Just over 20 years ago, Momentum was founded, with a mission to empower promising women to develop leadership skills that positively impact business, culture and politics in Alabama. Now, they’re excited for Momentum in Huntsville. We talked with April Benetollo, CEO, to learn why they’re making this move + how you can get involved. Keep reading for all the details.
Some background on Momentum in Huntsville
In March 2022, Momentum hosted its biennial conference, welcoming 1500 leaders to Birmingham for two days of inspiring speakers, enriching workshops and plenty of opportunities to connect.
Once the conference organizers caught their breath, they headed straight up I-65 to The Rocket City, where they’re getting ready to launch their first-ever Huntsville Executive program.
“Momentum’s mission has always been to advance women’s leadership throughout the state of Alabama,” according to Benetollo. “Our flagship program, the Executive Class, has taken place in Birmingham for the past 20 years, so it’s primarily attracted women from an area that’s drivable.”
Fulfilling a statewide mission by expanding Momentum in Huntsville
That said, the Momentum Board of Directors and staff realized that the organization could do more to fulfill their mission statewide, so they looked at Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery as possible areas for expansion.
Huntsville was an easy choice, for five key reasons:
- Growth: Huntsville is the fastest-growing metro area in Alabama.
- Diversity in industry: while people often think of defense when they think of Huntsville, there’s a lot of growth in areas like healthcare, manufacturing and biotech.
- Draw for people from other parts of the country: defense, NASA, aerospace and other burgeoning industries are like a magnet, pulling in executives and engineers from across the country.
- Government contracts = women-owned businesses: the requirement that a certain number of government contracts be contracted with a woman-owned business means Huntsville has a higher-than-normal level of women who own engineering, consulting, aerospace, talent, recruiting firms and more.
Proximity: it’s easy for the Birmingham staff to drive up and get back so they can help make sure the “Momentum magic” is consistent across the board. They also want to get a good feeling for what it takes to make the program what Huntsville and Madison county need it to be.
April 14 reception for women leaders with Momentum in Huntsville
On Thursday, April 14, Momentum held a reception at the Hotel Curio for 25 of Huntsville’s women leaders. Here are some of the highlights from the event:
- April Benetollo, CEO, shared the history and benefits of Momentum.
- Andrea McCaskey, Statewide Program Director, shared highlights of the curriculum and how Momentum complements other programs and associations in the area.
- Brenna Powell, Momentum alumna and Board Member, shared how Momentum helped her through a challenging professional year while she was in the class, and also how the network continues to benefit her through life’s opportunities and challenges.
- Sarah Savage-Jones, Momentum 2022 Woman of Impact honoree, closed out the event saying she plans to apply for the inaugural class and invited the leaders present to join her.
What you can expect to see with Momentum in Huntsville + who’s involved
Momentum’s Executive Leadership program is now taking applications for Fall 2022.
- Andrea McCaskey, Statewide Program Director, will oversee the launch and continuation of the program.
- Sarah Savage-Jones, who used to lead Leadership Greater Huntsville, will be helping to get the program off the ground.
- Jenny Askins, also formerly with Leadership Greater Huntsville, is contracted to manage the program launch in Huntsville.
- Facilitators who are experts in their fields from across the country will lead the sessions.
- Momentum plans to hire a program manager in Huntsville.
“‘Momentum’ equals mass times velocity squared—something we know well in the Rocket City. By mobilizing the perspectives and talents of Momentum women, we have the opportunity to shape our futures like never before.”—Sarah Savage-Jones
How Momentum in Huntsville is different from + complements other leadership programs
According to Benetollo, Momentum is “excited to join the leadership development ecosystem in Huntsville.”
Benetollo also sees a lot of room to help grow women’s leadership in the area, she explained in this article in the Huntsville Business Journal:
“Where programs like Leadership Greater Huntsville or Leadership Birmingham bring leaders together to solve community problems, Momentum is a highly individualized personal and professional development journey.
On the other side of the program, you come out a stronger, more effective leader that will bring more value to your company and community, and you’ll have a more gratifying personal life.
Momentum’s class experience results in deep and strong relationships and a strong network that complements groups like the Women’s Economic Development Council.”—April Benetollo, CEO, Momentum
How you can get involved with Momentum in Huntsville around the state
If you are a senior-level woman leader, apply now for the Fall 2022 Executive Leadership program.
If that program’s not a fit for you, there are still a number of ways you can plug into and learn from Momentum:
- Bring a speaker to your organization
- Take a class
- Attend a webinar
- Listen to the Momentum Matters podcast
- Check out their YouTube channel