Thirty Business Professionals Graduate from Leadership Jackson Program

By: Megan Seals on Dec 17, 2012


JACKSON, TN – Thirty local business professionals graduated from the Jackson Chamber’s 2012 Leadership Jackson class on Thursday, December 13 at the Carl Grants Events Center at Union University.

Leadership Jackson, the chamber’s adult leadership development program, gives business professionals employed with companies that are chamber members the opportunity to better understand the community, the opportunities and the challenges it faces. The three-month program gives class members the chance to visit community landmarks, meet with area leaders and participate in weekly sessions about topics impacting Jackson-Madison County, including education, healthcare and government.

“The most beneficial thing for me was learning about servant leadership, and putting the needs of others above my own,” said Tyreece Miller, Lieutenant for the City of Jackson Police Department and Class Spokesperson for the graduating class. “I knew about some of the issues in our community, but Leadership Jackson has brought them to the forefront and shown me ways that I can get involved. The measurement of your influence depends on the depth of your concern for others. A true leader inspires those around him by doing. The issues have been identified, now it is time to get involved.”

During the graduation ceremony, class members were recognized for their achievements with an award ceremony and all class members received their Leadership Jackson graduate certificate of completion. Class Spokesperson selected by the class to share their reflections and impact of Leadership Jackson was Tyreece Miller, City of Jackson Police Department.

“I have been a Iifelong Jacksonian, but I still learned things about Jackson that I did not know,” Miller said. “My eyes were opened, and I experienced great things happening within our community. If you want to be part of an awesome network that is continually making a difference, then you should participate in Leadership Jackson. Servant leadership is about helping those in need.”

Josh Clarke, Union University, was selected to be Vice Chair of Leadership Jackson in 2013 to serve with Landon Preston, Union University, who served as Vice Chair in 2012 and will assume Chairmanship in 2013. Ty Cowles, Jackson Energy Authority, was recognized for his outstanding leadership as Vice Chair of Leadership Jackson in 2011 and Chair for 2012.

“I love this group of individuals,” Cowles said. “Early on in the program, we asked this group to be engaged, commit themselves to all activities and allow the program to transform the way they consider leadership and the community in which they live. They responded positively to our challenge and they grew in their roles as employees, citizens and family members.”

Class members were also recognized for their commitment and personal growth with the jewel and diamond awards. Jewel award recipients were Kirk Newcom, WBBJ; Brad Keltner, Modern Woodmen of America; Beth Parnell, Jackson Chamber; Braxton Williams, Tennergy Corporation. Aida Lovelace, BancorpSouth, received the class’ highest honor – the diamond award, for her commitment in surpassing requirements in all aspects of Leadership Jackson.

Past alumni of Leadership Jackson were also recognized. Martin Jelinek, The Jackson Sun, Class of 2001, received the Community Observance of Personal Excellence (COPE) Award; Anna Page, First State Bank, Class of 2010, with the Emerging Leader award; Meg Montgomery, BancorpSouth, Class of 1999, with the Harbert Alexander Award for Servant Leadership.

“The 2012 Class has embraced ‘servant leadership’ since the program began in September,” said Judy Renshaw, Senior Vice President, Business & Community Services, Jackson Chamber. “The more they learned about our community, the more they invested. Many nonprofit organizations and the clients they serve have been enriched by Leadership Jackson.  It will be exciting to see their continued impact in our community in the future.”

A donation of $807 was presented by the class to the Therapy & Learning Center, RIFA and Madison County CASA. Class members also gave presentations on group community projects they selected at Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, Area Relief Ministries and Hannah’s Hope. Each of these organizations benefited from the Leadership Jackson project teams through the hours worked and financial donations to enrich the lives of the people the agencies serve.

The Leadership Jackson Class of 2012 graduates are: Matt Altobell, Party Mart Liquors & Wines. Inc.; Josh Clarke, Union University; Tori Cliff, Jackson State Community College; Chesley Dennison, Jackson Energy Authority; Kristi Donaldson, sponsored by Express Employment Professionals; Drew Ermenc, SnagMob.com; Brenda Ferguson, Stanley Black & Decker; Robert Hawkes, Pinnacle Foods; Janna Hellums, Games 2U/Co-Owner; Rachel Hughes, Regions Bank; Demesi Johnson, Robinson Reagan & Young, PLLC; Jon Joyner, ATA Technologies, LLC; Brad Keltner, Modern Woodmen of America; Aida Lovelace, BancorpSouth; Darren Lykes, Darren Lykes Photography; Tyreece Miller, City of Jackson Police Department;  Deann Montchal, West Tennessee Healthcare; Kirk Newcom, WBBJ; Cindy Palmer, West Tennessee Business College; Beth Parnell, Jackson Chamber; James Pearson, Madison County Commissioner;  Pat Ross, United Way of West Tennessee; Graham Salonus, H + M Construction; Jason Schultz, Northwestern Mutual; Brian Smith, TVA; Sam Spence, Dement Tree Service, LLC; Shannon Stewart, Madison County CASA; Jenni Thorn, Regional International Faith Association (RIFA); Braxton Williams, Tennergy Corporation; Eric Woosley, Gerdau.

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