Mississippi Economic Council
Leadership Mississippi

To all of our Leadership Mississippi Alumni:
Happy Independence Day! 
Have lots of fun, eat great food and enjoy some fireworks. 

Be safe this holiday weekend!
Exciting Things Are Happening With
Leadership Mississippi 

As alumni of this great program, you know the value of the Leadership Mississippi experience.

Applications for the Class of 2020 will open on Tuesday, August 1 to the general public, and will remain open for just over a month.

There is no nomination necessary, so be thinking of someone who fits the description of a Leadership Mississippi participant and encourage them to apply!

Leadership Mississippi welcomes applicants who are corporate level leaders, executives, emerging leaders, community leaders and new-to-Mississippi leaders who are interested in learning more about Mississippi and the issues that impact our state. Our goal is to develop and maintain a network of Mississippians committed to improving the quality of life in our state. Ideal candidates are those who are passionate not only about their communities but about Mississippi and its success.
Leadership Mississippi Leads In Education

As we prepare for the upcoming fall school semester, Leadership Mississippi would like to take this opportunity to showcase our very own alumni who serve as President in Higher Education across the state of Mississippi.

Dr. Adam Breerwood
Class of 2010, President,  Pearl River Community College

Dr. Mary Graham
Class of 2007, President, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Dr. Michael Heindl
Class of 2012, President,  Northwest Mississippi Community College

Dr. Jane Hulon
Class of 1989-1990, President,  Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Dr. Tyrone Jackson
Class of 2008,  President, Mississippi Delta Community College

Bill LaForge
Class of 1974-1975, President,  Delta State University

Nora Roberts Miller
Class of 2008, President,  Mississippi University for Women

 Dr. Carmen Walters
Class of 2015, President, Tougaloo College 

When asked, 

"How did Leadership Mississippi influence your growth as a leader and your (new) role as a collegiate President?"

Here is what a few of our Presidents had to say:

" Leadership Mississippi is the most beneficial professional development program I have ever attended. I built life-long friendships with leaders from a variety of career fields and backgrounds. Although I have lived in Mississippi for over 30 years, I was amazed at everything our great State has to offer.  As President of Pearl River Community College, I continue to use the strategies, ideas and concepts that I learned during my time in  Leadership Mississippi. The program not only provided a solid professional foundation, but instilled in me a sense of pride to call Mississippi my home."  Dr. Adam Breerwood

"It was an honor to be selected to serve in Leadership Mississippi a number of years ago as a new professional in higher education while at Delta State University. The organization provided a solid foundation by serving as a strong professional development opportunity coupled with the benefit of networking with classmates and meeting prominent leaders from various industries across the state. Leadership Mississippi has played an integral role in my growth as a higher education professional at several institutions including my recent appointment as the new President of Mississippi Delta Community College. I am grateful to have participated in such an amazing program!" - Dr. Tyrone Jackson

"I was privileged to be a member of the inaugural Leadership Mississippi cohort while I was in law school. The program focus and experience with a distinctive group of colleagues provided me with outstanding exemplars and terrific lessons that served me well and encouraged me to remain a student of leadership throughout my career. I was fortunate enough to later experience leadership roles in a wide array of organizations, ranging from my international social fraternity and a nationwide bar association to staff service under U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in Washington.  Those cumulative experiences all contributed to the skill sets and preparedness I brought to my position as a university president." -  Bill LaForge

"It was through Leadership Mississippi that I was able to meet other leaders throughout the state - leaders in industry, professions and government agencies. That one year experience gave me the opportunity to network and form bonds with others. I encourage others to participate in this wonderful program." - Nora Roberts Miller

" I applaud the visibility of Leadership Mississippi. For more than four decades, the program has a proven track record for developing a critical core of diverse emerging and existing leaders who are passionate, not only about their communities, but about Mississippi and its success. As a personal testament, Leadership Mississippi
was influential in my preparation as an emerging higher education leader. This transformative, thought-leadership experience, combined with more than 20 years of expertise in multiple aspects of higher education, has positioned me to take the torch of leadership as president of the historic Tougaloo College." -  Dr. Carmen Walters

Our great Leadership Mississippi sessions would not be possible without the fantastic support from our incredible base of alumni.

Through your $100 annual contribution, you can help ensure that Leadership Mississippi can continue to give the best experience possible to our participants.  Your financial support will aid in Leadership Mississippi's ability to continue to offer quality programming and to build new initiatives for future participants. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us turn ideas into reality .    

Leadership Mississippi would like to thank the following alumni for their 2019 contribution:

Special Thanks to Our Alumni Contributors
  • Michael Bellipanni (Class of 2015) - Northcentral Electric Power Association
  • Heather Farris Bennett (Class of 2017) - W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company
  • Russell Bennett (Class of 2014) - Entergy Mississippi, Inc.
  • Augustus L. Collins (Class of 2012) - MINACT, Inc.
  • Martha C. Cooke (Class of 2016) - MISSCO
  • Goerge P. Cossar III (Class of 2007) - Entergy Mississippi, Inc.
  • Portia B. Espy (Class of 2010) - The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation
  • Edmond Hughes (Class of 2012) - Ingalls Shipbuilding
  • Samuel Jones (Class of 2010) - Jones County Junior College
  • Deanne Mosley (Class of 2016) - The Mississippi Bar
  • Barbara Ousby (Class of 2007) - C&B Enterprise, Inc.

  • Deidre D. Smith (Class of 2018) - Mississippi National Guard
  • Amy Walker (Class of 2017) - Ergon, Inc.
  • Anthony Webb (Class of 2011) - Community Bancshares of Mississippi, Inc.
  • Lewis Whitfield (Class of 1974-1975) - CREATE Foundation
  • Rebecca Lee Wiggs (Class of 1994) - Butler Snow, LLP
  • Kenneth W. Williams, Sr. (Class of 1974-1975) - Butler Snow, LLP 

We Have Great News to Share from Our Alumni!
Join us in congratulating these individuals on their outstanding achievements.

Debbie Bermond
Class of 2010
Fisk Electric Corporation

Promoted to Head of Human Resources of Fisk Electric Corporation in addition to serving Vice President of Human Resources for Roy Anderson Corporation. 
Bermond shares that RAC has recently been awarded the largest single contract award in its 64-year history with Southland Gaming Casino and Hotel at a value at the present time of approximately $200 million.

Rhea Williams-Bishop
Class of 1995
W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Selected as one of the Girl Scouts of Greater MS- 2019 Girl Scout Women of Distinction Laureate. This distinct honor is awarded to a specially selected group of purpose-driven, women leaders in business, government and philanthropy; who, like Girl Scouts, are dedicated to service and leadership.

Elizabeth Brister
Class of 2012
Entergy Mississippi, Inc.

Appointed by the Mayor of Jackson to the Jackson Planning Board.

Jerome Brown
Class of 2014
The First, A National Banking Association

Named by The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) as one of three new members to its Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee (MDIAC).
The MDIAC advises the OCC on steps it can take to ensure the continued health and viability of minority depository institutions and other issues of concern to these institutions.

Pamela Covington
Class of 2011
National Aeronautics Space Administration

Graduated from the Coaching for Transformation Program through Leadership that Works. In addition to her current position as Director of Communications for NASA at John C. Stennis Space Center, Pamela also serves as a certified professional life coach for her organization.

Thomas Gregory
Class of 2012
Mississippi Main Street Association

Selected as the State Coordinator for the Mississippi Main Street Association.

Sandy Holifield
Class of 1994-1995
Economic Development Authority of Jones Co.

Recognized as an Honorary Life Member of Southern Economic Development Council during their Annual Conference. Sandy served on many committees with SEDC as a Board member, Mississippi Director and Alternate Director and Southeast Regional Director. She has over 25 years of membership.

Les Howell
Class of 2018
Delta Industries, Inc.

Promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Delta Industries, Inc. 

Clayton Legear
Class of 2017
Merchants & Marine Bank

Promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Merchants & Marine Bank.

Dr. Megan Sumrall Lott
Class of 2013
Belle Vue Specialty Eye Care

Inducted as one of 31 Fellows of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. This makes her the first female in Mississippi to achieve this award.

Matt Matthews
Class of 2015
Cadence Bancorp, LLC

Recently named 2019 Rotarian of the Year for the Starkville Rotary Club.

Kurt Readus
Class of 2016
United States Department of Agriculture

Graduated from the Federal Executive Institute- mastering "Leadership for Democratic Society" in August of 2018 and served on a detail for six months 1/2018-7/2018 as Deputy Chief for Science and Technology for the United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Jennifer Sutton
Class of 2018
Gulf Coast Veterinarian

Named the 2019 SBA Business Person of the Year for Mississippi.

Jon Turner
Class of 1986-1987
BKD, LLP-CPAs and Advisors

Retired partner after 40 years of public accounting! Jon chairs the Community Foundation for MS Board of Trustees; serves on the Board of the MPB Foundation, the MEC Board of Governors, the Executive Committee of University of Mississippi Alumni Association and the Advisory Council to the Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi.

Leigh Ann Underwood
Class of 1999-2000
Southern Development Resources

Serves as Business Development and Human Resources Director at Southern Bone and Joint Specialists, P.A. in Hattiesburg; appointed to the City of Hattiesburg Civil Service Commission; 2019 University of Southern Mississippi Partners for the Arts Member Award Recipient and 2019 Pine Belt Young Professionals Stewardship Award Recipient.

Amy Walker
Class of 2017
Ergon, Inc.

Elected 2019-2020 Chair of The Skills Foundation of Mississippi, Inc. Walker currently serves as Area Sales Manager for Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions.

Tonitrice Wicks
Class of 2015
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Promoted as the Grants and Contracts Manager for the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Rebecca Wiggs
Class of 1994-1995
Butler Snow, LLP

Joined Butler Snow, LLP, practicing with the firm's pharmaceutical, medical device and health care litigation group. Wiggs is also an MEC Board member and serves as Treasurer.

Kenneth  Williams
Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Group
Class of 1974-1975

Serves as President and CEO of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Group. He finished his 17th consecutive (18th total) Boston Marathon in April 2019.

Happy Birthday 
to all alumni celebrating July Birthdays!

If you would like to be recognized by name in our future editions, please send us your special day. 
We want to personally wish you a Happy Birthday!

Sightings & Selfies
are making a comeback!

Whenever you're out and about and see an old friend from Leadership Mississippi, be sure to post it and tag us on Facebook @LeadershipMS

There's no reunion like a Leadership Mississippi reunion, so share your reconnections!

If you have any news you would like to share or see featured in next month's newsletter, let us know!

We hope to hear from you!
Our Mission

To build a strong diverse network of leaders from every corner of the state balanced with a broad variety of leadership abilities and career accomplishments creating a core of individuals committed to Mississippi's future.

MEC's Leadership Mississippi is a program of the 

M.B. Swayze Foundation 
Mississippi Economic Council - The State Chamber of Commerce

248 E. Capitol Street, Suite 940 - Jackson, Mississippi 39201

P.O. Box 23276 - Jackson, Mississippi 39225-3276

Phone: 601-969-0022 - 1-800-748-7626

Fax: 601-353-0247 - 1-888-717-2809

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