For decades, Joy Saucier has strived to improve her community — and few things gratify her more than contributing to others’ success.
But at the Hancock Business and Industry Awards Gala, held annually in August, it was Saucier’s turn to shine as she was named Citizen of the Year. The community development representative for Mississippi Power, who made the state her home in 1993, says she was surprised to be named among the 10 Outstanding Citizens recognized during the ceremony — and even more humbled to win the Citizen-of-the-Year title.
“I’m always blown away by the amazing work being done, usually quietly and behind the scenes, by people who love their community,” says Saucier, who is also a mother and grandmother. “It was an honor to stand on that stage with nine more of them.”
The other Outstanding Citizens honored alongside Saucier included John Anderson, Geoff Belcher, Ginny Cabell, Julie Cannon, Starr Chapman, Myrna Green, Clarence Singleton Harris, Kay Kell and Mike Lee.
“Each year it is our privilege to recognize outstanding citizens who go above and beyond the call of duty to make our communities a better place to live for all of us,” says Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce.
Williams notes that Saucier was recognized specifically for providing leadership skills training to Leadership Hancock County classes since the fall of 2005. Her efforts as a facilitator and strategist, Williams adds, have helped grow the next generation of Hancock County leaders.
“With each class being made up of around 25 students, approximately 450 leadership graduates have benefitted from her direct training and facilitation,” Williams says. “She says that it gives her great pleasure and satisfaction to see former leadership participants receive awards and recognition for their contributions, as well as to see their professional growth.”
To others wanting to make an impact locally and beyond, Saucier’s advice is to participate in a community leadership program, especially one that emphasizes interpersonal skill-building and teamwork like Leadership Hancock County. Such programs help someone form a network and develop important skills.
“Surround yourself with positive people who build you up while still being real,” she says. “And find a purpose that aligns with your passions. Roll up your sleeves. and get to work!”
The Hancock Chamber of Commerce has been honoring exemplary citizens and businesses for over four decades, and this year’s gala drew over 500 guests to the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis. The evening’s other honorees included:
Industry of the Year: Lockheed Martin
Nonprofit of the Year: Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse and Ruth’s Roots tied for this award.
Small Business Award of Excellence: Pearl Hotel
Businesses of the Year: Hancock Women’s Center in Bay St. Louis, Lazy Gator Sports Bar & Steamer in Diamondhead, Susan’s Sassy Sweets in Waveland and Silver Slipper Casino Hotel for Hancock County