Business Team
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ABOUT 

IGNITE!  is a holistic and supportive ecosystem designed to educate and bridge communication gaps between organizations, service providers, and minorities within the State of Alabama, especially African Americans and Female Business Owners. 

MISSION

Our mission is to ensure that minorities stay informed, have a clear understanding, and receive access to Federal, State, and Local Funding, as well as resources and technical assistance needed to competitively compete, succeed, and excel.

OBJECTIVES

IGNITE! Alabama core objectives are to ensure that minorities:

  • Understand Core Business Competencies

  • Receive Access to Capital                                      

  • Secure AND Successfully Execute Contracts

  • Are made aware of and encouraged to explore STEM and other High Growth Industries

  • Are made aware of and take advantage of Workforce Development and Career Readiness Opportunities

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THE NEED

Systemic racism, racial inequality, and disparities, as well as a lack of access to training and support, have perpetuated an “unlevel” playing field, catapulting Alabama’s minority community, especially African American’s seemingly into a “State of Emergency.”

 

Despite one’s very best efforts, Alabama minorities often find themselves “being the last to know” as it relates to educational and financial opportunities. They lack a supportive network and frequently fall prey to unfair business practices, manipulative and restrictive voting laws, policies, and strategic poll closings within disadvantaged communities. 

According to a 2019 study published by Alabama Possible, the State of Alabama is the 6th poorest state in the U.S. with over 800,000 Alabamians living below the poverty threshold.  Moreover, statistics show that while 72% of Alabama’s “Heads of Households” are African American women, they are 51% underpaid vs. white women AND 61% underpaid vs. white men. 

 

In addition, although 26% of the State of Alabama’s population are African American, they only own 3% of Alabama’s businesses with employees. So, while we are frustrated, we are not hopeless.

 

We simply acknowledge that it’s time to IGNITE!  and become the change we MUST see!

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION STATEMENT

IGNITE! is committed to setting the standard and moving inclusion forward. Our team works intently to connect people, broaden perspectives, stimulate conversations, and foster civic engagement that promotes and recognize principles of fairness and equity, in relation to, and across, intersections of race, age, color, disability, faith, religion, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, social class, economic class, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, and all other identities represented among our diverse communities.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MEET THE

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KRISHAWN AHMADOU

Member at Large

A&O Medical Billing, LLC,
OWNER

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ARLILLIAN KATE BUSHELON

Member at Large

Bushelon Funeral Home,
Manager

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DR. MIA COWAN

Member at Large

MiBella Wellness Center,
Founder and Director 

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TYEYONA JACKSON

Member at Large

YWCA,
Economic Empowerment Manager

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BELINDA LYONS

Treasurer

UPS Store Hueytown,
Franchise Owner

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CEDRIC J. NORMAN

Member at Large

Manager of Information Technology Services, Miles College

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EVA T. ROBERTSON

Member at Large

Protective Life Foundation,VP, Community Relations & Executive Director

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TERRY SPARKS

Member at Large

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 
Assurance Partner

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SHARON W. BURTON

Member at Large

Valley National Bank,
First Vice President, Market Manager

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KIM CARTER EVANS

Member at Large

Vice President, Managing Director,
Director of Corporate Communications,
TruFund Financial Services, Inc.

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KEY HUDSON

Member at Large

Regions Bank,
Chief of Staff

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JULIE WALL KHOURY

Member at Large

Balch & Bingham LLP,
Chief Marketing Officer

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ISAAC McCOY

Member at Large

Dean, School of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Computational & Information Sciences, Stillman College

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RITA REYNOLDS

Member at Large

Reynolds Litigation,
CEO

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REGINALD D. SMITH

Member at Large

Managing Director,
Sabre Finance

 

 
 
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TORIN DARLING

BRAZZLE

Executive Director

MEET

With a bachelor’s degree from Samford University, over 16 years of Executive Level Grants Management, 24 years of Resource & Partnership Development resulting in over $20 million dollars of funding and/or direct services to date, Program Development, Event Planning, and Project Management; Torin has a proven and dedicated career of promoting economic equality and advancement among disadvantaged populations throughout the State of Alabama.

 

Torin possesses creativity, passion, drive, and fortitude enabling her to continually lead a stellar team to develop and execute innovative programs and events that IGNITE! Alabama.

 

Torin is a dedicated Christian that considers her greatest joy and accomplishment in life, as being Dexter’s wife, Chelsea and Alexis “Lexi’s” mom. 

 

In her spare time, Torin enjoys reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends.