Chamber graduates community leaders

Published 12:30 pm Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program graduated eight participants during a ceremony held Thursday night.

As part of the program, participants are tasked with creating and competing a community project. This year’s project will have the percipients create easy to follow packets that will detail the process of starting a small business. After giving a description of the project to members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, the graduates were presented with certificates by Chamber Board President Kenney McDonald.

Program graduate Celena Thomas said the project provides potential entrepreneurs with 10 steps to start a business. Tara White spoke about the business types in Mississippi, while Dr. Lori Burkett described how a potential business owner could choose a name and register it. Roy Penton’s presentation gave additional specifics about the registration process while Stephanie Higginbotham spoke about additional things a potential business owner should consider.

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The graduates hope to share their project at the next City Council meeting.

Higginbotham, who works as Community Outreach Coordinator at Slidell Memorial Hospital, has been a member of the chamber for three years.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to go out in the community and meet other members outside of Slidell, and getting the opportunity to network has been great with the Chamber,” she said.

During her time in the leadership program, she’s realized that there are a large number of businesses in Picayune.

“It was really cool to take the tours and see the different businesses,” said Higginbotham.

Pearl River County Economic Development District Director Lindsay Ward has been involved with the chamber for the past year. In that capacity, she assists with the leadership program and she said that experience has helped her get to know the local population and build connections.

“It’s been great for me to see other parts of the community that I haven’t seen yet,” she said.

Thomas said she joined the chamber in October of 2020 and said she wishes she had gotten involved with the leaderhip program and community sooner.

“It’s just been an amazing group of people and once you start to network you’re like ‘oh my gosh I whish I would of done this sooner,’” she said. “It’s a great networking opportunity.”