The recipients — Charles Avent Jr., Jamie Averwater, John Cipriano and Lisa Nix — were presented their Jones College Leadership Awards by Dean Joyce Heames, Aubrey Harwell Jr., holder of the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise, and Yolanda Greene, Rutherford County community bank president for event sponsor First Horizon, during a special ceremony Oct. 19 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro.
“The 2023 Jones College Leadership Award recipients represent the best in business from young individuals who are already accomplished professionals and community leaders, to established business leaders who have distinguished themselves in their careers,” said Heames. “These award recipients are role models whose business, professional and personal achievements stand out for all to see and emulate.”
• Charles Avent Jr. was presented the Young Professional of the Year Award. Avent Jr. is described as “a strategic visionary, an experienced health care management professional, and a real estate executive with significant career accomplishments.” He is a senior project manager for HCA Healthcare/Parallon’s Corporate Affairs and Digital Marketing Division and held leadership roles with HCA Healthcare for over 11 years. He earned his MBA focused on health care management and a Bachelor of Business Administration from MTSU.
• Jami Averwater was presented the Jones College Exemplar Award. Averwater is a graduate of MTSU (bachelor’s in economics) and Belmont University College of Law. She is the co-founder and owner of Hywater Title, which has been noted as one of the fastest-growing title companies in Middle Tennessee. In addition to Hywater, she maintains an active law practice, where she specializes in business law. Averwater also serves on the Murfreesboro Planning Commission and in 2022 was elected to the Murfreesboro City Council. She is the youngest female ever elected to serve in this role.
• John Cipriano was presented the Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award. Cipriano is a senior director with Alvarez and Marsal North American Commercial Restructuring in Dallas, Texas. He specializes in management within financial institutions. With three decades of experience, Cipriano’s main areas include developing target operating models, risk mitigation, development of policies and procedures, commercial and industrial lending, residential credit analysis, portfolio management, enhancing sales, and profit and loss responsibilities for banks and non-banks. He earned his bachelor’s in finance at MTSU.
• Lisa Nix was presented the Joe M. Rodgers Spirit of America Award. Nix is a certified public accountant and shareholder at LBMC, a Top 35 accounting and business consulting firm. Nix joined LBMC as a shareholder in 2014 to launch and lead the firm’s transaction advisory services. She brings over 30 years of experience in public accounting and health care to her role. Nix has more than 18 years of experience leading merger and acquisition transaction services teams for both strategic and financial buyers. Nix earned her bachelor’s in accounting from MTSU.
First Horizon sponsored the ceremony while the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise sponsored the Leadership Summit.
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