2021 Ignite Co-Chairs
Krystal Drummond is the Director of Employee and Community Engagement at Drummond Company, Inc., a local family owned private company with global operations involved in the mining and processing of coal and coal products, as well as oil, gas, and real estate ventures. Krystal joined the company’s legal department as a lawyer in 2011, and transitioned to her current role in 2017 with the establishment of Drummond’s Corporate Social Responsibility Department. Krystal manages Drummond Company’s CSR activities in the United States through coordinating programs, initiatives, and events to benefit the community and engage stakeholders. She also directs Drummond Company’s annual United Way Campaign.
Krystal graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a business degree in Marketing, and completed various studies in Spain at the University of Salamanca and Complutense University in Madrid. She obtained her juris doctorate from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, where she served as President of the Cumberland Community Service Organization. Krystal is licensed to practice law in Florida and Alabama, and holds an underground mining certification.
Krystal is involved with multiple charitable and civic organizations and has a passion for serving the community. She is a member of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, Newcomen Society of Alabama, a Florida Bar Foundation Fellow, and a graduate of Class 13 of the Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum. Krystal currently serves on the board of Better Basics, United Way of Central Alabama, the Associate board of Alabama Policy Institute, the Young Executive Board of The Club, the Birmingham Zoo Junior Board, and a member of the Executive Leadership Team for March for Babies. Krystal is originally from Tampa, Florida but her family’s roots are in Walker County, Alabama. She and her husband, Chris Williams, enjoy traveling, spending time outdoors and in the community, and gathering with friends and family.
Mauri Robinson is the Logistics Specialist for CRST International Inc. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and a graduate of Shades Valley High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing and graduated Cum Laude from Morehouse College in 2008.
Mauri is on the Board of Governors for the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives, United Way Hands On Leadership Cabinet and U.N.C.F Young Professionals Leadership Council. He is also an official ambassador for i3 Academy, the newest charter school in Birmingham. In the past, he served as Executive Board Treasurer for the Jackie Robinson National Alumni Association Foundation and past member of Rotaract Club of Birmingham. In addition, he is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was recognized as the “2016 Top Young Philanthropist” by Birmingham Metro Magazine.
Active in the local community, Mauri serves as a certified referee for Lacrosse, Basketball and Football. His hobbies include competing in tough mudders and obstacle races, listening to jazz music, cigars and traveling.
Ignite Host Committee
Stacy Cairns Abdein
Birmingham Islamic Society/ Islamic Academy of Alabama
Stacy has worked in the non-profit sector in the US and abroad for over 25 years. Her career began in 1994 when she helped found the Islamic Academy in Alabama, a non-profit private school in Homewood, Alabama where she has served as principal, teacher, and administrative assistant over the years. In 2001, she relocated to Amman, Jordan where she worked alongside the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Academy of Educational Development (AED) and the Jordanian Ministry of Education to develop a nationwide volunteer program in public schools. While in Jordan, she also worked with the US State Department to implement the International Leaders in Education Program.
Stacy arrived back in the US in 2015 where she has been active in the community through continued volunteer activities including working with the homeless, organizing clothing and medicine drives for refugees, and serving on several committees at the Birmingham Islamic Society and the Islamic Academy of Alabama. She currently teaches 3rd grade at the Islamic Academy of Alabama.
Stacy attended Fort Hays University where she graduated with a BS in Human Services and a specialization in Community Development. Stacy is a native of Calera, Alabama, and she currently lives in McCalla with her husband, Fahmi Abdein, and their four children.
Prior to his role with Teach For America, Carpenter was a litigator for the Birmingham law firm of Walston, Wells, and Birchall, LLP. Carpenter earned a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College and J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the boards of A+ Education Partnership, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Operation Hope-Alabama, and k12 Lean Labs, and is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Birmingham, the PARCA Roundtable, and the GEAR UP-Birmingham Advisory Board. He was named Top 40 under 40 in Birmingham in 2010, and is an alumnus of Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, and Leadership UAB. In 2016, Carpenter was selected for a weeklong fellowship in Strategic Nonprofit Management at Harvard by the Alabama Association of Nonprofits and the Birmingham alumni chapter of Harvard Business School.
