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Community Advisory Board
The Community Advisory Board consists of prominent community leaders, nominated and elected by the Junior League of Montgomery Board of Directors. The members are selected from diverse vocations in the River Region and offer the Board expertise and counsel in areas such as non-profit work, accounting, finance, communication, and the law.
Bowdy J. "Bo" Brown
Bo Brown is a 1988 graduate of Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Business Management at Huntingdon College. Brown is currently a shareholder at Sasser, Sefton, & Brown P.C. Brown's practice focuses on real estate transactions and creditor rights issues, as well as title, banking, and mortgage related litigation. Prior to joining Sasser, he was a shareholder with Rushton, Stakely, Johnston, & Garrett, P.A. Brown has extensive experience in mortgage banking and formerly worked with Regions Mortgage and Regions Financial Corporation for 12 years. The Alabama State Bar's publication, Alabama Lawyer, published "Defining the Homebuyer's Legal Rights," authored by Brown in a March 2000 issue. Since 2011, he has been named a Super Lawyer in the area of Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights. Brown serves on the Board of Directors for the Huntingdon College National Alumni Association, is a past Advisory Board Member for Wynlakes Golf and Country Club, and attends Grace Episcopal Church. Brown and his wife, Nancy Jo, have been married for 28 years and have two daughters. This is Brown's first year on the Junior League Community Advisory Board.
Jeff Downes is the Chief of Staff/Deputy Mayor for the City of Montgomery. This position, created after Mayor Todd Strange was elected, involves providing overall leadership in the operations of our dynamic city. Mr. Downes began his career 35 years ago as an intern in the Finance Department for the City of Montgomery. He became a permanent hire two years later as the first Risk Manager for the city. Under his direction, the Risk Management division began numerous initiatives designed to control the costs of certain risk exposures. These included the creation of a workers compensation management system, a fully integrated employee assistance program, drug testing program, international drug importation program, self-insured liability program, and flexible spending account program utilizing debit cards.
Mr. Downes graduated with honors from Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Public Administration and then from A.U.M. with a Master of Public Administration degree. Jeff is a certified workers compensation claims adjuster and is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for States Risk Retention Group, a captive insurance company domiciled in Vermont. Mr. Downes has also served in many different community groups and Boards including the Young Montgomerians Business Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Weed and Seed Program, Montgomery Area Food Bank, St. Bede Child Development Center, Jubilee Cityfest, Health Services Inc., YMCA, Eat South, and Catholic Social Services. He is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and Leadership Alabama. He and his wife, Penny, have four children; Chad, Sydney, Harrison and Alexandra.
Kathy Sawyer is a modern-day pioneer. She is best known in Junior League circles as the first African-American member of our Junior League of Montgomery in the late 1980’s. After graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in the early 70’s, Kathy attended the University of Alabama where she graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Social Welfare and then a Master’s degree in Social Work. Ms. Sawyer currently works as the Independent Compliance Administrator, appointed by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to guide and oversee the Department on Disability Services’ compliance with exit criteria in the Evans v Gray Class Action Lawsuit. Ms. Sawyer has also spent the last seven years working as an independent consultant, providing technical assistance to clients in strategic planning, resource development, litigation management and community organization, primarily in government areas of health, mental health and human services. A few of her clients included the State of Alabama Governor’s Finance Office, Governor’s Office and Department of Mental Health, as well as the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, the Department on Disability Services in the District of Columbia and the United States Justice Department.
In 2005, the Kathy Sawyer Leadership and Advocacy Award was established by Minority Mental Health Consumers, and is awarded annually at the Alabama Mental Health Consumers Conference. Kathy’s other professional affiliations include the Alabama Department of Human Resources Board of Trustees, former Trustee of Alabama State University, Co-Chair for Envision’s Mental Health Advisory Committee, and Assistant Director for Camp Sunshine for Girls.
Leslie Sanders is Vice President of Alabama Power’s Southern Division. She is responsible for providing service to customers in south central Alabama, including the Montgomery area. A 25-year veteran of Alabama Power, Leslie previously served as Vice President of Governmental Relations, where she was responsible for overseeing all aspects of governmental affairs for the company at the state level. She has been in her current role since August 2011. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Leslie joined Alabama Power in 1986 and has since worked in staff and management positions including Constituency Relations director, Public Information representative for the company’s Southern Division, and as a Marketing representative in Montgomery. Prior to joining the company, she was a public relations assistant with Humana Hospital and a media buyer for Cunningham, Black and Farley in Montgomery.
Among her civic and professional activities, Leslie serves as the chairman of the Montgomery Riverfront Development Foundation. She also serves on the board for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, Children’s First Foundation, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Area Committee of 100, AL Agriculture Board, Alabama Archives and History, Montgomery County Public Library, and the Metro YMCA. Leslie was the coordinator of the 45th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott with the city of Montgomery and the Montgomery Improvement Association. She was an Advisory Board Member for the Women of Influence, task force member of the Department of Children’s Affairs, Steering Committee for Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics Forum.
Leslie and her husband, David, live in Montgomery with their two children, Brittany Leigh and Blake David.
With 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and advertising, Tommy McKinnon serves as the System Director of Marketing and Communications for Baptist Health. He oversees the establishment of integrated strategies, plans and programs designed to ensure that all communication, marketing and public relations efforts are cohesive, consistent and effective in supporting Baptist Health’s mission and advancement goals. Tommy has been an integral part of promoting Baptist Health’s faith-based mission by spearheading the introduction and proliferation of the organization’s Sacred Work initiative. His career has included employment with Brookwood Medical Center, HealthSouth Corporation, Miller Communications and Source Medical, all located in Birmingham. Tommy believes in giving back to the community through active service on several local and regional boards, including Centerpoint Fellowship Church, the Mayoral Leadership Montgomery Advisory Council, Kid One Transport, the Governor-appointed Board of Examiners for Assisted Living Administrators, Girl Scouts of Alabama and the Montgomery Public Schools CareerTech Advisory Council.
Tommy graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He is a published novelist, avid sailor, golfer, and enjoys taking Taekwondo classes 3-4 days each week with his children. Tommy resides in Montgomery with his wife, Sandy, three children—Kendall, Connor and Stinson—and Harley, the family’s killer five pound Chihuahua.