MADISON COUNTY BUSINESS LEAGUE & FOUNDATION
Outgoing Chair Remarks
This year marks the Madison County Business League and Foundation’s 15th anniversary! A decade-and-a-half in we remain focused on our founding mission—to support and grow opportunities for business success in Madison County. While our core mission remains unchanged, our membership has seen tremendous growth. What began with 8 founding members now includes more than 260 active participants!
As we recognized this milestone of 15 years of the business league and foundation, we began this anniversary year with a strategic assessment of programming and projects. The first step was hosting a strategic planning retreat to focus on priorities of increasing effectiveness and outreach. We reviewed existing committees, and from that work created two new ad hoc committees: finance and workforce development.
The finance committee is responsible for reviewing our dues structure and membership benefits and will continue to examine how we can maximize effectiveness. I am pleased to report that the Madison County Business League and Foundation is in excellent financial position to continue and build on our important work.
Workforce development is a critical focus of the business league and foundation, and this new committee is already strategically working with businesses, Accelerate Mississippi, and our local schools. These partnerships develop more opportunities for students to have hands-on experiences in the community, such as shadowing businesspeople, taking part in internships, and connecting with mentors in a variety of career fields. We look forward to seeing these programs grow and develop, encouraging our students in their career goals and providing connections for our young people, incentivizing students to begin their careers right here at home in Madison County.
Our longstanding committees have also been hard at work over the course of this past year, and I am proud to take this opportunity to update you on their progress:
The Government Affairs committee, chaired by Phil Buffington, has done a phenomenal job of networking with our elected officials throughout the county to present a unified legislative agenda to our state officials. A signature accomplishment of this work is the state’s commitment to help fund the Reunion Parkway Project. The committee has also done a great job of providing networking opportunities for our business community with local and state officials, increasing communication and strengthening our positive relationships.
This year the Madison County Business League and Foundation sponsored a strong Madison Executive Leadership Class, under the direction of Chair Grant Montgomery. As future leaders of our county and state, class members developed a deeper understanding of all things Madison County: government—both local and state, education, law enforcement, business, healthcare, and the list goes on. This program is one meaningful way the Business League demonstrates its commitment to developing and nurturing the future leaders of Madison County.
Speaking of future leaders, let’s talk about our Young Professionals Committee, which was led by Melody Rosenbaum. This committee gives back to our community while also providing opportunities for networking among our younger members. This year, the committee supported local students in several ways, including volunteering at high school Reality Fairs to promote financial literacy. The committee also hosted Career Exploration Days at area high schools, increasing awareness of different career possibilities and encouraging students to dream big. These school-based events continue to grow in scope and size, as well as impact.
These projects parallel the important work of our Education Committee, co-chaired by Don Burnham and Ronnie McGehee. One of the signature projects of this committee is the Madison County Youth Leadership Program. Students selected to participate in their junior year of high school learn about our community through hands-on experiences and field trips throughout the county.
Moving along, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, led by Brian Johnston, continues its work to promote inclusiveness in the workplace. This group hosted a forum designed to take a deep dive into what inclusive leadership really looks like.
As we all know, access to quality healthcare and improving the over health of our citizens continues to be a challenge. Our Health Committee, chaired by Phyllis, hosted a very informative forum on the medical and hospital crisis that our state is facing.
Last but not least, our Transportation Committee, led by Rodney Grogan, hosted our annual transportation breakfast which provided another important opportunity for our members to interact with state and local officials. This meeting was another fantastic opportunity to promote and strengthen these vital relationships.
Reflecting on all that we have done this year, it is clear that the Madison County Business League and Foundation is committed to its mission of building community and consensus in the business community to drive Madison County forward. We continue to cement our vital role of bringing leaders and officials together to prioritize initiatives that will promote the best county—Madison County!
It has been an honor to have the opportunity to chair MCBL&F. I treasure the friendships and connections that have been made. This experience has definitely deepened my understanding of and appreciation for all things Madison County. I look forward to seeing what the next 15 years bring for our county and our organization. John, I know the MCBL&F is in most capable hands moving forward.
-Extend my thank you:
Madison County is truly a model of excellence for our state and our nation. Thank you for your commitment to further our success. Let us all work together to continue to move that mark of excellence!
Supt. Charlotte Seals