Women’s Foundation of Alabama (WFA) announced the third class of fellows for the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), a permanent and durable component of our advocacy focused on public policy solutions to advance and accelerate economic opportunity for women in our state.
Recognizing the need for dedicated infrastructure to meaningfully and enduringly invest in equity for women, Melanie Bridgeforth, President and CEO of WFA, herself a seasoned lobbyist with a successful track record, laid the foundation of her vision for the Women’s Policy Institute, an extension of the already successful advocacy operation.
Following in the footsteps of two previous classes, the 2022 class of fellows will receive more than forty hours of experiential learning from experts across the state on civic engagement, issue campaigns, messaging, coalition building and race and gender equity. The 2022 class of fellow’s hails from 15 counties across Alabama.
“Lived experience is expertise. Those closest to the problem are indeed closest to the solution – no one is better equipped to address the issues that most hinder women than women themselves,” said Melanie R. Bridgeforth, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of Alabama. “The Women’s Policy Institute elevates and connects the power of women from across the state by equipping leaders with the specialized tools and resources needed to develop policy solutions to the most pressing economic and human issues. Our foundation is uniquely positioned to galvanize and resource this growing community of women advocates. We have already witnessed two policy wins fueled by Alumni of the Institute and I know we and they are just getting started.”
2022 Women’s Foundation of Alabama Women’s Policy Institute Fellows include:
- Sarah Abrahams (Jefferson), Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Yasmin Anders, MA (Jefferson), Magic Box, Inc
- Amerika Blair (Montgomery), Fair & Just Prosecution
- Brittany Anne Branyon, MA (Lee), Auburn University
- Carrie Riggs Brown, MA (Escambia), City of Brewton
- Miranda Humphrey Collier (Marshall), Snead State Community College
- Leslie Cowell, PhD (Montgomery), Faulkner University
- Denise Davis-Maye, PhD (Montgomery), Alabama State University
- Melanie Jeanne Dickens, MS, MPH (Colbert), Alabama Department of Public Health
- Kailah Dozier, MS (Pike), Alabama Community College System
- Holly Glasgow, MA (Tuscaloosa), Shelton State Community College
- Jenifer L. Glover, MBA (Elmore), A+ Education Partnership
- Audra Harper, RN (Baldwin), Harper Technologies, LLC
- Ashley Williams Hogue, MD (Baldwin), University of South Alabama University Hospital
- Kendra M. Jones, MSW, MBA, (Mobile), Altapointe Health Systems, Inc
- Sarah McMillan, MS (Jefferson), City of Birmingham
- Dori E. Miles, JD (Jefferson), Community Volunteer
- Melanie Mitros, PhD (Jefferson), MPW Consulting, LLC
- Avanti Paul, MBA (Jefferson), Southern Research
- Nikkie Pittman, JD (Shelby), Regions Bank
- Tiffani Powell, MS (Autauga), Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers
- Emuni E Sanderson, MPA (Jefferson), UAB School of Health Professions
- Brandi Shah, MD, MPH (Jefferson), Upstream USA
- Kaytrina P. Simmons (Lauderdale), City of Florence
- Melissa Camille Stallworth (Conecuh), Reid State Technical College
- Nikesha Tilton (Montgomery), US Air Force
- Ada Katherine van Wyhe, MPA (Montgomery), Alabama Department of Mental Health
- Veronica L. Wehby-Upchurch (Jefferson), Vax 2 Stop Cancer
- Tari Williams, JD (Jefferson), Greater Birmingham Ministries
To date, Women’s Policy Institute Fellows have played key roles in the passage of meaningful legislation for Alabama women and girls. During the 2022 Legislative session, legislation addressing the use of restraints on incarcerated individuals during pregnancy was passed and signed by Governor Ivey (Act Number 2022 – 440). Fellows, including Ashley Lovell, played an integral role in the passage of this important legislation which was a significant first step in eliminating the use of restraints during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or the immediate postpartum period while incarcerated. Additionally, Fellow Khadidah Stone, through her work with Women in Training, was instrumental in the passage of legislation that combats period poverty by providing funding for feminine hygiene products to students in Title I schools (Act 2022-380).
Women’s Policy Institute helps bridge the gap between Alabama’s diverse communities and the legislature. Training sessions build the skills needed to successfully move policy, including organizing, civic engagement, and leadership. Policy Fellows also learn about key issues critical to women’s success. WPI programming runs through August. Applications for the 2023 WPI fellowship will open in January 2023.