Mr. & Ms. Young Hot Birmingham Contestants

Photography by Lindsey Griffin

They’re young, they’re hot, they’re professional and they’re making a difference in Birmingham.
Five men and five women will compete for prizes and the title of Mr. and Ms. Hot Young Professional all in the name of a good cause.
Young professionals who are active in charity efforts throughout the city will be nominated for this award
and the winners will be based on who has raised the most money for their charity of choice.
The winners will be announced at a big party at the top of the Kress Building downtown on June 16, 6 to 9 p.m.

Leila Deep A native of Birmingham, Leila Deep graduated from the University of Alabama before venturing to New York City to work in magazine promotion, legal recruiting & event planning. While in NYC, she participated in outreach activities through the New York Junior League. Although Leila enjoyed her time in the Big Apple, she missed the city she has always called home. She moved back to Birmingham in June of 2009 and later joined the firm of Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP as its Recruiting and Marketing Coordinator. Since returning home, Leila has become active in the Birmingham community. She currently serves on The Altamont School Alumni board, as well as the Birmingham Museum of Art Junior Patrons board. Leila is also an active member of the Junior League of Birmingham, volunteering her time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UAB. Most recently, Leila was selected as a member of the Junior Council for Mitchell’s Place, a center for autistic children and their families. This cause is significant to Leila, because as an Elementary Education major, she saw firsthand the challenges faced by autistic children. In her spare time, Leila enjoys working out at Pure Barre and Studio G in Homewood.

Kelly Franks Kelly is originally from Hattiesburg, MS where she attended the University of Southern Mississippi and completed her degree at William Carey University. She has been in pharmaceutical sales for the past 5 years and has recently transitioned to the telecommunication industry as an Account Executive with tw telecom. Kelly served as a camp counselor at Abbie Roger’s Civitan Camp for Children with Mental Retardation for 6 years in Hattiesburg. To combine her passion for helping children and those less fortunate, Kelly is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Kid One transport with whom she recently hosted the Mardi Gras Masquerade. In her spare time Kelly enjoys running, tennis, watching football, deep sea fishing, beach trips and anything adventurous – from skydiving to swimming with sharks. She is also an avid Saints fan

Whitney Hamm Whitney Hamm is 25 years old and a native of Cullman, Al. Whitney attended Wallace State Community College in Hanceville where she received her Associates degree in Human Services with a focus on Alcohol and Drug Counseling; she then transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to pursue a degree in Psychology. Whitney has since chosen a career path in the non profit sector where she works for Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama. Whitney serves on the Junior Board of Magic Moments where she holds a position on the Steering Committee as the 2010 Membership and Events Chair; she has been affiliated with Magic Moments since 2009. Magic Moments is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that is Alabama based and dedicated to fulfilling non-medical wishes to children ages 4-18 diagnosed with life-threatening or life-altering medical conditions. Whitney is affiliated with several other local and national organizations and is extremely compassionate about serving the Birmingham community through promoting philanthropy.

Sarah Israel Sarah Israel, a Birmingham native, graduated from Mountain Brook High School and The University of Alabama, receiving an undergraduate degree in Public Relations and Event Planning. Sarah was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and served as Social Chair during her tenure. Upon graduation, she interned at Fingerprint Communications, a celebrity and fashion public relations firm located in Beverly Hills, California. Sarah then returned to The University of Alabama to obtain a Masters of Science in Marketing degree. Currently, Sarah is the Director of Marketing for Adamson Ford and its five locations in the Greater Birmingham Area. She focuses on marketing via non-traditional media, including cause marketing and social media campaigns. Sarah is on the Associate Board for the Arthritis Foundation, serving as the Public Relations Chair for the May 14th Mudbugs and Music Festival to be held at Ore in Crestline Park. Mudbugs and Music raises money for the Alabama Juvenile Arthritis Initiative, a major contributor to the Alabama Center for Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatic Disorders. The clinic, a partnership founded in 2007 among UAB, Children’s Health System and the Arthritis Foundation, sees patients from all over the Southeast and has expanded to five clinician scientists in order to meet patient demands and expand the research portion of the clinic. This cause has been close to Sarah’s heart from a young age—her younger sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of three.

Niki harris Niki Harris is passionate about raising money for the Autism Society of Alabama (ASA), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving services for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Niki joined the Autism Society’s Junior Board in 2009 and has served as both Membership Chair and Events Chair of that Board. Niki grew up in Opp, a small town in Southeast Alabama, and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2004 with a degree in Accounting and a distinction in Leadership Studies. Niki is a CPA and is currently employed as an accountant at Southern Company. Niki also serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotaract Club of Birmingham. Niki is married to Dustin Harris and enjoys running, trying out new restaurants, and traveling.

