Troup County leads through GeorgiaLEADS

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Contributed report

LaGRANGE — When the Georgia Chamber and the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development launched the GeorgiaLEADS program earlier this year, it issued Troup County this promise: Tell us what you need to create effective community leaders and we’ll teach you how to get there.

“The LaGrange-Troup County community has done a great job of fully participating in the GeorgiaLEADS program throughout this pilot year,” said Mary Beth Bass, public service assistant for the Fanning Institute. “The engagement here in this community is nothing short of remarkable.”

GeorgiaLEADS is a partnership between participating communities, the Fanning Institute and the state Chamber in an effort to expand and enhance leadership development programming at the local level. Through information gleaned from various focus groups held over the past four months and comprised of different community stakeholders, faculty from the Institute have created a comprehensive leadership assessment addressing what kind of programs are needed in the pilot communities and how they can be implemented.

“We at Fanning have been impressed by this community’s willingness to not back down on the tough issues and to have open, honest and transparent conversations about engaging all aspects of your community to make sure diverse voices and perspectives are heard at the leadership development table,” Bass said. “We certainly enjoy the benefit of meeting many of you in the business community through our various working groups, but also from the additional 130-community leaders and community stakeholders who have shared their perspectives on leadership with us over the past five months.”

Local college students spoke of how they wanted to feel more like they were part of the community. Local educators wanted to figure out how to partner with local businesses to better support the education of all students in Troup County. A women’s focus group targeted how they needed to network with one another and engage other women for professional development and mentoring opportunities.

“Through GeorgiaLEADS, our collective efforts have surfaced several areas of leadership training we can work on. And frankly, we’ve been impressed with the depth of conversation that this community has had around ensuring all stakeholders are represented at the leadership table,” Bass said. “The community’s focus on minority engagement has been very intentional. There is no doubt that exciting work and innovative programming will be delivered as we design a unique approach and leadership response to the excitement, commitment and passion we continue to hear and experience here in Troup County.”

The LaGrange-Troup Chamber’s Leadership Troup program also will undergo some changes through GeorgiaLEADS, becoming a more fine-tuned, relevant instrument of leadership development and expansion through work by the Institute.

“Leadership Troup will be different this year due to the work that we’ve engaged in here through Georgia LEADS,” Bass said, “and I’m proud to say that Troup County is the first of our LEADS communities to leverage all four of the Fanning Institutes practice groups, utilizing the full expertise of our faculty and enhancing our own knowledge and work around community leadership development in this state.”

Youth Leadership, the high school-student arm of the LaGrange-Troup Chamber’s leadership programs, has also seen changes due to integration with the Fanning Institute. Recently, 16 local stakeholders were certified as trained facilitators for the program.

Students will be taught leadership techniques and practices through various modules, ranging from communicating effectively and managing conflict to setting goals and making decisions. The program has 63 participants comprised of 17 sophomores, 29 juniors and 17 seniors from local high schools.

From a press release submitted by LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.