AMERICUS (March 28, 2013)--Twenty-three individuals from major employers in the Americus and Sumter County area participated in an Advancing Sumter leadership development training session.

GSW employees participate in Advancing Sumter Leadership Development training

Twenty-three individuals from major employers in the Americus and Sumter County area participated in an Advancing Sumter leadership development training conducted through the University of Georgia J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development utilizing their Train-the-Trainer curriculum recently. The three-day training session was conducted at Rees Park Economic Development Center in Americus.

Advancing Sumter is a community-based leadership development program that is focused on equipping citizens with skills to enable them to be future leaders in the community through churches, homes, jobs, civic organizations, appointed board positions and possibly elected capacity.

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development is a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. Fanning includes multi-disciplinary team members who serve communities and organizations through Georgia and the Southeast through the design and implementation of leadership development programs. Louise Hill, Dr. Richard McCline, and Dr. Emmett G. Shaffer from the J.W. Fanning Institute conducted the Advancing Sumter training.

The 23 individuals who participated in the training included: Barbara Grogan, Angela Westra, and Ivy Oliver from the Americus Sumter Payroll Development/Chamber of Commerce office; Angie Singletary and Erica Johnson from the City of Americus; Chelsea Collins from the Sumter County Board of Commissioners office; Darcy Bragg, Tiffany Gregory, and Gabriele Stauf from Georgia Southwestern State University; Mitzi Bacon from the local UGA Cooperative Extension Office; Andrea Oates representing the Plains City Council and South Georgia Technical College; Kedrick Cox from the Sumter County Schools; Eshonda Blue from Innovative Senior Solutions, Jerutha Scott from Magnolia Manor, and Su Ann Bird, Karen Werling, Victoria Herron, Raven Payne, John Wilder, Sandy Larson, Shelly Godwin, David Finley, and Valerie Winheim from South Georgia Technical College.

The Advancing Sumter Community Leadership Development Program was initiated through the local Sumter Archway Partnership with the University of Georgia. It is a new organization that was targeted to a wide array of individuals in this community. The overall goal of the organization is to educate citizens who plan to remain in this community and provide leadership training that can be used in their jobs, civic clubs, churches, and volunteer or elected capacities. Recruitment and selection will be geared toward ensuring a diverse group of citizens participate without restrictions placed on age, gender, or educational attainment.

The 23 individuals that underwent the Train-the-Trainer three-day workshop with the J.W. Fanning Institute will now form the basis for the Advancing Sumter Board and provide oversight and support staff to begin training other individuals in the community.

The Sumter Archway Partnership group purchased the leadership training material for the initial training and that information will now be shared with individuals from this community who are interested in leadership development.

Advancing Sumter is currently enlisting individuals who would like to participate in the next training opportunity. The workshop consisted of training on: Understanding Community Leadership, Effective Communication, Valuing Community Diversity, Group Dynamics, Conducting Successful Meetings, Group Problem Solving and Decision Making, Managing Conflict, and Building Communities through Partnerships and Collaboration.

For more information about Advancing Sumter or to sign up to participate in the next leadership development class, please contact Barbara Grogan, Executive Director of the Payroll Development/Chamber of Commerce at (229) 928-9385 or or Andrea Oates at 229-931-2705 or



Caption--Advancing Sumter Individuals are shown above after completing the J.W. Fanning Institute Train the Trainer leadership development workshop. They are: Angela Westra, Ivy Oliver, Karen Werling, John Wilder, Chelsea Collins, Barbara Grogan, Su Ann Bird, Tiffany Gregory, Erica Johnson, Valerie Winheim, Angie Singletary, Mitzi Bacon, Raven Payne, Darcy Bragg, Gabriele Stauf, Shelly Godwin, Eshonda Blue, Sandy Larson, Victoria Herron, Andrea Oates, David Finley, and J.W. Fanning facilitator Louise Hill.