Women of Influence: Bettye Sims-Hawkins

Bettey Sims-Hawkins has been a long time proponent of education for local youth. Today, she serves has head of the Jobs for Mississippi Graduates program.

Sims-Hawkins focuses on post secondary opportunities for young graduates in Sunflower County, showing them how to get financial aid in order to pursue their dreams.

1. How did you come to live in Sunflower County?

I was born in Moorhead.

2. Who are your biggest female influences?

A former teacher, the late Miss Hollistine Mothershedd

My mother, the late Bessie Singleton Sims

A family friend, the late Geneva Brown

A church member, the late E.M. Bell

Others: Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama

3. What would you describe as your biggest accomplishments so far in life?

I have taught Jobs for Mississippi Graduates for 15 years at Gentry High School in a career development program. Students compete yearly in the Career Development Conference in Jackson. Fourteen of the 15 years I have been the teacher, we have won an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for the National Student Leadership Academy.  

4. What is the best piece of advice you can give to young women looking to become leaders in their communities?

A great leader is able to inspire their followers to put their best into their work and exceed their goals.5. What is your biggest lesson you have learned about leadership?

We become the change in this world when we are a living example of the change we want to see.

6. If you could play any role in a movie, what would it be?

Leading actress.

7. A little family information

My mother was the late Bessie Singleton Sims. My father was the late Clifton Sims. My husband was the late Clarence L. Hawkins, Sr.


They are the perfect definition of a work in progress.

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