Dr. Josh Carter
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM
Josh Carter, a native of Lawton, Oklahoma, joined UAB in 2002 as an adjunct Spanish instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and later served for ten years as the Director of the UAB Study Abroad from 2003-2013. From May of 2013 to October of 2014 he served as Projects Analyst for the UAB Office of the Provost before joining the UAB Office of the President where he currently serves as Administrative Director.
The importance of service to his community was instilled at an early age for Dr. Carter. While in high school he served as a member of the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma’s Youth Leadership Lawton program and volunteered for numerous organizations. Since then, he has presented nationally and internationally on various topics related to international education and study abroad and has served in various leadership roles in campus committees and in Birmingham community organizations such as UAB’s Benevolent Fund Council, UAB’s Fulbright committee, UAB’s Manos Juntas Hispanic/Latino student mentoring program, UAB’s Global Citizenship Steering Committee, the Japan America Society of Alabama, the Birmingham International Center, the Magic City Wellness Center, Birmingham Aids Outreach, and the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama. He has also served as the Alabama state representative to NAFSA: Association of International Educators for Region VII, Chair of the Alabama Association of International Educators, and President of the Alabama Council for International Programs. In his roles as an educational administrator, he enjoys watching UAB’s students, faculty, and staff give back to the Birmingham community in so many meaningful ways.
Dr. Carter was a member of the 2012 class of UAB’s BLAZE Leadership Academy. He was also the recipient of the 2012 UAB President’s Diversity Award. In 2008, he was recognized as the recipient of the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region VII International Excellence Award for service to the Southeastern region.
Dr. Carter attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned his B.A. in Spanish Language in 1999 and his M.A. in Spanish Literature in 2001. He completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2015.
Erika L. Coleman has been a member of Faith Chapel for more than 20 years and working in full time ministry there for 13 years. Over that time, Erika has served in various capacities within the ministry. Faith Chapel is a local church located in the Wylam neighborhood in west Birmingham that has a vision not just within the walls of the church, but that extends to outreach to this community and globally throughout the world at large. Its mission is to grow people up through the practical teaching of God’s word as they believe that the word of God is the answer to all of life’s challenges. While working in the Community Outreach department, Erika had a major role establishing the Faith Chapel Care Center in downtown Birmingham serving those individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In her current role, Erika serves as the Executive Assistant to the Office of the Executive Pastor and remains enthusiastic about touching the lives of people in positive ways.
Erika is a Birmingham native where she attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her husband, Walter, currently live in Helena and have four children. Her hobbies include shopping, cooking and spending time with family.
Dr. Dylan Ferniany is the Director of Student and Adult Learning for i3 Academy. Dr. Ferniany has over eleven years of experience in public education in gifted and talented education, school and district leadership. She received her Ed.D. from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education in Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. She was recognized as a TED-Ed Innovative Educator, an education initiative of the TED organization, and as one of Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016.
America’s First Federal Credit Union
Alex Lawley has been involved with United Way Hands On since 2010 serving as junior board president and project coordinator. He is currently serving on the cabinet.
Alex works for America’s First Federal Credit Union. There he is active with the Credit Union’s community outreach efforts and the League of Southern Credit Unions young professionals’ group. Alex is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He and his growing family are members of Grace Life Baptist Church in McCalla.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Koko Mackin joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama in 1981 and has held a variety of positions including Performance Review Analyst, Manager of Corporate Planning, and Vice President and Corporate Secretary. Responsibilities have covered industrial engineering, strategic planning, product development and board relations and governance.
