Cindy Kostelecky – President
Cindy Kostelecky has been with Jim House & Associates for over 22 years, working with municipalities and industrial companies throughout the State of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. After graduating from the University of South Alabama, she helped build and run the satellite office in Fairhope, AL for 17 years. In 2010 she moved to Birmingham to help increase the aftermarket growth in both the municipal and industrial markets.
Jim House & Associates recently acquired ten acres in Irondale and has been in a year long process of renovating and building additional buildings to accommodate the growth in the sale of new equipment and repairs. Providing quality products and superior customer service is what Cindy feels are the most important aspects in a successful business.
Cindy is a certified Pilate’s teacher and is currently studying for her personal trainer’s certification. She enjoys many activities including cooking, dancing, writing, traveling and photography. An avid reader she frequents her local library to help control the urge to buy every book that interests her.
Cindy has one son, Derek, who lives in Fairhope and works as a graphic designer with Budweiser. Her other “child” is a four pound Peek-A-Poo, who truly is the “most interesting dog in the world”.
Working in such a glamorous business as selling sewage pumps, Cindy’s philosophy in life is truly “one must be able to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at oneself.
Holly Sherrill - Treasurer
Holly is President and CEO of Marketech360. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Women’s Network (TWN) and holds an MBA from Mercer University in Atlanta, GA.
She is a veteran trade show expert, bringing over 25 years’ experience in experiential marketing to trade shows and events. Holly’s specialties include; exhibit staff training, strategic planning and consultation, quantifiable objective setting, and ROI tools and execution. Holly is a regular speaker at national events such as Exhibitor Live, HCEA and Fast Trak.
Kimberley Ackerson – Secretary
In 2006 Dr. Ackerson became Board Certified in Forensic Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology. To date she has one publication and twenty plus presentations. Forensic-based reports prepared are in excess of fifteen hundred with at least forty plus court appearances in State and Federal Courts as well as Domestic/Family Courts. She is a member of American Psychological Association and Division 41- American Psychology and Law Society, and Birmingham Regional Association of Licensed Psychologist (past-President). Dr. Ackerson also has been involved with the Alabama Psychological Association having served on the Association’s Executive Council for the past three years, as secretary and legislative chair. Dr. Ackerson is a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church and is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary. She also is a member of the Alabama Women in Business.
Jana Branch – Member-At-Large
Jana Branch works in the corporate office of Opulenza Designs, which is a jewelry company founded in 2016 that creates handcrafted .925 sterling silver jewelry. Jana has over 30 years of office and business management experience and has been the business manager for several startup businesses in the Birmingham area over her career. This has allowed her to learn how successful businesses grow from the ground up.
Jana is passionate about helping businesses, especially women owned businesses, not just grow but also thrive and become an important part of the Birmingham business community. Jana grew up in the Birmingham area and is a graduate from the University of Alabama.
Gretchen Birdwell - Member-At-Large
Award-winning photographer Gretchen Birdwell fell in love with capturing a moment in time when she was 14 on a school field trip to the North Carolina state capitol. “I asked my mom for a camera and I started photographing my friends on that trip,” she says. “It wasn’t long before film won out over food.” It was the moment when she saw someone’s face transform from self-conscious to empowered that convinced her that she had found her life’s work.
“I have always been fascinated by what happens to people when they are in front of the camera,” Gretchen explains. “My job is to make my clients feel more comfortable, pose them, light them properly and then capture their inner light and bring that out in a photo.”
From senior portraits to family sessions to a luxury portrait session full of a day of pampering, Gretchen takes her time to make sure her clients are comfortable in front of her lens and are thrilled with the final product. “We all have a story to tell, so let’s take advantage of that,” she says. “Do you have photos with your children? Do you have photos with your parents?”
A Certified Professional Photographer, Gretchen has received multiple awards for her portrait work-but nothing is more satisfying than hearing a client tell her “You’ve shown a side of me I have never seen before-and I look beautiful.”
Working out of her studio for the past 11 years in Old Town Helena has given Gretchen a beautiful backdrop for her photography. “Whether I am shooting here in the studio or in a variety of outdoor locations, my goal is to make my subjects feel wonderful about themselves,” she explains. “Think about creating those photographs that will be a legacy for your family member or children some day.”
