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Chamber Announces 2019 Leadership Jackson Class Participants

August 28, 2019

LJ 2019
Leadership Jackson Class of 2019

The Jackson Chamber is pleased to announce the nominees selected for its 2019 Leadership Jackson class. Leadership Jackson is a leadership development program for community members who demonstrate leadership potential. Sponsored by the Jackson Chamber, the program is an opportunity for local professionals to learn more about the community and the challenges it faces.


The class will participate in a full day information session in early September to get acquainted and find out more about what their Leadership Jackson experience will entail. Leadership Jackson 2019 Co-Chair Russ McKelvey, Branch Manager, Mack Pest Control, Inc. and Co-Chair Shelby Matthis, Community Advocate will direct the session.


“To say that I’m excited for this year’s class would be an understatement,” says McKelvey. “We have a fantastic group of talented people. It’s going to be fun as we learn them and see their leadership skills grow. Leadership Jackson does a phenomenal job of taking its students inside Jackson in ways that they’ve never experienced while building lifelong bonds and sharpening their leadership tools. We’ve been working hard to create a fulfilling experience so I’m glad that we’ll get to work with Class 41 very soon.”


Class members will meet weekly for sessions on various topics. A leadership skill-building component is incorporated into each session. Leaders in key areas, such as health care, criminal justice, economic development, quality of life, education and government will share an overview of the present state, challenges, and future vision. This information provides the class with a broad understanding of the interworkings of Jackson-Madison County and a big picture view. It also engages them in a self-analysis of where they can best make a positive impact by getting involved or by being a resource for their company or sphere of influence.


“Leadership Jackson has been a pillar of leadership training in this community for 41 years” says Matthis. “I am honored to serve this year’s class. We have an incredible group of professionals and I look forward to seeing them challenged and their leadership skills strengthened. This program opens the door to a unique opportunity, one that impacts how participants view the community around them and their place in it from a renewed perspective. The positives that happen in a community are the result of passionate, knowledgeable, engaged leaders and I am beyond excited to see the impact that LJ41 makes to continue to propel Jackson forward.”


The 2019 Leadership Jackson class includes:

Jennifer Alexander, Gerdau

Mike Baskin, Town & Country Realtors, Inc.-Joey Hale

Blake Beckham, Jackson Christian School

Jonathan Bell, BancorpSouth

Ryan Blake, West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex

Joey Conner, Conner Real Estate

Holly Dean, Regions Bank

Kristy Dew, Jackson Chamber

Dan Drogosh, theCO

Aaron Fitzgerald, Christian Brothers Automotive – Jackson

Jared Freeman, Leaders Credit Union

Jennifer Graves, Union University

Nick Hayes, Hiller Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Electrical

Dr. Nina Heckler, Class 101

Danielle Jones, Jackson Police Department

Christy Kelley, CanopyNation

Daniel Kennedy, Clay Williams & Associates, Inc.

Lauren Kirk, City of Jackson

Braylin Laster, Lane College

Alexis Long, Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC

Melanie Luckey, Jackson Energy Authority

Walker McWherter, Central Distributors, Inc.

Wendy Mercer, STAR Center, Inc.

Kelsea Merriweather, Toyota Bodine Aluminum

Tony Neihoff, RE/MAX Realty Source

Brandon Shields, The Jackson Sun

Beth Ann Simpson, The University of Memphis - Lambuth Campus

Jenci Spradlin, Jackson-Madison County Library

Dawn Thomason, FirstBank

Marda Wallace, City of Jackson (Councilperson)

Nikki Watlington, LIFELINE Blood Services

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