Our mission is to Connect, Educate, and Empower Women that will not only inspire the next generation of leaders, but provide a community for those currently leading. We will discuss opportunities and issues we handle every day as well as learn skills to strengthen our voice as Women in the Industry!

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Michele Coley, is the only African American female Allstate Agent in the state of Alabama. She holds a Business Administration degree from Stillman College. She serves on the West Alabama Chamber Board of Directors, the city of Tuscaloosa Framework Steering Committee and Elevate Advisory Council. Michele also is a member of the University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies Board of Visitors. Recently she was appointed to the City of Tuscaloosa Zoning Board of Adjustments as a Supernumerary. Michele is very passionate about young people and their education. She mentors and sponsors reading/positive behavior initiatives at several city and county schools. Michele is a business owner, wife of 25 years and devoted mother.

Michele Coley

Conference Facilitator & Insurance Agent

Jackie Wuska is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.  She received her B.A. in Communications and Masters in Public Administration from The University of Alabama.  She has more than 20 years in higher education and non-profit fund-raising and management experience. Jackie has worked in development at both UA and UAB and served as the Executive Director and President of The Literacy Council of Central Alabama located in Birmingham. 

Jackie joined United Way of West Alabama as CEO and President in March 2012. Under her leadership, UWWA had a record campaign for funds raised in West Alabama in 2018 raising more than $4 million to address the community’s critical education, income stability and health issues.  Jackie has served on the boards of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, SAFE Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club, Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, UA’s Blackburn Institute as well as President of the United Ways of Alabama Board of Directors and Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club.  She is a member of the Black Belt Commission Education Committee, Christ Episcopal Church, Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Committee, and serves as the West Alabama Regional Council Chairman for Leadership Alabama and Past-President of the Alpha Chi Omega Tuscaloosa Alumni Chapter.  Jackie was named to the inaugural al.com 2015 list of Women Who Shape Our State.

Jackie Wuska

President & CEO - United Way of West Alabama

Barbara A. Trautlein, PhD is author of the best-selling book Change Intelligence:  Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change that Sticks, principal and founder of Change Catalysts, and originator of the CQ® System for Developing Change Intelligent® Leaders and Organizations. For over 25 years, Barbara has coached executives, trained leaders at all levels, certified change agents, and facilitated mission-critical change management initiatives - achieving bottom-line business and powerful leadership results for clients.  In 2015 she had the honor of being named Change Management Consultant of the Year by the Association of Change Management Professionals. Barbara is gifted at sharing strategies and tactics that are accessible, actionable, and immediately applicable. Her blend of research and real-world expertise makes her an in-demand speaker at conferences around the world. Barbara has a unique ability to connect with her audiences, from C-level executives in Fortune 500 organizations to front line employees, and across industries, from steel mills to sales teams, refineries to retail outlets, and healthcare to high tech.  Clients served include Abbott Laboratories, BP, Cisco, Ford Motor Company, Steel Dynamics, and ThyssenKrupp. Barbara holds a doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Barbara Trautlein

Author of Change Intelligence

Elizabeth Winter is a 1995 graduate of Vanderbilt University and a 1998 graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law.  Elizabeth is a member of the Alabama State Bar, Tuscaloosa County Bar and The Tuscaloosa Estate Planning Council (past president).  She has served on several non-profit boards including the Children’s Hands on Museum (past secretary), the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and The Alabama Choir School.  She is currently an ex Officio member of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority Board of Directors and the Treasurer of The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Elizabeth has spent her career at Regions Bank, joining Regions as a Trust Officer in 1998 in Montgomery, Alabama.  She now serves in the role of Market Executive for the City of Tuscaloosa and Area Business Manager for Private Wealth Management for the Tuscaloosa, Alabama office.

Elizabeth Winter

Senior Vice President - Market Executive and Area Business Manager for Private Wealth

An internationally sought-after master at enhancing teams, Gail D. Rudolph possesses the ability to identify root issues and leadership tools to create lasting solutions. As the CEO of LIFT Leadership, she has extensive experience in bringing her expertise to all types of organizations and industries. Gail is certified and credentialed to facilitate, speak, train, and coach individuals and groups in leadership development, professional skills, and personal growth. Using qualitative and quantitative research to ensure success, Gail assesses team dynamics, zeros in on individual needs, and collaboratively formulates plans to help create high-producing organizations.


