Speaker Date Topic
DiDi Ellis Jun 18, 2019
Kids Hub Advocacy Center
Kids Hub Advocacy Center

Alan Hanson, a keynote speaker at the 2018 International Symposium on Child Abuse, encouraged professionals in the field to “fight the good fight until the good fight is no longer necessary.”  It was this passion to fight against child abuse in the Pine Belt that encouraged DiDi to establish Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center in Hattiesburg, using her educational experience from Carey and various work experiences.

DiDi attended graduate school at William Carey University in 2012 and received her Master’s in Counseling.  After graduation, DiDi worked as a therapist at the Southwest Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Center in McComb and provided trauma-focused mental health services to victims of child sexual abuse.  Similarly, DiDi worked as a Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator with the Family Resource Center, a child advocacy center in Tupelo. This position contributed to the leap of faith DiDi took in 2014 when she began the journey of establishing a new non-profit organization.  Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center opened in July of 2015 and services children involved with investigations of child abuse from Lamar, Forrest, Marion and Lawrence Counties.  To date, Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center has served more than 1500 children in the Pine Belt. 

What led DiDi to study at William Carey University and to establish Kids Hub CAC is the same – choosing to follow God’s lead and walk through the doors He opened.  DiDi’s mission in life is to remain obedient to God’s call for her, which is to fight for some of the bravest children in our community.   

DiDi resides in Petal with her husband Tyler and son Miles and attends Petal Harvey Baptist Church.

(No Speaker)
Given in recognition of their outstanding service and unwavering dedication to the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg. T. C. Hannah, charter member and first president of the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg.
Awarded to a dedicated Rotarian who has been a member of the club for less than three years. This award is named for Dr. Milam “Sonny 34” Cotton, a dedicated Rotarian who lived to serve. Dr. Cotton was the last member of this club to rise to the level of District Governor.
Our club’s best attempt to look beyond our membership. It is our club’s effort to recognize someone from our region who exemplifies our values, commitment to service, and the empowerment of those less fortunate.
Presented to a club member for their service not only to the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg but to the community as well. This honor is named for Hattiesburg Rotarian, Joe Spell, who displayed a consistent, enthusiastic passion for the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg and Rotary International.
Jeremy McClain, Southern Miss Athletic Director Jul 02, 2019
Southern Miss Athletics
Southern Miss Athletics
TODD JACKSON Jul 09, 2019
Economic Development • Hattiesburg ADP
Economic Development • Hattiesburg ADP

Todd Jackson spent the first ten years of his career as an Engineer in advanced manufacturing facilities around the country and is now utilizing that background to serve the Area Development Partnership as Executive Vice President of Economic Development. Todd’s focus in this role is to support the recruitment of new investment and jobs to Greater Hattiesburg and work with existing employers on their growth needs in the community. He is responsible for working with private sector businesses and local entities of government on economic development initiatives that support the growth of the Greater Hattiesburg economy.

The first seven years of Todd’s career were spent in the engineering ranks of GE Plastics in New York, Indiana, and Alabama as a part of GE’s Operations Management and Leadership Program. This unique experience afforded him the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills in the manufacturing sector, as well as exposure to hands-on engineering practices in a variety of advanced manufacturing facilities. In 2011, Todd was afforded the privilege of moving back home and spent three years in technical leadership roles with a new hi-tech startup company.

A native of Poplarville, Mississippi, Todd is a 2004 graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, and since moving to Hattiesburg, thoroughly enjoys cheering on his hometown team, the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. He serves as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at Crosspoint Community Church and serves the church and local community as much as possible.

In 2013, Todd was honored by his Leadership Pinebelt Class with the Susan Walker Community Leadership Award, for exemplifying outstanding leadership and commitment to the enhancement of Greater Hattiesburg.  He is also a graduate of the 2018 Leadership Mississippi class.  Todd and his wife, Jennifer, enjoy family time with their two young boys Nolan (9) and Grant (5).

Hattiesburg Public Schools
Hattiesburg Public Schools
TONY VANCE Jul 23, 2019
Hattiesburg High Head Coach & Athletic Director
Hattiesburg High Head Coach & Athletic Director
The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi

Rodney D. Bennett serves as the chief executive officer and principal educational officer of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs to approximately 15,000 students on campuses in South Mississippi and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Under President Bennett’s leadership, the University has invested in new faculty positions, expanded coastal operations, and worked to increase access to quality education and research programs to serve the needs of the state of Mississippi and beyond. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state.

President Bennett’s vision is for The University of Southern Mississippi to become the model for public higher education across the country. His key institutional priorities include ensuring student success; expanding enrollment strategies; enhancing academic instruction; fostering greater focus on research; bolstering economic and community partnerships; and maximizing human potential.

President Bennett holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Tennessee State University in Nashville and a Specialist in Education, a Master of Education in Educational Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.