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BRAVO! A Celebration of Leadership in Hampton Roads

BRAVO! A Celebration of Leadership in Hampton Roads
BRAVO! A Celebration of Leadership in Hampton Roads
BRAVO! A Celebration of Leadership in Hampton Roads
The LEAD757 Class of 2021 Gathers for a Group Photo

“While this reward I’m receiving tonight is about past, starting tonight, you represent the future. Go make Hampton Roads great! God bless you all.” G. Robert Aston, Jr. leaves the 2021 LEAD757 class with words of wisdom and inspiration.

Hampton Roads Chamber proudly celebrated the graduates of the 33rd LEAD757 BRAVO Graduation on December 16th in Norfolk, Virginia. LEAD757 is a program of the Hampton Roads Chamber and this event marks the completion of the 2021 LEAD Class for the 37 new graduates. The Hampton Roads Chamber is proud to serve this region as an Impactful Advocate, Inspiring Ignitor, Regional Collaborator, and Powerful Economic Partner setting the conditions for businesses to succeed.

President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens reminded the LEAD757 graduating class of the importance of why they are honored. “You are in the top 1.1 percent Hampton Road residence here. That makes you special. That makes you special because you volunteered for this program. You volunteered to emerge yourselves in the issues, foundations, and concerns about this region. You learned about civic leadership, you learned about giving back. We hope that you use all the social capital that you built in this class to not just advance your own career, but to advance the quality of life, here in Hampton Roads.”

Aston was honored as 2021 First Citizen of Hampton Roads! Aston is the Founder and Executive Chairman of TowneBank. Aston provided comments on the TowneBank team in his acceptance speech. 
“The commitment they have to serving others and doing the right thing for their community. It doesn’t matter what they stand for, the culture is strong and it’s a culture that is caring, across our entire company.” Aston concluded his acceptance speech with the next steps for 2021, “I challenge each of them to go forth, with energy, enthusiasm, and passion. Think big, be bold, don’t be afraid to say what you feel. Dust yourself off and keep moving.”

The 2021 Regional Statesman Award Honoree is Congressman Bobby Scott. This award recognizes an elected official who promotes collegiality and cooperation beyond boundaries by being mindful of regional impact and our bonds as a region. Congressman Scott expressed that the Virginia Delegation is continuing its efforts to make sure the Commonwealth comes first. “Outside of Virginia, we actually make an effort to work together in a corporative manner.” Congressman Scott explained that outsiders are not usually invited to the Delegation luncheons. “We broke that rule a few days ago when we invited Glenn Youngkin, the Governor-Elect, to join the Delegation. We assured him that we all 11 members of the house even with the election being over, his success will be our success, and we want to work together.” Great news and collaboration not only for Hampton Roads but for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The 2021 Visionary Award Honoree is Doug Smith, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance. This award recognizes a dynamic leader who can see the challenges of our region and design and deliver a solution. Smith discussed what it takes to be a leader. “I challenge you all to get involved in moving this region forward. It’s clear that you have enthusiasm, or you would not be in the class. Know this, no one is going to invite you in. You must show up and get engaged.”

The 2021 Julian Hirst Award Honoree is Jim Carroll, Senior Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, and VP of Small Business for the
Hampton Roads Chamber. Named in honor of a beloved LEAD founder, this award recognizes a graduate. Carroll spoke on what it takes to be leaders to the graduates and the business community; “As business leaders, it is our goal and mission to harness and embrace these changes, modify as needed; codify them and move our region forward to succeed and thrive in this new reality.” Carroll reminded the audience of the effects of the pandemic as over 65,000 PPP and EID loan applications were submitted. Carroll embraced his team during his acceptance speech. "The scale of our region’s response to the pandemic was unprecedented.  In 2020-2021 over 65,000 PPP and EID Loan Applications were processed and executed; additionally another 541 Restaurant and Shuttered Venue grants were completed and funded.  This resulted in the region receiving over $3.5 Billion in federal assistance for our business community." Carroll recognized his team for their great work. “As I accept this award, I would horribly remiss if I did not only honor the team of constant professionals, with whom I work and continue to work with on a daily basis.” Carroll was emotional as he thanked his wife of 45 years of marriage, for her hard work, sacrifice, and support throughout the pandemic. 

Congratulations to the LEAD757 Class 2021:

-        Monique Adams

  • The Planning Council

-        Andy Baan

-        Tess Baker

  • TowneBank

-        Councilman Don Carey

  • City of Chesapeake

-        Lauren Creech

  • The Port of Virginia

-        Sally Dudley

  • Virginia Beach Vision, Inc.

-        Cristen Fletcher

  • Vandeventer Black LLP

-        Terry Gearhart

  • Rose & Womble Realty Co., LLC

-        Katherine Henderson

  • Hampton Roads Workforce Council

-        Arketa Howard

  • Crowley

-        Sarah Hughes

  • VisitNorfolk

-        Christine Hustedt

  • Chesapeake Regional Healthcare

-        Tina James

  • ARDX

-        Kryste'l Jordan

  • Senator Kaine's Office

-        Laura Lewin

  • TowneBank

-        Emily MacCartney

  • Virginia Natural Gas, Inc.

-        Jeff Martin

  • Norfolk Academy

-        Jennifer McCarthy

  • The Franklin Johnston Group

-        Michael Nusbaum

  • S. L. Nusbaum Insurance Agency

-        Nadine Paniccia

  • VSA Resorts

-        Bryan Peeples

  • Pender & Coward

-        Jacob Peterson

  • United Way SHR

-        Anyssa Reddix

  • Envision Lead Grow

-        Brian Reeves

  • 360IT Partners

-        Emily Reynolds

  • Access Point Public Affairs

-        Beno Rubin

  • Tidewater Community College

-        Nicole Ryf

  • Hampton Roads Alliance

-        Daniel Shelton

  • Whiting-Turner

-        Joshua Smith

  • Mercy Chefs

-        CJ Stolle

  • Two Capitols Consulting

-        Dr. Charles Stuppard

  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria's office

-        Ricardo Ungo

  • Old Dominion University

-        Todd Walker

  • Judeo-Christian Outreach Center

-        Jeffery Wilkerson

  • City of Virginia Beach

-        Tamara Williams

  • Tidewater Community College

-        Michelle Wren

  • Portsmouth Partnership

-        Billy Zelms

  • City of Virginia Beach


Thank you to our Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

First Citizen of Hampton Roads Sponsor:

Wine Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsor:

Host Sponsor:

AV Sponsor:




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