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What We See: a Frank Discussion with Nonprofit Leaders

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The pandemic has forced adaptations in all sectors. Hear how three nonprofit directors adapted their organizations to best serve their clients, what they learned, and how they are better prepared for the future. This event is free for all Leadership Birmingham alumni. Preregistration is required, and the Zoom link will be sent out after registration.


Emily Hess Levine (’18), Foundation Executive, The Ronne and Donald Hess Foundation

Emily Hess Levine is Vice President and administrator of the Ronne and Donald Hess Foundation. Emily was born and raised in Birmingham. She graduated from Indian Springs and received a BA from Dartmouth College. Alongside her professional work with the Foundation, Emily is a community volunteer and has served on the Boards of Indian Springs School, Leadership Birmingham, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, Birthwell Partners, and the YWCA Junior Board. Emily is a member of the Leadership Birmingham class of 2018. Emily lives in Birmingham with her husband and two daughters.


Michele Kong, M.D. (’18) Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s of Alabama; Co-Founder, KultureCity

Michele Kong is originally from the island of Borneo, and went to Canada in pursuit of her medical degree. She graduated from the University of Calgary, Canada and furthered her training as a pediatric critical care physician at UAB. Michele is the co-founder and CMO of KultureCity, a national nonprofit with the mission to rethink accessibility to create acceptance and inclusion for all individuals regardless of their challenges and diagnosis. Her passion stems from her personal journey with her child, and numerous encounters with other special needs children and families. Under her leadership, KultureCity became not only the fastest growing special needs nonprofit in the United States but also the best reviewed. She also practices medicine as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, and is a NIH funded physician scientist at UAB. Michele is also a runner and has run several marathons and ultra marathons.



Mashonda Taylor, Executive Director, The Woodlawn Foundation

Mashonda Taylor is a Birmingham native with degrees from Loyola University and Gonzaga University. She began her career with the Woodlawn Foundation as a Program Coordinator and in March of 2020 she took the reins as Executive Director. Mashonda serves on several boards including the executive committee of Jones Valley Teaching Farm. She also chairs the Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce for the Junior League of Birmingham, where she also served as a board member in 2017. Among other involvements, she was a member of the inaugural Alabama Leadership Initiative class.



Katrina Watson (’20), Executive Director, The Literacy Council of Central Alabama

Katrina Watson is an award-winning executive who serves as the President and Executive Director of The Literacy Council of Central Alabama (TLC). Under her leadership, TLC has increased its philanthropic support, expanded its community impact, developed a workforce development program, and received the Birmingham Business Journal’s Nonprofit Award. Katrina is treasurer of the UAB MPA Alumni Society board and previously served on the Birmingham Public Library board. Katrina has been recognized as a Top Influencers Under 40 by Birmingham Magazine, a Rising Star by UAB’s National Alumni Society, and by the BBJ as a Top 40 Under 40, an Executive of Influence, Who’s Who in Nonprofits and Who’s Who in Workforce Development. Katrina is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham Class of 2020. A Certified Fund Raising Executive, Katrina received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her Master of Public Administration from UAB. Katrina and her husband Lyord have two children.