When I tell you that planning an event or writing a communications plan is at the very core of what I was designed to do for a living, I’m being completely sincere.
Of course, the way that has presented itself has changed over the years. But, that deep-seated desire to plan and promote is why I declared my major in public relations early-early on at Southern Miss. And by early, I mean before I even walked through the doors.
Many life decisions, especially when it comes to one’s choice of career path, can be pinpointed down to one significant moment. The kind of moment that makes one stop and think, “This is what I want to do – or not do – for the rest of my life.”
For Hattiesburg native Kate Dearman, that moment came in the midst of the chaos and destruction left behind by the EF-4 tornado that tore through the Pine Belt in 2013.
In the shadows to the east and across Hwy. 49 from Forrest General Hospital sits a blond brick, non-descript building. The work that goes on within its walls might seem like utter chaos to some. But for Clara Boutwell and daughter, Darlene Bond, it’s more like controlled non-chaos. Answering some 1,500 to 1,600 phone calls a day, AAA Anserphone (no, that’s not a misspelling) and Doctor’s Exchange works around the clock – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it’s done so for more than 60 years.
Rebecca Chandler is the daughter of Wanda and Terry Chandler of Vance, Ala.. She has a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the owner, instructor and choreographer at Hattiesburg Ballroom and Beyond, and the creator, producer and choreographer for Hattiesburlesque. She is also the head coach of the Southern Misses dance team.
What is your idea of happiness?
Jennifer Clark and her husband, Steve, love the Pine Belt. Jennifer grew up in the city, going to school in Hattiesburg. Steve grew up in the country, going to school in Forrest County.
However, what they love is to tell other people about the Hub City and surrounding area. For Jennifer, who runs EmergeEvents event planning in Hattiesburg, her hometown is the ideal location for her business. The Hattiesburg Craft Beer Festival, which Clark organizes, was named a runnerup in Best Annual Event in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting.
When most people think of a juggler, images of an entertainer tossing various items through the air with precision are called to mind. However, Anita Knott makes it through each week with a slightly different juggling act.
In one hand, she is a behavior specialist for the Hattiesburg Public School District; in the other she is a mother to five children, a volunteer with her church’s youth group and last, but not least, she is wife to Cedric Knott.
Charles Dawe, 31, is a full-time, licensed Realtor in Hattiesburg at RE/MAX Real Estate Partners. He has a BBA in real estate from Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He is a member of the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership, Public Relations Assoc. of Mississippi, Pine Belt Young Professional Network, Hattitesburg Historic Neighborhood Assoc., Greater Homebuilders Assoc., Mississippi Economic Council ahd has more than 9 years experience in real estate, marketing and sales.
My business networking philosophy has always been to surround myself with the smartest people in the room. At a very early point in my career, I knew Jim Coll was one of those people.
Jim’s role as the chief communications officer for The University of Southern Mississippi has provided him the opportunity to do and learn much under several great university presidents.
Thomas Seibert of Hattiesburg rattled off the list of theatrical productions he has worked on as he thumbed through the photographs. “This is old opera stuff, like ‘Cabaret,’” he said. “’Moliere.’ ‘The Doctor in Spite of Himself.’ ‘Merry Widow.’ I don’t have many pictures of the costumes being made.”
These days, Siebert finds himself working with Hattiesburlesque, who won Best Local Stage Production in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting.
Fresh out of college, Suzannah Ledford had an idea of what her career and future would look like. Graduating with a degree in accounting from The University of during the course of a few years she would be headed in a complete different direction.
Ledford, a Petal native, is now the owner of Oh Suzannah’s, a children’s boutique, which features children’s clothing, embroidered items and gifts.
She got her start in embroidery about five years ago.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” she said. “But it’s going well.”