The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development in August launched Locate South Georgia LEADS, a program to develop a regional leadership pipeline throughout South Georgia.

One of the largest regional leadership programs in Georgia, it is the result of a two-year long partnership between the. Fanning Institute and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Fanning faculty members are facilitating the eight-month leadership experience for business leaders throughout South Georgia. The participants will engage in discussions of regional importance, including economic development, identity and influence, workforce development and community growth that are unique and relevant to south Georgia.

“Our Locate South Georgia group is grateful to have been selected to participate in the LEADS program,” said Darrell Moore, chairman of Locate South Georgia LEADS and president/CEO of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority. “The resources and support they provided helped us develop an unsurpassed, comprehensive leadership program. The impact on the individuals participating in the program and their South Georgia communities will be transformational.”

The inaugural 33-member class began with a retreat in mid-August in Worth County.

Locate South Georgia LEADS is the result of an 18-month strategic planning process that looked at the challenges, priorities and gaps in leadership across the region. The program links regional site visits and issue awareness to relevant leadership development content within the framework of the program’s priorities:

• Regional identity and influence

This includes creating a regional brand and identity for south Georgia that is recognized internally and externally, enhancing both perception and influence of the region across the state.

• Workforce development

This 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

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

“This project will enhance the awareness of South Georgia’s relevance to corporations, job seekers and entrepreneurs,” said Thomas Simpson, an employment consultant with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and class member from Lowndes County.