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Leadership Lafayette Program Graduates 25, Presents Award

The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce recently graduated 25 emerging community leaders from its 26th annual Leadership Lafayette Program at a graduation ceremony held at the Oxford Conference Center.

Pictured are, from left, Torie Marion, Leadership Lafayette chair; Dawn Boutwell, 2014 Leadership Award Winner, and Rick Mize, Chamber Chairman-Elect.
Pictured are, from left, Torie Marion, Leadership Lafayette chair; Dawn Boutwell, 2014 Leadership Award Winner, and Rick Mize, Chamber Chairman-Elect.

The eight-month program, which runs from January through August, is designed to ensure the continuity of leadership in the Lafayette‑Oxford‑University community. The class training builds community leaders through shared knowledge, skills and experience. The program emphasizes on developing leadership skills through activities promoting community awareness, team building and project development.
The 2014 class includes: Maranda Anderson, FNB Oxford; Steven Ash, Newk’s Eatery; Allissa Barkett, Volt; Angela Barlow Brown, University of Mississippi; Joe Bishop, Oxford Police Department; Matt Bishop, Shelter Insurance; Gant Boone, Oxford University Bank; Dawn Boutwell, Alfa; Matt Burris, Mayo Mallette PLLC; Courtney Cedotal, Charter Road Hospitality; Kyle Fallin, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi; Marshall Fratesi, Bank of Oxford; Britton Holleman, Addicus LLC; Adam Lee, University of Mississippi; Michael Marino, FNC Inc.; Russ McNees, Holcomb Dunbar; Elizabeth McRight, MPAK Inc.; Eric Morgan, Caterpillar; Karen Peairs, University of Mississippi; Alice Ricks, United Way; Jeremy Roberts, University of Mississippi; Emily Scheuer, FNC Inc.; Golda Sharpe, University of Mississippi; Debbie Swan, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi; and Jordan Watson, Randall Commercial Group.
“Leadership Lafayette was fortunate to have a Steering Committee that did a tremendous job planning an informative and fun program,” Torie Marion, 2014 Leadership Lafayette Chair, said. “This year’s graduates brought an amazing amount of vision, community enthusiasm and hard work to both the sessions and their projects. We look forward to seeing them use their skills to get involved in different facets of the community beyond the program.”
This year’s class was split into three teams working on three very important community projects: Team Glo, Team Grand Entrance and Upgrade Uptown.
Team Glo created a “Shop Local Discount Card” offering discounts at Chamber-affiliated businesses to existing Chamber members, new members and Oxford consumers. Cards could initially be purchased from any team member for the price of $20 for non-chamber members and $10 for chamber members; and are now available from the Chamber office. Proceeds from card sales were donated to the local charitable organization, the Pantry. The group presented a $1,000 check to the Pantry in August. A full list of the discounts offered by the card can be found on the Chamber’s website at www.oxfordms.com
The second group, Team Grand Entrance, set as its goal to design, approve and implement county entrance signage at highway entrances into Lafayette County. Through fundraising the group raised enough funding for the first two signs, as of early September. The first sign is in and in the installation phase, to be installed at the Panola/Lafayette County line on Highway 6. The second sign has been ordered and will be installed at the Pontotoc/Lafayette County line.
The third group project, Upgrade Uptown, had the mission improve the aesthetic appearance of street signs within the courthouse square district, in conjunction with historic preservation guidelines as well as bringing them up to the E911 standards. The group initially raised part of the funds and received $5,000 in funds from the City of Oxford for the completion of 7 signs to be ordered and installed by the City for the first proposed phase of their project in the downtown historic district.
This year the Leadership Lafayette class voted on the 7th Annual Leadership Award recipient, which goes to a participant who excelled throughout the program, showed outstanding leadership skills, and dedication to community service through their project development. This year’s honoree was Dawn Boutwell, owner of a local Alfa Insurance Agency. Boutwell was on the Project Grand Entrance team. Leadership Lafayette began in the late 1980’s and has graduated 26 classes of leaders since its inception.
The chamber will begin accepting applications for the 2015 Leadership Lafayette class in late October, and the application deadline will be early December.
— Courtesy of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce

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