Gretchen spends time with each subject before the session to make sure she is able to relax and enjoy her day. “This session is all about pampering yourself, so we make sure we have picked out your clothing and have our hair and makeup team ready to go,” she explains. “This day is all about you-we want you to have fun and feel extra special.”
Linda Levin - Member-At-Large
Linda Levin, President of Achieve Change Today, is a Professional Certified Coach and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in executive coaching. She has been successfully coaching individual and corporate clients for over 17 years. Linda’s 25 plus years of clinical experience as a licensed clinical social worker lends additional depth to her coaching skills. Women professionals who work with Linda tap into their strengths with more power and confidence. Linda helps her clients focus on their priorities and move from the ordinary in their lives to setting extraordinary goals that resonate with them. They discover innovative strategies to overcome obstacles that stand in their way. In addition, they learn to practice clear communication skills that increase their effectiveness, result in more meaningful relationships, and climb the ladder of success. Through one inspired action at a time, they find the courage to take bigger risks and achieve their highest goals.
Linda graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh and received a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Tulane University. She obtained her coach training from the Institute for Life Coach Training and became a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.
Katrina Porter - Member-At-Large
Katrina is the Owner and Principal Designer behind Katrina Porter Designs. With over 22 years in the interior design industry, her greatest joy is manifested when designing both beautiful and functional kitchens and bathrooms. Many of her kitchens have found their way onto the pages of Birmingham Home and Garden Magazine. She also had the opportunity to design two spaces and has appeared on Fix It and Finish It, starring Antonio Sabato, Jr.
Katrina also serves on the board for the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce.
Liucija Smaizyte Wright - Member-At-Large
Liucija Smaizyte Wright specializes in creating and presenting wealth planning solutions for the clients of May Morgan team at Morgan Stanley. She first interned with Morgan Stanley in 2014 and returned in 2016 as a Wealthy Advisory Associate. In 2017 and 2018, Liucija was recognized as one of the Morgan Stanley’s Top Wealth Advisory Associates.
Originally from Lithuania, Liucija cam to the United States on a full athletic tennis scholarship at the University of Texas at Arlington. She transferred to University of Montevallo in 2013, where she helped the tennis team reach the Peach Belt Conference championship for the first time in the school’s history. Liucija graduated magna cum laude, and first in her class, at the University of Montevallo earning her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, and minors in MIS and Pre-Law.
While at Montevallo, she earned the Academic Achievement Award, was on the President’s List, a Gold Scholar, and one of twelve students selected as a Montevallo Master two years in a row. Liucija is multilingual; fluent in English, Russian and Lithuanian.
Liucija serves on multiple boards including the Alabama Women in Business, The United Nations Association USA-Greater Birmingham Chapter and The Southern Environmental Center junior board. She also volunteers with Girl Spring and GASP. Liucija is also a tennis instructor at Life Time Fitness. She and her husband, Steven, live in Meadowbrook.
Sandra Cleveland - Past President 2016/2017
At Berk Cleveland Rathmell Wealth Strategies, we recognize that every client has a unique financial situation with its own set of strengths and challenges. We assist our clients to understand their financial goals and develop a plan to achieve whatever they may wish. Once our client’s goals and dreams are established, we create, implement and monitor an investment strategy that complements their plan.
Sandra joined Berk Cleveland Rathmell Wealth Strategies after a long-term career in the telecommunications industry. Sandra obtained the first Certified College Planning Specialist designation in the state of Alabama. As a college planning specialist, Sandra helps families save and pay for college the most efficient way. She also holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER designation.
Sandra earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and her Masters of Public and Private Management degree from Birmingham-Southern College.
Sandra has held leadership positions in numerous local and state community service organizations, including State President of the Telephone Pioneers; President of Leadership Vestavia Hills; and Vice-President Internal Affairs and Education, Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce.
She has worked as a volunteer in the Alabama Reading Initiative as a reading tutor at Hemphill School (Birmingham City Schools), a grant reader for the Alabama Reading Initiative, moderator of the Vestavia Hills Community Roundtable, and PTA board member for years in Vestavia Hills. She has previously served on the board of Camp ASCCA.
Sandra and her husband, Mastin, have two daughters; Adrienne, a CPA who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her husband who is in the Air Force, and Ashley who is in graduate school at the University of Montevallo.