Archie Manning is featured speaker at COB Fall Celebration

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

COOKEVILLE – Archie Manning will be the featured speaker at the Tennessee Tech College of Business Fall Celebration on Nov. 15 at the Leslie Town Centre. This year the College of Business (COB) will honor Leigh Lafever-Ayer as the Louis Johnson Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and Thomas Lynn as the Outstanding Business Leader of the Year.

The Fall Celebration is an annual event held by the COB to honor the outstanding alumnus of the year and the outstanding business leader of the year. Manning will kick off the 2018/2019 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Manning will be speaking about leadership – leadership in the home, in your community, leadership in your professional life, and on the football field.

Leadership and learning to be a leader is a key focus in the COB.

“Dean Payne has really challenged us as a college – the faculty and the leadership within the college – to think about leadership and teaching leadership in the classroom, obviously, but also providing opportunities for students to hear messages about how to be a leader,” said Cheryl Montgomery, COB director of program development and engagement. “Not every leader has the same style of leadership so he challenged us to bring in a variety of speakers over time so the students could hear that message of leadership in different arenas throughout their time period while they are in college.”

“I think it’s important for them to see people from different arenas with different styles saying this is how I achieved this leadership position, this is what leadership means to me,” added Dr. Susan Wells, instructor of organizational leadership. “One thing that I stress through my leadership lecture is that ‘people are your most important resource.’ We are very fortunate in that we have a dean that believes that so he has pushed us all in the leadership mode to say, ‘how do we bring leadership to our students.’”

Manning was a natural choice to speak on leadership.  Known for his leadership, both on the field and off, Manning is active in a wide variety of charitable and civic causes.  His community activities include Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, The Salvation Army, United Way Speakers Bureau, Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee, and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. He is also Chairman of the Board of the National Football Foundation.

The event was moved from the winery to the Leslie Town Centre to accommodate more attendees.  Fall Celebration is an opportunity for students, alumni and friends of the university to mingle. Tables will be mixed, giving students the chance to network with business professionals. Students will also have an opportunity to meet and network with the speakers in a private session before the reception.

The COB Advisory Board has chosen to honor Thomas Lynn as the outstanding business leader of the year. Lynn has decades-long career in the Cookeville banking industry and is currently with First National Bank of the Cumberlands.

Another Cookevillian, Leigh Lafever-Ayer, is being honored for her work at Enterprise Rental Car as the Louis Johnson Outstanding Alumnus. Lafever-Ayer is the AVP of human resources for Enterprise Holdings in the UK and Ireland. She was recently recognized by Financial Times as one of the Top 50 Champions of Women in Business for the second consecutive year.

The Fall Celebration will be held at the Leslie Town Centre, 1 W. First St. The reception starts at 5 p.m. with the dinner program beginning at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. Tickets are $45 and available at

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