January 30, 2013 Edition

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Dr. Thomas Jones (from left), president of Williams Baptist College, visits with L.J. Bryant, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development director, and Dr. Brett Cooper, who is the new chairman of the Chamber board.

Jones urges leaders to
be good communicators

John Bland

After a lapse of several years, a new Leadership Lawrence County class has completed the adult leadership program. Class VIII held its graduation Thursday in conjunction with a noon quarterly meeting of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to the program, a catered lunch was served at the Lawrence County Meeting Room. Junior Briner, a Chamber board member, noted that Class VIII began with an orientation at Williams Baptist College and ended with a meeting at Clover Bend.

Thomas Jones, the sixth president of Williams Baptist College, was the keynote speaker. Now in his seventh month as president, Jones noted that the college is in great shape and has weathered the economic turmoil of the past few years better than many other colleges, public or private.

Williams has just completed a 10-year accreditation site visit. "They had nothing but praise for the high level of performance provided by the College," Jones said. In fact, faculty members in charge of WBC's accreditation process have been invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago next April.

"The commission is using Williams as an example of "how to do it right," he said.

"I am a proud member of Leadership Lawrence County Class II," Jones told the leadership class and Chamber members.

"As a Chamber, you should be proud of providing this program, and the members of Class VIII should be proud for participating."

Jones stressed to the leadership graduates and the Chamber members the importance of good communication.

One of several examples Jones used was that of Dr. Jeff Sanders, a former chairman of the board at WBC. Sanders was the CEO of several major insurance companies during his 50-year career.

"Most of you have probably rented a car and bought the insurance at the counter," Jones said. "Dr. Sanders introduced that unique sales point and created a multi-million dollars market "

"In order to be successful as a leader, Dr. Sanders said that an individual must do three things: communicate, communicate, communicate!"

"It is easy to miscommunicate," Jones said. "Communication takes place only when individuals are committed to understanding each other."

"We want a better community. We want our businesses to thrive, our families to be happy and our neighborhoods to be safe." Jones concluded, "A commitment to good communication and a selfless desire to see others prosper is a good place to start."

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