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Today is May 9, 2021

Mississippi First Lady Elee Reeves: ‘An honor to serve’

By Steven Ward

Mississippi First Lady Elee Reeves: ‘An honor to serve’

On a recent Friday morning in December, Mississippi first lady Elee Reeves is waiting in the Governor’s Mansion for her picture to be taken.

Reeves, 45, admits she’s not a big fan of posing for photos.

Still, she is smiling, kind and accommodating while she poses for a portrait near the giant mirror hanging on the wall behind the desk in her office. Reeves said the mirror is known as the “First Lady Mirror” and has been there for years.

Hanging near the top of the left wall of the office is a portrait of Reeves and her three daughters. The painting was commissioned for a “first lady’s tea” event that was held almost a year ago as part of her husband Tate Reeves’ inauguration as governor.

There’s no doubt that the portrait of Reeves and her daughters signifies much more about Mississippi’s first lady than the mirror over her desk.

Family means everything to Reeves and being a mother and wife hasn’t taken a back seat to her duties as fi rst lady or the full-time job she still holds in the financial industry.

However, because of family, official duties and her job, a day in the life of Elee Reeves is “hectic,” she said.

“As every working mom knows, we juggle responsibilities daily, and being first lady is no different. I try to work half a day at Coker & Palmer where I am an investment advisor. The other half of my day is devoted to serving as first lady by attending luncheons and receptions while also providing a safe environment for our guests, managing life at the governor’s mansion and listening/learning from Mississippians. It is a great honor to serve them and I’m immensely blessed each day,” she told Today in Mississippi. Reeves said people always ask if she’s still working full-time.

“I’m lucky to have a good group of co-workers that are able to manage the stock market and help with my clients when I’m not there. I really do enjoy my job. I also plan to continue my volunteer work and serve on the various boards that I’m a part of,” she said.

“I hope some of this will inspire young women that you can try to do it all — manage a family, work, volunteer — we all want to better our lives and our communities and I hope to shine a light on some of that.”

Her job and duties aside, Reeves is passionate about the Girl Scouts. She and all three of her daughters have been heavily involved in the organization since they were old enough to participate.

“I love working with children and I hope to be a positive role model to all but especially young girls. Growing up, my Girl Scout leader was a huge force in my life who instilled a love for the program,” Reeves said.

Reeves worked with her first troop right after graduating from Millsaps College in Jackson.

“A friend at the bank I was working at told me that Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi was looking for troop leaders and I jumped at the chance. Those young women taught me more than I ever thought of teaching them. They are successful in their respective careers now — dentists, occupational therapists, community developers and teachers,” she said.

I hope some of this will inspire young women that you can try to do it all — manage a family, work, volunteer — we all want to better our lives and our communities and I hope to shine a light on some of that.

“Since then, I have loved having all three daughters in my troops and I also had the honor of serving on the board of directors for GSGMS. Logistically, having different troops is a little crazy, but I have so enjoyed seeing my daughters and their friends grow in leadership, teamwork and most importantly self-confidence,” Reeves said.

Reeves is currently the troop leader of her youngest daughter Maddie’s Girl Scout troop.

Beautification is another issue that’s important to Reeves.

“Back in February, we had the historic flooding of the Pearl River that left trash in its wake. I partnered with Keep Mississippi Beautiful to help organize community clean-ups. The first one was scheduled at Jim Hill High School in downtown Jackson. It was amazing to see students engaged and excited about bettering their neighborhood,” Reeves said.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with other clean-up plans and they had to take a break, Reeves and the group recently started back with area clean-ups and hope to increase volunteer numbers as they continue working throughout the state.

Reeves also loves to read to young students in Mississippi’s schools.

“I love to see the excited faces and exclamations of surprise when you read a book aloud. Since COVID, we’ve been reading to schools virtually. Although that’s always a treat, it’s not the same as being with little ones in the classroom and I long for the days we can get back to being with them in person,” she said.

Reeves’ love of mentoring children, whether in the Girl Scouts or promoting literacy in Mississippi’s schools, stems from her parents.

Reeves grew up in Tylertown and later moved to McComb.

“Both my mom and my dad were (and still are) very active mentors in my life. I was very active in Show Choir and the theatre department. I had the joy of playing Cinderella in the Pike County Little Theatre’s musical my senior year. My parents both went to

Millsaps College and I was grateful to follow in their footsteps,” Reeves said. Millsaps, where Reeves was a member of the Millsaps Singers and the Kappa Delta Sorority, is also the place where she met her future husband during her freshman year.

“I met Tate in the Else School of Business, and we often joke that he taught me how to use a financial calculator in our Money and Banking course. We both received the Mississippi Society of Financial Analyst award a year apart during our senior years and both landed jobs with Deposit Guaranty Bank as financial analysts,” she said.

The couple recently celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary.

“I am blessed to call Elee my wife and to have her with me for all of these adventures for 19 years. She serves the people of Mississippi as first lady with all of her heart — because she cares about all of them. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her by my side,” Gov. Tate Reeves told Today in Mississippi.

After a year in office, Reeves said the people of Mississippi have taught her that residents know how to care for one another during rough times.

“I always knew that Mississippians were special, but I think that has really shown during this past year. This pandemic has left people hopeless, alone and scared. I am amazed at the outpouring of love for those in need. To see others give hope and kindness in such dark times is truly a ray of light. We are family in Mississippi and it certainly shows,” Reeves said.

I always knew that Mississippians were special, but I think that has really shown during this past year. This pandemic has left people hopeless, alone, and scared. I am amazed at the outpouring of love for those in need. To see others give hope and kindness in such dark times is truly a ray of light. We are family in Mississippi and it certainly shows.

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