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Work Force Development

May 22 - Local and Statewide Leaders Present at Leadership Southeast Georgia 2018 Graduation Weekend in Savannah

Category: Work Force & Career Development

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

May 22, 2018 - Leadership Southeast Georgia (LSEGA), a regional leadership program designed to advance the economic and community development in the 10-county southeast Georgia region, hosted well-respected statewide and local leaders during their 2018 graduation weekend held in Savannah, Georgia.

Speakers and presenters included Don Waters, Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia; Kevin Jackson, Georgia Ports Authority Board member and Chairman of the Savannah Economic Development Authority; David Paddison, CEO of Sterling Seacrest Insurance; Steve Green, Savannah Airport Commision board member and former chair of the Georgia Chamber, Georgia Ports Authority and Savannah Economic Development Authority; The Honorable Eddie DeLoach, Mayor, City of Savannah; Becky Keightley, Dr. Paul Balthrop and Lisa Koons from HCA Memorial; Michael Owens, Executive Director of Savannah’s Tourism Leadership Council, and Griffith Lynch and John Petrino with the Georgia Ports Authority.

This session, hosted in Chatham County, was organized and led by LSEGA graduate Jennifer Abshire with support from her 2017 classmate Carol Coppola. The three-day program gave the Class of 2018 an opportunity to revisit core principles they have covered across the five sessions as they graduate and join the vast LSEGA alumni network. Suzanne Kirk, President & Executive Consultant of Employee Development Strategies (, serves as the program’s facilitator, and Cynthia Wright, Junior Partner of Cecilia Russo Marketing (, serves as the administrator.

The group toured the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, The Georgia Ports Authority and HCA Memorial Hospital, rode on buses provided by Chatham Area Transit and enjoyed dinners at the home of Cora Bett Thomas, CEO of Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Charles Bowen, Founder of The Bowen Law Group and the Savannah Film Alliance.

“Leadership Southeast Georgia graduates are already respected leaders in their own communities,” said Lee Beckmann, Leadership Southeast Georgia’s chairman. “This program helps them further enhance their leadership skills, learn more about our unique area and figure out how they can work together to create more collaborative projects that can improve the quality of life in our region.”

Since January 1999, as part of Leadership Southeast Georgia, representatives of business, government, education and non-profit organizations in 10 southeast Georgia counties have taken part in creating a leadership network for regional community and economic development.

The annual five-month program is designed to grow and inspire engaged community leaders to improve the overall quality of life in the area. Major sponsors for this year’s class included Evans General Contractors, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., The Sack Company (SACK), Georgia Southern University and Georgia Power.

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