Gail obtained comprehensive training and mentorship by John Maxwell and members of his world-class faculty. She is equipped with proven programs, tools, resources, and experience to help organizations and teams improve productivity, performance, and profitability by moving them from participation to partnership and cooperation to collaboration. As a facilitator for group workshops, corporate training in leadership, speaking, sales, or coaching skills for leaders, or as a lecturer or keynote speaker, Gail can support your organization to attain its goals and objectives.

Gail has more than 25 years of experience serving in leadership positions across a spectrum of organizations, including community hospitals, academic medical institutions, large healthcare systems and consulting. Her past experience includes extensive work in Leadership and Philanthropy at Cleveland Clinic, Northwestern University, Dignity Health, and various other community organization and companies. Gail holds a Master’s degree in Human Services Administration and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Among her many accomplishments, Gail has been named a Top 10 Leader You Should Know and is currently serving as Executive Director on The John Maxwell Team while also serving on his Presidents Advisory Council. For two consecutive years, Gail was the Chair of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) Leading Forward Executive Summit, helping to enhance leadership skills within the healthcare industry. As an active member and frequent speaker with AHP, Gail believes in the impact that leadership can have on individuals and organizations, which compels her to share and mentor from her experience. Additionally, Gail has worked with local and global youth organizations, government agencies, and local social services to enhance the character development of future generations. She holds several certifications to enhance leadership and character skills in youth. Gail firmly believes that investing in upcoming leaders is vital in shaping the future of our communities. Gail is a sought-after advisor to numerous consulting and research firms and executive coach to leaders across the world. Certified to train leaders internationally, Gail most recent trip was to Asuncion Paraguay to train government leaders, business executives, and students as part of a national Transformation Effort as a joint partnership between members of The John Maxwell Team and the Paraguay Leaders. The overarching sentiment, “It is not the conditions that surround us but the decisions that we make that determines our future,” encouraged the Minister of Education and Sciences of Paraguay, Eduardo Petta, to request this leadership training be part of curriculum in every school in the country. As a Specialist in Team Dynamics, Philanthropy, Sales Training, Leadership Training,  Value Based Leadership, a DISC Certified Behavior Analyst and Consultant, and Certified Speaker on The John Maxwell  Methods, Gail aids personal and professional growth through study and practical application using proven leadership methods. She possesses a Graduate School of Business Leadership Entrepreneur Certification from Stanford University. Gail helps you make the rest of your life into the best of your life.

Gail D. Rudolph

CEO of LIFT Leadership

Gina Simpson is a native of Alabama and a multiple graduate of The University of Alabama. She has spent her career as a serial entrepreneur founding, managing and growing several companies. Mrs. Simpson, a certified professional coach, enjoys using her entrepreneurial experience to grow and foster businesses. Currently, she is the President of Regina Holdings, LLC, a consulting and investment firm, and Soluna Strategies, a professional coaching firm. In addition to a business owner, consultant, and coach, Mrs. Simpson is a Professor at The University of Alabama in Entrepreneurship. Gina and her husband, Mark, began their entrepreneurial journey in the field of construction and have founded six businesses over the last 18 years. She was awarded the Rising Star Entrepreneurship Award by the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the Roots and Wings Award by the Women in Business Council. She is very active in the community serving on several boards. Mrs. Simpson holds a B.S. in Management with a concentration in Small Company Management and Entrepreneurship and an M.S. in Marketing. She has been married for 19 years and has two daughters, which she hails as her greatest accomplishments.

Gina Simpson

Professor of Entrepreneurship & Coach at Soluna Strategies

Shannon Bumgarner is a strategic operations leader with 20 years of manufacturing experience within diverse industries including pulp and paper, optical fiber and connectivity, consumer products, and diversified industrial. Her extensive experience includes roles in engineering, operations, quality, and procurement. She is an accomplished architect of processes and systems including enterprise implementations of quality architecture, integrated quality systems, and tooling asset management. Shannon is currently a Category Manager at Ingersoll Rand where she leads global and regional sourcing strategies for brazing alloys and facilities management. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Pulp and Paper Science from North Carolina State University as well as a Master in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Throughout her career, Shannon has been an advocate for women’s leadership development. She is currently a co-chair for the Ingersoll Rand Women’s Employee Network in Davidson, NC and formerly a founding member for a local telecommunications women’s network. She is a graduate of Ingersoll Rand’s Women’s Leadership Program and remains actively involved in program activities. In 2017, Shannon launched a “Women in Technology” peer coaching circle at Ingersoll Rand with 2018 program expansion to include diverse disciplines and experience levels. She is also a member of Ellevate Network, Women in Manufacturing, and Society of Women Engineers.

