The List – January/February 2019
Amanda Curran began calling Montgomery her home in July 2014 after living only in New Hampshire and Vermont. She currently works for WSFA 12 News as a meteorologist. As a female in a STEM field, Amanda has seen her fair share of difficulties in the work place, but she has overcome them by not allowing herself to become the object of public scrutiny. “I achieved a bit of peace by just being authentically Amanda - doing that has helped let people see the person giving them their forecast on-air is truly the real me, someone who is passionate and educated within their field. The person they see on TV is the exact same as the person they would run into out and about,” she explains.
Amanda uses her past experiences to encourage the next generation to follow their dreams of STEM careers as she mentors school-age children. She and her boyfriend have a “fur baby,” Tanner, and enjoy being involved in the Montgomery community. Amanda is an active member of the Junior League of Montgomery and volunteers with the Girls Scouts of South Alabama. Interestingly enough, Amanda has never had caffeine, despite the exuberant energy needed to complete her everyday tasks.
Andy Nguyen is a thriving entrepreneur with a growing business. After moving to Montgomery in 2007, he had a vision to open a nail salon that would give customers an excellent, relaxing experience. In 2012, he opened Royal Nail Spa where his business grew rapidly, resulting in the need for an expansion in 2017. Specializing in manicures and pedicures, he also has a private, VIP room for parties or for those that prefer a little extra pampering. He has over 15 employees with years of combined experience, guaranteeing you the best service and safest products, including the largest selection of polish colors. He takes great pride in keeping the cleanest, most sanitary salon in the city.
His love for interior design and fresh flowers are part of what makes the salon so warm and inviting. Andy developed a love for flowers at the early age of ten and takes pride in the beautiful arrangements displayed throughout the salon. Along with creating a supportive environment for his employees and a pleasant experience for his customers, Andy also supports nonprofit organizations and schools through donations and gifts. Andy says his parents and family played a big role in motivating him to be successful, but we couldn’t talk about his family without mentioning the love of his life, Rocky, an adorable Maltese that makes everyone happy. If you are looking for a salon that will exceed your expectations, make your appointment and enjoy your “colorful” experience!
Katrina Hollins Pettway
Although her roots are in the Mississippi Delta, growing up in a military family that traveled coast to coast allowed Catrina Hollis Pettway to experience a variety of cultures. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Auburn University Montgomery and a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University, Catrina worked for the Alabama Department of Public Health for 11 years. She recently changed careers and works as a contract specialist where she is responsible for the acquisition of equipment and services for the men and women in the U.S. Air Force. Seeing her father work hard and do everything he could to help others instilled her strong work ethic and heart for service. Catrina is an advisor for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Auburn University Montgomery Chapter, where she advises and mentors college students and serves on the Alumni Board of Directors. Catrina has been a volunteer coach for the girls’ basketball team at Bellingrath Middle School, volunteers with the Montgomery Youth Forum and serves on the EMERGE Montgomery Board of Directors. She loves seeing growth in youth and young adults and says, “my goal every day when I wake up is to help those I encounter to be the best representation of themselves that they can be.” In her free time, you can catch Catrina reading a good book, hanging with her friends and watching football. Her favorite quote is, “If God brings me to it, he will bring me through it.” Catrina may be petite in size, but there is nothing small about the impact she makes on those she encounters.
Everyone needs a David Huguely in their corner. Supportive, encouraging, vivacious and kind, he has a beautiful ability to make you feel like you are important and loved through his gifts and talents. After studying business and marketing at the University of Heidelberg, David went on to study cosmetology at the Dayton Academy of Hair Design with a masters in cutting and coloring in New York and London. After sitting in his chair at Joseph Salon, where he serves as master stylist and colorist, you will leave feeling your best, inside and out. When David isn’t working, you can find him working out, serving on the Dream Team at Church of the Highlands, or flying planes with Highlands Flying Club.
David has worked hard to bridge racial and cultural barriers to create appreciation for beauty. He loves serving others and offers free cuts and styles at shelters for people re-entering society. He credits much of his success and positive influences to his family and his church family and stays motivated by his children, David and Davita. David loves the arts and has a passion for adventure, which resulted in him pursuing his pilot’s license and a love for skydiving. Look for David around local businesses which he constantly supports… he will be the one that lights up the room!
Jina DuVernay has always loved to read. She would spend time writing poems, short stories, and reading anything she could get her hands on. After graduating high school, she flirted with the idea of becoming a librarian, but not knowing anyone who had chosen librarianship as a profession, she brushed off the thought. She started her undergraduate degree at California State University at Long Beach and finished with a bachelor's degree in English from Troy State University at Montgomery. Later, she obtained a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Auburn University at Montgomery and then earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama. Several years later while working for the State of Alabama in the Department of Labor and for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, she could no longer deny that she was born to do something much more creative and made the career change to where she currently works - as the special collections librarian at Alabama State University's Levi Watkins Learning Center.
