The Power of Resilience
Joe F. Sanderson, Jr. is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. headquartered in Laurel, Mississippi. Mr. Sanderson is a graduate of Laurel High School and Millsaps College. Upon graduation from college, he returned to Laurel in 1969 and joined the family-owned business, where he has served in various capacities. He is the third generation and has grown Sanderson farms into the only publicly-traded Fortune 1,000 company headquartered in Mississippi.
Sanderson Farms is engaged in the production, processing and marketing of poultry. It is one of the largest poultry companies in the United States with approximately 18,000 employees in operations in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina with revenues of over $3.4 billion.
Dr. Nashlie H. Sephus is the Applied Science manager for Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) focusing on fairness and identifying biases in the technologies. She formerly led the Amazon Visual Search team in Atlanta, which launched visual search for replacement parts on the Amazon Shopping app in June 2018. This technology was a result of former startup Partpic (Atlanta) being acquired by Amazon, for which she was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
Prior to working at Partpic, she received her Ph.D. from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 and worked for a year with Exponent technical consulting firm in New York City. Her core research areas were digital signal processing, machine learning, and computer engineering. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University (2007).
Dr. Sephus is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and a 2003 graduate of Murrah High School/Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC). She’s had several internships and research experiences worldwide with companies such as IBM, Delphi, University of California at Berkeley, GE Research Center, GE Energy, Miller Transporters, and Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea. Recently, Dr. Sephus became founder and CEO of The Bean Path non-profit organization based in Jackson, MS assisting individuals with technical expertise and guidance. During her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis, playing the piano, listening to music, bargain hunting, biking, and working on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects at home.
Emmet is currently the President and co-founder of VeruStat. Prior to VeruStat, Emmet co-founded and was President of Verus Healthcare where he grew the company to over $70 MM in revenue in six years before it’s sale to Adapt Health (OTC: AHCO). In addition, he led the spin-out of Verus Healthcare’s internal software to form and run a new company called SnapWorx that sold to Brightree, a subsidiary of ResMed (NYSE: RMD).
Prior to Verus, he founded FrontStream Payments and led the company through its formation, three acquisitions and all fundraising efforts. Previously, Emmet was the first employee and part of the founding team at Verus Financial Management, a company that sold to Sage Group. Before his time with Verus, Emmet worked in investment banking at Robinson-Humphrey Company and worked for two start up software companies.
Over his career, Emmet has raised over $50 MM in equity capital from institutional and private investors and sold 3 companies for in excess of $450 MM in the payment processing and healthcare industries. Emmet graduated from the Honors College at the University of Mississippi and received his M.B.A. at Harvard University.
William Ault graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2015, majoring in Computer Science. While in school, William participated in the Gillespie Business Plan Competition hosted by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. After winning the Gillespie competition in 2015, he founded Curtsy, a Y combinator backed startup that allows people to buy and sell fashion. William as a founder and head of growth has helped the company grow 300% the last two years.
Tereza Janatova, a native of the Czech Republic, is a student-athlete at the University of Mississippi. Tereza is a member of the women’s tennis team, and serves as a secretary and representative for the tennis team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She is also a member of the leadership board of Rebels’ International, a group of international student-athletes.
During her career as a Rebel, Tereza achieved the highest national ranking of #112 in singles, #57 in doubles, and team ranking of #3 in the nation. Her team reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and advanced twice to the ITA National Indoor Championships. Individually, Tereza reached the 3rd place in both singles and doubles at the Regional Championship and participated at the All-American Championships. She was named the SEC player of the week, Student Athlete of the Month and Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Ole Miss. For her engagement in community service, she was named to the SEC Community Service Team twice and was awarded the SEC Brad Davis Community Service postgraduate scholarship. Tereza recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachleor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with Emphasis in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in General Business. She started a Master’s program in Engineering Science with Emphasis in Mechanical Engineering. Tereza is a member of honors societies Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Eta Kappa Nu, where she serves as a vice-president, and was named Who’s Who among Students. Tereza participated in the Gillespie Business Plan Competition with a fellow EE & ME student Matthew Currie with a knee brace project, called DataBrace, and took the 2nd place and the Thomas W. Colbert-Community Bank Innovation award. Tereza will continue working on her master’s degree at the University of Mississippi and represent the Rebels for one more season. She would like to pursue a career in the field of Biomechanics.
Lawrence Adams Jr. graduated from Callaway High School in 1992. During his time there, he was voted Mr. Callaway and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was a member of the football, track, and basketball teams. He was a letterman each year in football and track and was a letterman in basketball twice. He was named to the All City team as a defensive back, quarterback, and punter and was voted All State as a punter. He was chosen for the Mississippi West All Star Team and was voted onto the Mississippi All-Star team. In 1991 and 1992, he was named to the Dandy Dozen list and recognized as one of the top 12 athletes in the state.
He chose the University of Mississippi and attended on a full athletic scholarship. He was named the starting quarterback for his sophomore season in 1993. During this season, he was honored with the AT&T Long Distance Passing Award and SEC player of the week twice. As a Rebel, he was a four-year letterman and was voted Most Dedicated Player. He played quarterback, defensive back, and wide receiver. In 1997, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is currently a member of the Ole Miss M Club for former athletes and an active alumni member. He contributes to the school of business as a classroom speaker and judge for the Gillespie School of Business Plan Competition.
He is currently the President of 17 Enterprises Inc. and the Chief Operation Officer for Jimmy John’s in Jackson and Flowood, Mississippi. Prior to committing to Jimmy John’s, he spent 15 years in corporate America with Philip Morris USA and Altria. There, he was promoted 6 times and held various leadership roles in sales, marketing, recruiting and strategic planning.
He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Natasha, two boys Miles, Gavin and dog Nala.