Charles Daniel Charles Daniel is a 2000 graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Communications. He holds a Master of Science Degree from Mississippi State University in Meteorology. For the past several years, Charles has served Alabama as one of our local meteorologists on CBS 42. He now works for Alabama’s own Regions Bank. Charles and his wife of five year’s, Brannan, are both working hard to raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Alabama. They have created an event called Jennifer’s Ride: Passport for a Cure to raise money for MDA. His sister, Jennifer, has a rare form of the disease and has struggled with it for years. Together, Charles and Brannan hope to raise money for research and a cure. Charles is also an active member of the Junior Board of the Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School.

Richard Davis Richard Davis is a native to the Birmingham area, graduating from Mountain Brook High School in 1998. From there, he went on to attend the University of Alabama where he graduated in 2003 from the Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration with a bachelors degree in Electronic Commerce and Marketing. In January Richard celebrated his sixth anniversary with his company, Willis, where he serves as a Vice President broker of commercial insurance and risk management services. Richard has been a committed Birmingham Rotaract Club member since 2005 and was recently elected to serve as the Social Director for the upcoming 2011-2012 board. Though he has taken full advantage of the socializing and learning opportunities provided by the club, Richard finds the opportunities to serve to be the most rewarding. In his free time Richard enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing with his four pets, staying healthy, and playing competitive kickball and dodgeball.

Patrick Eades Patrick Eades, 25, grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Hoover High School in 2003. Patrick went to the University of Alabama and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Public Relations. While he was at Alabama, he played football for Mike Shula from 2003 to 2006. He suffered a life altering car wreck his freshman year of college, and that is where his giving spirit was born. Thanks to hard work and generous help, Patrick was able to overcome the injuries he suffered in the near fatal accident. Through this experience Patrick decided to give back to the community after so much as given to him. He learned how to walk, run and kick again and was back on the roster of the Crimson Tide football team in 2004. After college Patrick joined the professional world. He began working at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, where he helped launch the fast growing product, Individual Blue, and joined many service groups including the American Diabetes Association, The First and Ten Club of Alabama, The Junior Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Alabama and The Junior Executive Board of The American Cancer Society of Birmingham. Patrick left Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama to pursue a sales career in advertising with the television station ABC 33/40 in 2009. With the support of ABC 33/40, Patrick was able to be fully involved on The Junior Executive Board for The American Cancer Society and has helped raise over $200,000 through fund raising events. Patrick is engaged to Caroline Williams, Owner of Carriage House Weddings in Homewood Alabama.

Lyord Watson Jr. Acknowledged as a proven leader, Lyord Watson Jr. is a preacher and a philanthropist who lives out his faith in the pulpit as well as in the public square. A native of Brewton, AL, he has lived in Birmingham for 14 years. Currently, he is Executive Director of Redemptive Associates Inc., a nonprofit that is a catalyst for healthy and holistic communities and is an associate minister at Greater St. John Baptist Church. Lyord is a graduate of Samford University and has a Master of Divinity Degree from Beeson Divinity School. He is a founding member and immediate past president of the Birmingham Change Fund, and is a member Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. On the national level, he serves on the board for the Community Investment Network, a nonprofit that encourages organizations and individuals to think and act more strategically with their giving to impel greater social change in their communities. In 2009, he was recognized for his leadership as a “National Philanthropy Day VIP” by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. He is an inaugural class member of two of Birmingham’s leadership programs: Urban Leadership Initiative and Mayor Bell’s Young Professionals United. Lyord and his wife Katrina reside in Birmingham.

John Long is the Program Director for WUHT, HOT 107.7 and is responsible for creating, developing and supervising all station programming. He has been a Program Director for over nine years, been in radio broadcasting for over nineteen years, and has worked in major markets including Houston and Dallas. In 2004 John was recognized as one of the top five rising radio programming stars by Radio and Records. John also received the Program Director of the Year Award from the American Advertising Federation in 2008. John earned a bachelors of science in Marketing from Tuskegee University and is proud to be a third generation Tuskegee grad. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Gamma Phi Chapter), John is very active in the community performing community service in the Birmingham area, serving on the board for the Community Kitchens of Birmingham, on the Leadership Council for the American Lung Association and he serves as Vice President for the Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals. He has also volunteered in many community programs including Junior Achievement, Birmingham Cares Mentoring Fair, Project Homeless Connect and Habitat for Humanity. John completed the 2010 Urban Leadership Initiative, is involved with the Mayor’s YP United program and is a member of the 2011 Leadership UAB class.

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