Leadership Lafayette kicks off 30th year

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

Another group of emerging community leaders will be learning the ins and outs of how Oxford and Lafayette County work while coming up with ideas on how to make them better during the 2018 Leadership Lafayette program.

The eight-month program, which started in January, is a series of training sessions and activities intended to assure the continuity of leadership in Lafayette-Oxford-University community and assist already established community leaders, who seek more effective ways to contribute to the community.

In addition to the sessions, class members also will participate in a community-based project.

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The objectives of the program include identifying potential community leaders, developing individual leadership potential, acquiring knowledge about the community and current issues in Lafayette County, creating dialogue and rapport among participants and current leaders and promoting a sense of “community” through shared efforts benefiting the local community.

Each month will involve an all-day session from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  These sessions are packed with information about Oxford and Lafayette County and the needs of the community. Participants will acquire knowledge about current issues that surround them, as well as focused leadership training.

The official class announcement to the chamber membership was held at January’s Chamber After Hours event hosted by BancorpSouth.

Leadership Lafayette began in 1988 and celebrates 30 years of Leadership Lafayette with this year’s class.

“I am very excited about this year’s program,” said Torie White, Leadership Lafayette chair. “They are a remarkable group, and we anticipate the work they will do through their projects will enrich our community. We are also eager to see them use their skills to get involved in different facets of the community beyond the program.”

Oxford Police Department’s Maj. Jeff McCutchen was selected to be a part of this year’s Leadership Lafayette class. He said he applied to gain more knowledge of the community and form a stronger bond between OPD and the citizens it serves.

“As we’ve seen relationships between communities and law enforcement diminish over the past few years, I wanted to provide a resource and be a point of contact for members of our community,” he said. “It’s proven that when relationships are established that we interact differently with one another. We have a diverse community and I want to meet as many people as I can to provide them with a personal resource at the police department.”

The class has met twice so far and McCutchen said he’s looking forward to the rest of the program.

“Each session has challenged my leadership and given me insights that I will use in law enforcement as well as my daily life,” he said.

Brian Whisenant, who works at the Oxford Treatment Center, said he applied to be part of the program after learning about it from a co-worker.

“It was truly an honor to be selected,” he said. “ I hope to learn more about myself, particularly areas in which I can grow and to further break out of my comfort zone. Meeting new people and learning more about Oxford is an incredible plus as well.”

The 2018 class includes:  Lindsey Abernathy, University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability; Brandi Binder, FNB Oxford Bank; Joseph Brummett, Wes Schilling; Jamie Carr, J. Carr Properties, LLC; Delia Childers, Oxford EAGLE; Kevin Cozart, The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies; Natalie Damore, Byrne & Associates, PLLC; Dana Fisher, Charter Road Hospitality, Inc.; Luke Harris, Renasant Bank; Scott Iverson, CoreLogic | FNC; Jacob Jenkins, Insight Park; Jeffery Johnson, University of Mississippi; Cassie McCutchen, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North MS; Jeff McCutchen, Oxford Police Department; Justin Mills, University of Mississippi; Katie Mink, Mississippi Small Business Development Center; Jonathan Nance, Ole Miss Athletics; Matt O’Keefe, University of Mississippi; Kristen Paris, ProMatura Group
Patrick Perry, University of Mississippi; Stuart Povall, Develop Design Studio; Cayce Read, CoreLogic|FNC; Michelle Robinson, City of Oxford; Casey Rogers, Innovative Construction Management; Julia Tatum, Delta Grind; Julie Wells, Evans Petree PC; and Brian Whisenant, Oxford Treatment Center.