RSVP Montgomery

The List - September/October 2019

Charles Williams

Earning an Air Force ROTC commission from Tuskegee University in 2002, Charles Willams graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and later, a master’s in Management and Leadership from Liberty University. He’s served a variety of engineering and acquisition officer assignments and completed a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was flight commander and instructor for Officer Training School and Assistant Director of Operations in the 22nd Training Support Squadron, supporting over 2,600 Total Force officer trainees. After 10 years of dedicated service to the Air Force, Charles worked several non-government positions for the Veterans Administration. Currently a video teleconferencing technician for the LeMay Center for Doctrine Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, he’s also growing his photography business,, his “true passion.” Charles has a desire to make positive contributions to society as a way of “paying it back” to all the people who made sacrifices to get him where he is now. Charles is the Board Vice President for Tie & Doll, a non-profit organization whose mission is to mentor and empower youth to lead and give, enrich themselves and be positive influences in the community. He also raised over $2,000 for the American Cancer Society when he was selected to serve on their “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign. Charles and his wife, Diana Gray Williams, are excited about the potential they see in the future of Montgomery. Charles created a cartoon character named Jukebox (“it’sjukeboxy’all”), DJ at an online radio station that he broadcasts on social media to provide much needed comic relief and encouragement.

Flavia Siqueira

There is no shortage of accolades when it comes to Flavia Siqueira, head coach for women’s volleyball at Auburn University at Montgomery. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary, she went on to earn her master’s in college teaching. Since her career began in 2007, she’s coached at Lynn University, Northwest College, WY, College of Central Florida and Florida High Performance International Select Division. Making it to six finals in six years, she was repeatedly named the league’s Coach of the Year and has won five consecutive titles. Flavia’s passion for her sport is evident on the court, but extends to all aspects of her players’ lives as she challenges them to be the best version of themselves. Several of her former players went on to play professionally overseas. In a culture where female coaches are sometimes underestimated, she worked hard to earn the respect of other coaches. She credits several people for having a positive influence in her career’s success, including former coaches, her godmother, Vanessa Paterlini, who played years of professional volleyball, and five-time Olympian, Daniele Scott. Having volunteered with Special Olympics and Make a Wish Foundation in the past, Flavia looks forward to becoming more involved in our community. When she isn’t on the court, she enjoys spending time with her dogs or exploring downtown, and her adventurous spirit often leads her to new vacation spots… whether by plane, car, boat or motorcycle!

Kimberly Sheffield

Growing up in a small rural community, Kimberly Sheffield understands all too well the challenges people face when limited resources are available. A motivational speaker and author from Lowndes County, Kimberly lives to inspire and encourage individuals and families during some of the most challenging times in their lives, from homelessness to the loss of a child or loved one. "God allows you to go through challenges to give you credibility and the ability to help someone else out of a situation you were once in" is the mantra Kimberly carries with her throughout her daily walk. While she is completing studies to receive a degree in psychology from Troy University, she works as the coordinated assessment manager for a community and public service organization that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families. While spearheading community meetings to tackle societal challenges, Kimberly is often reminded of her late grandmother, who instilled in her at a very young age that all things are possible through God and to always acknowledge him first. Through the wisdom she received from her grandmother, Kimberly birthed New Faith Outreach for Women, a support group where women find common ground and inspiration by sharing their stories of triumph, devastating loss and everything in between. Kimberly’s friends describe her as “the person that will lift you up when there seems to be no way out.” When she is not serving her community, motivating others or working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her beautiful family, husband Patrick, their busy three-year-old Zaelan, her mom and sisters.

