Hungry for Change? Find out how to host a One Table event here

Want to host a One Table Event?

There are a few different options for hosting a One Table, which is a shared space for people from different backgrounds to break bread and hopefully break down barriers. The concept is simple: Choose a space, coordinate the food efforts, get some guests and host! Mobile United & Empowering Change coordinated a One Table event in May 2018 in two spaces and this is how we did it:

  1. Choose your location, date and time:                                                                                                                                           -Our groups met at four locations simultaneously: the first was a church, where members of different churches came together to meet and eat. We also had three public restaurant locations. The date and time were all the same. Once you choose your desired location, it’s simply a matter of gathering some friends who are interested in helping to organize.-You also must find a way to find people to come. If hosting at a church, members from different churches are the best route to go. If you want the public, organizing on social media or with different friend groups, neighborhood associations, mardi gras associations or community action groups can help you gauge interest and get participants.
  2. After you’ve confirmed your location, food planning is next:                                                                                                  -For the church event, the church provided the meat, drinks and basics, i.e. plates, utensils, cups. We used an online sign-up sheet for side dishes, desserts, etc. We used but there are other sites you may use as well.                                                                                                                                                                                                       -The restaurant event is easier because it is dutch treat, which means each person in attendance pays for him/herself. PLEASE NOTE: make sure you have a room that is insulated from sound from the rest of the restaurant. Otherwise, conversation can become strained.
  3. Promote:                                                                                                                                                                                               -To your church members, friends, family, etc. (see 2 above for more ideas)                                                                     -You can use an online tool like Doodle Poll or simply use email for RSVP.                                                                    -Make sure you email all respondents 24-48 hours before to remind them of the function and what to bring (if applicable).
  4. Host:                                                                                                                                                                                         -Conversation starts it all. Food makes everything better. To help with the flow of conversation, we put together some guided wisdom and specific questions for hosts with the help of The Village Square: a Tallahassee, FL based non-profit that specializes in bringing decidedly different groups together around food:

*Suggested flow

-Informal intro: guided by host- check their names on sign-in sheet, make a nametag, pick a seat

-Order/get drinks

-Order/get food /pray (if the group chooses)

-Round-robin formal Introductions


Guiding wisdom for our conversation:

-Assume good intentions by others.

-Practice humility, no matter how wrong someone is and how right you are, there’s still something you can learn.

-Extend undeserved favor to each other.

-Listen to understand.

-Segue into questions: can be fluid, not all are required, you’ll get a feel for the direction the conversation is going.



  1. What brought you here this evening?
  2. Do you have a personal story about diversity & inclusion and how it has affected your life- either negatively or positively?
  3. How do you think we can work towards more meaningful dialogue between people who are different?
  4. In what tangible, concrete ways do you think we could achieve that?
  5. What do you think we could accomplish if we were able to achieve a higher degree of inclusion?
  6. Is there something that really inspires you that you see going on in town that brings people from very different backgrounds together?
  7. If and when you sit down again to break bread again, what changes would you like to see in the community?
  8. If this event were to happen again, would you be interested in coming back?


REMINDER: Your job is to:

-Help keep the conversation flowing with respect to the guided wisdom

-Steer the conversation using the questions as a guide

-Snap some pix and or video

-And if you’re so inclined to share on social media, please use one-three of our hashtags: #onetablemobile #mobileunited #diversityandinclusion #leadershipinaction





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Read Liz Joyner’s Christian Science Monitor article “Civil discourse that doesn’t taste like broccoli”

Before The Village Square Executive Director Liz Joyner joins us for our Annual Meeting on December 6th, chew on this 2014 article she wrote for the Christian Science Monitor.


Christian Science Monitor June 2014

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Register for the Mobile United Annual Meeting here

This year our Annual Meeting will feature Liz Joyner of The Village Square – Tallahassee. Join us for her talk entitled Re-Dreaming America: Finding our way back to the conversations of democracy.

Liz has been bringing liberals and conservatives together across the partisan divide for twelve years in Tallahassee, FL creating what is considered by many as a model for civil discourse in American communities. As the Founder & CEO of The Village Square Liz has learned some lessons about what’s keeping us apart and what can begin to bring us back together. The good news is that is has everything to do with our hometowns and less to do with Washington.

The meeting will be held Thursday, December 6th from 7:30 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. on the Spring Hill College campus. Tickets are $30 pp and available here:

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Connect Mobile Class of 2018 project and graduate list

The Connect Mobile Class of 2018 graduated 19 young professionals from its latest class. Their six month journey took them into the community and practicing teambuilding skills ahead of their adoption of expanding the S.W.I.M. program for Mobile Baykeeper. The class project aims to raise enough funds as well as train individuals to do water quality testing for underserved areas in the Mobile Bay area. With a January 2019 launch date, the team will present their efforts to engage people on both sides of the Bay to get them involved in making the waters safe and swimmable by more of our area’s population.

