems Operation at Dynetics, Inc, Leidos
- Liz Filmore: Chief of Staff for Governor Kay Ivey
- Liz Pharo: Founder, Divorce.com
- Liz Read: CEO and Founder, Clearlee Inc.
- Lora McClendon: Government and Public Affairs Rep for PowerSouth
- Maeci Walker: VP, Christie Strategy Group
- Mary Andrews Carlisle: VP and CFO, Vulcan Materials
- Mary Pat Lawrence: VP of Governmental Affairs, Protective Life
- Laura Hall: State Representative
- Leigh Hulsey: State Representative
- Rosilyn Houston: Senior Executive VP and Chief Talent and Cultural Executive, BBVA
- Sandy Hollinger: Tribal Council Member, Poarch Band of Creek Indians
- Tara Plimpton: Chief Legal Officer, Regions
“We’re incredibly privileged to have this group of women together for tonight’s ceremony,” said Ellis Terry, President of YHN Media Group. “In fact, Alabama as a whole is incredibly privileged to have this group of women, for their talent, for their careers, and for the ways they serve others. The impact they make in our state and beyond is truly remarkable.”
YHN Media Group, LLC is especially thankful for our event sponsors:
- Business Council of Alabama
- Palmer for Congress
- Great Southern Wood Preserving
- Protective Life Corporation
- Porch Band of Creek Indians
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
- University of Alabama System
- Women’s Foundation of Alabama
- Regions Financial Corporation
- Kendra Scott
- Alabama Association of Realtors
- Spire Energy
- Bank Independent
Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270