the LIST November/December 2014
Jamison Alexander grew up watching her aunt, Shine Wood, work as a stylist and soon had dreams of owning her own salon with her own clientele. That dream became a reality when she graduated in 2007 from Trenholm State Technical College with an associate’s degree in cosmetology. She has continued to further her education through hair classes, shows, and expos, and is now a self-employed master cosmetologist with eight years experience specializing in color. Jamison says she feared failure when she first stepped out on her own. Her confidence grew with the influence and support of her parents, as well as her former teacher, Brenda Buce, and her first boss in the business, Kelly Markos. Her favorite parts of her job include the freedom it gives her to be creative every day, as well as the one-on-one connections she has made with clients, some of whom she considers life-long friends. Jamison works to raise breast cancer awareness through various events and with Locks of Love. She has also volunteered for the past two years with Wellspring for Women, a home for women who have lost their way. Jamison is married to Richard Alexander, with whom she has two stepdaughters, Leya and Catalina, and 13-month-old daughter Evangeline Estella. They attend Church of the Highlands and enjoy spending time downtown at the Alley, as well as enjoying Auburn football.
Being raised by two successful entrepreneurs, Charles Jackson learned a lot growing up. “I basically learned to count from the cash register of my father’s convenience store. I often say that I enrolled in ‘business school’ at the age of 9,” he says. In 2009, he used the work ethic he witnessed every day to start Emerge Business Solutions, which offers brand management, business development and other services. Charles calls himself a “proud product” of Montgomery public schools and is a 2000 graduate of Sidney Lanier High School. He started his undergraduate studies at South Carolina State University on a football scholarship, but completed them and his master’s at Auburn Montgomery, where he is now an adjunct marketing instructor. He has worked for Auburn University in the past and is a 12-year veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve. Charles credits his supportive family for his success through many different outlets. However, starting his own business did not come without fear. “As an entrepreneur, you have to feel comfortable with taking risks while learning to celebrate your successes and failures,” he explains. Aside from work, Charles finds time to take on leadership roles with several organizations including Tie and Doll, Inc. and Emerge Montgomery, as well as pursue hobbies like fishing, reading and supporting Auburn football. He is married to Dr. Jessica Jackson. The couple recently welcomed their first son, Charlie Morris Jackson, in October.
Emily Lowder Wooten
The J.K. Lowder Family Foundation thrives on the importance of community with its base in Montgomery. However, when Emily Lowder Wootten accepted the director position at her family’s foundation, she lived in Chicago. By day she managed a clothing boutique, and by night she studied books about philanthropy. She soon decided to move. “I realized quickly that I would never be able to truly fulfill my role as director until I lived in the same community as the organizations that we support,” she says. Emily uses her telecommunications studies from New York University and the University of Georgia to work with local organizations including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Family Sunshine Center, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Capri Theatre, and the Montgomery Humane Society. Working with such dedicated people and organizations on a daily basis ranks high when it comes to her favorite things about her job. She also co-owns The Tipping Point in Hampstead with her sister, brother-in-law and her husband, Sam. Emily says she is grateful for Sam’s willingness to move with her to Montgomery, and credits her parents as her biggest influences. “They have instilled in me a love for community,” she says. Emily strengthens this love by working with her family’s foundation and sets an example by taking such an active role in her community. She is involved in productions at Cloverdale Playhouse as well as activities at Hampstead’s Montessori School where her children, Henry and Miriam, attend.
Dr. Latoya Shantel Clark
Because her parents taught her she could achieve anything if she set her mind to it, Dr. LaToya Shantel Clark never had many fears about becoming a physician. However, the OBGYN has had to overcome her share of hardships. Born in Mobile, LaToya began her medical education at Xavier University in Louisiana where she encountered her biggest obstacle - Hurricane Katrina, which hit and destroyed much of New Orleans in 2005. “It was devastating to me to see the destruction of a city that I love and the heartache of its people,” she says. With the support of friends and family, LaToya graduated with a BS in chemistry as part of the largest graduating class of Xavier before completing medical school at the University of South Alabama. She returned to New Orleans to complete her residency training, and recently moved to Montgomery to work at Jackson Hospital and Clinics. “I absolutely adore and love being able to assist mothers with delivering their little bundles of joy,” she says. She has already been given the opportunity to provide educational talks around the community and looks forward to becoming more involved with service organizations. Aside from work, she stays busy as a first-time mother to her son, Payton, and is looking forward to marrying her fiancé, Preston William Hughes, III. LaToya is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys dining out as well as attending sporting events.
