Director of Hancock Chamber of Commerce, Founding Member, Business Community Leader
Tish Haas Williams is a native of the Gulf Coast Region with over 30 years experience in non-profit management and economic development. She has served as Executive Director of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce since 2002. After Hurricane Katrina, she spear-headed the establishment of the Hancock Community Development Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation with a focus on economic and community development. Today, this Foundation has incubated 20 different community causes and founded the Hancock Resource Center. It also serves as a funding conduit for small business loans, grants and technical assistance programs. She also serves as executive director of Partners for Stennis & Michoud, an advocacy organization focused on growth of jobs at these two NASA assets. Prior to her work with the Chamber, she led the fund development efforts for a national non-profit for more than a decade. Over the past decade, she has been recognized with numerous leadership awards including: the Sun Herald Top Ten Community Leaders in South Mississippi; U. S. SBA Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contribution to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official; and, the Jody Compretta Person of Passion Award for her persistence and leadership to rebuild Hancock County. She is past Chairman of Our Lady Academy Advisory Board and serves as Chairman of the Board for the Hancock Resource Center.
Kelsey Johnson– Vice Chair Community Planner, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Outreach Program of MSU
Kelsey Johnson has been a member of HRC's Board of Directors since 2017, in addition to being elected Board Secretary in 2018 and Board Chair in 2019. She is the Assistant Director and Senior Planner at Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University before earning a Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of Leadership Hancock County (Class of 2013) and the Gulf Coast Business Council's Masters Leadership Program (Class of 2018). She has served on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Education and Engagement Project Implementation Team, held a leadership position with Coast Sustainable Economies Leadership Academy, and is a current member of the Coastal Streams and Habitat Initiative Technical Advisory Team. She resides in Diamondhead and is an active member of her community as the Diamondhead Ward 1 Neighborhood Watch Zone Captain and the former Board Director of both the Diamondhead Property Owners Association and Keep Diamondhead Beautiful.
Amy Coyne– Secretary Bay High School Principal, Life-long Resident of Hancock County
Dr. Amy Coyne was born and raised in Bay St. Louis, and is the Principal of Bay High School in the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District. She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Speech Language Pathology, a Masters of Education in School Counseling - Specialist in Educational Administration, and a PhD in Educational Administration. She is a graduate of the Leadership Hancock County program, and works tirelessly to serve her students and the Hancock County community. She has one daughter, Karli.
Lauren Barrilleaux - Treasurer Hancock Bank, Pearlington Resident
Lauren Barrilleaux has served on the Hancock Resource Center Board of Directors for several years. A native of Hancock County, Lauren grew up in Pearlington and still resides there. She is the oldest of eleven children, and a mother of three. She is a Financial Center Manager at Hancock Whitney Bank and a member of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. She attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, studied pre-medicine at The University of Southern Mississippi, and is also a certified doula.
Rhonda Rhodes – President
President of the Hancock Resource Center
Rhonda Rhodes has served as the President of the Hancock Resource Center since it incorporated as a non-profit in November of 2008. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a Master’s of Arts in Management. She is nationally certified in home ownership counseling, homebuyer and post-purchase education, and is a Housing Counseling Executive with a professional certificate in home ownership and community lending. Rhonda is a registered nurse with a background in healthcare administration. After Katrina, Rhonda went to work for the Hancock Chamber of Commerce. Under the direction of the Chamber, she created and managed the Hancock Community Development Foundation. She currently serves on the Boards for the Hancock Community Development Foundation, St. Stanislaus Booster Club and the American Red Cross of Southeast Mississippi Advisory Board. Rhonda is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Hancock County and a 2014 graduate of Leadership Mississippi.
Jennifer Lacoste – Board Member Hancock County Emergency Management Agency, Community Member
Charles Benvenutti - Board Member Certified Public Accountant, Community Leader, Owner of Benvenutti CPA Firm, Veteran, Founding Member
Amy Corr - Board Member Hancock Whitney Bank, Finance Committee, Community Member
Amy Corr has been a member of the Hancock Resource Center's Board of Directors for over seven years. A native of Hancock County, she has helped dozens of local businesses grow and thrive throughout her 35 years as a dedicated banker at Hancock Whitney and furthers that impact in her current role as Vice President. She has a degree in banking from the University of Mississippi and also attended The Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending. In the past she served as an Area Operating Committee Member with United Way of South Mississippi, now volunteering as the Program Chair of the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis. A graduate of the Leadership Hancock County program, she has also served three terms as Director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. She's been married to her husband, Kerry, for 34 years, and has two children and three small grandchildren. She enjoys long walks or runs, traveling, live entertainment, the beach, and spending time with her loved ones.
