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Statewide Finalists Announced for Marketing Awards

March 08, 2023

Katie Martin, SMP President


HATTIESBURG, MISS (March 6, 2023) – Mississippi is headed to Hattiesburg to help Sales and Marketing Professionals (SMP) honor the marketing, sales, and public relations efforts of exceptional practitioners. SMP is announcing statewide finalists for the black-tie gala slated for April 11 at The Lake Terrace Convention Center in the Hub City.

From Corinth to the Coast, over 100 nominations were tendered by Mississippi citizens for the annual competition. An out-of-state panel of judges narrowed the list of Magnolia State hopefuls to a “Dandy Dozen” in each of the competition categories: Individuals, businesses/organizations, and events

The Mississippi Pinnacle Awards recognize, promote, and honor excellence, professionalism, and outstanding achievement in sales, marketing, and community engagement and showcase the highest level of public relations talent in the state.

“Sales and Marketing Professionals salutes the achievements and talents of Mississippi owners, directors, account executives, event planners, and community volunteers who are an integral part of the Magnolia State. We have honored these stalwarts on a regional basis for a decade and look forward to welcoming practitioners statewide into this prestigious group at the April 11 event in Hattiesburg,” Michael Marks, Mississippi Pinnacle Awards Chair, said.

This year’s statewide finalists are:

 Bud Kirkpatrick Professional Award (Individuals)

 Angela White-Carter, International Vocalist/Psalmist and Recording Artist (Hattiesburg)

Crista Holland, Mississippi State University ACCESS Program (Starkville)

Dean Pace, Director of Financial Aid (William Carey University)

Katelyn Brown, Co-Director X-Finity Dance Academy (Richton)

Jessie Perkins, Store Manager Tailored Brands, Inc./Men’s Wearhouse (Lamar County)

Jill Gordon, Anti-Youth Vaping Advocate and Realtor (Flowood)

Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Former Mississippi Association of Educators President and    President Natchez NAACP (Natchez)

Mary Hossley, Community Health Activist and Author (Lamar County)

Nelson Haskin, Jr., Restauranteur and Veteran (Hattiesburg)

Ronnie Shows, WJMG Radio Show host and Green Bank Advocate (Lamar County)

Robert Thompson, International Hospitality Industry Lecturer and Business Professor (William Carey University)

Tavell Whitfield, Perry Central High School Senior and State Beta Club President (New Augusta)


Charlie Holt Business Award (Businesses and Organizations)

 Disabled American Veterans Chapter #62 (Hattiesburg)

Ground Zero Blues Clubs (Clarksdale and Biloxi)

Hernando Farmers Market (Hernando)

Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health (Ridgeland)

Larita’s House Domestic Abuse Foundation (Hattiesburg)

Legacy Actors Theatre Experience (Hattiesburg)

Marketing Professionals for Senior Living (Pine Belt Region)

Mississippi Main Street Association (Jackson)

Mississippi State University Television Center (Starkville)

Mississippi Armed Forces Museum (Camp Shelby)

Purvis Youth Sports (Purvis)

Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (Hattiesburg)


Bernice Linton Outstanding Event Award (Community Events)

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity-Mu Gamma Lambda Chapter MLK Prayer Breakfast (University of Southern Mississippi)

Art2Health2Wellness (Magnolia)

Boujee Boss Pop Up Market (Lamar County)

Cruisin’ The Coast (Hancock Harrison and Jackson Counties)

Dance Art Dance’s The Stereo-Cracker: A Winter Production (Pine Belt Region)

Delta Sigma Theta Alumnae Chapter Women’s Suffrage March (Hattiesburg)

Experience Columbia (Columbia)

Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors Leadership Academy (Hattiesburg)

Jeff Davis County Economic Development District Light Up the Trace

(Carson Community, Bassfield, Sumrall and Prentiss)

Military Dentistry of Dr. Carroll Pierce (Ellisville and Seminary)

Miss Black Mississippi USA Pageant (Madison)

NAACP (Forrest County Branch) Annual Summertime Tropicanza (Hattiesburg)

Visit Jackson’s ESPN College GameDay Promotions (Jackson)

YMCA of Southeast Mississippi Trunk or Treat (Hattiesburg)

“Our goal was a “Dandy Dozen” in each category but after a three-way tie in events, the panel of judges decided to advance all three entities.  With so much home-grown talent, there was extremely close balloting this year,” said Katie Martin, SMP President.

All nominees prepared portfolios in the preliminary portion of the competition. During the pandemic, the group honored Mississippi’s musical ambassador, Vasti Jackson, as its last overall winner. Mississippi’s Musical Ambassador returns this year to entertain and present the 2023 Overall Winner.

Monies raised through the Pinnacle event are used to provide scholarships to deserving high school and college students each year. Known as the Rising Star Scholarships, these awards are given to students who will pursue careers in sales, marketing, public relations or community engagement. In addition to the annual awards, this year will see the announcement of Humanitarian and Lifetime Achievement awards, honoring outstanding contributions of charitable Mississippians.

Current scholarship sponsors of the state awards include, but are not limited to:



The Payne Companies

Pine Belt News/Signature Magazine

Stage, Style, & Study, LLC



FOX Broadcasting Company

William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine



The Area Development Partnership (ADP)

Brooke Roane Creations

Davis-Morris Law Firm, PA

Cadence Bank

Downtown Hattiesburg Association

Forrest County Board of Supervisors

Hancock Whitney Bank

Hattiesburg Arts Council

Keesler Federal Credit Union

Lance Bowe Photography

Standard Office Supply Powered by OEC

VH Companies

Visit Hattiesburg

YMCA of Southeast Mississippi


Program ad deadline is March 20. Ticket deadline is April 1. For more information on tickets, lodging, sponsorship opportunities and “Do the ‘Burg” activities scheduled for April 12, visit https://smppinebelt.wixsite.com/sales-and-marketing or email SMPPinebelt.org.

Sales and Marketing Professionals is a state-wide organization comprised of owners, managers, and account executives involved in sales and marketing. Membership includes professionals from all fields of businesses, including but not limited to banks, media, real estate, medical, retail, tourism, law, academics, and more, including students preparing to enter the profession.