Sunday, April 2, 2023

Oxford Chamber Graduates 25 Emerging Leaders

Leadership Awards
Leadership Award Winner – Pictured left to right, Rick Mize, Past Chamber Chairman; Amy Goodin, 2016 Leadership Award Winner; Torie White, Leadership Lafayette Chair. (Photo by Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce)

Oxford, MS— The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce recently graduated 25 emerging community leaders from its 28th annual Leadership Lafayette Program at a graduation ceremony held at the Powerhouse. The nine-month program, which runs from January through September, 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 2016 class includes: Cade Clanton, FedEx; Reggie Clayton, Titanium Services, LLC; Lisa Coleman, The Salvation Army; Seth Gaines, City of Oxford Park Commission; Allison Garner, FNC, Inc.; Chris Glaze, KNS Medical, Inc.; Mike Gooch, Baptist Memorial Hospital NM Center for Cancer Care; Amy Goodin, Boys and Girls Club of North MS; Amy Hartley, BancorpSouth Mortgage; Campbell Helveston, FNB Oxford; Caitlin Hopper, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council; Laura Martin, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement; Jason McCormick, University of Mississippi Foundation; Hardie Meeks, Oxford Police Department; Andy Miller, Trustmark National Bank; Emery Newsom, Baptist Memorial Hospital NM; Rebecca Phillips, The University of MS; Cassidy Shoemake, TeleSouth Communications; Nathan Smith, BancorpSouth; Lee Ann Stubbs, Visit Oxford; Cory Swain, Dex Media; Alison Thompson, Oxford School District; Ward Toler, CSpire; Corey Ussery, Lee Family Dental; Deetra Wiley, University of Mississippi.

Torie White, Leadership Lafayette veteran and Program Chair, said, “Leadership Lafayette was fortunate to have a Steering Committee that did a tremendous job planning an informative and fun program. This year’s graduates brought an amazing amount of vision, community enthusiasm and hard work to both the sessions and their community 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 four teams working on four significant community projects: Food Truck Fight, Team SPORK, Family Crisis Services, and Night for Non-Profits.

Food Truck Fight created an annual event to draw attention to community service organizations and provide them support by offering an organized annual fundraiser. The family friendly event was held on August 28 at the Old Amory Pavilion and offered featured food, live music, and many games and activities. LOFT (Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow), YAC (Yoknapatawpha Arts Council), Horizons, Rotary Clubs of Oxford, and Crime Stoppers benefited from this event and will serve as the organizers annually.   This year’s event raised $5,300 for local non-profits.

Food Truck Fight team.
Food Truck Fight team. (Photo by Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce)

Team SPORK (Sustainable Practices for Our Restaurant Kitchens) set out with a goal to increase eco-awareness in Oxford restaurants by bringing SPORK Oxford. Restaurants can earn SPORK certification by implementing and completing a series of requirements in the way to run their kitchens as well as taking advantage of local food sources.  The group succeeding in certifying four restaurants as SPORK-compliant and held a fundraiser for SPORK at the Powerhouse in August. The participating restaurants were honored and showcased at this event.

Spork Team
SPORK team. (Photo by Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce)

The third group project, Family Crisis Services, created a fundraising opportunity to increase community and online awareness about the non-profit organization that provides support services to victims of sexual assault, homicide, child abuse, and other violent crimes. Their event, “Bowling for Bravery,” was held on July 21 at the Malco Premier Lanes. Along with bowling, a silent auction and raffle took place at the event. A check for $4,000 was presented at graduation to the Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi from the proceeds of this event. You can learn more about this organization at

Family Crisis Services Team
Family Crisis Services Team. (Photo by Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce)

The last group’s mission was to promote and ensure the success of the inaugural Night for Non-Profits, which was held on August 18th at the Powerhouse.  The group spearheaded the organization of this event in conjunction with LOFT.  They worked hand and hand with LOFT to secure grant applications from area non-profits, then worked with the grant finalists as they competed on the night of presentations for a grand prize grant of $10,000 from LOFT.  The group also secured sponsors and additional donations to total over $16,000 in prize money being awarded to area non-profits at the inaugural event.

Night for Non-Profits
Night for Non-Profits team. (Photo by Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce)

This year the Leadership Lafayette class voted on the 9th 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 Amy Goodin, director of the Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi.

“This year’s class blew me away with their hard work and tenacity,” said Pam Swain, Leadership Lafayette program director and Senior Vice President of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber.  “All in all this class raised and awarded over $25,000 to our area non-profits through their project work.  I don’t know that we have ever had a class make that much of an impact on our local non-profit world in such a short time!”

Leadership Lafayette began in the late 1980’s and had graduated 28 classes of leaders since its inception.

The Chamber will begin accepting applications for the 2017 Leadership Lafayette class in late October.  The application deadline will be early December.

By staff report.

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