As senior vice president of B & M Management Co., Ben Blanchard works with and around his family every day, and he credits much of his professional success to their influence. After studying entrepreneurship and family business at Auburn University, Ben spent a year in China working with a house church plant. He then returned home to Montgomery and began working in his family’s business, which is involved in real estate investments and management around the Southeast, as well as pension funds, assest managements and family trusts from around the world. In almost ten years, he says has never been bored – “From picking up trash off Peachtree Industrial to closing deals over Park Avenue, everyday is different,” he explains. While Ben travels frequently for work, he has yet to find another city that offers the same opportunities that Montgomery does for young professionals to jump in and be a part of something new. Ben is honored to serve locally with both the Agape and Common Ground ministries. He also helped form River & Rail, the LLC behind “The Bullet,” the food truck currently found in downtown Montgomery. Outside of Montgomery, Ben works with the missions program at Landmark Church, and has been involved with a children’s home in Malawi, Africa from the ground up. In his spare time, he enjoys running, bow hunting, and is currently working on mastering the banjo
Ashley Stabler Gallion
An appreciation for the artistic world pushed Ashley Stabler Gallion to pursue a creative career early on in life. Her talents led to creative outlets like glass painting, which she turned into a business for ten years. She has owned a decorating business for the last eight years and recently opened Ashley Gallion Interiors, a retail shop in Montgomery. Her creative streak is topped off with custom lighting pieces that she designs and sometimes sells in the shop. After graduating from the University of Alabama, Ashley recognized the risks involved with opening a business. However, she never let the fear of failure deter her. “There are always fears when jumping into owning your own business. I have never had a fear of not succeeding though. When you love what you do, you always succeed,” she says. Ashley feels that her business has been embraced by the community and tries to participate in as many nearby events as possible including charitable auctions. She also loves Montgomery’s artistic community, especially the Shakespeare Festival and Museum of Fine Art. Aside from keeping up with Ashley Gallion Interiors, she is an active member of Church of the Ascension. Her hobbies include playing tennis and traveling with her husband, John Goodwyn Gallion, and two kids, John Stabler and Will.
Dr. Jessica Rozelle Lock
Raised on a small cattle and chicken farm, Dr. Jessica Rozelle Loch has always had a love for animals. After graduating in 2003 with her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of South Alabama, Jessica completed her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Auburn University in 2007. She spent the last seven years practicing small animal medicine in Peachtree City, Georgia, and is now a veterinarian at Taylor Crossing Animal Hospital in Montgomery. Jessica’s favorite part of her job is reuniting pets with their families. “The exuberant wagging and pulling on the leash to go home gets me every time,” she says. Jessica takes her love for animals a step further by gathering donations for Holy Cross Episcopal School’s charity drive for the Montgomery Humane Society. She is also developing an event that her clinic will host called Paws for a Cause. Jessica credits her parents for impacting her career and instilling in her an efficient work ethic. “They taught me to develop patience and helped me focus my goals,” she says. Jessica has two children with her husband, Stuart Loch, who is a physics professor at Auburn University. She attends Immanuel Presbyterian Church and enjoys playing the Mountain Dulcimer, an instrument with origins in the Appalachian Mountains.
Howard Eugene "Gene" Cody III
Gene Cody graduated from Faulkner University in 2003 with a degree in sports management and NAIA Baseball All-American honors. After a brief stint in professional baseball, he started his sales career by marketing advertisements for The Montgomery Advertiser. He earned his real estate license in 2006 under the brokerage firm of Hodges Bonded Warehouse. In his first year, Gene sold more than $3 million for the company’s residential division. He is currently an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Moore Company Realty, a successful commercial real estate firm in Montgomery. He is one of the company’s top gross producers and received the Top Sales Agent award last year for Alabama. Although Gene is familiar with several aspects of the commercial world, he specializes in office, industrial and C-store arenas. “I believe that by focusing my efforts, I will be able to best serve my clients’ needs,” he says. Between sales, Gene sits on the board for Landmarks Foundation and Old Alabama Town, the Mayor’s Young Professional Council, the YMCA, and is a member of EMERGE Montgomery. He also enjoys helping with fundraisers throughout the year. Gene is grateful for many things, but owes his success to his parents. “My parents taught me how to serve people. They taught me hard work and nothing comes easy in life without a bit of determination and self-motivation,” he says. He and his wife, Allison, are members of First Baptist Church of Montgomery. They enjoy traveling and following Auburn football.
