The List - July/August 2018
Dr. Jevonnah "Lady J" Ellison is the founder and CEO of Maximum Potential Academy and The Leading Ladies Mastermind. She is a certified leading business coach, and dean of coaching for the 48 Days Eagles. “I help leading ladies worldwide (and a handful of awesome men) prioritize what matters MOST in life and business so they can maximize their potential, live out their God-given purpose, and leave a strong legacy in the marketplace,” she explains. Jevonnah was recently named one of the top leading business coaches in the nation by the Forbes Coaches Council. She says God is the primary source of her success, and thanks her mother, Dr. Rezine Keng, for being her biggest fan. Jevonnah's mission is to encourage, inspire and empower leaders to reach their fullest potential. Lady J is married to Pastor Terry Ellison and leads a ladies bible study in the fall. She is a presenter for the Small Business Administration. Leaders like Bishop Charles E. Blake, Dan Miller, Michael Hyatt, Dr. Barbara McCoo Lewis and Dave Ramsey have played a pivotal role in her life. Jevonnah has completed thirteen marathons. She was recently presented with The Golden Rule Award by the North American division of the United Nations for treating others the way she would like to be treated.
Aaron Ganey shines in his role as the Special Events Coordinator for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Ever since he began his hospitality career as a server at the Capital City Club, Aaron’s work ethic and perseverance have allowed him to take advantage of each opportunity presented to him. As Director of Logistics for Jennie Weller Catering, Aaron’s creativity flourished as he helped his clients bring their event visions to life. In 2017, he had the opportunity to combine his experience in hospitality and event planning with his love of museums by working with the MMFA and has been in this position since. “God given talent certainly plays a part in my success, but most of it comes from simple sweat equity and a willingness to learn. All of my previous work experiences have played their part in molding me into the person I am today,” Aaron explains. When he’s not planning events for the Museum, Aaron enjoys hosting dinner parties, exploring new cities, working on his never-ending bathroom renovation, and food photography. He also has an ongoing quest to make the perfect macaron.
Ben Gibbons, a deputy district attorney of the Montgomery County DA’s office, graduated from the University of Alabama and Jones School of Law with hopes of making his community a safer place to live. “I feel that law is a service profession, and I am a service-oriented person that likes to help others,” Ben says. He loves the reward of working with first responders and local law enforcement officers, who serve Montgomery’s community with honor. Ben volunteers with the I-Lead program as a mentor to 5th grade students on subjects including drugs, peer pressure, and how to avoid a life of illegal activities. He is a member of Montgomery’s chapter of the Red Elephant Club and Montgomery County’s Young Lawyer Association. Ben also serves as a camp counselor at Camp Sumatanga for special needs adults and volunteers with Meals on Wheels. He and his girlfriend, Erin Cunningham, share their two dogs, Charlie and Amos. Ben is a big Alabama football fan and enjoys running, reading, cooking, and being overly sarcastic with his friends. After losing a bet to a close friend in 2014, Ben is now also an ordained minister. Since then he has officiated many friends’ weddings, with more planned in 2019.
As a speech language pathologist for the Montgomery Public School System, Caroline Kimbrough Stough loves working with children. “We have great power with our communication, so being able to help a child better communicate in his or her environment is one of the best things that we can do for them.” Caroline has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology and Master of Communication Disorders from Auburn University. Caroline highlights her faith as the biggest driving factor in her success; the difficulties she faces in her day-to-day work are no match for the support she receives from God and her family and friends. As an involved member of Frazer United Methodist Church, Caroline attends a weekly Bible study and is a member of many service teams within the church. Caroline, a Montgomery native, has loved seeing the immense growth her city has undergone in the recent years. She loves shopping at Eastchase, baking and reading in her free time.
After eighteen years in financial services, Elton “Earl” Brooks is now currently serving as the Vice President of Retail Delivery at MAX Credit Union. Originally from Detroit, Elton moved to Montgomery 20 years ago. Since then, he believes the city of Montgomery has played a huge part in his growth over the years. He enjoys the changing pace of his job, citing the people he works with as his favorite part. Elton’s family serves as a huge driving force as he continues to progress in his career. “The biggest influence on my career, outside of God and my faith, is my family. I have nine nieces and nephews that I wanted to be an example for, and I make sure that I am just that for them.” Elton serves as the president of the Epsilon Theta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He also serves on the MAX4Kids and Cancer Wellness Foundation Boards. Elton is single and the self-proclaimed “life of the party”. He enjoys travelling and enjoying life in every way possible.
