Board and Staff

The people behind the vision.

Meet the passionate individuals who drive our initiatives forward, bringing people from different corners of the world together.  This diverse group of visionaries, provides strategic guidance, ensuring that Birmingham Sister Cities continues to build bridges and create meaningful connections globally.

Board Members

Blair Minyard
Board Chair

Blair Minyard is a mechanical engineer with over a decade of experience in the construction industry, currently working for Revere Control Systems.

Jennifer Gowers
Vice Chair

Jennifer E Gowers, CSEP, CMP, DES is President / Owner of GoPro Event Solutions which has been operating as a leader in the events industry since 2007.

Shia Hendricks
Board Secretary

Shia Hendricks currently serves as Director of Category Management and Insights for Walmart/Sam’s. She is not only a corporate change-maker, she is also a fervent civic and servant leader. Ms. Hendricks earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Spelman College and her Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University of Charlotte.

R. Scott “Scotty” Colson
Board Treasurer

Lifelong Birminghamian. Graduated UAB with full scholarship and honors 1980. Graduated Cumberland Law School 1983 with scholarship. Member Alabama Bar since 1983. Worked 35 as an Assistant to the Mayor of Birmingham (served with 8 Mayors). In those years was in charge of many different areas, Youth programs, public safety, Arts and Museums/Cultural events and Economic Development and in charge of Sister Cities and International programs.

Sonja Smith
Nominating Committee Chair

Sonja Smith is the Program Manager for the UAB Lifespan Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center and the District 8 Birmingham Board of Education Representative.

Drew Jackson

Drew is an Alabama native and a graduate of Samford University. He has a deep passion for data visualization, transportation and outdoor media. Drew is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of StreetMetrics, a graduate of the 2019 Techstars Atlanta Accelerator and a graduate of Praxis’ Emerging Founders Program.

Gwen Amamoo
Ghana Committee Chair

A retired Birmingham City Schools educator, Mrs. Gwendolyn Amamoo is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a graduate of A. H. Parker High School and Miles College. She also holds a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Blaine Brownell
Board Member

Blaine A. Brownell, a teacher and scholar specializing in U.S. urban history and international education, is author or co-author of 7 books 22 articles or book chapters and has held significant leadership positions in U.S. universities and other non-profit and for profit organizations. He was the 12th president of Ball State University.

Marty Conners
Economic Development Committee

Marty is the principal of M.J. Connors Consulting, which offers contract services representing corporate clients to industry and governments in the area of marketing, governmental affairs and strategic planning.

Stan Erdreich
Charter Member

Stanley M. Erdreich, Jr., a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is a graduate of Washington and Lee University
where he received a B.S. degree. For over twenty years he was associated with AmSouth Bank, N.A. and
served as Senior Vice President and director of the bank’s international activities; also Chairman and CEO of
AmSouth Bank International, an Edge Act subsidiary.

Vince Gawronski
Youth Exchanges Abroad Committee

Vincent T. Gawronski is Professor of Political Science at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. He received his B.A. in History and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin (1987) and his M.A. (1993) and Ph.D. (1998) in Political Science from Arizona State University. He is currently the Department Chair at Birmingham-Southern, but he is also the Program Coordinator for Global and Comparative Studies and Latin American Studies.

Christopher Hamlin
Board Member

The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin serves as pastor of Birmingham’s 136-year old Tabernacle Baptist Church. He also serves as Chaplain/Education Specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s 1917 Clinic, the HIV outpatient clinic treating more than 3,400 patients.

Stephanie Hunter
Jamaica Committee Chair

Stephanie Hunter is a Senior Trial Referee with the Jefferson County Family Court, Birmingham Division. Prior to that appointment, Stephanie was a solo practitioner with Hunter Law Firm, P.C. where she focused on all aspects of family law, probate, arbitration, and mediation. Stephanie is a trained arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS).

Indya Johnson
Board Member

Indya Johnson, an accomplished International Program Analyst, boasts an extensive career of over 7 years dedicated to Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Development. Specializing in program management and strategic planning, she has demonstrated a consistent ability to align projects with organizational missions. Indya currently serves as an Administrative Officer in the US Agency for International Development’s Africa Bureau, Office of West African Affairs.

Byron Perkins
Internal Affairs Committee

Byron “BP” Perkins is an attorney in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Perkins’ practice areas include catastrophic injury, wrongful death, medical mal-practice, gender and race discrimination cases, class actions as well as individual cases, sexual harassment, and commercial litigation.

Montiqua Mathers Pettway
Internal Affairs Committee

With a smile that brightens a room, Montiqua Mathers has a heart for God’s people and an undeniable ability to connect. A Human Resources practitioner with 20 years of experience, Montiqua skillfully uses her profession as a platform to break barriers, motivate, inspire and encourage others to be great. Her resources include seminars, training, brainstorming sessions, mentoring through “It Matters with Montiqua” or just engaging in candid conversations with those in need of guidance. Currently, Montiqua serves as People Leader at Waste Management.

Leda Summer
China Committee Chair

Leda Summer has worked in the engineering field for over 30 years. She received her Bachelors of Science in Electronic Engineering and a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering.

Damon Treadwell
Government Relations Committee

A Birmingham native, Damon Treadwell currently serves as District Manager for Hyundai Capital America. He is also a non-traditional entrepreneur. With a natural affinity for the automotive industry, and a default for providing value to customers, after 13 years in the automotive industry, Damon began an automotive consulting company, MLAB.


Jessica Findley Valentin
Interim Executive Director

Jessica is a Birmingham native and co-founder/CEO of Neowaste, an advanced recycling company that converts plastic waste into hydrocarbon fuels.