Joseph Cochran

After two summers spent working at Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults (ASCCA), Joseph Cochran knew his calling. Witnessing disabled individuals get the opportunity to swim, glide on a zip line or go horseback riding taught Joseph that he wanted to create these incredible, positive experiences in the lives of others. A graduate from Montgomery Catholic High School, Joseph went on to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Collaborative Special Education from The University of Alabama (UAB). He then began working at Helena Elementary, teaching students with autism and specific learning disabilities, and later received his master’s in Instructional Leadership, allowing him to make a difference in a larger capacity. After ten years at Helena, Joseph decided to move closer to his hometown, where he now works as Assistant Principal at Prattville Primary School. Every day Joseph and his team teach students to learn, love and lead through the “Leader in Me” program. Interacting with students and seeing them reach their goals is just one of the rewarding aspects of his career. When it comes to giving credit for where he is today, there isn’t enough room in this publication to describe the positive influence his parents, Rick and Marty Huett, have had on his life, whether through constant support or affording him endless opportunities. When Joseph gets a hall pass, you may find him on the golf course or spending time near the water. He rarely meets a stranger with his approachable, easy-going personality!

Madeline Burkhardt

Working with visiting artists and curating exhibitions are just a few of the career highlights for Madeline Burkhardt. She currently serves as Coordinator of Adult Education for Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum. After receiving her bachelor's degree in Art History and Italian studies as an honor student, Madeline went on to earn her master’s in Museum Studies at John Hopkins University. It was during an internship at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts that she met Alice Novak, Curator of Education, who changed her perspective on museums and made her to fall in love with education and outreach work. Madeline’s youth presented its challenges, especially in a room full of seasoned professionals, but Novak helped her learn how to have a voice in every setting, regardless of her position. Madeline loves creating a poignant show that brings out unexpected emotions in its audience. She enjoys guiding all visitors, but especially school children, through these shows because of their insightful comments. Madeline’s community involvement includes Junior League, MMFA Junior Executive Board, Triumph Services Junior Board, Torchbearers Class X Alumna, and My Church Council. Recently, she was invited to speak at the Museum Power conference at The University of Leicester in England, where her speech was published in their journal, Museological Review. Madeline was also awarded Auburn University College of Liberal Arts’ 30 Under 30, and Delta Zeta’s 35 Under 35. Outside of her rewarding work day, Madeline loves an early dinner at El Rey, attending a show at the Capri or Alabama Shakespeare Festival and spending time with her French Bulldog, Snow, and rescue kitten, Mo.

Suzanna Wasserman

There may not be more of a go-getter than Suzanna Wasserman, Director of Marketing for The Shoppes at EastChase and Crawford Square Real Estate Advisors. Not only is she creating ideas for fabulous community events, but this gal is always willing to roll up her sleeves and do whatever it takes to make each event successful. After graduating from Saint James, Suzanna attended Huntingdon College, where she received her degree in Art and Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Her past work experience includes time at Eastdale Mall, The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and The American Cancer Society, but she is in her element at The Shoppes, where she can think outside the box with creative ideas. Suzanna understands that consumer needs are constantly changing, making it important to look at retail in a different way. Through her new position at Crawford Square, Suzanna is able to share her experience with other commercial retailers and shopping centers. She serves the community through work at Child Protect and the Junior League, where she has contributed in a leadership capacity for eleven years. Loving a side hustle, she also works as the creative and social media director for Montgomery Aesthetics, and because she is a true fashion enthusiast, she styles many of the fashion features for RSVP Magazine. A lover of music and traveling, including a recent visit to Vietnam, you can also find her at the gym five days a week, where she is committed to being the best version of herself, all while motivating others.

Monica Virgil

Not all students like math, but a good teacher has the power to affect that. Monica Virgil, owner and director for Mathnasium Learning Center, works hard to help students who have traditionally struggled with arithmetic build confidence in their skills and accomplish goals. Monica knows that success in college and future careers starts with a good foundation in math. After receiving her bachelor’s in Math and Science Education and a master’s in Secondary Math Education, Monica taught middle school and high school math in Atlanta and the Wiregrass area for 13 years before opening Mathnasium in Montgomery in 2012. Anytime she feels like giving up or giving less effort, she reminds herself of the impact she wants to have on the lives of her students and pushes herself daily to make sure her work ethic matches her ambition. Monica volunteers with several charitable organizations, and in an effort to keep math fun, she hosts free math nights and game nights at various schools. Monica has a daughter, Imani, who currently serves in the Air National Guard in Germany, and a son, Elijah, who is the in 7th grade. While most people wouldn’t expect a math whizz to also love performing and visual arts, Monica is a classically trained violinist. Her favorite thing about Montgomery is the small-town feel and great restaurants. Anyone that knows Monica will tell you what a great motivator she is. We are lucky to have someone like Monica dedicated to make a difference in the lives of youth.

