On May 31, LEAD Hampton Roads, a program of the Hampton Roads Chamber, hosted “BRAVO!”, its annual gala celebration of the region and its leadership. Close to 400 business and community leaders gathered at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott for the reception and dinner honoring three visionary leaders and celebrating LEAD’s 30th year of serving the region.
Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key|PHR provided welcoming remarks and an opening toast. “I don’t believe there could be a better selection for the highest honor, than the Honorable Governor Ralph Northam. He hit the ground running and became a steward of the environment. We are so proud to have one of our own here,” Thompson said.
The First Citizen of Hampton Roads Award was presented to the Honorable Ralph S. Northam, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for his exemplary leadership. Northam acknowledged the work of the leaders in the room and applauded the LEAD 2018 graduating class. “The Chamber does such good work in promoting businesses across the Commonwealth and recognizing leaders in Hampton Roads.” Northam discussed his goals for the region. “For Hampton Roads we want to continue to build infrastructure and transportation. We live in a diverse society and it is that diversity that brings growth to Virginia and ensures Virginia remains a business leader.” Northam encouraged the graduating class to work together as leaders, not as democrats or republicans. “We passed a budget for the state because of bi-partisan leadership.”
The Julian Hirst Alumni Leadership Award was presented to Jennifer Boykin, Executive Vice President of Huntington Ingalls Industries, President of Newport News Shipbuilding. The Julian Hirst Alumni Leadership Award, named for a former City Manager of Norfolk and a founder of LEAD Hampton Roads, recognizes a graduate of LEAD who exemplifies excellence in community, civic and professional leadership. Boykin was a 2004 LEAD alumna. In her award acceptance she left the graduating class with a charge to “Step up, lean in, and go disrupt for good!”
The ICON Young Professional Leadership Award was presented to Jay Jones, Delegate 89th District Virginia House of Delegates
The evening culminated with the graduation of 48 business leaders who successfully completed the nine-month Signature leadership program celebrating its 30th year. The LEAD Hampton Roads outgoing chair is Mark Johnson, Vice President of SunTrust Bank who turned over the role to Chris Stuart, Vice President of Top Guard Security.
Thank you to our sponsors: TowneBank (Presenting); Gold Key|PHR (Spirited); Newport News Shipbuilding (Private Reception Sponsor) Long & Foster Real Estate (First Citizen Award Sponsor); SunTrust Bank, Seventh Point, Dominion Energy, EVMS, Ainslie Group, Lori By Design, The Port of Virginia, STIHL, The Franklin Johnston Group (Distinguished Sponsors).