2015 Chapter Officer Bios

Murray Harber

Past President

Background in Training
Murray Harber is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Business Group on Health. He began his career in human performance by training individuals and teams in heath, fitness, and performance. He moved from coaching to employee health management. For over 20 years, Murray has presented and coached many elite athletes, business professionals and teams to award winning success. 

ATD Involvement 

Murray was the 2014 President of the Mississippi Chapter of ATD. He served as president-elect in 2013, and as Vice President of Professional Development for the chapter in 2011 and 2012.. He enjoys learning new skills and activities at each ASTD event and loves to share the benefits of membership with other professionals.


Jan Sims


Background in Training

Jan is the Director of Workforce Development at the Mississippi State Personnel Board. Jan has worked for the State of Mississippi since 1994, at University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Public Employees Retirement System, the Mississippi Development Authority, and the Mississippi State Personnel Board. 

Jan is driven to help people develop professionally. She measures her effectiveness by the results those people produce, both in their workplace and in their careers. She earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) in 2010.

ATD Activities
Jan joined ATD in 2007, and has served as VP for Membership, President-Elect, President, Past President, and VP for Communications in prior years. She says she is excited about this role and plans to highlight the expertise of chapter members at every opportunity.





Melissa Harper                                                                         

601-977-8300, x 335                                                                                         

Background in Training
Melissa got her start in training as a Customer Service Supervisor where she was responsible for training new Customer Service Representatives (CSRs). Even though Melissa had always enjoyed helping them understand their job and fit into a new environment, it was while training CSRs that Melissa discovered that her heart was in training.

Melissa most enjoys being a positive influence in the lives of those she trains and knowing that they are better at what they do because of what she has taught. She says that the icing on the cake is to know that they had fun learning because of the way she presented the topic.

ASTD Activities
Melissa has been a member of the Mississippi Chapter for six years and a member of national ASTD for six years.  She has served as VP for Membership, President-Elect and currently as Past-President.

She sees the benefits of ASTD membership as networking with peers who understand the challenges that she faces and the information that she receives in each monthly meeting to help her in her job. Even if the presentation is on a topic that Melissa doesn't normally deal with, she says she learns something from each presentation. In addition, she says that membership opens up access to resources that she wouldn't have available otherwise.


















Ashley Patton

601-981-5332 ext. 1320

Background in Training
Ashley Patton is a Corporate Training Specialist at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. She
has a marketing degree from Mississippi State and has already been active on the Communication Committee in putting out publicity about our meetings. In fact, as a direct result of Ashley's publicity, we've seen an increased number of visitors with several joining as new members.

ATD Involvement
Ashley has been a member of the Mississippi Chapter and national ATD for four years.
Ashley believes the greatest value of membership in ATD is networking with other professionals. Ashley's goal for her part in ATD this year is to bring innovative ideas and enthusiasm to our members of ATD.






Tom Isonhood


Background in Training

Tom is Manager of the Systems and Performance Improvement Department at Ergon, Inc., an energy service company providing refined oil, gas, asphalt, emulsions and specialty lubricants for the petroleum industry.  Originally a Health Physicist II at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Tom was attracted to training when he saw that people could make a living by mixing learning and business.  At that point, he moved into employee training as a Nuclear Instructor.  Tom has served in various positions within the energy sector and says that the part of his job that he enjoys the most is the interaction with people and helping them to be more productive in their jobs. 

Tom has completed his Masters degree in Workforce Training and Development from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP).  Tom was also part of the CPLP Pilot Pioneer group for that certification through the American Society for Training and Development. 

ASTD Involvement

Tom’s been a member of the national organization since 2000 and has been a member of our Chapter for the past six years.  He has served in various positions within the Chapter as Treasurer, President-Elect, and President and is currently serving again as Treasurer. 


Loria McLellan

VP for Membership
601-981-5332 ext. 1318

Background in Training
Loria, a corporate training consultant at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, came to the training field with a degree in marketing from Mississippi State University.

ATD Involvement
Loria is a six-year member of ATD.  She served as Co-Vice President of Communications in 2009
, President-Elect in 2010, President in 2011, Past-President in 2012, and VP for Membership in 2013.  She enjoys all aspects of developing her students' professional abilities, but seeing them advance in their chosen career path is what really drives her to succeed.

Loria is quick to point out what motivates her about corporate training.  "The greatest thing that can happen to me as a trainer is to see someone obtain a promotion or accept a better job as a result of our company's training programs."

Loria hopes to bring a fresh training perspective to ATD, and to work closely with her fellow board members on strengthening corporate training programs in Mississippi.





Rachel Deer

VP for Communications

Background in Training
Rachel served as a workforce development coordinator and trainer for a non-profit substance abuse prevention organization where she developed and facilitated training for behavioral health professionals in the substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention field. She joined Holmes Community College in Ridgeland in August 2014 as a Workforce Development Coordinator. She continues to develop and facilitate training and presentations by request for organizations and businesses.

ATD Involvement
Rachel is a recent member of ATD. She enjoys meeting new people and helping people become more successful in their personal and professional lives.








Kathy Pipitone



Background in Training

Kathy, who works at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is the Director for Faculty Services in the Office of Faculty Affairs in the School of Medicine.

Kathy began her work in training in 1995 when she coordinated management training at UMMC in the Department of Human Resources.  Since that time, she has held several positions at UMMC incorporating training.  In 2008 Kathy completed her masters degree in Workforce Training and Development from USM.

Kathy says she enjoys training because it allows her to assist others in acquiring the knowledge needed to become the best they can be. She most enjoys helping others see how their efforts makes the organization better because the organization is a sum of all the people who work in it.

ATD Involvement
Kathy has been a member of ATD for seven years. She was President-Elect in 2011, President in 2012, Past President in 2013 and is now VP of Communictions. She values the networking and learning from others as well as the vitality, excitement, and a positive environment that she finds when around other trainers in ASTD activities.

As President, Kathy developed a written Succession Plan for the officers and strengthened the relationship between Jackson and the GIGS.








Mississippi Chapter of the Association for Talent Development    PO Box 13115    Jackson, MS 39236-3115 ● 601.376.9505 ● mississippiatd@gmail.com

All Rights Reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software