Archway Professional Whitney Brannen
Grady County Archway Professional Whitney Brannen is one of 32 participants from across South Georgia who have committed to investing in the future vitality of the region by participating in the 2020-2021 class of South GeorgiaLEADS. Representing 14 counties of the 21-county region, the desire to engage in the issues facing South Georgia is a consistent passion of this year’s class, according to South GeorgiaLEADS officials.
South GeorgiaLEADS Chair Barbara Grogan said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome the 2020-2021 class of South GeorgiaLEADS! Representing an array of communities, professions and cultures across Southwest Georgia, we are excited about the great conversations and skill sharing the class will experience—and take back to their hometowns. Reflective of the diversity of our region, we have professionals from an array of sectors, including non-profits, K-12 and post-secondary education, local government, financial institutions, utility companies, the fashion industry and more. We will kick-off with a retreat and proceed with a robust plan of activities taking us into the next eight months.”
Supported by strong corporate sponsorships—Georgia Power Company as the sustaining sponsor and Electric Cities of Georgia as the presenting sponsor—South GeorgiaLEADS (SGL) links business and civic leaders, educators, non-profit professionals, elected and public officials, and other interested participants to the region’s economic development agenda and efforts.
Sustaining sponsor and Georgia Power’s Regional Director in Valdosta, Joe Brownlee shares why investing in programs like South GeorgiaLEADS is essential to Georgia Power’s mission—and the region’s success, “At Georgia Power, we have well over 100 years of community and economic development experience. From that experience, we’ve come to realize and firmly believe that the most successful regions have committed, engaged leaders. When communities and regions consider leaders to engage in the economic development planning process, it’s important to include stakeholders that bring a different perspective, innovative ideas and contagious enthusiasm. Community and regional leadership is too important to be left up to chance. South GeorgiaLEADS has been very intentional about bringing together leaders who can help foster change and growth and create strategies for collaboration throughout South Georgia. That is why Georgia Power is committed to this program as the Sustaining Sponsor.”
Daryl Ingram, Senior Vice President and Chief External Officer for Electric Cities of Georgia and the presenting sponsor of South GeorgiaLEADS since it launched in 2016, talks about the importance of grassroots leadership. He shares, “LEADS connects local stakeholders with sound leadership values that result in economic prosperity for so many. These grassroots principles of LEADS align with the Electric Cities of Georgia’s rich history of helping communities and why our continued support of this LEADS program is a perfect fit in our support of Southwest Georgia.”
South GeorgiaLEADS 2020-2021 program kicked off Thursday, August 20, at Southern Woods in Sylvester-Worth County. Emphasizing regional priorities throughout the program, SGL links regional site visits and issue awareness to relevant leadership development content within the framework of the South GeorgiaLEADS priorities.
Sponsors of the 2020-2021 South GeorgiaLEADS program include: AT&T, Colony Bank, CTSI, Electric Cities of Georgia, Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Development Authority, Georgia CEO, Georgia Power Company, One Sumter Economic Development, Inc., Leadership Worth, Lee County Chamber of Commerce, Locate South Georgia, Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority, Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce, Tift County Development Authority, and Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority.