AMERICUS (Dec. 7, 2011)--Leadership, defined as the “capacity to lead,” can be developed. Toward that end, the University System of Georgia holds a leadership conference each year – the L3 Summit: Leaving a Legacy of Leadership. 

First GSW student graduates from USG leadership program

AMERICUS (Dec. 7, 2011)--Leadership, defined as the “capacity to lead,” can be developed. Toward that end, the University System of Georgia holds a leadership conference each year – the L3 Summit: Leaving a Legacy of Leadership.

Sam Miller, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs received a call from L3 Summit organizer John Clower late last month informing him that Charles Pennington, soon to graduate from GSW, was the first Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) student to finish the program.

The L3 Summit is a statewide, five-day conference that is held each summer. It focuses on leadership development and goal-setting in an effort to help emerging leaders become vital contributors to their college campuses. The Summit is based on Ken Blanchard's “Situational Leadership” theory.

The vice president for Student Affairs on each campus decides the selection process for participants in this program. At GSW, upperclassmen who show significant leadership potential qualify for inclusion.

“For me, the Summit re-emphasized leadership characteristics that you would already know,” Pennington said. “It presented them in a formal way.”

Each participant must devise a “Leadership Plan” with a list of goals to implement on his or her home campus. Student projects are deemed complete following an evaluation by L3 advisors at the end of the fall semester.

Pennington’s plan was to establish an official student chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) on GSW’s campus. Fellow students Sylvia Elkins and Reese Moseley joined efforts with Pennington to organize the club. Pennington is currently the secretary/treasurer of the GSW FCA chapter.

The group organized “Pink Day” to raise Breast Cancer awareness earlier this fall, and in the spring they will implement a campaign to collect old shoes through Soles4Souls, Inc. Soles4Souls was formally created one year after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

“Soles4Souls takes in old pairs of shoes, and they put new shoelaces in them and clean them up,” said Pennington. “From there, they send the refurbished shoes to underprivileged people around the world. I’m excited about this project.”

Saturday, Dec. 10, Pennington will receive a Bachelor of Business Administration in human resources. To prepare himself for the field, Pennington has been working in the GSW Office of Human Resources.

“Charles is a phenomenal student,” said Janet Siders, director of Human Resources at GSW. “He is dedicated and committed to doing a good job all of the time both as a student and as an employee. He accepts every challenge and he has an exceptional sense of responsibility. I just hope I’m around to see Charles rise up through the ranks in the HR profession. I know he will make us proud.”

A native of Savannah and a former member of the GSW golf team, Pennington has already been accepted into Georgia Southwestern’s Master of Business Administration program and aims to graduate this time next year. Afterward, he has big plans.

“My dream is to be the head of a company,” Pennington said. “I really want to be in management – in a leadership position.”

Pennington is well on his way of achieving his dream.

- GSW -