She will be the first to tell you that it’s never too late to pursue your dream job. Jina serves on the board of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Writers' Forum board. She also volunteers for the Alabama Book Festival and Brantwood Children's Home. Jina is passionate about the preservation of materials related to African American history and was elated when she was recently selected to participate in a two-year fellowship as the visiting archivist of African American Collections at Emory University, an honor that will be invaluable to her career. Jina was raised by a faithful and fiercely independent woman and credits her mom’s enthusiasm, creativity and work ethic for her success.
Kadra Guy Parkman
Upon meeting Kadra Parkman, you will notice her humble spirit, her love of family, and heart for others. A graduate of Auburn University Montgomery, Kadra’s various projects and work experiences helped her find her entrepreneurial spirit. After marrying Brendon Parkman, Kadra worked alongside him in his cattle company, Parkman Land & Cattle Company, until they opened Sweet P’s Eats and Treats, also known as the Pink Cow, in 2011. Kadra started in real estate several years ago investing in distressed homes, updating and using them as rental properties. She became a licensed real estate agent to expand opportunities to help others and currently works with Wallace & Moody Realty. Kadra says, “I love that my clients trust in me to help them navigate what could be one of the largest investments they will ever endeavor in, the sale or purchase of their home. Another thing that I love about what I do is that my children can work with me. From cleaning out homes when we purchase distressed or painting walls when we’re bringing them back to life, I’ve empowered them to feel like they’re included in the process.”
Kadra says her husband has been her biggest supporter and cheerleader. “Even in my failures he’s there to pick me up, motivate me to dig deeper and push harder all while wearing a smile.” Kadra and Brendon have two children together, Harrison and Raley, and two adult children, Nakota & Dalton. Kadra is involved with many local ministries and nonprofits, but the one closest to her heart is the Footprints Ministry, who supported the family when her daughter was born premature at 28 weeks weighing only 2 pounds. Kadra enjoys gardening, helping her husband on the ranch, and watching her youngest children compete in the Alabama Jr. High School Rodeo Association. They are active members at Eastmont Baptist Church.
Many of us start our career path at an early age only to realize that we were born to do something completely different. When Lisa Smith graduated from Troy University in 2001 with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in French, she never believed that her passion and talent for photography would manifest years later behind the shutter of a lens. After working in advertising for several years, Lisa could no longer ignore her dream of photography. Encouraged by her father-in-law, who recognized her talent, Lisa co-partnered with another local photographer to create Pop Photography. Six years later, she ventured out on her own to create Studio Panache, which focuses primarily on fashion and teen photography. Lisa’s favorite thing about her job is connecting with her clients and their families. “Seeing them feel confident and beautiful in exactly their own way is what keeps me smiling,” Lisa shares.
She also appreciates that other wonderful, local photographers recognize community over competition, which helps everyone succeed. Lisa is married to Jeremy and together they own Madison Mini Mart, which she jokingly says they started in their “spare time.” Lisa and Jeremy have one teenage daughter, Marley, who enjoys spending time at both businesses. Lisa is a contributing photographer for RSVP, serves on the board for the Prattville Arts Council and CrimeStoppers, but knows the importance of balancing work and play. Lisa is a concert-goer, foodie, beach-lover, and while she almost always chooses podcasts over books, she is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to fashion magazines. When life gets too busy, downtime with her family is her favorite way to recharge.
Montgomery native Paul Evans is described by his friends as one of the hardest-working and caring people they know. His work ethic was evident throughout his education as he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in political science from Troy University, where he also served as vice president of the Student Government Association. He went on to graduate magna cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. During law school, he clerked for Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. and his dedication paid off when he was offered a position with the firm after passing the state bar. As an associate with the firm, Paul specializes in consumer fraud and commercial litigation. “I love the opportunity to serve and to help others when they face difficult hardships as a result of being wronged by fraudulent or unjust conduct,” Paul shares. Paul is married to Jillian, who studied at his side throughout law school and is now a prosecutor. Paul is a member of First Baptist Church of Montgomery, where he serves with the Tutoring Program, assists with the Middle District of Alabama’s Pro Se Litigant Assistance Program, which aids unrepresented individuals with pleadings and mediations, and he also serves on the Catholic Social Services of Montgomery Board of Directors, for which he is a member of the Grant Writing Committee. In addition, he is a member of Montgomery County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, and the Hugh Maddox American Inn of Court. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with family, friends and his goldendoodle Atticus.
