Meet The Catalyst Team
Lisa Davis Mays, JD, CFRE, was named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Catalyst in Spring 2020. Lisa brings a unique combination of experience in the areas of fund development, grant writing, capital campaigns, law, public speaking, strategic planning, marketing, public relations, business transactions, and relationship building. After practicing law for several years, she transitioned into the nonprofit sector to fulfill her passion for helping others. In years prior to coming to The Catalyst, Lisa impacted numerous lives, and successfully led a $7.1 million capital campaign to build a 30,000 sq. ft. facility for homeless women and children. She was selected as “Fundraising Professional of the Year” in 2017 by the North Alabama Association of Nonprofits and has previously been listed among 256 Magazine’s “40 Under 40.” Lisa received her Bachelor’s Degree from Samford University and her Juris Doctor from The University of Alabama School of Law.
Sandy Edwards serves as the Operations Manager of the Catalyst. She is a CPA and has served many years as a Catalyst Business coach prior to joining the Catalyst Team. She is also the Owner of SDE Accounting Solutions, providing accounting solutions to small businesses and non-profits. She is a Quickbooks ProAdvisor and has a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Alabama. She spent 27 years in the financial industry, 20 years as the CFO and Senior Vice President of First Commercial Bank (now Synovus Bank) in Huntsville, Alabama. Sandy has a strong commitment to the community and has served on several local civic and non-profit Boards and is a graduate of Class 13 of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County.
Leigh Christian is one of the founders The Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship. She has been involved for 20+ years with The Catalyst and has served in many capacities. She is currently serving as our Project Manager for the TechRich and 7(j) programs. Leigh also owns Plans to Prosper Consulting and serves as a small business consultant primarily for government contractors. Leigh specializes in Government Contracting, Innovation, and Technology, Business Development, Proposal Management, Strategy, Startup, Teaming, and other areas of small business. Leigh has a bachelor’s in business administration from Faulkner University and an Associate’s in Retail Merchandising from Calhoun College and holds Professional Designations in Advanced Contract Management and Contract Management.
Mona Miller is an experienced program manager and business development professional with a 20-plus-year career at NASA, DoD and academia. She is also a community and social impact leader having served on several non-profit boards and committees. A passionate advocate for girls in STEM, supporter of women entrepreneurs and small business owners, she is a proponent of partnerships building to connect people, community, and resources. Mona has also traveled the entrepreneurship journey herself, and her “why” is to make a difference and to support the community and what better way to do that than to support small business owners and partnering with then along their journey.
Melissa de la Cerdais the Project Coordinator for The Women’s Business center in Huntsville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social work from HBCU Elizabeth City State University and her Master’s in Social Work from Alabama A&M. Melissa comes to the Catalyst after many years in the Veteran’s Administration. She has a passion for veteran’s and is focused on delivering high-quality outcomes for all small businesses.
Austin is our REACH Women’s Business Center Project Manager. He comes to us from Central Six Development Council where he served as the Industry Partnership Manager accessing workforce development needs and building economic development. Austin holds a degree from The University of North Alabama and has a Master’s in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. Throughout his career, there has been one constant, his big heart for small business.
Patricia Jordan serves as the Project Coordinator for the REACH Women’s Business Center in Clanton, Al. Patricia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science with a minor in Psychology from Troy University. Patricia also was a salon owner for over 15 years and is known for holding food drives in her community.
Laura is the Client Relations Coordinator for The Catalyst. With more than 25 years of experience in accounting for small business and a B.S. degree from UAH in Business Admin & Marketing, Ms. Lopez brings with her solid organizational skills and a business knowledge to help our clients get started on their journey.
Denise Collins serves as the Office Manager at the Catalyst. Prior to joining the Catalyst Team, she most recently managed two men’s facilities at Oakwood University and prior to that she served as a Trooper Corporal, Hearing & Investigation Officer, Public Information & Education Officer, Highway Patrol Officer, and a Driver’s License Examiner with The Alabama Department of Public Safety. She has a B.S. in General Studies w/concentration in Psychology from Oakwood University and an A.S. degree in Criminal Justice from J. C. Calhoun Community College. Her personal motto is: Be A Blessing!
Claudia is currently a student studying Biology and works part time at The Catalyst assisting all projects with Data upkeep, reporting and basically jumps to help in where ever help is needed!