Many life decisions, especially when it comes to one’s choice of career path, can be pinpointed down to one significant moment. The kind of moment that makes one stop and think, “This is what I want to do – or not do – for the rest of my life.”
For Hattiesburg native Kate Dearman, that moment came in the midst of the chaos and destruction left behind by the EF-4 tornado that tore through the Pine Belt in 2013.
The definition of strength is the state of being strong. Of course, that’s at face value. Looking deeper, it’s the notion that someone or something can withstand great force or pressure.
If I had to pick someone out of the crowd who embodies that word, I would pick this month’s featured person 12 times over. But, not because she can deadlift 375 pounds or bench press 165 pounds.
Jennifer Clark and her husband, Steve, love the Pine Belt. Jennifer grew up in the city, going to school in Hattiesburg. Steve grew up in the country, going to school in Forrest County.
However, what they love is to tell other people about the Hub City and surrounding area. For Jennifer, who runs EmergeEvents event planning in Hattiesburg, her hometown is the ideal location for her business. The Hattiesburg Craft Beer Festival, which Clark organizes, was named a runnerup in Best Annual Event in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting.
When most people think of a juggler, images of an entertainer tossing various items through the air with precision are called to mind. However, Anita Knott makes it through each week with a slightly different juggling act.
In one hand, she is a behavior specialist for the Hattiesburg Public School District; in the other she is a mother to five children, a volunteer with her church’s youth group and last, but not least, she is wife to Cedric Knott.
Thomas Seibert of Hattiesburg rattled off the list of theatrical productions he has worked on as he thumbed through the photographs. “This is old opera stuff, like ‘Cabaret,’” he said. “’Moliere.’ ‘The Doctor in Spite of Himself.’ ‘Merry Widow.’ I don’t have many pictures of the costumes being made.”
These days, Siebert finds himself working with Hattiesburlesque, who won Best Local Stage Production in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting.
Fresh out of college, Suzannah Ledford had an idea of what her career and future would look like. Graduating with a degree in accounting from The University of during the course of a few years she would be headed in a complete different direction.
Ledford, a Petal native, is now the owner of Oh Suzannah’s, a children’s boutique, which features children’s clothing, embroidered items and gifts.
She got her start in embroidery about five years ago.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” she said. “But it’s going well.”
An opportunity to do a little modeling doesn’t come one’s way often, but when it does it’s a chance not to be passed up. Just ask Sandy Nourse Carter.
Carter has lived in Hattiesburg since 1992, but grew up in the Bronx of New York City. It was while in the Big Apple that the now 70-year-old Carter had a taste of what the modeling life was all about, even if it only lasted a couple of years.
Carter explained she and a friend, Gwen Woodbury, both had good jobs at the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan. It was there that both women would eventually meet their husbands.
Community planner, idea generator, small business leash-holder, volunteer for every occasion and my ride-or-die best friend. That’s quite a list of job descriptions – but those reasons and many more are why I’d like to spend this month telling you more about Staci Cox.
Albert Schweitzer, French-German philosopher, once said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful to those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
On Friday nights in April and October, many Hattiesburg residents can be found downtown setting up their chairs or blankets and settling in for a night of music and fun at Live @ Five.
Sarah Newton, former president of the Downtown Association, is the creator of the Hattiesburg concert series, which was named Best Local Music Festival in 2016 Best of the Pine Belt voting. (Finalists in the 2017 voting are named on Pages 32-35 and voting in the next round begins March 1).