Currently Mackin serves as Vice President, Corporate Communications and Community Relations, and as Blue Cross’ spokesperson. She is also responsible for Corporate Giving and The Caring Foundation, Blue Cross’ charitable foundation, promoting health and education initiatives statewide.
Mackin currently serves as immediate past board chair of The Eyesight Foundation of Alabama; on the Strategic Communications Advisory Network of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; and as a member of the Business Education Alliance Advisory Council, the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, The Women’s Network, Junior League of Birmingham Community Advisory Board and the Newcomen Society.
In the community, Mackin has served as board chair for Voices for Alabama’s Children, Childcare Resources, and Camp Fire Alabama. She has also served as 2013 Events Chair for the Railroad Park Capital Campaign; 2011 Birmingham Chair for the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Luncheon; 2011 Chair of Blue Cross’ United Way Campaign; and 2010 Birmingham Corporate Chair for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk.
Mackin is a graduate of the 2004 Class of Leadership Birmingham and the 2003 Class of Momentum Women’s Executive Leadership Program. The Cahaba Girl Scout Council honored her as one of the “2002 Women of Distinction” as well as the Mildred Bell Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. In 2007, The Birmingham Business Journal honored her as a “Top Birmingham Woman.”
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Mackin is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Alabama with a BA in Mathematics and an MBA in Finance. She is married to Stan Mackin, Jr.; they have three sons and one granddaughter.
Teresa Zuniga Odom enjoyed a 37 year career with Alabama Power Company before retiring in July 2017. Her work ranged from accounting, public relations, customer value research, strategic issues research, multicultural markets and energy expert marketing training. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BS degree in Business/HR Management.
Teresa is most proud of her work with multicultural communities, in particular the Latino community. She has been active in the Hispanic community for over 20 years. She has served on numerous boards as a Hispanic community representative including
HICA – Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (board chair), Hispanic Business Council of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (board chair), UAB Foreign Language Advisory Committee (chair), Childcare Resources, Oasis Counseling for Women and Children (board and advisory council), YWCA of Central Alabama, and the United Way Community Initiatives Committee. She currently serves on the boards of Children’s Aid Society, Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama (Board Development Committee), American Heart Association and, as Vice President and Co-Founder of Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture and heritage, now entering its 17th year. Under her leadership, Fiesta has awarded approximately $80K in scholarships to Hispanic students. She is a member of The Women’s Network (TWN) and served on the Public Relations committee for 5 years.
Teresa is an avid photographer who lends her skills to numerous nonprofit organizations around the region. Her photographs are also featured on her Hispanic lifestyle blog – Southern Senora – where she writes about the good work happening in the Hispanic community in Alabama. She is also a contributor to a la Carte Alabama, a digital media venture that celebrates the people, places and trends that make Alabama food and drink great.
Teresa is the recipient of several awards and honors including Girl Scouts Women of Distinction, Mildred Bell Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award from Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama (2012) and, Positive Maturity’s Top 50 Over 50 (2016). She was also a finalist for the inaugural Ignite Volunteer Awards in the Corporate Volunteer Category. Teresa and her husband Eddie Odom have been married for 33 years and are members of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Hoover, AL. Together they have three children – Charlie, Anna Marie and Emily Ruth.
Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico to a young, single mother, Janylisse’s life was challenging and, in some ways, downright hard, from its humble beginnings. Instability was the constant for most of her early life, so at the tender age of 15 and not knowing any English, Janylisse boldly did what most adults would be afraid to do, let alone children: she struck out on her own and moved to the America to begin a new life.
After graduating from high school, she obtained her Associate degree from Valencia College in 2010 in Orlando, FL and along with her beautiful daughter, they moved to Birmingham, AL in 2015.
Currently, Janylisse works for Regions Bank in the Legal Department and she is also enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), majoring in Business Management.
Having a passion for serving others, she has served with “Give Kids the World” in Orlando, currently volunteers with Habitat for Humanity here in Birmingham and is a member of the 2019 Inaugural Host Committee for UNCF Young Professionals Advisory Council.
