August 21, 2019

Locate South Georgia to Offer Regional Leadership Program

VALDOSTA — The fourth class of South GeorgiaLEADS, presented by Electric Cities of Georgia, will kick off Thursday, Aug. 22, at Southern Woods in Sylvester-Worth County. The class includes 41 participants representing 19 counties throughout the region.  

South GeorgiaLEADS is an eight-month leadership experience that is designed to facilitate awareness of issues that are essential to the future success of the region. Through monthly site visits across the region and classes that include expert insight, participants become informed, aware, and educated leaders who are equipped with the skills and training needed to effectively lead South Georgia in the 21st century economy.

“Continuing to develop leadership skills and regional awareness throughout South Georgia will be key to our area continuing to grow jobs and strengthening relationships,” said Matt Reed, chairman of South GeorgiaLEADS and president of Georgia CEO. “Our class is a talented group of diverse individuals from all over our footprint.”

South GeorgiaLEADS was developed in 2015 as a partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia, and the region’s economic development professionals and affiliates that make up Locate South Georgia, a multi-county collaborative determined to create an environment in which business and industry can succeed and prosper.

Valdosta State University recently partnered with South GeorgiaLEADS to provide administrative, promotional, and creative services support to ensure the program’s sustainability. This work aligns well with VSU’s regional mission to provide South Georgia with the resources and support necessary to develop and sustain a higher quality of living, greater economic and community development, and inspired innovation. 

“As a catalyst for regional comprehensive progress, VSU has an obligation to contribute to the development and well-being of the 41 South Georgia counties that we serve,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “There is an inescapable linkage between the growth and success of South Georgia and the health of this university, and we are excited to collaborate with Locate South Georgia and help guide the development of a regional economic plan. Our faculty, staff, and alumni have the talent to be powerful engines of innovation impacting regional economic revitalization.”

Focused on creating a more competitive region, South GeorgiaLEADS participants will master the following concepts:

• Regional Identify and Influence, which includes creating a regional brand and identity for South Georgia that is recognized internally as well as externally, enhancing both perception and influence of the region across the state.

• Workforce Development, which includes the strategic alignment of public and private sectors — business, industry, and educational partners — to address key workforce development needs and challenges and to increase the economic viability of South Georgia.

• Collective Visioning and Planning, which includes developing leaders who understand the changing South Georgia economy and culture and recognize why it is essential to both think and act within a global context, working collaboratively to ensure the region’s success.

“South GeorgiaLEADS’ commitment to bringing together leaders from throughout South Georgia to address common concerns and opportunities represents a positive shift in how they think about leadership development,” said Matt Bishop, director of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. “We are excited to be South GeorgiaLEADS’ partner in designing and implementing this unique regional leadership program.”

“We all have a responsibility to serve our South Georgia communities, and leadership is important to anything a community does, whether it’s economic development, community development, education, or health care,” said Darrell Moore, executive director of VSU’s Center for South Georgia Regional Impact. “You have to have good people in leadership positions, and we have to do everything possible to develop that next generation of leaders.” 

Sponsors of South GeorgiaLEADS include Georgia Power Company, Georgia CEO, AT&T, Colony Bank, CTSI, Andrew College, Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority, Mitchell County Development Authority, Phoebe Worth, and Leadership Worth, Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce.

The members of the 2019-2020 South GeorgiaLEADS class are:

Lowndes County- Angela Ward, Anne Shenton, Corey Hull, Hilary Gibbs, Joe Sumner, Patrick Pearson, Stan Crance, Thressea Boyd

Randolph County- James McCoy, Kathryn Brown, Malanie Burnett, Rebecca White

Dougherty County- A.L. Flemming, Brianna Wilson, Bo Bird, Reedi Hawkins

Sumter County- Allison Stewart, Raven Payne, Torrance Choates, Will Peterson

Tift County- Chris Chammoun, M. Jay Hall, Wendy Harrison

Worth County- Karen Singletary, Lisa Dylinksi

Colquitt County- Josh Lovett, Preston Mobley

Decatur County- Amanda Glover, Lauren Minor

Grady County- Courtney King, Julian Brown

Lee County- Patsy Shirley, Taylor Brown

Mitchell County- Kasey Blackburn, Lindy Savelle

Ben Hill County- Hope Harmon

Brooks County- Tiffany Holmes

Coffee County- David Hughes

Crisp County- William Edwards

Irwin County- Cathy Stott

Thomas County- Lacey Ansley

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