Jackson Chamber Announces New Director of Leadership Development

Jackson Chamber Announces Lauren Saliba As New Director of Leadership Development

The Jackson Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the hiring of Lauren Saliba as the new Director of Leadership Development. “The leadership programs, through the Jackson Chamber, have always been a passion of mine. I am honored and humbled for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing to build on the amazing foundation that has been set,” said Lauren.

Lauren, a native Jacksonian, is 2003 graduate of University School of Jackson, a 2007 graduate of The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and a 2010 graduate of Jackson State Community College. Lauren has been involved in the Leadership Jackson program for almost two decades, as she graduated from the Jackson Chamber’s Leadership University program in high school. She is also a member of the 2017 Leadership Jackson class, was co-chair of Leadership Jackson 2018, and has served on the Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Board since 2019. Lauren is married to Greg Saliba (Leadership Jackson – Class of 2014) and they have two children, Ava Jane and John.

“It is so unique to have someone who has been involved in the Leadership University and Leadership Jackson programs for so long come to lead the program,” said Kyle Spurgeon, President and CEO for the Jackson Chamber. “She has continued to serve the program over the past five years and we are excited to see how she grows the program in our community.”

High School Students Graduate from Youth Leadership Program

Thirty-eight aspiring young leaders have completed the
2019/2020 Leadership University (LU) program, a community youth leadership development
program of the Jackson Chamber. The 2019/2020 class represents all the public,
private and home-schooled juniors in Jackson – Madison County high schools.

Leadership University is a nine-month program designed to
identify a diverse group of high school students who demonstrate leadership
potential; and to develop in an interactive environment, the framework for
constructive leadership, committed involvement and responsible participation in
the future of this community. Major sponsors of the program include Lane
College, Union University and the University of Memphis – Lambuth Campus.
Corporate sponsorship includes Adelsberger Marketing, Alexander Thompson
Arnold, PLLC, Leaders Credit Union and West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation.

“I began serving with the Leadership University Board in
2015 and have experienced first-hand how the dedication of our board members,
the generosity of our sponsors and the commitment of individuals in the Jackson
community serve to make this program one of best of its kind” says Lisa
Warmath, 2019/2020 Leadership University Chair. “Participants brings different
gifts, talents, and experiences to the program and all committed to taking the
next steps to grow in leadership and in life.” The class of 2019/2020 has
represented their schools and the program well. They are leaving the program
with an enhanced understanding of their ability as well as their responsibility
for serving the Jackson community. It has been an honor to serve as chairperson
of the Board this year. It is the entire board that makes the program what it
is and I am so appreciative of all that they do.”

“It has been a pleasure to witness the class embrace ‘servant leadership’ since the program began in July 2019.” said Brandy Stutsman, director of leadership development, Jackson Chamber. “The more they learn and develop their leadership skills, the more they will invest in the community. It will be exciting to see the impact that these students will have on the community.

During the program, class members completed 63 classroom
hours and 12 hours of community service. LU students participated community bus
tour, discussed ethical leadership with local leaders, participated in mock job
interviews, tackled alcohol and drug issues, visited the Criminal Justice Complex
and participated in a mock court trial, among other activities. The program
helps the class members see their community from different viewpoints and focus
on where they can make a positive difference.

 The 2019-2020 graduates are: Bethanie Adams, North Side High School; Izzy Arthurs, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Moses Bausch, Home School; Garrett Blankenship, Jackson Christian School; Amar Boparai, University School of Jackson; Meg Borgognoni, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Sarah Beth Brauss, University School of Jackson; Amber Calhoun; Madison Academic Magnet High School; Avery Chenault, Home School; Sydney Christensen, Jackson Christian School; India Curry, JCM – Early College High; Patrick Davis, Jr. JCM – Early College High; Jace Deaton, South Side High School; Emily Gill, Sacred Heart of Jesus High School; Taylor Harris, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Tripp Hearn, Jackson Christian School; Rachel Hellums, University School of Jackson; Tristan Kluck, Augustine School; Lauren Laffoon, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Madison May, JCM – Early College High; Ellie McCauley, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Dani Beth Moffett, Trinity Christian Academy; Lisa Nnaji, University School of Jackson; Katie Patton, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Calvin Pettigrew, Augustine School; Jackson Prince, University School of Jackson; Sarah Sanders, Trinity Christian Academy; Sydney Sellers, University School of Jackson; Kaylee Snider, Trinity Christian Academy; Emily Steen, Madison Academic Magnet High School; William Steen, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Savannah Tabor, University School of Jackson; Mohid Tanveer, University School of Jackson; Halle Webb, South Side High School; Burch Weems, Jackson Christian School; Serenity Williams, Madison Academic Magnet High School; Sarah Wilson, Madison Academic Magnet High School and Emily Wood, South Side High School.  

Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Awards Annual Scholarships to Students

The Leadership Jackson Alumni Association (LJAA) announces three high school students in Jackson-Madison County have been awarded the annual alumni association scholarships. The Judy Renshaw Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Scholarship was awarded to Kerrington Peoples, Liberty Technology Magnet High School; Katherine Ryan, University School of Jackson; and Faythe Watkins, Trinity Christian Academy. The students were presented awards at LJAA’s Quarterly Luncheon on Friday, June 7 at Jackson Energy Authority’s Training Facility, 320 Highway 45 Bypass. Each received $1,500 toward their higher education expenses.

Peoples plans on attending Middle Tennessee State University, Ryan is attending Rhodes College and Watkins is attending the University of Evansville.

