By Jordan Beach
Jessica Akers ’05 ’11 was honored as one of Cherokee Chamber of Commerce’s “10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch” at the June Good Morning Cherokee breakfast on June 7.
Akers serves Reinhardt University as the director of Falany Performing Arts Center and as an adjunct instructor of Business for the McCamish School of Business.
“I am incredibly honored to have been selected as Top 10 in 10 of Young Professionals in Cherokee County. I love Cherokee County and am grateful to call it home. Being considered a Top 10 in 10 is a huge honor,” Akers said.
Dean of the School of Performing Arts and Professor of Music Dr. Fredrick Tarrant said he could not imagine a more deserving recipient of the award.
“Her exemplary work as director of the Falany Performing Arts Center has helped make Reinhardt University a beacon for the arts throughout the region,” Tarrant said. “Jessica deserves enormous credit for her contributions to this community, and I commend the committee that chose her for this honor.”
Reinhardt has been a part of Akers’ life through her undergraduate and graduate study. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2005 and a Master of Business Administration in 2011. Akers said her time at Reinhardt has shaped her life through the nurturing environment that allowed her to achieve her fullest potential.
“The faculty have always been a solid source of encouragement, the staff take the time to get to know each person and treats everyone like family, and the administration are wonderfully supportive of all of the Reinhardt Eagles,” Akers said.
While Akers dedicates a great deal of time leading the Falany and teaching, she also is a member of the Rotary Club of Canton, treasurer of the PTA at R.M. Elementary School for the 2018-19 school year, state president of the Georgia Arts Network, a member of the Lake Arrowhead Women’s Activity Club and a volunteer with the humane society. She enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking portion of the Appalachian Trail and participating in the Black Bear Plunge every year at Fort Mountain State Park.
Akers was not the only Reinhardt alumna part of the 2018 Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals. Julie Peppers, assistant principal at Sixes Elementary School, also was honored. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Reinhardt in 2006.
Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Julianna Rivera said there were far more than 10 nominations to choose from. “Each application was carefully reviewed by a panel of judges that found the task of only choosing 10 honorees challenging,” she said.
The Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch award was created by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and Enjoy! Cherokee Magazine. The inaugural year was 2012, and several recipients have followed this award nominee with recognition as Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40, including Brittany Page, a graduate of Reinhardt’s Public Safety Institute in 2011. The Chamber award is designed to cultivate and showcase exceptional Cherokee County young professionals, according to Chamber President and CEO Pam Carnes. Nominees were judged based on previous awards and achievements, professional goals looking towards the next five to 10 years, and community and volunteer activities. The honorees will also by nominated for the chance to be recognized in Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40 on Oct. 1.