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LIfT Strategic Doing Initiative and Community Workshop

Contact: Ruth Ellen Whitt
Executive Director
Leadership Texarkana
[email protected]

Texarkana, USA – January 3, 2020 –

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Leadership Texarkana Hosts 5th Annual Lunch with Leaders as part of LIfT; Honors Local Citizens with Awards for Community Leadership

Media Contact:
Louise Tausch, Awards Chair
Ruth Ellen Whitt, Executive Director
Phone:  903-792-0011
Leadership Texarkana Hosts 5th Annual Lunch with Leaders as part of LIfT; Honors Local Citizens with Awards for Community Leadership
Texarkana, USA – April 8, 2014 – Leadership Texarkana celebrated local excellence in leadership at the 5th Annual Luncheon with Leaders at Texarkana Country Club on April 8.
The Luncheon was held as part of Leadership Texarkana's Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (LIFT), in the spirit of broadening the community conversation about our community's future beyond the 500+ graduates of Leadership Texarkana, to include leaders from all walks throughout the greater Texarkana community.   The featured speaker was Bill Cork, CEO of TexAmericas Center since 2003. His presentation, titled "Creative Disruption: How a strong town can implement disruptive policies without losing good will," challenged all to think differently about the street at the end of a driveway and why it matters.  The luncheon also featured a LIFT-motivated document, Focus for our Future, reflecting the long-expressed desires of our community's citizens for pursuing excellence, pride and progress in our area. The question posed was "Will you own it?" LIFT emphasizes focusing on changing the mindset of the community to consciously reap mutual benefits while working together at every level. 
Part of the celebration included the awarding of The Idalee Hawkins Award and the Wilbur Awards.  The Idalee Hawkins award is given annually to outstanding alumni of the Leadership Texarkana program as selected by the previous recipients of the award.  This award is given in memory of Idalee Hawkins who set a lasting example for her willingness to give of herself for her family and community.
The Wilbur Award is given in memory of Wilbur Smith, noted community volunteer and historian.  Celebrating the power of one to positively impact our community, the Wilbur Smith award is given to an adult, a group and a youth recipient of the public-at-large whose actions have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the community. 
This year the Idalee Hawkins honoree was Curt Green. Mr. Green is the owner of Curt Green & Company, LLC, a Commercial Real Estate Company. He has developed/constructed over 200 properties in fourteen (14) states.  He is Past Arkansas/Oklahoma Chairman for the International Council of Shopping Centers, serving about 600 members representing retail tenants, developers and construction companies.  He was chairman of the I-49 International Coalition representing Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.  From 2003-2005 Mr. Green was Arkansas State Chairman for the National Federation of Independent Business and is a member of NFIB Leadership Trust.  His civic organizations include serving of the Board of Texarkana Historical Society and Museum, Kiwanis Club, Four States Fair Association, Texarkana Board of Adjustment, the Business Organization for a New Downtown, and the Wadley Foundation.  Mr. Green served as Chairman of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, president for Volunteer Services Bureau and the Texarkana Work Center.  He is currently serving on the Texas A&M Texarkana Foundation Board.  He is a 1980-1981 graduate of Leadership Texarkana and is currently an Alumni Member and LIFT committee member.  He is a life-long resident of Texarkana Arkansas.  He is married to Diane Bell.  They have two children, Whitney and Clay, and two granddaughters.
The adult winner of the Wilbur Award was Chris Karam.  Chris Karam serves a President and Chief Executive Officer of Christus St. Michael Health System, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Christus Continuing Care.  Mr. Karam began his tenure as President and CEO of Christus St. Michael Health System in February 2003.  He has more than 30 years of experience in health care, having held a variety of clinical, operational, and management positions in acute and rehabilitation hospitals.
In addition to leading the 312 bed Christus St. Michael Health System, 64 bed Christus St. Michael Hospital in Atlanta, and 50 bed Christus St. Michael Rehabilitation Hospital, Karam heads Christus Continuing Care.  Operating in 18 different locations across the U.S., Christus Continuing Care is comprised of five Christus Dubuis Hospitals, six Dubuis Health Systems, two managed long-term acute care hospitals, and 20 Christus HomeCare/Hospice programs.  In total, Christus St. Michael and Christus Continuing Care have 4,300 Associates serving in five states.  Under Mr. Karam’s leadership, Christus St. Michael has received Magnet ® designation, NICHE designation, been nationally recognized as a 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters two years in a row, named one of the Best Places to Work in the nation by Modern Healthcare for three years, named a “Becker’s Hospital Review 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” for two years, received the America’s Best Hospital for Patient Experience Women’s Choice Award for the past three years, and named a “Best Place to Work in Texas,” across all Texas industries, seven times.