Graduates from this year’s Class include:

Ms. Stefanie Benscath, Feeding the Gulf Coast


Mr. Stephen Bodet, Jr., Leavitt Group


Ms. Calley Coldsmith, Coldsmith, Ryder & Associates


Mr. Torrian Davis, Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union


Mr. Simon Fox, Wilkins Miller


Ms. Natalie Franklin, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce


Ms. Meredith Guzy, Visit Mobile


Ms. Maya Hughes, Huntington Ingalls Industries


Mrs. Katelynn Jones McKinley, Roberts Brothers, Inc.


Ms. Sara Kenney, Mobile County Health Department


Ms. Katherine Kuhn, Alabama Coastal Foundation


Mr. Drew Odom, Alabama Power Company


Mr. Jack O’Dowd, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, LLC


Ms. Chalisse Peltier, Lifelines Counseling Services


Ms. Marston Raue, Mott McDonald


Mrs. Amanda Solley, Alabama Contemporary Art Center


Mrs. Jordan Stringfellow, Volkert, Inc.


Ms. Laura Williams, APM Terminals


Mrs. Jean Wyatt, Sam Winter and Company Real Estate

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Congratulations to the Leadership Mobile Class of 2018!

The Leadership Mobile Class of 2018 concluded their yearlong program with project presentations and graduation on September 7, 2018 at the Ben May Library. Class Dean County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood guided 44 professionals through this year’s annual program. The class learned about the community through eight focus areas: education, civility, community development, environment, community health and wellness, arts and culture, economic development, and diversity and inclusion. Eight teams created and implemented projects for the betterment of the community, while addressing the issues studied throughout the year.


The Leadership Mobile Education Team and the Bounce Back Youth Leadership Foundation partnered with several local organizations to create the “Gardens for Growth” Program. The program assists local youth-focus organizations in the development, construction, and implementation of an in-ground garden, along with the garden an activity book is provided as an educational tool. The group has assembled gardens at the Dearborn YMCA and Scarborough Middle School with hopes of growing the program at other locations.


The Leadership Mobile Civility Team has organized Mobile’s first “Speed Date with Local Leaders” on September 25, 2018 at Government Plaza from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The team has announced County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, Honorable Edmond Naman of Mobile Family Court, Bess Rich from City Council District 6, and MCPSS Superintendent Chresal Threadgill will be among the participating leaders. The team hopes this event will be the first step in promoting civility throughout our community and beyond.


The Leadership Mobile Community Development Team has created a partnership with Visit Mobile, Destination Mobile, the City of Mobile and other valuable stakeholders to make the Mobile River the “Front Porch of Leisure” for the city. The group envisions Cooper Riverside Park as an area regularly utilized by citizens and visitors for enjoyment and to celebrate Mobile’s culture through eco-tourism opportunities, where a floating dock has been installed as a launching point for eco-adventures provided by Wild Native Tour. In the future, containers may be added to the park to house a vender market.


The Leadership Mobile Environmental Team has teamed up with the Alabama Coastal Foundation and other partners to build a new, self-sustaining oyster reef in Mobile Bay. The reef will be built at Point Aux Pins, to help combat the decrease in Mobile Bay’s oyster production. The oyster shells being used to build the reef are being provided by Alabama Coastal Foundation. The construction of the project totals about $1500 and the oyster reef is set to take place within the next few weeks. The group is accepting donations to help with the cost and welcoming volunteers with personal boats, kayaks, etc to help with the build.


The Leadership Mobile Community Health and Wellness Team volunteered at the 3rd annual Love U Love U Day on July 28th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at The Grounds. The team partnered with Feeding the Gulf Coast to help individuals facing food insecurities, by identifying food pantries or soup kitchens near their homes. Using the Feeding the Gulf Coast website, the team was able to locate food pantries or soup kitchens located near an individual’s address. By the end of the event, the team had helped 93 people identify food pantries or soup kitchens near their homes.


The Leadership Mobile Arts and Culture Team identified two schools of contrasting demographics to experience a Duck Boat tour of Downtown Mobile together, Clark-Shaw Magnet School and Scarborough Middle School. The team conducted extensive research and found that students from lower income households lack access to the Arts, which has led to a decrease in students’ interest in the subject. The tour will be rooted in Mobile’s rich arts and culture, while also facilitating an outing that intentionally brings together those who may not otherwise interact.


The Leadership Mobile Economic Development Team created the mentorship program Mobile Enriching and Engaging the Next Generation (MEET NextGen). The purpose of the program is to encourage and aid in the growth and development of next generation careers in Mobile. The project included designing and facilitating the mentorship program, which includes building opportunities for collaborative NextGen tech professional growth.


