2022 J. Mason Davis Leadership Society Recap

United Way of Central Alabama’s J. Mason Davis Leadership Society brings together African American changemakers who champion diversity and opportunity while striving to positively impact the community through a shared affinity for philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy.

Let’s look back at an amazing 2022:


March is Literacy Month and the J. Mason Davis Leadership Society teamed up with the Birmingham Squadron. JMDLS donated more than 250 books to the Literacy Council of Central Alabama.


It’s one of the most important anniversaries in our nation’s history! June 19th marked the end of slavery in the United States and serves as a present-day reminder of Black freedom and achievement. This year, JMDLS was a sponsor at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Juneteenth Celebration!

JMDLS Member Spotlight:

Name: Pamela Speights

Company: Regions Bank

What do you enjoy most about being a member of JMDLS? The various volunteer opportunities as well as the significant knowledge I receive from the organizations we help.

Favorite JMDLS event? JMDLS – AG Gaston Volunteer Opportunity (This was great information for a worthy cause for the community. I really want to see how I can plug in to assist.)

When did you first start supporting United Way?  I have supported United Way via giving for over 15 years. I started my journey with volunteering when I became a Loaned Executive in 2020. I have since served as VAT member and VAT team lead.

Why do you choose to support UWCA? I started supporting United Way because I felt it was the right thing to do. The experiences that Loaned Executives communicate during campaign season is a reminder to me that I have not always been where I am now, and I could be one tragedy away from being a recipient of what I am pouring into today. United Way has so many programs that help individuals during the most critical time in their life. I support United Way to be a part of helping people during the times they need it the most.

Fun fact: I was born on a military base.


JMDLS members were able to connect and network at this month’s Happy Hour event that took place at Cahaba Brewery.


This month featured a two-part series focused on health and wellness. Events allowed members to learn how to cook and eat a healthy and nutritious meal. The first part featured a nutrition seminar, and the second part was a hands-on cooking class that took place at Jefferson State Culinary Institute.

JMDLS Member Spotlight:

Name: Kenneth E. Davis

Company: Regions Bank

What do you enjoy most about being a member of JMDLS? JMDLS provides an opportunity to continue in the legacy of my parents and others who were foot soldiers during the civil rights movement. They fought and endured to provide a better life and equal opportunities for their children.  We don’t have the same adversity they had but we do have the same mission; to improve the lives and create opportunities for the next generation. It is an honor to serve under the name of someone who walked their walk, fought the good fight for us and is a living blueprint of what is possible.

Favorite JMDLS event? Visiting the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club. Legacies are not built by one person, but through the concerted efforts of many. Dr. Gaston is another pillar on which great things are still being birthed into the community.

When did you first start supporting United Way? 2000

Why do you choose to support UWCA? Because I can give and it will make a small ripple into one person’s life. But combined with others, my gift causes a wave that improves the lives of many. 

Fun fact: My love language is ‘Acts of Service,’ so volunteering for me fulfills an internal need. So technically I’m a SELFISH VOLUNTEER!


September meant the United Way of Central Alabama annual campaign was underway! To celebrate and thank our amazing leadership donors, JMDLS hosted an exclusive campaign event that took place at the Negro Southern League Museum. As part of the gathering, members heard from United Way partner agency The Birmingham Urban League, as well as Chip Bivins, UWCA Board Member.

JMDLS Member Spotlight:

Name: Jasmine Wright

Company: Protective Life Corporation

What do you enjoy most about being a member of JMDLS? Being a member of JMDLS gives me the opportunity to network with people that I otherwise would not have a chance to interact with. Additionally, the events hosted by the organization that I have attended so far have allowed me to grow personally and learn more about our community.

Favorite JMDLS event? Squadron basketball event on the Club Level. Also, the initial launch event of the organization was amazing. It’s not often that you get a chance to meet the person that an organization is named after. It gives me great pleasure that we are able to meet J. Mason Davis as he attends some of the events throughout the year.

Why do you choose to support UWCA? I choose to continue supporting UWCA because it is by far the best run non-profit organization that I have experienced. Without their financial and administrative support of many essential non-profits within our community, many services would not be available when people need them. I also believe that they have a very transparent process of showing how the money that is collected via the capital campaign is used. They allow and even recruit a diverse set of people within the community to participate in their Volunteer Allocation Team program to help them evaluate how the funds are used in the community and evaluate whether or not they feel the funds are used for essential services. I have not seen a non-profit put this much thought and effort into ensuring the funds they request from the community are utilized by the community.

Fun fact – I loved sports and used to play basketball often from elementary school until my first child was born in 2009. I then eventually transitioned into helping my husband coach in YMCA leagues. My first two years in college, I worked for the University of Alabama Women’s Basketball team performing various tasks in their front office. This allowed me to also choose some away games to attend with them. One year, I was able to attend their tournament in the Bahamas, which was an awesome experience for a 19-year-old.


If you are from Birmingham, then you know that October is the month of the Magic City Classic! JMDLS participated in the Magic City Classic parade! Members can be seen wearing the first ever J. Mason Davis Leadership Society t-shirts!


The J. Mason Davis Leadership Society is pleased to announce the 2023 JMDLS Board:

Cleo Crawford, Regions

Val Williams, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Ike Mathews, Spire Energy

JMDLS Member Spotlight:

Name: Val Williams

Company: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

What do you enjoy most about being a member of JMDLS? I enjoy the opportunities provided that allow me to serve others and network with like-minded professionals. 

Favorite JMDLS event? The literacy event at the Birmingham Squadron game where we presented books to TLC. 

When did you first start supporting United Way? I’ve been supporting the UWCA financially for over 13 years. 

Why do you choose to support UWCA? My employer encourages it and I love the chance to help positively impact my community.

Many thanks!

We thank the following volunteers for their service to our JMDLS Board this year. Both recently completed their terms and have played instrumental roles in guiding our mission with their insights and unique expertise. We are grateful for their big hearts and the countless hours they gave to the J. Mason Davis Leadership Society.

  • Natalie Kelly, Brasfield & Gorrie
  • Jerome Luke, Regions

While their term may be finished, we look forward to their continued involvement with JMDLS!

Thank you, Natalie and Jerome!


Members got some hands-on volunteer experience during the Book Bagging Event on behalf of Success By 6! As a team, we were able to assemble 600 bags full of books for students in Pre-K classrooms throughout Central Alabama.

What an incredible year it has been! We could not have done any of this without YOU, our supportive and loyal members. We thank you once again and look forward to the new year!