Other adults finalists who were honored for outstanding community leadership included PGISD baseball coach Craig Jones, who has led multiple teams to state level championship play; pastor Paul Keener, who impacts the community through his Texarkana Community Journal; TAMU-T Distinguished Alum and Admissions Director Toney Favors, who plays leadership roles on multiple boards throughout the community. 
The Wilbur Award for service by an organization was given to Express Employment Professionals– a giving, serving, and community-vested business organization which represents the power one company has to impact an entire region.  Among their community investments are:  Opening of first ever On Campus “Career Center” partnering Express and Texarkana Community College to improve the connection of graduating students to employers utilizing their education, providing scholarships to both Texas A&M Texarkana and Texarkana Community College; they have provided funds to Watersprings Ranch Children’s Home; speakers to high school students annually about job and college preparation; presented Leadership Simulcast for Texarkana College; been sponsors of Live United Bowl, Kiwanis Pancake Day and Harvest Texarkana;  they participate in Rotary Flag Project for the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club; sponsor and volunteer of Hands on Texarkana Board Member, Relay for Life; sponsor of the Arklatex Challenge;  member of the Kiwanis Club; Partners in Education and on the Executive Committee of TISD; Committee Partner and on the Executive Committee for  TASD; service to the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce including Board, Executive, Finance Committee and Ambassadors, and Economic Development Committee; Trinity Christian Schools Athletic Foundation Board Member; serves on the LIfT Committee for Leadership Texarkana; Sponsors of the Texarkana Arkansas Baseball Association; TASD Future Farmers of America, Gave Scholarship to UCA Student – Taylor Everett, Genoa Central High School Booster, TABA 14 year old Baseball, TABA 11 year old Baseball, TABA 10 year old Baseball, Texarkana Razorback Foundation, New Boston Chamber of Commerce, Hope Chamber of Commerce, TABA 7 & 8 year old Sponsorship (East), TABA 7 & 8 year old Sponsorship (West), sponsor of Warrior Athletic Foundation , Texas Workforce Job Fair, Veterans Job Fair, Home Builder Association; Arkansas High Prom, St. Michaels Foundation, National Rifle Association, Young Life Texarkana, Runnin’ WJ Ranch, and Boy Scouts of America.
Also honored during the luncheon were organizational finalists Domestic Violence Prevention which has assisted thousands of abused women in the ArkLaTex; and LifeNet, a non-profit which provides emergency and non-emergency ground and air services throughout a 4500 square mile region.
This year’s Wilbur Award for Youth Leadership was given to Ben Norton. Ben is an amazing young man.  One of the many projects he headed up in the last year was a collaboration between Texas High & Ark. High where he developed & led a book drive for Texarkana’s public library that resulted in over 5,500 items being donated to the library in just two weeks. Ben also led a project that exposed other high school students to developmentally challenged people by putting on a special day for the challenged individuals at Opportunities, Inc.  He also participated in Special Olympics.  Ben has helped with the Kitchen Staff at Williams Memorial to feed the homeless and volunteered for Teen Court as well as participated with Race for the Cure.  Among his many accomplishments and honors, Ben received the Texas Student Achievement Award and received 17 awards for Academic Success.  He has also earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America as well as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and multiple Palm Awards.
Other youth finalists also honored at the luncheon included Alexandra Miller an active senior from PGISD, also named Miss Teen Texas and last year's Texarkana's Outstanding Teen; Texas High's Benjamin Gladney, a leader within both his school district and his church; and Arkansas High's Emily Andrews who has not only been active in our community, but beyond, bringing clean water and light to the citizens of Haiti. 
LEADERSHIP TEXARKANA is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating, connecting, and engaging leaders in working together for community excellence, pride and progress.  To those ends, Leadership Texarkana dedicates its efforts to educating and developing critical masses of individual leaders throughout the community - crossing all demographic boundaries representing the community at large, as well as to fostering a community culture of effective leadership, as the unifying voice of vision, and as a catalyst for effective action alliances. Additional information about Leadership Texarkana can be found at

LIFT: When All is Said and Done

by Phillip DuVall, Ph.D.

Earlier this year Leadership Texarkana (LT), and the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana (LIFT), sponsored a City Leadership Summit, bringing together elected officials and supporting staff members in the Texarkana area.  This was a great start towards moving Texarkana forward while working together. Several great initiatives were started and continue today. But, we have all seen several initiatives start and die on the vine for various reasons. Now is the time to continue to put in place necessary things that will help us continue to pull together.

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