The List - May/June 2017
Elizabeth Barrett holds a degree in marketing that, along with her creativity, supports her growth and success in the retail industry. She has always enjoyed fashion and clothes from a young age and dreamt of owning her own store. She held her first job at Bella, a high-end boutique, at age 16, and after attending college she worked as the manager and buyer at Painted Pink for about four years. Today, she works as an in-house personal shopper and style consultant at Dillard’s in The Shoppes at Eastchase. Having a strong work ethic, determination and being able to accept constructive criticism have all had a positive impact on her success. She says, “I have learned, and am still learning, that failure is actually a good thing and it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s failure that actually makes us better at what we do.” Elizabeth’s favorite thing about her job is that it allows her to be as creative as she wants while leaving a smile on every customer’s face after helping them and ensuring they feel their best. Elizabeth is engaged to William “Davis” Bonham, Jr. and they plan to wed on September 23, 2017. When she is not working, she enjoys playing tennis, exercising, spending time with her friends, fiancé and three dogs, taking on DIY projects, and traveling.
Donna Beisel graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education language arts. She is currently the K-12 education coordinator at the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University after teaching middle school for 13 years. She says the thing she loves most about her career is sharing the story of Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Mrs. Parks’ life of activism. She hopes that “history inspires someone else to go out and make a positive change in their own community.” Donna credits other museums and organizations in the area, as well as mentors at Troy University and the Rosa Parks Museum, who have been extremely helpful in sharing information and resources to help her acclimate and grow within the museum field. She also serves the community by helping in outreach projects such as cleaning up neighborhoods and renovating houses for low-income families and being involved in her church. She also enjoys visiting schools and sharing the story of Rosa Parks with children of all ages. She has been married to her husband, Bob, for nearly 22 years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her cats, enjoying good coffee and reading books. Donna also enjoys visiting other museums and cultural events and spending time with friends and family.
Selby Davis, custom homebuilder, remodeler and general contractor, graduated from Auburn University and worked for numerous companies before starting his own business in 2012. His father has been the director of the Home Builders Association of Alabama for 34 years and is his biggest mentor since he introduced him to the business and connected him with Hugh Cole and Nathan Watson— two of the best builders he has ever known. He says, “What I love most is not only building a place for people to live, but building their home that they will have so many memories in. It is such a rewarding feeling walking away after you’ve turned over someone’s keys to their brand new, custom home.” Davis likes to brag on the great families he has been fortunate enough to build for and says he would have no career to be successful in if it wasn’t for this community who has given him the opportunity to be recognized by his peers statewide in different construction project competitions. He stays involved as a board member for the Greater Montgomery Homebuilders Association, as a member of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. He has been married to his wife, Sarah, for almost five years and they have four-year-old identical twin boys, Russ and Jack. When he is not building, he enjoys his time at their family property in Greenville hunting and fishing.
Kiesha Favor has experienced many difficulties in her life, but that hasn’t stopped her. She is an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and did three tours in Iraq. She attended AUM before getting her certificate in medical billing and coding and is currently the denial management assistant in the clinical resource management department at Jackson Hospital. Her job is to ensure patients get as much medical care covered by their insurance as possible. She loves her position because she is able to care for patients—even if it’s behind the scenes. She says being a single mom has not been easy, but her two sons, Jaden and Jordon, have had the biggest influence on her success. They help keep her motivated as she works hard to provide the best environment for them to flourish in. She says, “They keep me going every day. Between their sports and homework, I had classes and homework of my own but pushed through, and I am now allowed to have an amazing career and I’m proud of my accomplishments.” Joining Emerge Montgomery and participating in Leadership Montgomery’s Torchbearers Leadership Course has been an integral part of her success and involvement in the community. In her free time she enjoys shopping, trying new things and has recently discovered that she enjoys dragon boat racing.
Jeremy Kelly received his bachelor’s degree in mass communications and business from Auburn University Montgomery. When he began college his father advised him to work toward being an entrepreneur and suggested a career in real estate. He took this sage advice and worked as an agent with Aronov Realty before becoming a broker and established his own independently operated agency, Kelly Realty, LLC. He says the biggest obstacle he had to hurdle to attain success in his career was fear—fear of failure, inadequacy and rejection. Once he was able to master that apprehension and overcome timidity, his career began to grow quickly. Jeremy says the community has contributed to his success by teaching him the power of resilience and grit. He has witnessed the amazing transformation of this city and the accelerated residential and commercial development and believes today’s Montgomery is dynamic and growing. He says, “When running your own business, you must wear many hats. Between selling homes, managing my rental portfolio and periodically flipping houses for profit, I stay very busy. I am also working toward getting my home builders license.” In his spare time he enjoys reading non-fiction and biographies while relaxing at his neighborhood cigar bar, as well as boxing and hiking with his Siberian husky, Zeus.