Robbie Poole may be joking when he refers to working for Jack Ingram Motors as his “temporary job after college… 20 years ago” but the truth is, he would never go anywhere else. In his position as sales manager, he raves about the Ingram family being some of the best people he has ever known. While raising his daughters Bailey and Lily, he loves that the company is pro-family and allows him flexibility to be involved in their activities. Robbie had to work hard in the beginning of his career to cultivate client relationships but loves when clients turn into life-long friends. “I have installed car seats for children that have now graduated college and call me when something is wrong with their car before calling their parents,” he shares.
Robbie has traveled all over the world training and honing his skills but credits his success to his parents. They never met a person they didn’t like and instilled a sense of community and friendship in Robbie which he tries to apply to everything in life. Robbie is a big supporter of "all things local," and often gets recruited for projects and events. The Jack Ingram dealership has been a part of Montgomery for 60 years and supports many charities, making his job even more rewarding. Robbie loves traveling abroad but is also a Disney Fanatic! He writes for several Disney related web pages and blogs, and also serves as administrator for a Facebook Group for Disney Annual Passholders with over 65,000 members. We are pretty sure his popularity in Montgomery consists of an even larger audience.
Although growing up Sallie Hines believed having a voice and opinion was against a woman’s image, she was born with a boldness that couldn’t be stifled. As she grew older and traveled more, she found herself in front of women who were leaders, ones with influence, and major key players within communities. She saw certainty in all of them and ever since, she’s aimed past requirements and become the requirement. Sallie graduated from Alabama State University with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in communication. As the project coordinator of corporate development at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Sallie loves helping to improve the economic well-being of the community. “Being able to be a part of a team that thrives on creating jobs and preservation of current jobs is amazing,” Sallie says. While living in Brooklyn, New York, Sallie studied improv and scene study with Carl Ford and Omar Salmon at Susan Batson Studios and Film Production at New York Film Academy.
She has a strong passion for screenplay writing and enjoys creating, narrating, and directing visuals. Working as the project manager at Sydney A. Foster Studios allows Sallie to harness her creative spirit. “Having the ability to create and bring an idea to life is the most fulfilling experience! Acting, writing, and directing is truly my lifeline,” she shares. Sallie is a member of the EDAA Young Professionals Group and also serves as a mentor with the Y Achievers of the YMCA. The biggest influence in her life was her grandmother, who has never given up and taught her how to be a true fighter.
Dr. Sami Nizam
Montgomery got a little richer this year when Dr. Sami Nizam chose our city as the place to contribute his talent and skills. Dr. Nizam and his wife Lily, also his physician assistant, just opened Alabama Surgical Arts where he performs oral and maxillofacial surgery and facial cosmetic surgery. He comes with an abundance of education and accolades from the University of Florida, Nova Southeastern University, LSU and Rutgers. Dr. Nizam says he loves operating and seeing smiles on his patients faces. “Let’s face it, getting the privilege to operate on someone, whether it is to get them out of pain, or to better their looks, is a tremendous responsibility. Everyone ends up being essentially family and it’s a very rewarding feeling,” he shares. His father had the biggest impact on his success because he immigrated to this country in 1976 to escape the civil war in Lebanon.
He attended college barely knowing English and had a successful career as the Vice President of Liberty National Life Insurance. Dr. Nizam tell us that his patients make the many late nights of studying and being on call all worth it. Dr. Nizam and Lily aren’t wasting any time getting involved in the community and are attending events and making friends all over town. When Dr. Nizam isn’t working and making connections, he enjoys working out and college football. Schedule a consultation with Alabama Surgical Arts and discover another one of Montgomery’s best!
Everyone wants to live in a place where they feel safe. Crime and the fear of crime are still big concerns for a lot for people but Tony Garrett, Executive Director for Central Alabama CrimeStoppers is playing a vital role in reducing crime and making our communities feel safer. CrimeStoppers encourages members of the community to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy. The program offers callers anonymity and rewards for any information that leads to an arrest through the 24 hour/7 days a week tip line. Before co-founding this nonprofit organization in 1997, Tony served in the Army Reserve for eight years during which he also joined the Montgomery Police Department where he served for 21 years. Tony led, supervised and commanded teams specializing in fighting crime and making our streets safer.
One look at his resume filled with accolades and accreditations makes it impossible to deny this officer’s passion for reducing crime. Tony always wanted to be a police officer and although he isn’t wearing the badge anymore, he definitely continues to “serve and protect” by offering services and information to law enforcement to help catch criminals and offering services to the community so they can defend themselves. Growing up as one of five children, Tony credits his parents for his success. “We didn’t always get what we wanted, but we always had what we needed. Witnessing their love for family, trust in God, and hard work ethic definitely influenced who I am today.” Tony is married to Tamara and has two boys, Nicholas, age 16, and Courtney, age 20. He is a member and deacon at the Heart of God Ministry.