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Katherine Berdy new director of Youth Leadership Forum

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Katherine Berdy to serve as new director of Youth Leadership Forum


Katherine Berdy has been named as the new director of Youth Leadership Forum, effective July 1.

Berdy was selected following a thorough search by members of the YLF Steering Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers and alumni who guide and advise the program. She will succeed Susie Abbott, who announced her retirement on June 30 after serving eleven years as the program’s director.

“We are thrilled that Katherine is bringing her significant experience and creativity to this role and to our organization,” said Libba Vaughan, executive director of Leadership Birmingham. “Her enthusiasm in guiding teen leaders to expand their skills and act on their potential is inspiring, and I am excited to watch her inspire future YLF graduates and take Youth Leadership Forum to the next level.”

Berdy is an experienced educator, having served as a faculty member at The Altamont School teaching English and literature, drama and theater, and creative writing. She also served as the executive director of the C. Kyser Miree Ethical Leadership Center for ten years, educating high school students in growing their leadership skills through community service and experiential opportunities.

“I believe that it is vital to educate students for the world they will inherit. Leadership education requires self-awareness, community engagement, and experiences that allow one to effectively adapt to rapidly and ever-changing circumstances. Youth Leadership Forum catalyzes Birmingham students to become the leaders they will need to be, now, tomorrow, and into an unknown future. I am thrilled to have a front row seat and to learn and grow with them.”

Berdy is nationally recognized for her leadership development expertise. She is a faculty member of the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute and serves as host and co-producer of the GCLI Leadership Podcast. She is also a member of the International Leadership Association and the Association of Leadership Educators.

Youth Leadership Forum is a program of Leadership Birmingham. YLF educates, challenges, and inspires an annual cohort of outstanding high school sophomores and juniors throughout Jefferson County to greater community and civic leadership.

The impressive YLF Class of 2022 graduated in April, joining over 1,200 YLF graduates who positively impact their worlds through leadership and inspiration. The next YLF Class of 2023 will be selected this fall. For more information about YLF and Leadership Birmingham, visit