Speaker announcement: Ora Starks

Ora Starks

“Team building can be used to transcend barriers in the workplace,” said Ora Starks, warden of the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility in Cleveland, Mississippi. Starks, a 23-year veteran of corrections, will discuss the importance of creating a more effective work environment and better communications among management and employees at the breakout session, “Team Building in the Workplace.” Starks will share how team building can bring positive change. Her breakout session will include team-building exercises to improve interpersonal skills including communications, negotiations, leadership and motivation. Starks is the first female warden in Bolivar County’s history and a part-time professor at the University of Memphis Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Starks began her career as a correctional officer with the Mississippi Department of Corrections in 1995 and promoted to sergeant, case manager, and also served as an alcohol and drug coordinator and operations management analyst principal. In 2013, she became the first female and first African American female warden of Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility, a dual facility that consists of a correctional facility and a county jail.

Starks has received numerous awards including the Commissioner’s distinguished service coin; the Delta Legend Recognition Award from the Greenwood-Itta Bena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson’s congratulatory award and twice received the Extra Effort Award from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Starks received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1994 and her Master of Science degree in 1999 in criminal justice from Mississippi Valley State University. She is in the final stage of completing her PhD in human services with a specialization in criminal justice.

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