The Leadership Lauderdale Class of 2012 has completed the program designed to equip participants with the tools to be able to lead effectively in our community.
By completing the 9-month program, these leaders spent time studying about what makes a successful community.
"We study things like the '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'," said Michele Thames, facilitator. "We look at our infrastructure in Meridian, as far as civic infrastructure, social infrastructure, the things that build a community, the building blocks of a community."
The program teaches individual leadership by helping participants learn more about themselves and taking care of yourself. It discusses the many resources that are here in Lauderdale County that aren't always so obvious, even to those who have lived here a long time.
"I think it is a great program, and it teaches you a lot of things that you would not know, not only about the city of Meridian, but also about yourself," said 2012 participant K. Dustin Markham, an attorney.
"The main thing I learned from Leadership Lauderdale is that, although I've lived here for 22 years and been what I thought was very active in the community, I didn't know very much," said Debbie Young of BankPlus. "There's so much here to learn and do, and so much potential and opportunity if we just dig in there and find it out."
These new graduates are now charged to become leaders within the community.
"I want to continue to help the people, to continue to provide the best legal services I can to the people who are in need, to help our children, our youth in Meridian are struggling right now," Markham said. "We need to implement some things that will help them and help them be the best citizens for which their capable of being."
Here's a list of the Leadership Lauderdale graduates:
Gayle Alsobrooks, City of Meridian; Mandy Bearden, 1st Mississippi Federal Credit Union; Amber Bloebaum, Benchmark Technology; Reed Darsey, Glover, Young, Walton & Simmons; Roger Davis, Hope Village for Children; Lauren Denham, The Montgomery Institute; Toby Denton, Citizens National Bank; Craig Espey, Commercial Bank; Justin Harmond, Mississippi Power Company; Cynthia Harris, Regions Bank; Verdell Hawkins, Mississippi Power Company; Jay Howell, Rush Health Systems; Brian Hutton, WTOK; Allison Impastato, BankPlus; Camp Keith, The Citizens Bank; Larkin Kennedy, Rush Health Systems; Dustin Markham, Ready and Associates, Attorneys; Capt. Jason McElhenney, MS Air National Guard; Diane Mills, Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter; Danna Napp, Vital Care of Meridian; Jason Porter, Porter Computer; Shawna Post, Rea, Shaw, Giffin & Stuart, LLC; Natalie Purvis, Mississippi Development Authority; Dr. Bob Rambo, Central United Methodist Church; Dr. Natasha Randle, Mississippi State University – Meridian; John Rea, Benefits Management Group; Chris Sanders, Ashley Furniture Homestore; Kim Shirley, Allstate Insurance; Josh Todd, Lauderdale County; Tyler Walton, Citizens National Bank; Daniel Wile, Southern Cast Products; Debbie Young, BankPlus