Following is her nomination by AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser: Seldom do we see in one so young, not only the passion to make a difference in people’s lives, but the ability to make it happen. As a community and youth advocate, she has been a coach, mentor, speaker and a developer of leaders through workshops, lectures and presentations. She uses documentaries, music and literature as a teaching tool in leadership development.
As chairman of Alabama Humanities Foundation Young Professionals Board, she is sparking positive change in the organization and in peer groups across the region. She is leading a series of “Think and Drink” events for young professionals held in social settings for intellectual discussions on topics of the day, helping them dig deeper to find meaningful conclusions about those topics. She co-facilitated “Conversations 4 Change: An Open Discussion of Race in the Magic City,” an examination of how to “approach discussions of race in such a way that folks will be able to heal, move forward and become agents of change in their local communities,” according to a world-trust.org interview with her.
She co-founded Precious Pearls of Promise to mentor and help build self esteem among young women. Her resume further illustrates her diverse sphere of influencing change: Director of Summer Institute and Reflection Group Leader for Leading Edge Institute; Woodlawn Coordinator for YWCA of Central Alabama, where she developed partnerships and created programs to raise awareness on bullying, domestic violence, financial literacy and healthy eating; guided “Getting Ahead” course for community residents; developed service and learning curriculum for colleges and managed a teen summer work program that helped them develop work and leadership skills.
She has led or been a member of numerous discussion panels on social and community issues. She has been involved in Girls Inc., Teach for America, UAB Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, AmeriCorp, Alabama Possible: Blueprints Career Day and so much more. She served as venue manager and committee member of Sidewalk Film Festival, Education Committee of Alabama Public Television, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for youths and volunteer for Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Marie said it best herself in that same world-trust.org interview as she described what she does and why: “I haven’t set out to change the world, or even to change Birmingham. I want to change one person and one circle of influence at a time.” After all, that’s what a successful agent of change is all about.