Kimberly Davis does her best work when making others smile. As the founder of Party Posse and the other half to Glitterbug the Clown, she does just that throughout Montgomery and the surrounding areas. While Kimberly was attending the University of Georgia, she worked as a clown at birthday parties for kids. After graduating with her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing, she moved to Montgomery and began working for jewelry stores. She had a calling to open her own entertainment business offering face painting, balloon works, airbrushing, stilt walking, and other amusements. “Quitting my 9-5 job to become a professional clown and entertainer was actually a serious life decision. I knew it was possible to love what you do and make a career of it,” Kimberly says. She has competed three times internationally in the World Body Painting Festival in Austria. Her team placed first one year, and in the top 10 other years. As Kimberly continues to work events and birthday parties, she highlights the children’s sheer joy as her favorite part. Kimberly has been known to make surprise appearances at local events, just to spread a little cheer. Her favorite thing about Montgomery are the life-long friendships she has formed.
When you meet Lanie Brazell, the first thing you notice is her bubbly personality and contagious energy. After graduating from Troy University and working as a Certified Public Accountant for several years, she put her career on hold to support her husband Craig’s professional baseball career. They spent seven years in Japan and while she always had a passion for fitness and Pilates, it wasn’t until they returned home that she decided to make her dream a reality and open Club Pilates in Montgomery. It was only a few months after opening her East Montgomery location that the client demand resulted in a second location, as well as plans for an Auburn location. Lanie has three sons - Trot, Tagg, and Tipp, so she knows the importance of maintaining health and balance. “It isn't about what you do for one hour… it’s what you do for the other 23. We want you to gain strength and a better quality of life.” The motto “Do Pilates. Do Life.” speaks to how this exercise method, an art of control over your body, mind, and muscles, can improve your everyday life. Lanie and her family are involved members of Trinity Presbyterian Church. Both she and Club Pilates enjoy giving back to the community by helping with events including Breakfast for Babies, American Cancer Society’s Vintage Affair, and the Pike Road Crawfish Boil.
Photographer Megan Florence and her talent are an asset to Kim Box Photography, where her creative eye comes through in each shutter of her camera lens. After graduating from the University of Alabama, Megan moved out west to both California and Colorado for a short season, where she worked with kids and fell in love with the outdoors along with all the beauty it offered. It was in that time that she found her passion for photography. Megan knows that she would not be where she is today were it not for God’s guidance and comfort. In conversation with Megan she shared, “With photography, I believe the scariest aspect at first is putting your work out there for anyone and everyone to judge or criticize. However, I have found with photography that you rarely create something perfect, but you can create something both you and your clients love and hopefully cherish forever.” Her skills often serve RSVP well as she works to capture the perfect image for our readers. Megan is married to Mitchell Florence and enjoys traveling, music, and fashion in her free time. You can usually catch her out supporting local Cloverdale restaurants and teaching a twice-weekly dance fitness class.
Captain Michael Benton, originally from Detroit, has had a life-long journey of combining his love of engineering and ROTC in his career. Michael now serves in the United Army Reserve as an Engineer Officer and plans to use his engineering background and leadership abilities to pursue a career in Aerospace Science in the civilian sector. A graduate of Tuskegee University, Michael now lives in Montgomery, Ala., and is happily married to Dr. Brooke Robinson Benton. “At an early age I was fascinated with people and what made them different from me. I jumped at every opportunity to be surrounded by people. This is what drove my decision to join the military.” As a result of Michael's courage and tenacity during a tour in Afghanistan, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. He attributes his success to his parents and thanks them for constantly pushing him to be his very best. He enjoys inspiring the local youth and looks forward to becoming more involved in the Montgomery community.
As the catering sales manager for Wynlakes Golf and Country Club, Morgan Tuggle plans and hosts fundraisers, corporate events, and weddings at one of the city's most popular venues. "I love my job because it allows me to meet and work with people from all walks of life in the community. It is really important to me that everyone who comes to Wynlakes has a great time and leaves with unforgettable memories," she says. Armed with a marketing degree from Auburn University at Montgomery and a sincere passion for hospitality, Morgan provides top notch service for her clients. Morgan is a member of Leadership Montgomery's Torchbearers Class X and serves as the project chair for 21 Dreams' Art Walk Series. When Morgan is not working with Wynlakes, she can be found traveling and spending time with friends and family. Her parents have been her biggest influences and have helped her grow both personally and professionally. "They have shown me that you can go anywhere with hard work and dedication. I will always have that to cherish and take with me."