James named DYW chair

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

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The Distinguished Young Women of Alabama program recently announced Jodi James as the new chairman for the Distinguished Young Women (DYW) of Escambia County.


James, a resident of Atmore for more than eight years, has served as a volunteer on multiple committees, including the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce board, the Main Street Atmore board; and currently serves as the director for Relay for Life Atmore and is a board member for the Atmore Community Foundation.

She is employed at United Bank in Atmore as the consumer lender and serves on its employee experience committee.

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James said she grew up in Grove Hill, and the Distinguished Young Women program has always been a prominent part of the community there. The program was formerly known as Junior Miss.

“I can vividly remember the excitement that you could feel in the air during the weeks leading up to the local program,” James recalled. “This program has always played such a pivotal role in the lives of all that participate. Whether you are a high school junior, little sister to the program or committee member, you will always carry the experience with you.”

James said one of the many reasons whey she joined the local DYW committee last year was because of the program’s mission statement, “to empower young women to develop their full, individual potential by providing scholarships, personal development opportunities and a positive peer network.”

James said she was honored to have served as director and chair of Youth Leadership Atmore and the chamber’s ambassadors during her three-year term as a board member.

“During my time with both programs, I had the opportunity to help better the lives of our local youth,” she said. “I was able to teach and lead them to gain knowledge about leadership, self development, responsibility and so much more. One of my biggest takeaways from this program was that the youth of today are going to be the future leaders of tomorrow.

“That has always resonated with me,” she added. “We, as the adults of today working various industries, have the opportunity to guide the youth of today to become successful adults. So, I ask, why are there not more of us doing this?”

James has worked more than 20 years in both industries of management and finance.

“I know firsthand how much harder women have had to work to make a name for themselves,” she said. “We are in the year 2024, and so much has changed. For instance, women are at the forefront of their careers, and they are running the show in many places.”

James said she believes there is still something holding women back from reaching their full potential: social media.

“While there are a lot of positives with it, there are also a lot of negatives,” she said. “Those negatives have an enormous impact on young women today. So many apps, or posts that will make you feel less than, not good enough, not pretty enough and so much more.

“Programs like DYW offer the ability for us to conquer those negative impacts and gain so much more confidence,” she added. “Not only does it give them the ability to develop themselves for the professional world, but it also teaches them how to have grace and respect for themselves. It also teaches them to know their worth and how to succeed in a society that sometimes just wants you to fail.”

James said she’s honored to have the opportunity to serve as the new chairman for DYW of Escambia County.

“I have reached out to numerous professionals within the county to join the committee, and I have no doubt that we are going to revitalize this program all while making a positive impact on the lives of young women throughout the county,” James said.