Leadership Southeast Texas, Inc. announces retirement of executive director

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bessie Chisum led regional leadership organization for over a quarter century

To The Leader

Mid-County, Texas – The Board of Leadership Southeast Texas, Inc., (LSET) is announcing the retirement of its long-time executive director, Bessie Chisum, effective May 31, 2018. Chisum has served as the sole executive director of the non-profit since its inception in 1993. Her decision to retire was first announced at the 2017-2018 Youth Leadership Southeast Texas (YLSET) and LSET class graduation ceremony held on Thursday, May 24, at the Lumberton Performing Arts Center.

“Bessie has been the soul of the organization and has helped navigate the group through many changes over the last 26 years,” said Tom Henry, president of LSET. “She pursued the establishment of LSET as a stand-alone corporation in 2007, and its transformation to 501c(3) charitable status seven years ago.”

Chisum’s passion and drive has inspired many of the program’s graduates to get involved, ensuring the sustainability of leadership development on a regional level in Southeast Texas. Under her guidance and in coordination with LSET Board members, nearly 1500 leaders from the business, public and non-profit sectors across the region graduated from annual Leadership Southeast Texas classes. Today, these graduates are serving our local communities in leadership roles, and many are contributing on a regional, statewide and global basis as they pursued careers and community service beyond Southeast Texas.

“We will miss Bessie’s wisdom and guidance; however, we are thankful she is leaving us with a wealth of information we can use to move forward”, Henry pointed out. “We all wish her the very best in her well-earned retirement.”

“As a founding member of LSET, I am thrilled to see what the organization is today,” stated Gisela Houseman, an active business and community leader. “In 1992 it was a dream to create greater synergy across Southeast Texas by bringing leaders together to educate them on successes and challenges around them.”

“We needed a strong person to develop the programs, collaborate with people across our broad geography, obtain funding, and provide a framework for a viable organization. We found the perfect person in Bessie Chisum. She had the knowledge, energy and fortitude to make it all happen.”

A search committee has been established and will work diligently to identify a successor as soon as possible.

LSET is a 501 © (3) nonprofit charitable corporation focused on educating, engaging and inspiring Southeast Texas leaders to connect and better serve the region. It does so by promoting greater understanding and networking among leaders in the nine Southeast Texas counties comprising of Chambers, the Bolivar Peninsula of Galveston County, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange and Tyler counties. LSET also established Youth Leadership Southeast Texas (YLSET) to develop high school student leaders in these counties. YLSET participants attend a one-day conference and collaborate with LSET members to develop and implement local community service projects.