But her passion and calling became crystal clear when she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord & Savior in December 2015. She then joined Faith Chapel Christian Center and currently serves as the Service Host among other ministries.
Karim immigrated to the United States in 1984 from Damascus – Syria. His blog, Arab in Alabama, is on the Huffington Post nationally and all over Europe. He won two prizes in the 84th Writer’s Digest International Competition – one for a poem and another for an essay. He has written and photographed extensively for several print and online publications including Sports Illustrated, People, Time, Southern Living, The Alabama News Center and the Birmingham News/al.com. Other publications include B-Metro, Portico, Birmingham Magazine and Aramco World magazine. He wrote an essay for the book: Alabama Christmas alongside Helen Keller and Truman Capote.
He has published three coffee-table books. The Beauty Box, was a book about beauty parlors in The South. Shelter from the Storm, is a collection of portraits and quotes of the homeless. This book was commissioned by the Salvation Army and has received worldwide accolades. Home Sweet Home Alabama, shows Alabama as one of the most beautiful and friendly states. In 2005, he was one of 100 photographers commissioned to photograph for the book: America 24/7.
He has written the book: PAUL and me, A Journey to and from the Damascus Road. The book became an international phenomena and landed the number four best seller spot in religion books on Amazon. It has received coverage on The Huffington Post, National Public Radio, The Associated Press, The Birmingham News, The Australia News, and even the Fiji Times! With the book, Karim aspires to better understanding and acceptance of different worldviews.
He is an activist who seeks to increase the world’s understanding of acceptance and love and peace. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Best Annual Report, Pictures of the Year International, Writer’s Digest, The Addy Awards, and Best Book for Shelter from the Storm. He has been on the faculty of numerous workshops including the Southwestern Photojournalism Seminar in Dallas, and the Radius of Arab-American Writers in Detroit. He is a single father to three precious children: Zade, Dury, and Demi, and lives by the motto: Carpe diem – seizing every moment of this beautiful gift called life. Karim’s photography work can be viewed at his website: www.HireKarim.com. His writing can be seen at his popular Huffington Post blog at www.arabinalabama.com.
His current novel with agent Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Agency in Jerusalem, is about a Muslim boy in love with a Christian girl amidst of the Syrian civil war. Karim’s wish for people to love one another is where his personal and professional goals intersect.
Joyce T. Shevins
Joyce is currently working with GoPro Event Solutions coordinating logistics and programming for groups participating in Civil Rights tours. In addition, she is volunteering with the Jefferson County Memorial Project, (JCMP) a grassroots community coalition formed to work with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Joyce most recently served as Interim Executive of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, dedicated to preserving and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. She is the former Executive Director of Magic Moments, dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children in Alabama suffering with chronic life-threatening diseases.
For eleven years Joyce served as Director of Community Relations for the Birmingham Jewish Federation. In that role, she served as the Jewish community’s connector to the broader community to promote understanding and respect among all religions and cultures. She created interfaith and cultural women’s dialogue groups recognized at both the local and national levels, which today serve as models for similar groups in other communities.
In 2019 Joyce was appointed by Mayor Woodfin to the City of Birmingham Human Rights Commission. Joyce serves on the Boards of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, Collat Jewish Family Services and the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama. She is a long-time member of the FBI’s Multi Cultural Advisory Committee. She is past president of The Women’s Network and Alabama Possible. She is a graduate of both Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama and serves on Leadership Birmingham’s Board of Trustees. In 2017 Joyce received the NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award. In 2018 she was selected by Positive Maturity as a “Top 50 Over 50” and a “Smart Honoree” by The Women’s Fund.
A native of Atlanta, Joyce graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Social Work and received her Masters of Arts in Education from UAB. In 2017 she received her certification as a Jefferson County Master Gardener.
Joyce is married to Maury Shevin and has two sons, Richard and Mitchell Spielberger.