Dr. Hussein Turki
At the age of 15, Dr. Hussein Wafik Turki traveled overseas to America to pursue medical studies. He left his home behind and arrived in his new country with the fear of failing after such a huge change. Fortunately, his family supported him in his decision, which has impacted his success here as an orthopaedic surgeon. He also credits his wife as an influence on his career. “My wife has kept me on the course and always believes in me,” he explains. After completing his bachelor’s degree in biology at Emory University, Hussein decided to enroll at the university’s medical school. He then went on to complete his residency at the University of Texas at San Antonio and his fellowship at the University of Chicago. He now practices general orthopaedics in Montgomery and specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery. The interaction he has with his patients is Hussein’s favorite part of his job. He also enjoys the unpredictable nature of the medical field. “Every day you see something new,” he says. He appreciates how his community greeted him and his family with open arms from day one and frequently gives talks around town about upper extremity issues. Hussein and his wife, Suzi, have an 18-month-old son named Wafik. Hussein used to ride motorcycles, but his current hobbies include hunting and fishing. He also visits his family in Lebanon every year.
Thomas H. Claunch III
Thomas Claunch has visited all 50 states and traveled multiple times to every continent except Antarctica, but the attorney loves calling Montgomery home. After completing graduate school at Auburn University, Thomas worked as a marketing communications director out of cities like Kansas City, Chicago and San Francisco before deciding to return home to start a law practice. In 2002, he received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Faulkner University and began the law firm Harding and Claunch, LLC in July 2003. With his work at the firm, Thomas hopes to eliminate misconceptions about the legal industry. “People seem to fear, dislike and distrust lawyers. I would like to use my professional responsibilities to hopefully improve the legal community’s reputation as a whole,” he says. He credits his late father, Tom Claunch Jr., and law partner, Deborah Q. Harding, as personal influences and appreciates the size of his law firm. “I love being a part of a small law firm where I can get to know my clients personally on an individual and on a genuine level,” he explains. The bachelor is an active member of Vaughn Forest Church and Iron Tribe Fitness. He regularly donates to the Montgomery County Humane Society and has two dogs: a Schnauzer named Callie and a Vizsla named Chloe.
Tiffany B. McCord
Tiffany McCord grew up learning how to navigate the path to success with help from her parents. While her father taught her the importance of hard work, her mother stressed the impact education could have on the rest of her life. Because of her parents’ influence, Tiffany found success and became the first African-American Circuit Clerk elected for Montgomery County. Tiffany graduated from high school in Baltimore and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Auburn University Montgomery. She also has a Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law. Her current position as Circuit Clerk allows her to work with people who are willing to help others out in times of need, which she loves. “We get to help people during some of the toughest times of their lives and render great service,” she says. This service-oriented focus has also motivated Tiffany to serve on several boards throughout the River Region and work with nonprofits and schools. She and her husband, Darris McCord, live in Montgomery with their child, Kristian. “Of all of the places I have traveled and all of the places that I have lived, Montgomery is the only place I can truly call home,” she says. In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys reading and taking on a variety of projects with her family.
Most people would fear being the youngest person at their job, but Jake Jacobs welcomes it as a chance to progress in his political career. “I feel that I am often underestimated because of my youth, which puts me in a place I don’t mind to be because it gives me the opportunity to prove myself,” he explains. Jake graduated from The Montgomery Academy in 2010 before receiving his political science degree from Auburn University this past year. He has interned with U.S. Representatives Martha Roby and Mike Rogers and currently serves as the aide-de-camp for the Office of Governor Robert Bentley. Jake loves traveling around Alabama and finds it rewarding to see how grateful people are for what he and his colleagues do every day. “Alabama is a great state with amazing people,” he says. He credits the community for playing a major role in his current success and thanks his parents for instilling in him the virtues and wisdom that impact all aspects of his life. Jake’s job helps him give back to the community with events like the expansion of the Montgomery Area Food Bank and a candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Jake is a member of First United Methodist Church and participates in a young professionals’ Bible study on Monday nights. He enjoys the creative culture of Montgomery, especially events at the Capri Theatre near his home in Old Cloverdale.