Dr. Tarika Bhuta
Dr. Tarika Bhuta: Dr. Bhuta was born and raised in Montgomery. She received her Bachelors of Science degree and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1994. She completed four years of medical school in 1998, receiving her MD with Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Bhuta then completed five years of training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) in Ohio and West Virginia. In 2003, she and her husband, Dr. McCool, settled in Birmingham to be close to their families in Huntsville and Montgomery.

Dr. Bhuta is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She is a fellow and member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. She is one of only a few female practicing ENTs in the state, and she focuses her practice on hearing loss and hearing aids, sinus surgery including Balloon Sinuplasty, pediatric ENT, nasal allergies.


Lajuana Bradford
Lajuana Bradford: Lajuana Bradford is Senior Vice President, Regional Community Development and Partnerships Manager in Community Affairs for Regions Bank. Regions is a regional bank that operates throughout the South, Midwest and Texas and is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. In her role, she oversees the Community Reinvestment Act compliance throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Her responsibilities also include national community partnerships.

Bradford’s extensive career in the financial services industry spans more than 31 years and has included positions in community affairs, community development, retail banking, regulatory compliance, and project management. Prior to joining Regions in 2009, Bradford was a Community Relations Executive at Wachovia/Wells Fargo. She led their philanthropic and employee volunteerism programs and oversaw the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance initiatives.

Bradford holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Executive Leadership Program. She also completed Boston College’s Management Development Program in Corporate Community Involvement. She is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and the Momentum program for female executives. Bradford has received numerous recognitions during her career which include, Salute Selma 2020 Woman of Excellence, 2018 Savoy Magazine Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women 2018 Shining Star for Social and Economic Justice Award.

Bradford’s commitment to community service is seen through current and past board affiliations including the YWCA of Central Alabama, Women’s Foundation of Alabama, Miles College Board of Trustees, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Alabama Region of the American Red Cross, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the Links, Incorporated.


Jason Bryant
Jason Bryant: Jason is a Commercial Relationship Manager for SouthState Bank and is based in Birmingham.  He covers the Greater Birmingham/Central Alabama area and is responsible for managing existing client relationships and building new relationships with business owners, professionals, nonprofits, and municipalities in the local markets within that territory. Jason has significant experience working with privately held family businesses in a variety of industries.

Jason attended Auburn University where he obtained a B.S. in Finance and completed Graduate School of Banking at LSU in 2007.  Prior to joining South State in 2017, he spent 16 years serving customers in a variety of banking roles primarily within Commercial and Retail Banking.

Jason has served the community as a board member and leader.  He most recently served on the board of directors and was chair of the board in 2020 for ChildCare Resources based in Birmingham.  In the past he has served as President of the Greater Birmingham Auburn Club and is a current member of the Downtown Sunrise Rotary Club.  Additionally, he completed Project Corporate Leadership in 2005.

In his spare time, he enjoys running, golfing, and spending time with his girls outside playing sports.  He lives in Hoover with his wife, Lauren, and two girls.  They attend Church of the Highlands.


Amy Jackson
Amy Jackson: Amy M. Jackson is the Immediate Past President of the Junior League of Birmingham. During her 17 active years, Amy also served as Community Vice President, Governance Director and Member Liaison. She currently serves as Chair of the Beeson Community Fund, and on the Investment, Strategic Planning and Property Committees. In other nonprofit work, Jackson sits on The Bell Center for Early Intervention’s board of directors and serves on the Past Presidents’ Advisory Group for the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce. She is a past President of the Service Guild of Birmingham. A seasoned operations leader with 30 years of experience, Jackson is on the HR Solutions team for Warren Averett.


David Loper

David Loper: After nearly 20 years, David Loper retired from Protective Life where he served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel.  At Protective, Loper coordinated a team of attorneys who supported litigation, human resources, intellectual property, distribution, marketing, and vendor contracting.  Loper served two terms as Chair of the Insurance Committee as well as the Litigation Committee for the American Council of Life Insurers, which is the largest trade association for the life insurance industry with 280 member companies.

