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The Hancock Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to the continual improvement of the community, and one of the primary ways it achieves this is through its various committees. These committees, composed of passionate volunteers, implement a wide range of programs and projects that address diverse community needs. In the upcoming weeks, the Sea Coast Echo will highlight each of the Hancock Chamber’s Committees, showcasing their contributions and the vital work they do.

One of the Chamber’s most esteemed and enduring programs is Leadership Hancock. This program, meticulously planned and executed by the Leadership Steering Committee, has garnered much acclaim for its impact on the community. Chaired by Janell Nolan of Coast Electric, the Leadership Steering Committee oversees all aspects of the program, from coordinating classes to selecting participants.

Leadership Hancock is a comprehensive 9-month program designed to impart a deep understanding of Hancock County’s operations while fostering leadership skills among its participants. The program runs from September to May, culminating in a graduation ceremony in June. It kicks off with a half-day orientation in September, followed by an immersive overnight retreat at Camp Beckwith in Fairhope, Alabama. Throughout the program, participants engage in tours of major employers and meet with leaders in various sectors, including education, workforce development, heavy industry, small business, and government.

To facilitate the eight-session program, committee members meticulously plan the curriculum, secure speakers, arrange transportation, gather materials, and more. Joy Saucier from Mississippi Power plays a pivotal role in overseeing the leadership development aspect. She administers the DISC assessment for each participant, which enhances teamwork and communication skills, and conducts a skills development session during each class.

The Leadership Steering Committee boasts a diverse group of dedicated individuals, including Will Addison (Sabic), Michelle Anderson (INFINITY Science Center), Dr. Raymunda Barnes (Pearl River Community College), John Brdecka (Hancock County Library System), Rich Chase (Silver Slipper Casino Hotel), Geoff Clemens (Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission), Michelle Fleming (St. Clare Catholic Church), Noel Grafe (The First Bank), Candace Labat (Mississippi Power Company), Vicki Reid Estapa (HL Raymond Properties), Megan Martinez (NASA’s Stennis Space Center), Kendra McArthur Necaise (Silver Slipper Casino Hotel), Janell Nolan (Chairman – Coast Electric Power Association), Rhonda Rhodes (Hancock Resource Center), Maria Salter (HL Raymond Properties), Joy Saucier (Mississippi Power), and Edward Walley (Hancock County Sheriff’s Department). Tish Williams, the Hancock Chamber Executive Director, serves as the staff liaison to this committee.

The Leadership Hancock program exemplifies the Hancock Chamber’s commitment to nurturing future community leaders through comprehensive education and skill development. For those who may be interested in participating in next year’s program, applications are open through July 31st. Click here to apply.

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