Josh Carples

A name in many local projects, Josh Carples “love{s} creating art, whether it’s writing a new song, bringing a character to life as an actor, capturing a moment as a photographer, or telling a story as a filmmaker. It’s about creating and hopefully, adding something positive to the world.” Josh, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Alabama State University, is part of the force heralding in what he describes as a growing scene of art and progress in Montgomery. Local organizations he’s passionate about include Cloverdale Playhouse, where he photographs events and works with filmmaker, C. DeWayne Cunningham to create promotional videos, 21 Dreams Arts & Culture, Expose Art House, Equal Justice Initiative, Southern Poverty Law Center, Alabama Appleseed, and The Alabama Institute for Social Justice. His favorite thing about Montgomery is the people putting in a lot of hours to increase awareness, make positive change, and create thought-provoking art. Josh’s creative work is varied, from being a solo singer-songwriter to drummer for the band, BARRENS, writer of film scores under the name Glorious 70mm, and actor and film director, with past projects including “Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull,” currently available on Amazon, and “Bad Deal,” part of the 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival. Some of his musical influences are The Appleseed Cast, Moving Mountains, City and Colour, Julien Baker, David Bazan/Pedro the Lion, Manchester Orchestra, and Mogwai, while he looks up to actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt for their diversity and range. Josh believes in creative collaboration and the inspiration left behind by one artist for the next, whether in music, film, a painting, photograph, or theater experience.

Katherine Ellen Snider

A day at the office is always exciting for Auburn University graduate Katherine Snider, who works as a paralegal at Richardson Legal Center. Whether she is assisting in a jury trial, questioning witnesses or helping a client who wants help getting into rehab, one thing is for sure - this girl loves her job and is determined to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Working for Arlene Richardson, Deputy District Attorney for the Department of Human Resources, Katherine has the opportunity to be the voice for neglected and abused children and the elderly. Her co-workers describe her as a “go getter” and “a wonderful role model for young girls.” Having met her, we agree. The daughter of an Air Force Colonel, Katherine spent most of her youth moving (11 times to be exact), which included time in South Korea, Germany and Lithuania. Time and experience taught her the importance of self love and to demand only the best and nothing less. Katherine’s 11-year-old daughter, Londen, is her inspiration. She tells us her daughter’s honesty is never sugar coated, so we have proof the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Katherine likes to experiment with photography, loves to shop and listens to music 24/7. We have to give her mad props for her success when it comes to picking a fantasy football team! We are proud to feature this hard working single mom whose personality is genuine and magnetic!

Marlon McMillian

With issues of global warming and climate change at hand, we should all take an active role in making our community cleaner and safer for future generations, like Marlon McMillian has. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical (A&M) University, Marlon now works as an environmental scientist with The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), where he strives to ensure our environment is not polluted by individuals or corporations. He credits his community for his development as a child. “The time, love, and effort that was spent on me by so many people is impossible to forget. It’s one of those feelings that I try to pay forward whenever possible.” His mother, a woman of faith and a strong work ethic, earned her college degree while Marlon was in high school, serving as a major source of motivation for his future endeavors. His time with the band in high school and college led Marlon to return and volunteer at Sidney Lanier High School as their percussion instructor for 12 years. His level of involvement with the school has grown, culminating in the creation of The Sidney Lanier Alumni Association, where he is currently president. He also serves as a youth advisor at New Harvest Church of Christ. Married to the love of his life, Dr. Lori McMillian, with two children, Mallori and Maxton, Marlon enjoys installing music in cars, supporting the Alabama A&M Bulldogs and loves the NBA… especially The University of Michigan! Go Big Blue!

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