Retired YWCA CEO Suzanne Durham Receives Woman of Vision Award

March 4, 2014

Retiring after 34 years as CEO of YWCA Central Alabama, Suzanne Durham was recently presented with the “Woman of Vision” award at the 2014 Momentum Conference. Durham was honored for her dedication and perseverance in making the YWCA Central Alabama one of the most successful nonprofits in the area. Durham was honored along with other extraordinary Alabama women: the “Woman of Courage,” Jan Davis; “Woman of Leadership,” Dr. Deborah E. Barnhart; “Woman of Impact,” Mona N. Fouad, MD, MPH; and “Woman of Inspiration” and recent recipient of the YWCA’s “Woman of Valor” award, Judge Helen Shores Lee.

Momentum addresses the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions. Through skills-based training and mentoring, Momentum helps build the capabilities of emerging Alabama women leaders by offering the best practices for top-level managers. Momentum is an organization that seeks to empower a diverse group of promising women to develop leadership skills that, “positively impact business, culture and politics in Alabama.” Durham was honored for her outstanding leadership and contributions to the Birmingham community for over three decades.

Momentum Advisory Board member Dianne Mooney recognized Durham’s contributions: "The impact of the work of Suzanne Durham will be felt for generations to come. When you give a girl the tools to improve her sense of self-worth, not only will she benefit but so will her children and theirs. It's a privilege to honor Suzanne's vision for a better future for girls. She's an icon for good in our community."

Durham joined the YWCA Central Alabama as Executive Director in 1979, when the organization's headquarters was deep in debt. Thanks to two capital campaigns raising over $15 million, today the YWCA has renovated its main building and tremendously expanded to over a dozen buildings, including housing and family resource facilities in Woodlawn. Under Durham’s leadership, the YWCA’s programs have grown exponentially to insure comprehensive domestic violence and housing services, a nationally accredited child care service and successful social justice programs.

Because of her leadership skills and commitment to the Birmingham area, Durham has acquired numerous awards and recognitions honoring her service. Durham has twice been named by Birmingham News as “One of the 10 Most Influential Women in Birmingham.” In 2004, Birmingham Business Journal named her “Business Woman of the Year,” being the first nonprofit professional to receive the award. The University of Montevallo named her a Distinguished Alumna of 2012, and in 2013, she was named an inaugural “Women Who Make a Difference” by Birmingham News/Birmingham Magazine/Red Mountain Theatre. Birmingham’s Childcare Resources presented her with the Childcare Resources Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedicated efforts towards the wellbeing of children. Most recently Durham has been recognized by Birmingham Magazine as one of their “Leading Ladies.”

We here at the YWCA already know the tremendous contributions Durham has made to those served by our organization. It is a joy and point of pride to see her recognized by others as a Momentum “Woman of Vision.” The YWCA thanks Momentum for showing others how special she really is.

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