Whether President, Chair, or CEO, these women are leading the way!
Maye Head Frei, Chairman | RAM Tool
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Maye Head Frei is the Chairman of Ram Tool Construction Supply Company, a family-owned, construction distribution business. With operations in 17 states, Ram Tool is one of the largest women-owned businesses in Alabama. Maye and her sister, Hillery Head – current CEO of Ram Tool, are the second generation owners of the company.
The values of education, hard work and duty to give back shaped Maye’s upbringing and continue to influence her work today. After attending The Altamont School, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University in 1992 and currently serves on the Yale Alumni Schools Committee. In 1997, Maye moved back to Birmingham to join her sister and mother at Ram Tool. After working in roles as diverse as sales & marketing, computer software implementation, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Administration, she assumed the Chairman role in 2009. During Maye's tenure, RAM Tool has experienced signifigant growth. When she joined RAM Tool in 1997, there were 7 branches, today there are 43!
Maye is also active in the governance of a handful of philanthropic organizations in Birmingham. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Vice-President of the Highlands School Board. She also serves on the board of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, the Alabama Trails Foundation and the Hugh Kaul Foundation.
Maye is married to Bernard Frei, an online sports marketing retailer, and they have two daughters, ages 16 and 11.
Bobbie Knight, President | Miles College
In August 2019 Bobbie Knight was elected as the fifteenth president, and first woman to serve at the helm of Miles College. Knight, who is a Birmingham native, retired in 2016 after a successful career of more than 37 years with Alabama Power Company. Throughout her career Knight held various executive and leadership positions, including Vice President of the Birmingham Division (Alabama Power’s largest division), Vice President of Public Relations, and General Manager of Supply Chain.
Although retired from her professional career, Knight serves as Chair of the Board of Managers for the Birmingham Times Media Group. In 2018 Knight was appointed to the Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) and was immediately elected as Chair by her colleagues. She continues to serve as Vice Chair of the BAA.
Throughout her career, Knight has received many awards and accolades. In 2005 she was named Outstanding Alumni in Public Relations by the University Of Alabama School Of Communications. In 2008 Knight was a recipient of the Women’s History Award from the Birmingham Chapter of NAACP. In 2013 she was recognized as one of the “Women Who Make a Difference” by the Birmingham News and AL.com. In 2019 Knight was presented with a Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award by the NCCJ.
Knight has a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She is also a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Executive Leadership Program.
Knight is a woman of immense influence and is passionate about giving back to her community and mentoring young men and women to become leaders in their communities. She is married to Gary Burley, retired NFL player, local philanthropist, and founder of ProStart Academy.
Shannon Spotswood, President | RFG Advisory
Shannon Spotswood is a 25-year industry veteran in financial services with an outstanding reputation built on leadership roles in investment banking, hedge fund management, and business development. At RFG Advisory, Shannon oversees all aspects of RFG 2.0, a fully integrated platform designed for independent financial advisors and the implementation of strategic initiatives contributing to advisor success. Joining RFG Advisory in 2015, Shannon recognized the opportunity to combine her entrepreneurial experience with her passion to build an innovative, advisor-focused RIA of the future.
Under Shannon’s leadership, RFG Advisory was named Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors in 2021 and a Finalist for the InvestmentNews Innovation Awards 2021. In 2020, Financial Times named RFG Advisory a Top 300 RIA out of 13,000 firms. In 2020, Shannon was named 2020 Women to Watch Honoree by InvestmentNews and received industry-wide recognition for StrongHer Money, a turn-key education and advisor referral platform focused on serving women.
In an industry marked by accelerated change and disruption, Shannon is a standout. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, podcasts, and industry events on strategic execution, operational excellence, technology, and best practices on leading, recruiting, and mentoring next-gen talent and financial advisors. She also has experience talking about start-ups, having built a luxury children’s clothing brand Busy Bees Kids from the ground floor up. With her partner, Busy Bees grew from a trunk-show business based in a garage to a successful brand featured in Vogue and carried in more than 150 stores and online.
Shannon’s career is characterized by a blend of leadership, vision, and grit. Before joining RFG Advisory, Spotswood served 20 years in San Francisco, working as an Investment Banker, Hedge Fund Portfolio Manager, and Entrepreneur. For 10 years Shannon worked at Symphony Asset Management, an $18 billion hedge fund acquired by Nuveen Investments in 2001 where she spent six years as the Portfolio Manager of a long-short equity hedge fund. Before that, she worked as a Research Analyst/Trader at EGM Capital and an Investment Banking Analyst and Associate in M&A at Volpe, Brown Whelan & Co, a technology-focused investment bank.
Shannon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Arizona. She currently serves as Vice Chairman (Chairman beginning July 21) for the Birmingham Education Foundation and serves on the Advisory Board of Alabama Futures Fund, an early-stage VC fund.
Shannon lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she and her husband have raised their son and two daughters. She enjoys entertaining, outdoor sports, and daily rides on her Peloton.
Karla Khodanian leads the Birmingham Business Alliance’s member relations, where she builds relationships with business leaders to support the creation of amazing jobs, promote the development of top-tier talent, and increase the growth of our communities. Along with her duties leading member relations for The Alliance, Karla also leads OnBoard Birmingham, a dedicated hub that promotes Birmingham as a great place to live and grow a career. Through her work with OnBoard Birmingham, she regularly engages with employers and human resources professionals across industries, connects with students, faculty and staff on college and university campuses and works on The Alliance’s talent attraction and retention efforts. Karla graduated in 2014 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in marketing and sociology. Prior to joining The Alliance, Khodanian worked in marketing, communications and branding for Big Communications, Joonko Diversity Inc. and Dogtrot Studio. She also has worked as a communications consultant for seven years, serving clients like The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, Leadership Birmingham, Alys Beach and, even prior to her full-time work, the Birmingham Business Alliance. She has also contributed to such projects as the “BringAtoB” campaign for the Amazon HQ2 bid, Lyft’s “Ride for Alabama” grassroots initiative to pass statewide ridesharing legislation in Alabama and efforts to advance over a dozen nonprofit organizations around Birmingham.A native of Huntsville, Ala., Karla attended college in Birmingham and has enthusiastically remained in the Magic City ever since. She volunteers in Birmingham as a member of UAB’s National Alumni Society’s Young Alumni Council, co-chair of the Youth Leadership Forum’s Arts Day and as a committee member for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s annual Smart Party fundraiser. She is a deeply passionate civic advocate and prides herself on shopping local, living local and sharing the good news of the Magic City with anyone who will listen. In her spare time, Karla loves to cook, and you’ll often see her out and about running laps around Railroad Park, hitting up happy hour at a brewery, or grabbing a bite with friends at one of her favorite local restaurants.