10 Birmingham-area leaders participate in Harvard program

2021 Harvard Young American Leaders Program held virtually.

Harvard participants
Those participating in the Harvard program were, top row from left, Staci Brooks, Anil Chadha, Jay Eichelberger, Miller Girvin and Rachel Harmon; and, bottom row from left, LaRhonda Magras, Mark Martin, Mashonda Taylor, Ford Wiles and Emily Wykle.

Ten leaders from the Birmingham area joined others from across the country in learning about public-private partnership collaborations as part of the Havard University Young American Leaders Program.

The 10 Birmingham-area leaders who completed the program were:

  • Staci Brown Brooks, director, marketing communication, Alabama Power Co.
  • Anil Chadha, executive vice president, Regions Bank.
  • Jay Eichelberger, general manager, southern operations, Altec Inc.
  • Miller Girvin, executive vice president, innovation and entrepreneurship, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
  • Rachel Harmon, executive director, Birmingham Promise.
  • LaRhonda Magras, CEO, YWCA Central Alabama.
  • Mark W.C. Martin, CEO, Build Urban Prosperity.
  • Mashonda Taylor, executive director, Woodlawn United.
  • Ford Wiles, independent creative and strategic partner.
  • Emily Wykle, director, external affairs, University of Alabama at Birmingham.


“The Young American Leaders Program grows out of a deep concern and a great hope uncovered by our research on U.S. competitiveness,” said Jan Rivkin, professor and co-chair of Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. “We’ve found that the most promising innovations for competitiveness are local, they span sectors, and they require long-term commitment. The young leaders nominated from Birmingham over the last few years have a remarkable track record of coming together across sectors to transform their hometown. This year’s Birmingham cohort had so much to share with — and to learn from — other regions.”

The 130 YALP participants represented 13 metro areas: Birmingham, Boston, Chattanooga, Columbus, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose.

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The focus of their workshops and classes with Harvard Business School professors was public-private collaboration to improve workforce and economic development, and quality of life for all in their cities.

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