The ceremony took place at the Flint RiverQuarium Thursday night, March 16, following an eight-month leadership development experience that covered seven visits to south Georgia communities to better understand the economic and growth needs of the region.
With 32 participants representing 21 counties across south Georgia, Locate South GeorgiaLEADS (LSGL) graduates were asked to personally commit to playing an active role in the future success and growth of south Georgia in the months and years to come. Touting a “historic regional alliance,” Locate South GeorgiaLEADS’ greatest impact may be in the strength of relationships and networks established to address issues such as broadband and telecommunications infrastructure, future growth and planning around workforce development and transportation needs, as well as regional marketing and brand awareness.
The graduation ceremony, sponsored by the Georgia Power Company, was hosted by the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and members of Locate South Georgia. Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Clark served as the keynote speaker and was joined by Jonathan Sangster of Georgia Power who delivered the “Leadership Charge,” on behalf of the Georgia Allies. Director of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia Dr. Matt Bishop offered leadership lessons to the graduates on their commission.
LSGL, presented by Electric Cities of Georgia, represents a partnership between the regional economic development initiative Locate South Georgia, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia, to identify and develop regional leaders who can elevate the awareness of regional issues of importance across south Georgia, both within their hometown communities and to elected officials across the region and state.
Graduates of the inaugural program had the opportunity to further develop their individual leadership skills while engaging in discussions of regional importance around economic development, identity and influence of the region, workforce development and community growth challenges that are both unique and relevant to south Georgia.