The Destin Chamber of Commerce celebrated the graduation of 18 business professionals from its ninth Destin Forward class May 9. During the event, the prestigious Destin Forward Leadership Award, chosen by class vote, was presented to Jessica Johnsey of Destin Commons.

Destin Forward, the chamber’s hands-on community education and leadership program, was created by the Board of Directors to help find and educate future city and business leaders. After a retreat in August, the class spent the next eight months touring and learning about Destin’s waterways; tourism industry; arts, culture, and non-profits; environment; city programs and services; military bases; and the state legislature. Class requirements also included attendance at several chamber and civic functions.

Also announced during the event were the four graduates chosen by the class to join the Destin Forward Advisory Committee for a three-year term. Those graduates included Brandy Foley, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance of NWFSC; Johnsey, Destin Commons; Stephanie Larabee, Community Bank, Coast; and Brad Simmons, Hancock Bank.

Other graduates included Sheri Bethea, city of Destin; Ashley Bowen, Harrison Sale McCloy; Karly Denes, Harmony Beach Vacations; Kristin Goodman, Carrabba's Italian Grill; Megan Irby, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Carter Liufau, Liufau McCall Insurance Group; Kathryn Lynch, The Henderson; Jesse Newman, Carrabba's Italian Grill; John Prudhomme, Coastal Bank and Trust; Alaina Robbins, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Irina Roberts, First City Bank; Andrew Wise, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Lauren Woods, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties; and Sandy Wyatt, Destin Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the program or how to join the class of 2018, call 850-837-6241 or email mail@DestinChamber.com. Applications are being accepted through July 21.