Governor Phil Bryant
Phil Bryant was sworn in for his second term as Mississippi’s 64th governor on January 12, 2016. Before becoming the state’s chief executive, Bryant was lieutenant governor from 2008-2011. He also served as state auditor and represented his legislative district in the Mississippi House of Representatives for five years.
The son of Dewey C. and Estelle R. Bryant, a diesel mechanic and a mother who stayed home with her three boys, Bryant learned early the value of hard work and the importance of education. The Moorhead native earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Hinds Community College and completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi College, and before assuming his role as governor, Bryant served as an adjunct professor of government there.
Gov. Bryant began his career as a deputy sheriff in Hinds County and later worked as an insurance investigator before being elected to the House of Representatives in 1991. In 1996, then Gov. Kirk Fordice appointed him state auditor, a position he was re-elected to in 1999 and 2003.
As governor, Phil Bryant has led Mississippi in implementing transformational public education reforms, promoting economic development and building a competitive business climate that attracts major employers like Yokohama Tire Corporation and Continental Tire. Under Gov. Bryant’s administration, over 27,500 jobs have been announced along with $5.19 billion in new corporate investments. He is also an avid outdoorsman and is a longtime member of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Gov. Bryant and his wife, First Lady of Mississippi Deborah Bryant, have two adult children, Katie Bryant Snell and Patrick Bryant, and are active members of St. Marks United Methodist Church in Brandon.
First Lady Deborah Bryant, Honorary Chair
She has worked tirelessly through her H.O.M.E. (Healthcare, Outdoors, Mansion/Military, and Education) platform to improve the quality of life for Mississippians of all ages. In 2014, Deborah traveled the entire state as part of her “Read Across Mississippi” program. She read to students in all 82 counties to promote literacy and bring attention to reading disabilities. Last year she added volunteerism and veterans as her part of her platform. Now she is zeroing in on middle school aged children with her “Mississippi Matters that Matter” initiative.
She has been honored as a Women of Distinction Laureate by the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, the recipient of the “Women of Excellence Award” from the Mississippi Diabetes Foundation, and received the Chrysalis Award from the Canopy Children’s Solutions. In May of 2016, William Carey University awarded Mrs. Bryant an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her tireless efforts in promoting literacy and her volunteer work following natural disasters throughout the state, especially the tornado that struck Louisville, MS, in 2014. Winston County also presented her with the Spirit of Hope Award following the recovery work she participated in for several months there.
Deborah and her husband of 39 years, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, have two grown children. Daughter, Katie, and her husband, Stephen, and children, Henry and Eliza, live in Madison, MS. Their son, Patrick, lives in Austin, TX.
Dr. Tami Brooks of Jackson, Miss., serves as an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and is the medical director of the Children’s of Mississippi North Clinic at the Medical Center. She also currently serves as medical director for the Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM).
In addition to being a practitioner, Brooks is a passionate advocate for the health of Mississippi children, serving as the legislative chair of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and working to produce improvements in health policies and outcomes.
In her role at DOM, Brooks functions as a liaison between the health-care provider community and the complex world of Medicaid. She works to enhance communication and address confusion providers may have related to Medicaid policies and procedures.
Brooks earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences education from Mississippi State University in 1989. She earned her medical degree from UMMC in 1993, and completed her residency training in pediatrics from UMMC in 1996. She has been part of the Medical Center faculty for 20 years.
Lisa Fuller is a mother of two girls. Her oldest child is on the Autism Spectrum, while Lisa’s youngest daughter suffers from ADHD, anxiety and depression. Having exhausted all options in Mississippi, Lisa had to send both children to treatment programs in other states to receive the care they desperately needed. Her oldest daughter eventually found Autism service in Mississippi and is now attending a public high school.
Lisa is a Sr. Executive Hospital Representative Merck & Co., Inc. and lives with her family in Madison, MS.
Amelia Franck Meyer, MS, MSW, LISW, APSW
Amelia Franck Meyer is the founder and CEO of Alia: innovations for people and systems impacted by childhood trauma. Alia provides deep-dive systemic interventions, training, consultation, demonstration projects, and leadership coaching to transform child welfare. Amelia has worked in over half of the states and many countries internationally to promote innovative ideas and to radically re-think child welfare. She is leading a national movement to create a child welfare system across the country where all people – youth and their caregivers – can thrive.
At Alia, Amelia also works to convene change makers and advance the tools and knowledge base in the field of child welfare. This is why, when no other tools existed, she led the initiative to bring together academic, research and professional partners at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare to develop the Youth Connections Scale (YCS) and the Wellbeing Indicator Tool for Youth (WIT-Y), both nationally recognized, evidence-informed and widely applied tools.
Before Alia, Amelia was the CEO of Anu Family Services, a child welfare agency located in 90 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota. During her 15-year tenure, Anu produced nationally recognized child permanence and placement stability outcomes for children in out-of-home care and was on the leading edge of promoting and measuring wellbeing for youth and the child welfare workforce. Amelia is currently serving in the role of Senior Strategic Advisor at Anu, and Anu remains a strategic partner of Alia.
Amelia’s work has not gone unnoticed, and in 2015, Amelia was named as a recipient of the prestigious Bush Fellowship by the Bush Foundation and was named an Ashoka Fellow by Ashoka Innovators for the Public. Amelia received the 2015 CEHD Alumni Society Award of Excellence from the University of Minnesota, 2010 Alumna of the Year Award from the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, 2010 Alumna of the Year Award from the Department of Sociology at Illinois State University, and was also named the 2010 Emerging Leader by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota for achieving “early distinction” in her career.
Amelia has spent her 27-year career dedicated to serving children and families in the areas of out-of-home care, family-based services and disability services. In addition, Amelia holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology/Marriage and Family, a Master’s Degree in Social Work/Human Service Management, and graduate certificates in Disability Policy and Services and Permanence and Adoption Competency, and she is currently enrolled in a doctorate program in Organizational Change and Leadership at The University of Southern California (USC).
Amelia has presented nationally and internationally on topics in child welfare, education and criminal justice including grief, loss and trauma, child wellbeing, child permanence and placement stability, workforce wellbeing, leadership fortitude, secondary traumatic stress, resilience, and change management.
Amelia has served on national and statewide boards and strategic committees in both private and public agencies that address her passion of improving the lives of children and families so that all can thrive.