Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans for 2022-23 Selected

TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI (October 6, 2020) – “Our Mississippi” magazine publisher Wesley Wells has announced that 11 individuals have been selected as Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans for 2022-23.

Wells said the individuals were selected by an independent panel of state-wide business and community leaders from nominations received from the public.

“What an awesome group of people,” Wells said of the nominees. “I’d like to thank the committee for doing an outstanding job. I know they had to make some tough decisions narrowing the list down to 11, especially with having to select people from different categories,”

“Congratulations to all the selected individuals and also to all the individuals nominated. We’re proud of the great work they’re doing for the state of Mississippi.”

Wells said dozens of individuals were nominated in different categories that included: Business, Education, Politics, Religion, Media, and Servant Leadership. The group will be honored at the 2023 Our Mississippi Honors Gala on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the Cadence Bank Conference in Downtown Tupelo, Mississippi.

The event was previously held in Jackson, starting in 2018, and continuing in 2019. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

“It’s great to have this event back,” Wells said. “We had sell-out crowds both years in Jackson, but thought it would be easier on everyone if we just combined it with the state’s largest celebration of diversity, equity, and inclusion and just have one big event.”

“The committee selected some outstanding individuals,” Wells continued. “They are not only outstanding in their professions, but they are strong advocates and leaders in their communities. They’re great Mississippians that we can all be proud of. Congratulations to them all.”

Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans of 2022-23 as selected by our independent panel of business and community leaders. They were chosen from different categories from dozens of nominations we received.

  1. David Fernandes – President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi
  2. Robert L. Gibbs – Senior partner, Gibbs Travis, PLLC, Jackson, MS
  3. Willie Jones – President & CEO, Dependable Source Corporation, Jackson, MS
  4. Billy Knight – Mayor, City of Moss Point, Mississippi
  5. Tim Lampkin – CEO, Higher Purpose Co., Clarksdale, MS
  6. Dr. Felicia M. Nave – President, Alcorn State University
  7. Dr. Vernon Rayford – Physician, North Mississippi Health Services, Tupelo, MS
  8. Dr. Nashlie Sephus – Tech Entrepreneur, CEO, Bean Path, Jackson, MS
  9. Dr. Justin Turner – Chief Medical Officer, Mississippi State Department of Health
  10. Dr. Carmen Walters – President, Tougaloo College
  11. Charles D. Watson – Sr. VP, Network Operations, C Spire, Ridgeland, MS

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