We are just half way through 2020 and our world has been turned upside down. While the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic on our education and economy is worthy of our attention, we want to take some time to celebrate a historic year for one of our community’s most impactful organizations. This year marks 25 years of the Huntsville Committee of 100. For two and a half decades, this group has collaborated to improve all facets of life—including long-term economic development, education, and cooperative local government.
Along with a significant anniversary, 2020 has also brought us an all female team of leaders in the organization. For the first time in Committee’s history, all volunteer leadership roles are filled by women. In an effort to celebrate some of the community’s most influential women, we will be featuring Committee’s leaders over the next few weeks.
This week, we feature Huntsville Committee of 100 Chair, Lynne Berry Vallely. Lynne is a Huntsville native with deep roots in the community. Her heart for this community is apparent in how and where she serves.
When asked why she serves, not only for Committee but in so many other ways, Lynne said, “I am so proud of this community and I want to be involved—specifically to Committee, being a part of a small group with their finger on the pulse making such a difference means so much to me.”
Lynne’s generational roots in Madison County give her a unique perspective. “In my lifetime, this city has gone from a closed pre-Civil Rights era to a world-class welcoming culture and from a sleepy little Southern cotton town to the birthplace of space exploration and Hudson Alpha.” A historical expert, these roots and her love for our area’s history make Lynne particularly qualified to lead the Committee into the future. She touts her mother and grandmothers as strong female influences in her life. All of these women were hard working and business minded.
When asked about her choices for leadership, Lynn says being Distict Coordinator for Bud Cramer played a significant role in choosing her path. She was the first female to have that role. Coming up the ranks in community leadership in Lynne’s time had its challenges. And while she never felt left behind or left out for being female, there were very few women to look to for direction and advice. Lynne now uses her experience to mentor others, which is something she did not have much opportunity to experience from a business leadership perspective.
The best advice Lynne has for up and coming female leaders is simple, be professional and be intentional. County Commissioner Charles Stone once told her when she was getting started to be involved in everything. Say yes and then as you find your passions and interests you can scale back and prioritize. She is certainly a great example of this. Besides her service to Committee of 100 she is passionate about Huntsville Hospital, having a long association there from the Health Care Authority to the community health initiative to now serving on the Foundation staff. She serves in many other ways throughout our community and state and is an incredible example for women (and men) as to what servant leadership looks like. Her leadership at Committee, especially through this global pandemic, has been exceptional.
More about Lynne:
Lynne Berry Vallely is the Planned Giving Officer for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the HudsonAlpha Foundation. She was the founding executive director of the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. She has served in the offices of former Congressman Bud Cramer and Senator Jeff Sessions. She has been a high school teacher and a NASA department head. She has also worked in positions that promoted Huntsville’s tourist attractions, preserved its historic sites, and protected the area’s natural environment.
Lynne serves on the following boards and committees:
- Leadership Alabama (Class 3, Board Chair 2004-2005)
- Alabama State Council on the Arts (Governor’s appointee)
- Alabama Department of Archives and History Foundation
- Huntsville Committee of 100 (Board Chair 2020)
- Huntsville Housing Authority Advisory Board
- Church of the Nativity Legacy Society
She was a member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation Board for twenty years and served as Board Chair in 2016. She was a member of the board of directors of The Nature Conservancy, Alabama chapter, and served as Board Chair 2009-2010. She was in Class 1 of Leadership Huntsville and is a past board chair (1992-1993). She was a member of the Health Care Authority from 1993–1999. While in that role, she proposed and established Huntsville Hospital’s Community Health Initiative in 1996. She received the 2018 Women’s Economic Development Council’s Women Honoring Women Award and the 2019 Wayne Greenhaw Award from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.
A native of Huntsville, Lynne is a graduate of Lee High School and Vanderbilt University. She manages her family’s businesses, Berry Millsaps Properties and J. T. Berry, Inc. She and her husband Joe enjoy three children, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.