Leadership Mississippi Class of 2017
Graduates at Old Capitol Inn

class photo

MEC's Leadership Mississippi program is proud to announce the 50 graduates of the Class of 2017.

The Class of 2017 celebrated their completion of the program at a graduation ceremony held earlier today at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson. Participants completed five sessions in locations across Mississippi: Jackson, Camp Shelby, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Brookhaven, and Greenville.

Leadership Mississippi is the second oldest statewide leadership program in the nation and is conducted by the M.B. Swayze Foundation. Since its inception in 1974, Leadership Mississippi has graduated more than 1,300 alumni active in Mississippi business and politics. Mississippi’s top business executives have participated in Leadership Mississippi as a way to expand their networks. Many elected leaders, including a former governor, are graduates and recognize the value of the Leadership Mississippi experience.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

Frankie Adair
Thania Averett
Heather F. Bennett
Jerry Bennett
Vernell Bennett, Ed.D.
Christa Rouse Bishop
Caron Blanton, APR
Steven Blaylock
Kent Bloodworth
Kevin Burgess
Greg Burks
Laketter Cannon
Chris Champion
John Coughlin
Tearsanee Davis
Navketan Desai
Cindy Duvall
Lee Ann Foreman
Judy Forester
Rodney Francis
Felicia Gavin
Jacqueline Gibson, Ed.D.
Lee A. Green
Terrell Grindle
Alex Harvey
Greg Hodges
Benjie Houston
Elissa Johnson
Blaine LaFontaine
Clayton Legear
Jenny Levens
Emily Scheuer Lowe
Lashaundra McCarty
Jamie McKenzie
Charlie Moomaw
W. Abram Orlansky
Jason Patterson
Amanda Rebecca Price
Amy Reed
Chanda Latara Roby, Esq.
Kantera Ruff
Sandy Sanford
LaMarcus Smith
Jason Snider
Matthew A. Taylor
Brett Thompson-May, J.D.
Amy L. Walker
Hunter Walters
Ashley Wicks
Allyson L. Winter


Leadership Mississippi Applications are Now Closed

Leadership Mississippi Visits Mississippi Gulf Coast


DSC 9189Leadership Mississippi recently visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast as part of the Class of 2017. The class experienced the coast by taking a bus tour that was led by Ashley Edwards. Edwards is President of Gulf Coast Business Council. The class learned about the history, recovery of hurricanes, tourism, culture and much more. Throughout the tour, the class also heard from local mayors.

The class was also offered the opportunity to visit Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. They embark on a tour of Ingalls Shipyard, learning all about the industry and the impact that it has on Mississippi. Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula employs more than 11,000 people, and is the largest manufacturing employer in Mississippi and a major economic contributor in the state. For more than 70 years, Ingalls Shipbuilding facilities have pioneered the development and production of technologically advanced, highly capable warships for the surface Navy fleet, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and foreign and commercial customers.

 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Estuarine Center open its doors to the Leadership Class and offered them exposure to outdoor learning and team building skills. The Class participated in activities such as boat rides, rock climbing, ropes course and more.   

The class participated in two receptions. One was held at Lazy Magnolia and the other was at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum. 

The session was capped off with a class session on leadership and learning to know others led by Dr. Sam Jones. 

Leadership Mississippi Holds Second Session at Camp Shelby

camp shelby 2017

The Leadership Mississippi Class of 2017 recently hosted military session at Camp Shelby.

Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC) is the nation's largest National Guard Training Site, spanning over 135,000 acres across portions of Perry, Forrest, and Greene counties. Camp Shelby was established in 1917 in support of mobilization during World War I, and it has served almost continuously since then as a training site for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and members of the Reserve Components. Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center employs over 1,500 employees and trains over 120,000 service members annually. CSJFTC is home to the largest Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site (MATES) in the nation with nearly 700 pieces of armored equipment in its equipment set. Camp Shelby will celebrate 100 years as a training facility in July 2017.

The Class of 2017 had the unique opportunity to learn about the military's presence in Mississippi, riding in tanks, Apache helicopters, and more! The session also included a special message from Major General Janson D. Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors:
• Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC)
• Mississippi Power
• The First, A National Banking Association
• Visit Hattiesburg

cathy award 2017

Northington Named 2017 Young, Gifted
& Empowered Leader of the Year

Leadership Mississippi's very own Cathy Northington, Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer & Director of Programs, Leadership & Diversity at the Mississippi Economic Council, was recently named the 2017 Young, Gifted & Empowered Leader of the Year!

She was honored at the 2017 Young, Gifted & Empowered Awards on Saturday, March 4 at Jackson Preparatory School.

Congratulations Cathy!

More about the award:

There's a conclave of young professionals who are committed to moving Mississippi forward. They are raising their families in the Magnolia State, building businesses and serving in their communities. Their commitment is not only changing the landscape of Mississippi, but how the world views Mississippi.

Young, Gifted & Empowered honors individuals who are champions for and in the arts, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, education, innovation and leadership. The honorees are between the age 25-45 and have demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to excellence and community service; a high level of character, leadership, and innovation through professional and personal growth.