MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Ja’Mese Hawkins, a Revenue Branch Manager at the Montgomery County Commission and a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Garth Realty Group, was named the city’s first-ever Young Professional of the Year last week.
Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed and the Mayor’s Young Professional Council (MYPC) made the announcement at the MYPC’s Inaugural Fundraising Gala: Paying it Forward. Hawkins was one of five finalists honored this evening. She was recognized for her work with the Woods, Wynbrook, Dexter Ridge Neighborhood Association, which she founded and currently serves as its president, as well as her volunteerism with the Montgomery Housing Authority, the Church of the Highlands, and as a City League Cheer coach.
Mayor Reed established the Young Professional of the Year award to honor one outstanding young professional in Montgomery for their exceptional career achievements and growth, leadership in advancing policy solutions and/or systems-level change, and demonstrated commitment to authentic community engagement. The MYPC received more than two dozen nominations. Candidates were nominated by their employers and community peers. Through this recognition, the MYPC aims to encourage young professionals in the River Region to continue their exceptional work and serve as catalysts for positive change in the community.
The five finalists have consistently exhibited unwavering dedication, exceptional skills, and a strong commitment to excellence. In addition to Hawkins, the finalists included:
- Kendarrius Mathews, a 5th Grade Teacher with Montgomery Public Schools and a Specialist with the United States Army.
- Kandace Besteder, the Destination & Community Development Coordinator at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Charletta Smith, the Executive Assistant to the Court Administrator at the Montgomery County Courthouse and the owner of Embrace Nu Creations.
- Andeana Stewart, the owner of TINY’S BLESSING.
The MYPC engages in dialogue and initiatives with the Mayor, fellow young professionals, and the community to help make Montgomery a more equitable and desirable place to live, work, and earn for all.
The MYPC’s Inaugural Fundraising Gala: Paying it Forward was a sold-out dinner and banquet at the RSA Activities Center downtown. The “King of Scaling People,” Gilberto Herrera, an entrepreneur focusing on Increasing the Brand and Financial awareness of everyone in the business, delivered the keynote address. MYPC is donating some of the event’s proceeds to local community non-profit organizations, including Hope Inspired Ministries, Child Protect, Youth-N-Action, and Quiet Storm Outreach.
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