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Huntsville Committee of 100: Women in Leadership Series

This week we wrap our Women in Leadership Series with our 2020 Creative Cities Chair Leah Gradl. Creative Cities is the philanthropic arm of the Committee of 100, focused on innovation in economic development and education. Leah’s long term strategic vision for the Creative Cities Fund is driving it towards growing North Alabama to have the highest concentration of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in the country.

Leah is currently the Vice President of Support Operations for Kent Companies, the 9th largest concrete contractor nationwide. As one of few females in a male dominated industry Leah said she always feels compelled to over prepare and sharpen her tech knowledge to ensure her voice is heard. She acknowledges the power she has as a female in the construction industry and is grateful for it. Some of the best advice Leah has been given, comes from Huntsville’s own, Joanne Randolph, former CEO of The Catalyst. Leah says, that Joanne encouraged her “to find work that gives you energy and inspires you. Work that is worth taking a risk for.” She also learned during her time working for the LPGA, that promoting yourself and making yourself visible as a female is critical. Two skills she honed as a consultant and small business owner were to chase business and know the value of her time.

When asked where her passion for serving comes from, Gradl says,  “I serve because I recognize how many people that have come before me to set things in motion. Now it is my responsibility to make a big picture impact on the community.”   She also believes that “Young Professionals having a place at the table is critical so they can continue to grow as leaders and put in the work.”

Leah served as Co-Chair of Creative Cities for two years before taking over as Chair this year. National Board Certification for teachers in our three local systems continues to be the fund’s focus because “NBCT’s have the power to create generational change in achievement for our public schools.” We are proud to have Leah at the helm of the fund’s most ambitious campaign to date, which is in 5 years to have 25% of all teachers in Huntsville, Madison and Madison County Nationally Board Certified.

More about Leah:

Leah Gradl is the Vice President of Support Operations for Kent Companies, the 9th largest concrete contractor nationwide.

A Cleveland, Ohio native, Leah moved to Huntsville in 2004. She began her career as a local sales manager for iHeart Media, earning recognition at the state and national level for developing campaigns across 150 iHeartMedia Markets. In 2010, Leah launched Thrive Business Development, consulting to construction clients across Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Texas and the Carolinas. Her work earned multiple Medallion Awards from the Public Relations Council of Alabama and the Southern Public Relations Federation. Today at Kent Companies, she oversees Marketing, Human Resources, Training & Development and IT services.

Leah holds an MBA from UA Huntsville and certificates in Federal Proposal Management, Board Governance and Political Campaign Management. She is a member of Connect Class 12, Committee of 100 YPs, and is a graduate of the Alabama Leadership Initiative through Leadership Alabama. Leah serves as a board member for Girls Inc. of Huntsville. She and her husband Paul love raising their young family in Huntsville. Their kids are Dax (6) and Tess(4), and both attend Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary School.

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