The Women’s Foundation of Alabama – the state’s only philanthropic organization focused on the economic advancement of women – announced, on Thursday, the growth of its leadership by appointing LaShundra Pinkard as Chief Operating Officer. A key member of the executive management team, Pinkard will partner with the CEO to lead forward-thinking operational strategy and optimize performance across the Foundation.
“Strong institutions win. But being a strong, adaptable organization extends beyond having a transformational mission. It’s about preparing for the future and reinforcing the Foundation’s infrastructure to ensure we can accelerate opportunities for women in perpetuity,” said Melanie R. Bridgeforth, President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of Alabama. “Like any well-established corporation, non-profits are businesses – we’re just in the ‘work of good’. In appointing a COO of LaShundra’s caliber, Women’s Foundation of Alabama is fulfilling our promise to be impactful stewards of organizational resources, systems, and, most importantly, the public’s trust.”
As Chief Operating Officer, LaShundra Pinkard will work closely with Bridgeforth to manage organizational health, oversee execution of the strategic plan, and lead lean transformation as the Foundation embarks upon its second year of statewide growth. Fueled by decades of business strategy, finance, HR, facility management, and IT knowledge, Pinkard will also build new operating models that elevate processes, resources, and tools that set Women’s Foundation of Alabama on a trajectory for long-range success.
“Not only am I honored to join an organization that is shaping the lives and landscape for women across our state, I’m eager to nurture the next bold iteration of Women’s Foundation of Alabama – a chapter powered by smart growth and systems-level thinking,” said Pinkard. “True transformation occurs at the enterprise level. Prioritizing operations for WFA expands the capacity of the Foundation, ultimately freeing our team to devote more time and energy in new communities and make greater impact across our expanded footprint.”
An Operations industry veteran, she joins Women’s Foundation of Alabama with more than two decades of experience leading organizations in business strategy, executive management, and organizational design. Prior to the Foundation, Pinkard served 14 years at Clarus Consulting Group – a full-service strategy and organizational development consulting firm. In her tenure as Clarus Shareholder and Chief Administrative Officer, she drove critical functions that underpinned the firm’s business strategy, including administrative policies and procedures, operational support systems, human resources, facilities and operations, and information technology. Pinkard also served as Chief of Staff for one of Clarus’s founding partners, directing complex projects and supporting strategic initiatives from ideation to implementation.
Pinkard holds a B.S. degree from Grand Canyon University. Prior to Clarus, she spent a decade in the healthcare sector, holding multiple management positions in a large non-profit hospital where she led administration, financial management and training, and employee development across the organization.
Women’s Foundation of Alabama Board Chair, Dawn Helms Sharff, noted the deliberative process leadership followed to identify a COO. Pinkard’s extensive executive management history, as well as her deep understanding of how internal business dynamics drive culture, partner experience, and overall service quality made her an ideal candidate for the role.
“Shun’s passion for building strong relationships, systems thinking, and cultivating organizational health for the companies and clients she serves makes her a true asset to the Women’s Foundation of Alabama team,” Sharff said. “We look forward to reaching new heights with her at the helm of operations.”