“Part of LJAA’s mission is to support emerging leaders through educational programs. We recognize this starts with the youth of our community,” said Jack Mathis, president, Leadership Jackson Alumni Association. “The Judy Renshaw Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Scholarship allows us to invest directly in education for the future leaders of Jackson, as well as show them support from their community. We are extremely proud of these recipients and look forward to seeing their growth in education and leadership. We are hopeful these students will someday become leaders in our community and continue to build the community trusteeship that is a foundation of the Leadership Jackson program.”

The scholarship, funded through dues to the association and gifts, amounts to at least $1,500 and as much as $2,000 payable to the college or university during the student’s freshman year. Other projects funded by Leadership Jackson Alumni dues include quarterly alumni luncheons, professional development programs and “Comfort Critters,” stuffed animals used by emergency first responders in Jackson. The Judy Renshaw Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Scholarship was named in honor of Judy Renshaw in 2013 for her more than 35 years of developing the Leadership Jackson program. Individuals and/or donors wishing to make a tax-deductible donation in Renshaw’s honor to the scholarship can do so through the chamber’s foundation.

Thirty-One Business Professionals Graduate from Leadership Jackson Program

Thirty-one local business professionals graduated from the Jackson Chamber’s 41st Leadership Jackson (LJ) class on Thursday, December 12th at the Carl Grant 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. Class members visited community landmarks, met with area leaders and participated in weekly sessions about topics impacting Jackson-Madison County, including education, healthcare and government.
“The 41st Leadership Jackson class really took charge of their experience. Those of us aiding them in their growth and education couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve achieved,” says Russ McKelvey, Leadership Jackson 2019 co-chair and manager of Mack Pest Control. “Our community now has 31 individuals that are empowered in a way that will make Jackson better for years to come. Being able to see their success and learn from it has been uplifting to me. I’m thankful to have worked with this year’s class alongside Shelby Matthis, co-chair and Brandy Stutsman.”

During the graduation ceremony, class members were recognized for their achievements and received their Leadership Jackson graduate certificate of completion. The class chose Blake Beckham, who works at Jackson Christian, to be its spokesperson and share their reflections on going through the three-month program and how it will influence their lives. The class also selected Alexis Long, with Alexander Thompson Arnold, PLLC, as the 2019 class social chair. Long will be responsible for scheduling class meetings and coordinating the 2020 socials.
Nick Hayes, with Hiller Plumbing-Heating-Cooling- Electrical, was selected to be vice-chair of Leadership Jackson in 2020. He will serve with McKelvey, who will assume the chairmanship.

Five class members were recognized for their commitment and personal growth. Aaron Fitzgerald, Christian Brothers Automotive- Jackson; received the highest honor – the Diamond Award – for surpassing all requirements in Leadership Jackson. Jewel award recipients were Ryan Blake, West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex; Jennifer Graves, Union University; Brandon Shields, The Jackson Sun; and Beth Ann Simpson, University of Memphis Lambuth Campus.

Leadership Jackson alumni who were recognized are Sabrina Anderson, Boys & Girls Club of Jackson, class of 2016, the Emerging Leader Award; Joseph Ross, The Bank of Jackson, class of 2014, the Community Observance of Personal Excellence (COPE) Award; Leigh Anne Bentley, Leaders Credit Union, class of 2008, the Harbert Alexander Award for Servant Leadership; and Clay Crockett, Stanley Black and Decker, class of 2014, the national Distinguished Leadership Award. Crockett’s award was created to recognize exceptional community leadership graduates who have made significant contributions to better their communities. The Association of Leadership Programs is a national association of leadership programs across the country.

“It has been a pleasure to witness the 2019 class embrace ‘servant leadership’ since the program began in September,” said Brandy Stutsman, director of leadership development, Jackson Chamber. “The more they learn about Jackson-Madison County, the more they invest for the greater good of our community. It will be exciting to see their continued impact in serving others.”

The Leadership Jackson Class of 2019 graduates include:
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

Leadership Jackson Group Provides Dignity Closet for Students

Leadership Jackson’s (LJ) 2018 class group known as the Grizzlies partnered with Jackson-Madison County School System (JMCSS) in the fall of 2018 to provide a Dignity Closet in public schools. This “closet” provides access to washers, dryers, and hygiene items for students in need. The program has been implemented in a few schools, with a goal to reach every school in the community. Leadership Jackson is requesting more sponsors to help.

With 23% of our community living in poverty, many students lack access to basic hygiene care and laundry facilities. School years are a time full of many changes and challenges for students and the Grizzlies wanted to ensure that meeting basic hygiene needs would not continue to be one of those challenges. The group was told that teacher and guidance counselors were taking some of the children’s clothing to their own homes to wash them for students. The Grizzlies took action, creating the Leadership Jackson Dignity Closet.

Two schools identified by JMCSS to implement the project were Parkway Middle School and Parkview Learning Center. This project provides students with essential hygiene products and a discreet area in school to have clothes laundered as needed per the recommendation of the school counselor, nursing and/or teaching staff.

The Grizzles and the school system would like to see the project expand to every school in Madison County, so every child with this need has the opportunity to use the resources provided by the LJ Dignity Closet. The goal for this project taken on by Leadership Jackson Class of 2018 is to make washers, dryers, and hygiene items accessible to as many schools as possible.

Currently, North Parkway Middle School, Parkview Learning Center, Jackson Career and Technology and Nova Pre-K all have a washer and dryer along with detergent and hygiene items donated by the partnership with Leadership Jackson’s Dignity Closet.

“We are doing well right now as far as our partnerships, our monthly sponsors and those who have currently made large donations but we want to expand into other schools,” said Shelby Matthis, one of the leaders of the Dignity Closet efforts. “Ultimately, we need more sponsors to realize this is a need and donate in order to make our goal of every school a reality.”

For more information on how to donate to the Dignity Closet contact, Shelby Matthis at jackshelbymatthis@gmail.com