Executive Director

Jessica James
Jessica JamesExecutive Director
Jessica has been at the helm of McKemie Place, serving as Executive Director, since July 2014. Prior to serving at McKemie Place, she worked in workforce development for Bishop State Community College and economic development for ADECA through a special appointment from Governor Bob Riley. Jessica was also the governmental liaison for the Mobile County Commission on the BP/MC252 oil spill in 2010. Prior to working for Governor Riley, Jessica worked as a public relations associate for The University of Alabama System in Tuscaloosa, and for Phase Two Strategies in New York, New York.

Ms. James earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Master of Public Administration degrees from The University of Alabama.

Her community involvement includes her being an Active with the Junior League of Mobile, State Advocacy Chair for the American Heart Association, and member of the Board of Directors of LIHCA. Jessica has also served on various other civic boards such as Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mobile “Red Shoe Society,” United Way of Southwest Alabama’s “Young Leaders Society” and South Alabama CARES Board of Directors. She is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Operations/Case Manager

Operations/Case Manager
Japonicas has been with McKemie Place since September 2014. Her career with McKemie Place is an intricate part of her life and fits well within the objective of this facility.

Japonicas began as a Shelter Staff Worker and quickly elevated herself, through board approval, hard work and perseverance, to Operations Manager/Case Manager in May 2017. She has educated herself in this field by taking on courses of completion in Mental Illness/Health-Human Services Providers; Substance Abuse; Mental Health First Aid; Medication Certification and HIV/AIDS Training.

Her passion for helping others began in 2007 when she became Program Supervisor for Emma’s Harvest House, which assisted ladies in substance abuse and in-house recovery.

She is involved with interactions of the Chamber of Commerce, SAMHSA, community drives for raising awareness of homelessness, donations drives for McKemie Place, working alongside with Walgreen’s for the wellness of the ladies of McKemie Place through flu shot vaccinations and close affiliations with Housing First, Alta Pointe and various organizations that aid in the transitioning of our women’s homeless population.

McKemie Place Staff

Sheila AllenStaff
Kalle AllisonStaff
Lula IfillStaff
Hope NelsonStaff
Lynn PerrymanStaff
LeTonia PettwayStaff
Hazel RobinsonStaff
Mary RobinsonStaff
Nicole ThorntonStaff

Board Members

Garrett Rice
Garrett RiceBoard President
Garrett Rice is in his fourth year of service on the Board of Directors of McKemie Place. He served as Treasurer for two years, Vice-President/Treasurer, and is currently serving as President.

Garrett was born and raised in Mobile, attending St. Paul’s Episcopal School. Garrett received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Samford University in 2007. He then went on to work at Samford University, raising money for the Athletics Department. He has since moved back Mobile to work with his father in their family business, Master Boat Builders, Inc. Garrett is currently the CFO of Master Boat Builders, and handles customer relations and project coordination. He serves a Deacon and member of the finance committee at Spring Hill Baptist Church.

Garrett and his wife, Holley, have a daughter and son.

Ben KennemerBoard Vice President
Ben Kennemer has been proudly serving on the McKemie Place board for over two years, and is currently Vice President.

Ben was born and raised in Mobile, AL. He graduated High School from St. Paul’s Episcopal School where he met his wife Erin. After high school, he attended Auburn University earning a degree in Finance. Since graduating college, Ben has worked in the banking industry for 10 years. Today, he leads Bank of America’s Commercial Banking efforts on the Gulf Coast.

Ben is active in the Mobile community serving on several other local boards including the Board of Advisor’s for the American Cancer Society, Finance Committee for Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, and Treasurer of the American Red Cross South Alabama Chapter’s Board. He and his wife, Erin, reside in Mobile raising their two sons, Wells (4) and Hayes (1).

Alison Herlihy
Alison HerlihyBoard Secretary
Alison is a native of Mobile, Alabama; the daughter of Dr. Charles Herlihy and Sherry Bishop, and the sister of Justine Herlihy. She attended St. Paul’s Episcopal School, and graduated from The University of Texas in December 2001, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree.

Between and enrolling in The University of Alabama School of Law, Alison worked at Penelope House Family Violence Center in Mobile as a Prevention Education Specialist. Her duties included presenting programs on dating and family violence to K-12 students and a variety of community organizations.

Alison earned her J.D. degree in May 2005 and was admitted to the Alabama Bar in September 2005. She was later admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 2007.

In the community, Alison previously served on the board of directors of The Family Center, which provides supervised visitation services, monitored exchanges, and parenting classes, with the goal of preventing child abuse. She served on the Family Center’s board from 2006 to 2010, acting as Vice President from 2008 to 2009. She has also been active in the Girls’ Leadership Program at the Strickland Youth Center since the program’s inception. Alison has served on the board of the Mobile Arts Council from 2007 to 2015, where she previously acted as board President, and chair of the member relations committee and the education committee. She currently serves on the board of McKemie Place, the only overnight shelter for single, homeless women in Mobile, Washington and Baldwin counties.

In 2015, Alison was awarded a “Nappie” Award by Lagniappe Weekly as the readers’ choice for Best Divorce Lawyer. In her free time, Alison enjoys cooking, spending time with family, travel, and Alabama football.

Mike MontgomeryBoard Treasurer
Mary ClarkProvidence Presbyterian Church
John L. Dixon, M.D.
Sandra FinkbohnerCommunity Volunteer
Rudd SchultzeAlabama Power Company
Elaine SessionsRoberts Brothers, Inc.
Carla Stallworth-RembertVolunteers of America
Spencer WigginsHancock Bank
Katie BonnerBoard Member
D. Austin BradfordBoard Member
Sylvia BrownBoard Member
Bruce CreelBoard Member
Veronica DavisBoard Member
Sam JeffcoatBoard Member
Macy SchultzeBoard Member

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