Speaker Date Topic
Karen Sims Sep 27, 2022
Hope Clinic
Hope Clinic

Karen Sims is the Executive Director of Hope Clinic, and she holds a Master of Marriage and Family Counseling degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.  Karen has been involved with helping those in unplanned pregnancies for over 20 years. She has had experience serving as an Executive Director for 11 years here in Hattiesburg as well as in Meridian, MS. She has been married to Allen Sims, Music Minister at FBC, Purvis, for over 25 years. They have two beautiful adult children, Katie and Cody experiencing their own life journey.

Leslie Lee Oct 04, 2022
Jimmy Rodgers Museum
Jimmy Rodgers Museum

Leslie Lee is the Executive Director of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation, which houses the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, MS and puts on the oldest running music festival in the United States, The Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival, the Singing Brakeman Century Ride and much more.  As a lover of all genres of music, she is honored to be integral in helping preserve the legacy of the "Father of Country Music".  Leslie is a "retired" professional ballroom dancer and now serves on the teaching artist roster for the Mississippi Arts Commission working with schools around the state.  She owns and operates Elegance Ballroom in Meridian as well as  Moonpie Baby Boutique and Moonpie Dance Shoppe.  

Tony Jeff Oct 11, 2022
Innovate Mississippi
Innovate Mississippi

After growing up in Clinton and graduating in engineering from Mississippi State, Tony lived in West Palm Beach, Miami, Denver, Tokyo, Brookhaven, Chicago, Detroit & Cleveland before returning to Mississippi to work with startups at Innovate Mississippi. Tony has an MBA and Masters of Engineering from Kellogg at Northwestern University. He and his wife Sheila and two boys live in Madison.

Rebecca Brown Oct 18, 2022
Pearl River Community College
Pearl River Community College

Rebecca serves as Dean of Workforce and Community Development for Pearl River Community College.  She has over 15 years of experience in workforce development, working previously as Community and Economic Development Coordinator for PRCC and as Workforce Director of the Twin Districts Workforce Area/Southern MS Planning & Development District.  Rebecca is a Certified Training and Development Professional and earned her M.B.A. from Mississippi State University and a B.S. from The University of Southern Mississippi. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Capital Development.

Along with the Area Development Partnership, Rebecca led efforts to create the Pine Belt Works Basic Manufacturing Skills program and developed active industry-educational partnerships with manufacturers throughout south Mississippi.  Rebecca serves on the Area Development Partnership’s Racial Equity Task Force and as a board member of the Twin Districts Workforce Development Area. She has previously served as on the board of United Way of Southeast Mississippi, as co-Chair of the Leadership Pine Belt Steering Committee, and president of the Hattiesburg Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development. 

Rebecca thoroughly enjoys the collaborative discovery of good ideas to facilitate meaningful change. She and her daughter, Sophia, live in Petal, MS. They joke about nearly everything nearly all of the time.

Dean Doty & Stephen East Jan 17, 2023
Gulfport Behavioral Health System

Dean Doty, CEO of Gulfport Behavioral Health System grew up in the Jackson, MS area and has called the MS Gulf Coast home since 2006. Receiving his bachelor’s degree from Belhaven College and Master’s from the University of Southern Mississippi, he is a Licensed Master Social Worker and has over 25 years of experience as a social worker, clinical therapist and interventionist providing care to individuals and families throughout the gulf coast. Along with his clinical practice Mr. Doty has also provided his leadership and management expertise to multiple medical and mental health organizations focusing on operations, management, and business development. Through all his experience, Mr. Doty has focused on increasing access to the highest quality of care for the community and he brings this focus and drive to Gulfport Behavioral Health System where he can help further quality and access of care to the provider of choice among patients, families, and healthcare providers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


Stephen East, Director of Business Development for Gulfport Behavioral Health System since January 2020 is a graduate of Mississippi State University, receiving a Bachelor of Professional Accounting degree. Mr. East has 25+ years of progressive healthcare financial, operational, strategic planning, and customer service experience across both the medical surgical and mental healthcare sectors. A native of Mississippi and longtime resident of the Mississippi gulf coast, Mr. East has brought Gulfport Behavioral Health and its extended community a focus on mental health and the possibilities of quality individualized mental healthcare that can be received right here on the Mississippi Coast.