Shannon Bumgarner

Author of Change Intelligence

With a reputation for challenging small visions and transforming them into global notoriety, Candace Reese Walters is a nationally-recognized entrepreneur and inspirational speaker. Specializing in corporate and government strategy management, Candace has a strong track record in exceeding expectations.

After several years in corporate and nonprofit public relations, marketing and advertising, Candace founded Envision Global Corporation to serve a diverse clientele list of individuals, organizations and corporate clientele by delivering leading-edge, innovative image building campaigns, with a global focus. Having an affinity for representing socially-conscious clientele, through Envision Global, Candace has managed projects and provided unlimited business and lifestyle resources to a plethora of distinguished entrepreneurs, executives and philanthropists who have been featured in national and international multi-media outlets, including online/digital media, nationally-syndicated radio and television broadcasts.

Candace’s passion lies in her empowerment presentations and community initiatives. As a children’s advocate, she offers inspiring words to young men about etiquette and image, as well as young women on entering and maintaining healthy relationships. Candace also engages with entrepreneurs and business executives on leadership, marketing, public relations, professional etiquette, and effective, next-level business practices as an executive coach.

Recognized as one the 10 Women to Know in Atlanta, 2011 Fearless Female Entrepreneur and Turnkett Leadership Character Award nominee, Candace is a well-known supporter of local and national community organizations.  She is frequently tapped by nonprofit and religious organizations to strengthen their image and media strategies for initiatives, conferences, and goal-oriented campaigns.  She is a graduate of Auburn University, a wife to Adrian, and mother to James, Eon, and two amazing bonus loves, Elias and Adriana. 


When asked of her legacy, Candace replies, I want it to matter to my family and everyone I have touched, that I was born.  We've seen the dash between the time people are born and when they die on tombstones; I want my dash to be significant.  I don't want my living to be in vain.

Candace Reese Walters

Empowerment Speaker

Megan graduated from Auburn University summa cum laude with a B.S. in Finance and Marketing in 2008. For the past 10 years, Megan has been financial planning for small business owners. She and her team of advisors work diligently to create solid financial plans to help their clients accumulate wealth, reduce taxes, and continue a legacy for their families. In 2016, she obtained her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification. She is currently working on her Certified Business Exit Consultant (CBEC®) designation. Megan is Series 7, 66 registered and insurance licensed in multiple states across the country.


Since Megan was a little girl her dream was to have a ranch. She has an incredible love of horses and the outdoors. Her own farm experience and her dream of owning a farm have fueled her passion to help agribusiness owners and multi-generational farming operations. She understands their  concerns over growing their operations, retirement planning, and succession and estate planning. Through comprehensive planning, she focuses on her clients’ needs to provide a unique plan that helps towrd meeting their specific goals and objectives. Her goal is to establish long lasting relationships with her clients and their families to ensure a sense of security for their future and the future of their family and operation.


In addition to her work with small business owners and agribusiness owners, Megan serves on the Junior Board of Visitor’s for the UAB School of Nursing and supports several non-profit organizations such as Special Equestrians, National MS Society, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and the YWCA.


Megan is married and currently resides in Pelham, AL with her husband and two dogs. When she is not at home or working, you can find her at the farm or running at a barrel race.


Securities Licensed in AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, LA, MD, MA, NJ, OK, SC, TX, and VA

Insurance Licensed in AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, ID, LA, NV, NY, OR, SC, and VA

Megan Spain

Certified Financial Planner 

Jacqueline (“Jacquie”) Johnson is the Financial Wellness Manager at Alabama ONE Credit Union. Jacquie describes this position as her dream job where she gets to share her passion of financial literacy and educating people on how to live a better financial life. Jacquie has worked in corporate America in the fields of business and banking for over 20 years. She is experienced in recruitment and selection of new employees and training and development.  In 2012, Jacquie decided to make a major career shift and enter the non-profit arena.  The non-profit sector allowed Jacquie to pursue her true passion for addressing the educational needs of adolescents and ensuring that the proper community resources are in place to provide the support they need. In 2012, Jacquie co-founded and was the CEO/President of Bright Minds Youth Development, a non-profit organization that serves the youth and young adults in underprivileged areas. Jacquie is married to Derrick, and they are the parents of three amazing teenagers.  Jacquie holds a Masters of Arts – Human Resource Development from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science – Business Administration/Finance from Georgia Southern University. Past Affiliations: American Institute if Banking (AIB) – Instructor; American Cancer Society – Executive Board Member (Pinellas County) and Volunteer Jacksonville, Inc., Blue Print for Leadership Class of 2001.