Jessica Powell graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in science commerce and business administration. She became a licensed realtor and is currently employed with New Waters Realty and also works as the marketing director. Growing up, her parents and grandparents were exemplary examples of what hard works means. They helped set the foundation for her professional career. She has overcome her obstacles to get to this place in her career and says, “As a naturally shy person, every step in my career has encouraged me to come out of my shell. I let my light shine, no matter the situation, because you never know whom you’re impacting in the process. A simple smile can go a long way to improve someone’s day.” Jessica says that on any given day you can find her setting up a mini photo shoot, writing blog posts, planning an event, or organizing a new home listing. The versatility of her position makes her day more exciting. She has only lived in Montgomery for about five years, but she says it is wonderful that each area of Montgomery has a different vibe and there always seems to be something fun going on in the community. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, and her one-year-old son, Bryant.
Michael Schwartz completed his educational studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and is now an executive and professional chef with an 18-year career with ClubCorp Private Clubs. He says the single biggest influence that has led to his success has been his relationship with God through faith. Doors have opened for him, and it has guided him in areas of wisdom, as it remains the key to all other family, friend and work relationships. Though he loves what he does, it was not always easy for him. He says, “With each step of this journey, I felt I had to earn success. Nothing has been handed to me. That said, I work by three rules: 1) Put the team first 2) Play for the guy next to you and 3) Prep like a warrior.” He thanks the community for their innate support and stays involved with Montgomery by helping in a number of outreach ministries serving soup and sharing his faith with others. He has also had the privilege of cooking for several annual charity fundraiser events. Chef Michael enjoys spending time with his wife, Donna, and his kids, Rebekah and Mindy. He enjoys being creative, digging in the dirt and is currently on a long journey of learning how to paint.
Robert Shimp, a Montgomery native, has kept himself busy over the years. He attended Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando, Florida, worked at Toast, The Plant, Fantasy, and The Annex recording studios, as well as Mezzanine and other music venues in the San Francisco Bay area. During that time he was also touring with a few bands, mixing front of house and tour managing. He is currently an audio engineer and admits that becoming an audio engineer is not a traditional job, so he had to overcome anxiety, fear, and self-doubt to prove to himself and others that it can be a viable career. His favorite part is getting to help musicians and artists turn concepts into a reality and getting to make a living listening to music. He currently works at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School where he hopes to develop an audio/event technology program. He feels that the Montgomery Public School System’s Arts program was the center of many of his accomplishments. He says, “Without it I would have been lost and never known about the creative job opportunities available to someone willing to work hard. This town taught me to create what I wanted if it wasn’t readily available, and that nothing good is easy.” He is happily married to Peggy and they have one daughter, Elena.
Katie Bright Snitil
Katie Bright Snitil graduated from Auburn University and is the membership director at the Capital City Club. She takes pride in representing a club that shares the same values and traditions of the city she calls home, and the opportunity to connect with so many great people while overlooking the beautiful downtown area. Both of her parents had a strong vision of a bigger and better Montgomery, and she was lucky enough to have grown up watching their vision come to life. She says, “The best part is, there are so many who shared that vision with them, including myself, who are still working to make that dream come true. I love this town and will always be one of Montgomery’s biggest cheerleaders!” Katie believes the community is full of incredible people that not only raised her but also provided the knowledge, encouragement and resources she needed to develop and flourish within this strong, always growing environment. Katie is actively involved with the community as an Emerge Montgomery member and has helped serve the Montgomery County Humane Society, Prattville YMCA, and Hemophilia & Bleeding Disorders of Alabama. Katie is married to Eric and they have one dog named Bolt. On the weekends, they enjoy spending time at Jackson Lake Island, their family’s land. They love being with family, kayaking and hanging out outdoors.
Molly Stone, a native of Louisiana and Auburn University graduate, is making a true impact on our community. Molly began her career in nonprofits as the development officer at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts before becoming the executive director of the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless in 2010. She recently transitioned to the role of associate executive director of The Wellness Coalition and is excited to be the executive director of the same organization in October of this year. She says, “We have a wonderfully collaborative nonprofit community that works together to achieve goals. I enjoy serving with other groups to solve community-wide problems.” Outside of her job, Molly volunteers with the Junior League of Montgomery, Health Services, Inc., and the Forest Avenue PTA to name a few. She is married to husband Brandon Stone, an attorney with Stone Law Group in Millbrook, and they have two daughters, 9-year-old Audrey and 4-year-old Anna. They are active members of First Baptist Church of Montgomery where Molly recently completed her seventh year as the Children’s Bible drill director and helps in preschool, Sunday school and VBS. They spend their free time enjoying Montgomery’s cultural activities, supporting their alma mater Auburn University and traveling to visit family. Molly is an avid podcast listener and loves reading biographies and watching British television.