FUEL ready to keep growing
Published 11:39 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014
FRANKLIN—Last week’s meeting of FUEL — Focused, United, Engaged Leaders — was an energizing one for the attendees and organizers alike, according to Teresa Beale, executive director of the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the group.
“I thought it was awesome. There was so much excitement and energy in that room,” said Beale. “There was a good mix of FUEL members and over-40 members in the audience. A great interaction.”
Meghan Councill, who succeeds Crystal Butler as this year’s president of FUEL, was also no less pleased by the attendance.
“My goal was 40 and we had 63 at the Back Porch Grille at Village at Woods Edge,” said Councill. “We started out by welcoming everyone…and me reviewing last year. We had a number of really successful events.”
FUEL, she explained, connects young professional to more established professionals. The meeting had an equal mix of ages 21 and “40ish,” Councill said.
“We’re a young growing organization,” she added, and acknowledged that “some things work, some not.”
Councill is optimistic about plans for the upcoming year.
“We’ve got a ton of stuff coming out,” she said. “My vision is in three pieces. Leadership development through lunches and networking events. Professional development — building skills and abilities in groups, and community service. What FUEL is trying to give to the community.”
The Leader Lunches, as they are called, are “ways to connect with young leaders,” Councill said, citing the one for today at noon in Franklin High School with Principal Travis Felts. Others in the future will include Superintendent Willie Bell, Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn and Councilman Frank Rabil.
A ladies’ lunch, as she called it, is scheduled for noon this Friday at Mr. D’s. Councill invites young professional woman to attend.
A donation from International Paper will enable FUEL to create professional development events.
Focusing on schools is another example of what FUEL wants to do. Franklin High School will receive the organization’s attention this fall, and Southampton High School in the spring. Resume writing, interviewing and learning success skills are example of topics to be discussed and taught.
Councill said she’s grateful to the organizations that helped make the gathering possible. Sponsors included IP, NAPA, Councill Financial Concepts, Crystal Marketing Solutions, Real Country 101.7 and The Tidewater News.
The featured speaker was Dr. Craig Merrell, a plastic surgeon in Suffolk and director of microsurgery for Operation Smile. Councill said the audience was captivated as he spoke on integrity, community service and humility, followed by handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.
“He sang the lyrics of ‘America the Beautiful’ by heart,” she said. “It was a very, very nice speech.”
Beale said, “The speaker was just very engaging and everyone enjoyed him. We’re just really excited on how FUEL is moving forward. They put on a very nice program. It went off a really well.
“I think they’ve got a great start to the year with their Leader Lunches and Professional Development
I’m just looking forward to them having an excellent year. I’m really excited to see their future.”
For people interested in joining FUEL, the cost is $25 per person and $50 for business. For more information, call 562-4900 or visit www.fuelfsa.com for details.