Jacqueline Johnson

Financial Wellness Manager

Crownover Financial Group of Raymond James 


Senior Registered Sales Associate

Daphne Boswell, earned her Dental Hygiene License in 1993, and her Associates of Science degree in 2007. She began her Mary Kay business in 2000 while working full time as a Dental Hygienist. After nearly 10 years in dentistry she decided to pursue her Mary Kay Business full time. Her first year in Mary Kay full time she earned the use of a career car, her first diamond ring and more income with less hours than the previous year as a Dental Hygienist. Since then she’s earned 2 more diamond rings and is currently working on her 2nd Mary Kay career car. Daphne has been a member of BNI over 5 years & has served as a Director Consultant working with local business owners in 2 chapters for 3 years.

She is the co founder of Simply Stunning were she and her partner are makeup artists for weddings and other special events. She says,” Making women feel beautiful gives them confidence. A confident woman can take on the world.” Daphne is also a makeup artist for the University of Alabama working with guests for the local TV station WVUA. Daphne has been married 12 years to Bryan Boswell. She has two adult children, Lauren Elliott & Chase Elliott. In her spare time, Daphne loves to draw, paint & play with her 4 dogs & 2 cats.


Co-Founder of Simply Stunning

Jaela Avery is currently Director of Sales and Marketing for Candlewood Suites in Tuscaloosa, AL. Jaela has been in the Marketing field for over ten years and has loved every minute of it. “Every day is different and an adventure” she says. She serves as Board President for Turning Point Domestic Violence Shelter, Junior Achievement Board Member as well as in a leadership role with Junior League of Tuscaloosa. She is currently Chairperson for the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force within the League. She is also Past President of the Tuscaloosa City Council PTA. Jaela is very passionate about women, children and volunteering in the community. “I saw my Dad be very involved in our community while growing up. That planted the seed in me always making sure I do my part for the world I live in.” She looks at all she does as her ministry. Jaela is married to wife, Anedrea and they have two children. When she is not doing all she can for others she enjoys reading, writing and cheering her beloved Florida Gators on.

Jaela Avery

Director of Sales & Marketing

Sarah Rumfelt is an MBA student at The University of Alabama. Prior to business school, she worked as a marketing coordinator at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sarah is passionate about women’s leadership and realized the Tuscaloosa Women's Network with the goal of bringing together women from across the community. She serves as the president of Manderson Women in Business and is a graduate assistant at the Culverhouse School of Business Career Center. You can find her taking her dog, Rudy, to the Riverwalk, volunteering or drinking iced coffee at Heritage House.

Sarah Rumfelt

President of Manderson Women in Business

Mildred Black Hooks is the Founder and Principal Consultant of People Optimum Consulting, LLC.  She and her team partner with leaders, teams, and organizations to advance their goals through HR consulting, professional coaching and training services.

Her leadership experience spans the technology, healthcare, retail, service, and government industries.  She has been deemed “The People Optimizer.” In addition to launching People Optimum, LLC, Mildred is an author and national speaker. 


Mildred is a native of West Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Financial Management.  After graduation, she moved to Atlanta and advanced her career in the fields of human resources, technology integration and business development.  After completing her Executive MBA from Georgia State University, Mildred returned to West Alabama to lead HR Operations the largest health system and the second largest employer in West Alabama. For nearly a decade, Mildred oversaw HR legal and TJC regulatory compliance, employee relations, employee appreciation, HR policy, and the HR shared services center for a workforce of over 5,000 employees and contract staff working across multiple facilities and multiple states in the United States.  


Mildred has held key HR and Operations leadership roles in the public and private sectors, helping organizations strengthen people, systems, and structures to realize exceptional outcomes.  Mildred holds an Executive MBA and two Senior Professional HR certifications, SHRM-SCP, and SPHR.


Mildred is a sought-after, national speaker, entrepreneur, consultant, and author with a passion for optimizing to unlock potential.  In her career, she has delivered effective, impactful presentations on key leadership and industry topics for over 20 years in healthcare, business development, and technology.


Mildred loves spending time with her husband, Edward, five beautiful children, and extended family.  Mildred finds fulfillment in serving through her outreach ministry. 


Leadership and Workforce Consultant