Loper is a Leadership Birmingham graduate, a member of Birmingham downtown Kiwanis Club and has served on the board of directors for several nonprofits including the Birmingham Zoo, Exceptional Foundation, REV Birmingham, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Alabama Ballet, and the Parish Council of St. Paul’s Catholic Cathedral. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Millsaps College and the Advisory Board of the UAB Alys Stephens Center.

Loper is a Millsaps graduate and obtained his law degree from Tulane University.  Loper is married to his partner of over 30 years, Tom Barnett.  Barnett is also retired and most recently served as CFO for the City of Birmingham. They spend as much time as possible on Smith Lake, where they successfully taught all their nieces and nephews how to waterski.


Valerie Ramsbacher
Valerie Ramsbacher: Valerie Ramsbacher is responsible for strategic meetings and events management at Regions. Prior to this new role, she managed bank-wide proactive public relations campaigns for Regions Financial.  Ramsbacher has been with Regions for 25 years, having served in various senior Communications, Marketing, and Advocacy leadership roles.

Ramsbacher holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations/Communications from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

Ramsbacher is a past Board member of Better Basics and has served as Chair of the United Way’s Education Vision Council.  She is an active member of the Women’s Committee of 100 and a sustaining member of the Ballet Guild of Birmingham.  In 2014, she was recognized as one of Birmingham’s “Women Who Make a Difference” by Birmingham Magazine, and a “Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama in 2015.  Ramsbacher served President of the Junior League of Birmingham from 2011-2012, and as Sustaining Advisor to the Executive Board in 2021-2022.


Isabel Rubio
Isabel Rubio: Isabel founded the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama where she served as its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for over 20 years. She holds degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Southern Mississippi. She was named “CEO of the Year” in 2020 by the Birmingham Business Journal, received the NAACP Trailblazer Award in 2019, the SCLS Halo Civic Rights Award in 2018, the Best in Minority Business Awards Leader and the Martin Luther King Realizing the Dream “Call to Consciousness” Award in 2017. She is also a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama.


Felicia Stewart

Felicia Stewart: In 2016, after twenty years of success in sales and business management, Felicia committed to full-time work in the public policy arena, first through electoral politics and then, as Senior Director of Advocacy & Community Engagement at The Women’s Fund where she led the Women’s Policy Institute.

Felicia holds a BA from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL and an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.  She and Christy, her spouse of over twenty years, live in Homewood with their twin 5th grade daughters and too many pets.


Jesse Unkenholz
Jesse Unkenholz: Jesse Unkenholz advises clients in all aspects of the electric industry with a focus on natural gas and renewable energy generation: particularly power purchase agreements, engineering, procurement, and construction contracts, operating and service agreements, and energy market management agreements for natural gas, solar, wind, and biomass generating facilities. Jesse also has significant experience developing new wholesale and retail renewable energy products and programs, advising clients on voluntary, state, and federal green energy requirements, compliance with Renewable Energy Credit (REC) mandates and marketing requirements, and energy efficiency legislation and regulations. Jesse’s practice also involves Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) compliance, policy, litigation, and appeals. Jesse also assists utility clients in matters before state public service commissions and other regulatory agencies.


Sherrel Wheeler-Stewart
Sherrel Wheeler-Stewart: Sherrel Wheeler Stewart, a longtime Alabama journalist, serves as Executive Director of Strategy and Communications for Birmingham City Schools. Prior to her work with BCS, Stewart was an editor with The Birmingham News/al.com and manager of the Southern Education Desk at WBHM Public Radio. She has also worked as a visiting professor of journalism at her alma mater – The University of Alabama. In addition to her work in the media, Stewart has served on several advisory boards, including The Betty Bell Center and Special Equestrians. She is currently a member of the board for VOICES for Alabama’s Children. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, and a founding member of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists. She and her husband William have two adult children — William “BJ” and Alexandria.