14 staff members graduate from LEAP


Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert (middle row, right) joined LEAP 2012 class members Erin Kiess (front, l-r), Tina Cunningham, Tammie McGarr, Sheri Pape and Ra’Sheda Forbes; Elizabeth Blaine (middle), Lisa Gooden-Hunley, Pat Drackett, Tyler Bryant and Gilbert; and Chad Thomas (back), Cedric Gathings, Patrik Nordin, Greg Hunley and Eddie Meek for a graduation ceremony in early December. PHOTO: Russ Houston | University Relations

Fourteen Mississippi State University staff members graduated from the 2012 Learning Experience for Aspiring Professionals (LEAP) program earlier this month.

Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president, delivered the welcome at the graduation celebration held in the Colvard Student Union Foster Ballroom Dec. 4. The LEAP class provided a presentation detailing what they had learned, and were then presented awards for their achievement.

Formerly known as the Staff Leadership Program, the goal and purpose of LEAP is to provide advanced knowledge, enhanced leadership skills, and direct, practical work application for selected employees.

During the 10-month program, participants met with campus and community experts to discuss, explore and understand the goals and priorities of Mississippi State and its departments. Session topics included university operations, building effective teams, managing employee performance, delegation and collaboration, building relationships and influence, and strategic thinking.

Chosen through a competitive nomination and selection process, this year’s LEAP graduates are:

-- Elizabeth Blaine, financial analyst, Budget and Planning;

-- Tyler Bryant, assistant director for budget and finance, Housing and Residence Life;

-- Tina Cunningham, assistant director, Sponsored Programs Administration;

-- Pat Drackett, director of the Crosby Arboretum, Coastal Research and Extension Center;

-- Ra’Sheda Forbes, assistant director, Holmes Cultural Diversity Center;

-- Cedric Gathings, associate director, Fraternity & Sorority Life;

-- Lisa Gooden-Hunley, senior coordinator, Career Center;

-- Greg Hunley, Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Office of Diversity and Equity Programs;

-- Erin Kiess, coordinator, Regulatory Compliance & Safety;

-- Tammie McGarr, business manager II, College of Business;

-- Eddie Meek, laboratory manager, Center for Environmental Health Sciences, CVM Basic Sciences;

-- Patrik Nordin, associate director, Sanderson Center;

-- Sheri Pape, marketing and communication coordinator, MSU Foundation;

-- Chad Thomas, assistant athletic director for marketing, Athletics.

A request for nominations for the 2013 program will be sent in January.

For additional information, contact Adrienne Morris at morris@hrm.msstate.edu or 662-325-3713.

Jim Laird | University Relations

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