The Leadership Mobile Diversity and Inclusion Team have partnered with the City of Mobile to establish an annual weekend to celebrate the diversity of citizens and to encourage inclusion. The weekend will honor “Mobile’s Dynamic Duos.” The duos include Edna and Caesar Rivers, community activists since the 1960s; Charles Fails and Dan Williams, who have served the homeless and those re-entering society post-incarceration; and Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand, who fought for marriage equality to allow for equal parenting rights. The date of the Diversity and Inclusion weekend will be determined and announced soon.


The graduates of this year’s class include:


Mr. LeMaris Alston, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce


Mr. Kevin Ball, Ball Healthcare Services


Ms. Meagan Barnett, Barnett Millworks


Ms. Porsche Blount, Nouryon


Mr. Brian Campbell, Sanofi Genzyme Pharmaceuticals


Ms. Yvette Chestang, Communications/PR Consultant


Mr. David Clark, Visit Mobile


Mr. Shawn Conklan, Devin Ford Photography


Mr. Antonio Dale, Dale’s Medical Supply


Reverend Michael Davis, Big Zion A.M.E. Zion Church


Mrs. Sherrica Davis-Hunt, United Way of Southwest Alabama


Mr. Sam Dean, University of South Alabama Medical Center


Mrs. Erin Delaporte, Alabama Power Company


Mrs. Shauna DeShazo, Airbus Americas, Inc.


Major Bareneise Dixon, Mobile Police Department


Mr. Lee Dzwonkowski, Trustmark National Bank


Mrs. Sally Ericson, Bellingrath Gardens & Home


Mrs. Natalie French, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors


Mrs. Anna Goldman, Warren Averett, LLC


Ms. Justine Herlihy, Mobile Baykeeper


Ms. Colette Huff, Dearborn YMCA


Mrs. Christy Hudson-Jones, Goodwill EasterSeals of the Gulf Coast


Ms. Pebbles King, Mobile County Health Department


Mrs. Sara King, Mobile County Public School System


Mrs. Grayson Knight-Schemer, Volunteers of America Southeast, Inc.


Mr. Brian Lang, Huntington-Ingalls Industry, Inc.


Mrs. Gennifer McGeary, Northpointe Bank


Mrs. Amelia Mitchell, Alabama Cooperative Extension System


Mr. Andrew Odom, Coastal Bank & Trust, a Division of Synovus


Mrs. Shasta O’Donnell, HDR, Inc.


Ms. Samantha Richardson, City of Prichard Councilmember


Mrs. Denise Riemer, Mobile County Public School System


Mrs. Sara Roberts, Roberts Brothers


Mr. John Ruzic, Sam Winter and Company Real Estate


Mr. David Schmohl, Jubileescape


Mr. Michael Schubert, Websafe


Mr. Rassie Smith III, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office


Ms. Juanita Spinks, Mobile County Department of Human Resources


Mrs. Marion Steinfels


Mrs. Felicia Thomas, Mobile Area Water and Sewer System


Mr. Neal Townsend, Adams and Reese LLP


Mrs. Contina Woods, Regions Bank


Mr. T. Gaines Zarzour, Zarzour Companies


Mr. Jeffrey Zeiders,




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New Year, New Leadership

As your new Executive Director, I am thrilled to join this dynamic family and excited about the coming year. New projects and new people are on our radar. There’s a lot to do.

Steve Jobs said that if you do something and it turns out pretty good, you should go do something else wonderful but not dwell on it too long, just figure out what’s next. I think this sums up Mobile United. Together we do wonderful things but are never content to rest on our laurels and instead move on to what’s next for the betterment of Mobile.

Every year, we identify, develop and engage new leaders through Leadership Mobile, Connect Mobile and Youth Leadership Mobile. These individuals come together to do wonderful things for Mobile through their projects, many of which have taken on a life of their own and are engaged in what’s next, such as Youth Leadership Mobile (Class of 1995) and the Downtown Parks Conservancy (2015).

Our standing committees do many wonderful things and work in partnership with the community to figure out what’s next in their efforts to improve our quality of life. Results of their work include, but are definitely not limited to, Community Conversations on Race, the Crepe Myrtle Trail Ride, Engaging the Next Generation and Mobile Bay Green Drinks.

If you haven’t joined us yet (or renewed your membership), make today the day by clicking here.

Thank you for your interest and involvement. Because of you, Mobile United continues to be our community’s recognized problem-solver. Next time you’re downtown, stop in the office and say hello!

I look forward to working with you,

Michele Rumpf






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Now accepting applications for the Connect Mobile Class of 2019

Applications are open now through February 1st for the Connect Mobile Class of 2019. Below please find a link to the application. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our offices at 432-1638.


Connect Mobile Class of 2019 Application



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Village Wisdom- a Project of the LM Class of 2017 Education Committee

9-5-2017 Village Wisdom

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