Meet The Trailblazers
Click on a name to discover more!
Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc, better known as BHL, served as the former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Ole Miss and now serves in this same role but at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. BHL was a first generation college student who has risen through the ranks of higher education. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron in accounting, her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel from Kent State University, and her doctoral degree at Northern Illinois University in Adult and Higher Education. BHL has served in numerous administrative roles at Universities including: Arizona State, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Baldwin-Wallace College, University of Akron, and the University of Mississippi. BHL resides with her husband Dave, and their doberman pinscher in Massachusetts. A fun fact about BHL is her grandfather was a professional clown and she did “clowning” with him growing up.
Dr. Nikki Reinemann, a native of Batesville, Mississippi, currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Affiliate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Mississippi. Reinemann attended the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate career where she earned degrees in both Chemical Engineering and Chemistry prior to attending Vanderbilt University to earn her PhD in Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering. Reinemann is married and has two children, including a newborn! A fun fact about Reinemann is that she now works at her Alma Mater, and has enjoyed getting to see the University both as a student and as an employee!
Mary Haskell, a native of Beaumont, Texas, attended the University of Mississippi where she majored in Music Education and Vocal Performance. While attending Ole Miss, Haskell was crowned Miss University and Miss Mississippi, which was how she met her husband, who was the current Pageant Director at the time. Haskell began her career as a singer at Six Flags over Texas in the Summers she was out of school and moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation. From the time she was a little girl, Haskell has had a love for singing, dancing, and performing. Haskell has starred in numerous movies, released her own albums, and when she is not busy performing or spending time with her children and grandchildren, she supports various philanthropy groups including the Ole Miss Women’s Council. A fun fact about Haskell is that her very first date in college was Sam Haskell, who is now her husband, and until it went out of business, the couple would celebrate their anniversary each year where they went on their first date September 17th, 1976, the Pizza Hut on Jackson Avenue.
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Elizabeth Heiskell is the owner of Elizabeth Heiskell Catering, runs Woodson Ridge Farms, has written several cook books, and stars as a guest chef on the Today Show. Heiskell attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York which she says was a drastic cultural shock for her. She said pimento cheese is foreign in New York and she used to have to pack grits and Crisco in her suitcase when she left home! Heiskell has always had a love for cooking, and began in the catering business at a young age working for a Memphis catering company in high school. After having her first child, she started her own business “Instead of Flowers” out of her kitchen 24 years ago, where she prepared food for monumental moments which eventually turned into catering. A fun fact about Heiskell is she has four dogs, two cats, and three children.
Yolett McPhee-McCuin, better known as Coach Yo, currently serves as the Head Coach of the Lady Rebels women’s basketball team. Born in Freeport, Bahamas, Coach Yo was the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division I letter of intent to play basketball. Coach Yo began her collegiate and athletic career in the United States, playing her first two years at Miami-Dade Community College and continuing on to Rhode Island, where she earned her degree in Business Management and Administration in 2004 and later went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Askansas-Pine Bluff. Upon graduating from Rhode Island, Coach Yo began her collegiate coaching career including stops at Clemson, Pittsburgh, Portland, Frank Phillips College, Arkansas-Bine Bluff, and now Ole Miss. Coach Yo is the first Bahamian women to coach at a Division I program and the first black female head coach in Ole Miss women’s basketball history. A fun fact about Coach Yo is when she’s not busy with her season and two, young kids and has some free time, she binge watches Chicago PD with her husband and loves playing games on her PlayStation.
Robyn Tannehill, a loving wife and mother of three, is currently serving her third year as current Mayor of Oxford. A graduate from the University of Mississippi in 1992, Tannehill earned her degree in Art and Graphic Design. Prior to being elected as Oxford’s Mayor she has served in a variety of roles within the city with some of those including an Oxford Board of Alderman, Assistant Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, and Director of Tourism for the city. She came to Oxford for college where she met her college sweetheart and the two never left! They don’t call it the Velvet Ditch for no reason! A fun fact about Tannehill is that she was an integral piece in founding the Double Decker Arts Festival in 1995, which will celebrate its 25th Anniversary this year!