Speaker Date Topic
Molly May Mar 22, 2018
Inspirational Speaker, Cancer survivor, Breast cancer awareness champion, Mississippi author
Inspirational Speaker, Cancer survivor, Breast cancer awareness champion, Mississippi author

A native of Houston, Mississippi, Molly May has grown up competing in beauty pageants. She is a former Miss Mississippi State University, the reigning Miss Amory, and will compete again this year for the coveted title of Miss Mississippi. Molly is also a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed at age 19 with the BRCA gene which virtually guaranteed a diagnosis of breast cancer in the future. Following a successful double mastectomy, she has continued competing in pageants and made breast cancer awareness her personal platform; she and her mother, Debra, also a breast cancer survivor, created a nonprofit called CAPS THAT CARE, which raises funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals around the country (including Batson in Jackson). CAPS THAT CARE also collects head coverings such as scarves, beanies, bandanas and soft caps made of soft, breathable fabric for cancer patients of all ages to wear in lieu of wigs. Watch for Molly's inspirational memoir, My Crowning Achievement (Beating Cancer), which will be published in August of this year by Dogwood Press of Brandon.

Amanda Fontaine - Executive Director Mar 29, 2018
Mississippi Burn Foundation
Mississippi Burn Foundation
Rachel Myers Apr 05, 2018
Museum of Mississippi History
Museum of Mississippi History

Rachel Myers was named director of the Museum of Mississippi History in 2017. She previously was director of the Museum Department of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. She is Mississippi State Leader for the American Association of State and Local History and serves on the boards of the Council of American Jewish Museums and Jackson 2000. The Museum of Mississippi History is located in the heart of downtown Jackson and explores over 15,000 years of state history. Visitors will enjoy innovative exhibits, educational programs, and hundreds of artifacts. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will opened in December 2017 in celebration of the state’s bicentennial. 

Will Longwitz Apr 12, 2018
Joe Lee, Editor-in-Chief of Dogwood Press Apr 19, 2018
Ins,outs, and impacts of book publishing in Mississippi
Ins,outs, and impacts of book publishing in Mississippi

Joe Lee has a background in radio, television, and journalism and was a radio disc jockey and a television weatherman before becoming a full-time writer. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Dogwood Press, a small but traditional publishing house headquartered in Brandon, and has published ten different Mississippi authors including WLBT meteorologist and Madison County resident Barbie Bassett, Derringer Award-winning short story author John Floyd of Brandon, and the forthcoming inspirational memoir, My Crowning Achievement (Beating Cancer) by Molly May of Houston, Mississippi. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Joe has over 1,000 non-fiction news and feature stories to his credit and writes for several Mississippi newspapers and magazines. 40 Days, the sixth volume of his critically-acclaimed Oakdale series, is his eighth novel. He has been a Rotarian since 2004 and is a past-president of the Flowood Rotary.

Hayes Dent Apr 26, 2018
Soldier On
Soldier On

Hayes Dent, a native of Yazoo City, serves as Senior Vice President of Soldier On, a private nonprofit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness. Since 1994, the organization has been providing homeless veterans with transitional housing and supportive services. In 2010, Soldier On opened the first Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community, a permanent housing cooperative that provides formerly homeless veterans with safe, sustainable, affordable housing – transitioning them from homelessness to homeownership. This housing model will be replicated nationally as Soldier On continues to change the end of the story for homeless veterans throughout the country.

Commissioner Sam Britton May 03, 2018
Southern District Public Service Commissioner

Topics of Discussion:

Current issues at the Public Service Commission

Economic impact of affordable, reliable power

Issues and process regarding large utility projects

Daniel E. Forde

Public Affairs Director

Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton

Woolfolk State Building 210-A

501 N. West Street

Jackson, MS 39215


Dawn Dugle May 10, 2018
Writer and Storyteller
First Responder Recognition May 17, 2018
Robin Whitfield May 24, 2018
Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp Natural Area

The Friends of the CSNA is a community organization functioning under the 501(c)3 of the Grenada Community Foundation. We are dedicated to the conservation of Chakchiuma Swamp Natural Area, a city property just north of downtown Grenada on the Yalobusha River and adjacent to the Grenada Public Boat Ramp.


Pam Junior May 31, 2018
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Pamela D.C. Junior is Director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Previously she was manager of the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center in Jackson. Junior is a member of the board of directors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Mississippi Book Festival and a co-founder of the Mississippi Black Theater Festival. She is the recipient of the Freedom Rider award from the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation, the For My People award from the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, and the Hometown Hero award from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Junior holds a bachelors in education from Jackson State University.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened in December 2017 and focuses on the period 1945 to 1976, telling the story of the struggle for equal rights and fair treatment under the law. It is the nation’s first state-operated civil rights museum.

Jake McGraw, Policy Director The Winter Institute Jun 14, 2018 12:00 PM
The Winter Institute
The Winter Institute

Jake McGraw is the coordinator for Rethink Mississippi and editor of rethinkms.org, a collaboration of emerging leaders in Mississippi to begin critical discussions about the state’s long-term issues. Jake has deep-seated passion for combining the power of ideas with community organizing methods. While studying public policy and economics at the University of Mississippi, Jake co-founded the campus integration initiative One Mississippi as well as a community empowerment organization in San Mateo, Belize. Jake also has significant experience working in both state and national politics. A native of Oxford, MS, Jake researched the history of progressive education policies in the South while attending a master’s program at “the other Oxford” in England. He returned home to join the Winter Institute in spring 2013. Jake is an avid golfer and squash player–a frequent source of ridicule among his colleagues.

The Winter Institute

Passing of the Gavel Program Jun 28, 2018