Michele Connelly is the Executive Director for the United Way of West Central Mississippi. With sixteen years of experience in the education system as a counselor and principal, she has brought a burst of energy to the United Way. Michele, a native of Vicksburg, graduated from Mississippi State University with a BS in Psychology. She received her Masters in Counseling Psychology at Mississippi College, while at Mississippi College she also received her Guidance Counselor Accreditation. She finished her education with a Masters in Catholic School Leadership at Marymount University. She currently is a member of the Rotary Club of Vicksburg. Michele serves on several committees and boards such as: The Live Healthy Action Team, BancorpSouth’s Community Reinvestment Act Committee, the Long Term Recovery Committee, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Committee. She is also heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Vicksburg Main Street Program. She volunteers at Vicksburg Catholic School and the Vicksburg Warren School District, not to mention she is always available to the 19 partnering agencies of the United Way.
Linda Fondren transformed her life from poverty and disempowerment to success and came back to Vicksburg determined to make her hometown a healthier place after Mississippi was deemed the “unhealthiest state” in the nation for several consecutive years.
For her persistent efforts and the impact on her community, Linda was chosen as a Top Ten CNN Hero of the Year for 2010. - She was also selected, among distinguished leaders such as First Lady Michelle Obama, as one of The Grio’s 100 History Makers in the Making. - In 2011 she was presented with an award for Excellence in Wellness Promotion from the Mississippi State Medical Association. - In 2017 she received a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the State of Mississippi and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. – In 2018 she received national recognition from the Office of Public Health and was awarded the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People Pioneer Achievement Award.”
Linda is an author and published her first book to spread her message and tips to a wider audience. Shape Up Sisters is a get-healthy prescription for everyday women with jobs, families and real-life obstacles.
Schedule of Events
8:30 am to 8:45 am-- Welcome & Annual Health Collaborative Update
8:45 am to 9:30 am -- Keynote Speakers
9:40 am to 10:00 am -- What are Social Determinants of Health?
10:00 am to 11:15 am -- Facilitated Table Conversation (Education, Hunger, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Transportation, Community Engagement, Housing, Employment and a Healthy Workforce)
11:15 am to 11:25 am -- Break
11:25 am to 12:10 pm -- Speed Sessions (Active Living, Healthy Eating, Access to Healthcare, Healthy Spaces)
12:10 pm to 12:45 pm -- Lunch and Networking
12:45 pm to 1:30 pm -- 2nd Annual THRIVE! Awards