14:39 PM

Jackson EMC Employees Commit to Community Service through Local Leadership Programs

For years, employees at Jackson EMC have established themselves as leaders in the community. “Jackson EMC has a credible name,” said Joe Hicks, Jefferson District Manager. “Working here, you understand that legacy and you are encouraged to be a leader to those around you.” Outside of volunteer work, many employees have turned to leadership programs through their local chamber of commerce to immerse themselves in the community and gain leadership experience.  

These competitive classes, at the local and state level, provide established professionals an opportunity to connect with community members and other local leaders. Applicants for the program are nominated and then selected by a committee before they join their class for a hands-on, community-based leadership development course. Jackson EMC typically nominates one employee each year for chamber-sponsored leadership programs, such as those offered in Jackson, Hall, Gwinnett and Barrow counties.  

“It’s rare to be accepted into the class on your first try,” said Jennifer Fennell, a Business Development Manager. Jennifer, a graduate of the 2018 Leadership Gwinnett class, applied twice before being accepted. “In the end, it was really good for me not to get in on my first try. It taught me to ask for help from other leaders around me and put in the extra effort it takes to truly make a difference in the community.” 

Even with the competitive nature of these leadership programs, Jackson EMC continues to have employees successfully complete chamber classes in Barrow, Clarke, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson county each year. Just last year, Tate O’Rouke, a Business Development Manager, was selected as a candidate for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Leadership Georgia class. “While each chamber’s class is competitive and unique, Leadership Georgia is the most intense and prestigious,” Joe said.  

“It is an honor to represent Jackson EMC as a participant in Leadership Georgia’s Class of 2020,” Tate said. “Our class year started strong but has now been postponed a year, due to COVID-19. Despite the delay, my fellow participants and I have found ways to stay connected through educational webinars and Zoom gatherings. When I graduate in 2021, I will have created friendships and connections statewide that will benefit Jackson EMC and the larger EMC family.”  

As Tate completes her own program, alongside other honored leaders from across the state, and looks forward to graduating from this respected class in 2021, other employees have reflected on their own experiences.  

Hicks has worked at Jackson EMC for 17 years. In that time, he was nominated for and completed chamber leadership classes in Barrow, Clarke, Gwinnett and Jackson county. “These chamber classes provide great resources that connect you with community members and other local leaders,” Joe said. During his Leadership Clarke class, Joe helped create “Going Home Kits” filled with linens, towels, dishes and even sofas for homeless community members looking to get back on their feet and in a new home.  

Jennifer, who is now a co-chair for one of Leadership Gwinnett’s learning days, says that completing her Leadership Gwinnett class was essential in helping grow her personal and professional network. “For me, what I continued to receive after graduating from my class was amazing. I walked away with connections within the county and school system, as well as new business partners, contacts and friends.” 

Jackson EMC employees at each district have completed leadership courses. It’s these employees and their commitment to growing themselves while giving back to others, that keep that Jackson EMC’s legacy alive. “It doesn’t end when the class ends,” Jennifer said. “None of us have participated in these classes and stopped working in the community. Everything I learned in my class aligns with the mission and vision at Jackson EMC. I know I’m not finished, and I work somewhere that encourages me to continue moving forward and making a difference.”