Robert Clark - Board Member Resource Bank, Community Member
Noel Grafe – Board Member The First Bank, Community Member
Noel Grafe is a Commercial Lender and Vice President of The First, A National Banking Association. He attended Mississippi State University and holds a bachelor's degree in Banking and Finance. He is from Moss Point, and moved to Hancock County years ago when working for Hancock Bank. He is a graduate of the 2020 class of Leadership Hancock County. He is married to Elizabeth Grafe, and has four children: James Jr., Katherine, Caroline, and Cooper. He enjoys hunting, fishing, BBQ, and is known throughout the Hancock County community for being an excellent cook.
Connie Lyons – Board Member King's Kitchen and Central Bible Church, Community Member
Connie Lyons has been a minister for 12 years. She is a dynamic Woman of God, mentor, sister, and friend. She surrendered to God’s calling on February 14, 2003 and Ordained to Pastor on December 28, 2008. Pastor Lyons is under the leadership of Dr. Mike Ramsey and Lady Terri Ramsey at Central Bible Church located in Bay St. Louis, MS. She is the Outreach Pastor at The King’s Kitchen and together, they are feeding and clothing the homeless and assisting in finding shelter while guiding them to a Bible-based ministry. Presently, she is on WMEJ REJOICE 104.3 FM, where she is the Radio Director of Ministries and Founder/Speaker of Under The Olive Tree with Connie Lyons. She is a faithful member of the Ministers Alliance of Sisters on One Accord. She has obtained a BA/Biblical Studies and is a Nail Technician from 1990 to present. Her most celebrated accomplishment in life is being the mother of a beautiful daughter and three precious grandchildren. Her life’s journey has not been an easy one, but she is a survivor and surrounds herself with positive people while remaining steadfast in the word. Her favorite verse is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Bennett Rimmer – Board Member
Bennett Rimmer was born and raised in Bay St. Louis and attended St. Stanislaus College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Pre-Law from Mississippi College in 2016, and played football while in undergrad. He went on to attend the Mississippi College School of Law, earning his Juris Doctorate in May of 2019 and working as an attorney with several firms based in Jackson, MS. He recently relocated back to his hometown and is now practicing personal injury law with Morris Bart Ltd.
Darell Forrest – Board Member Pearlington Fire Department, Community Member
Gwyn Ross – Board Member Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Community Member
Gwyn Lang Ross was born and raised in Bay St. Louis. She remains based in her hometown, and is a proud mom of three kids and two grandchildren. She has 33 years of management experience in the medical field and currently works as a Clinical Manager for Memorial Hospital of Gulfport, in addition to serving on the Customer Relations and Employee Crisis Assistance committees. She is heavily involved with local organizations and causes, co-chairing Relay for Life and maintaining active roles with both CASA of Hancock County and Hope Haven. She is also a longtime member of the Krewe of Nereids and a graduate of the 2015-16 class of Leadership Hancock County. 2020 is her first full year of serving on the Board of Directors at the Hancock Resource Center, and she continues to be be passionate about finding ways to give back to her community.
Wendy McDonald– Board Member Former Director of Habitat for Humanity Bay Waveland, Community Advocate
Wendy McDonald earned a Bachelors of Science and a Masters degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas in Austin. She taught Marketing at several high schools and community colleges. She served as the Director of Marketing and Dean of Fine Arts and Technical Education at community colleges in Texas before returning to Bay St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina. She opened and managed Habitat Bay Waveland, serving as Executive Director for 10 years. She also served on the Bay St. Louis City Council for two terms, representing Ward 2 in Bay St. Louis. During her time on the council she served as Council President several times, and as the City Council liaison with the engineers and architects for the Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor. She earned the Certified Municipal Officials designation by completing the 75+ hours of Basic, Advanced and Professional course work offered by the Mississippi Municipal League.