History & Purpose

The idea for a statewide leadership development program in Georgia was first proposed back in 1971 during an informal conversation between several key business leaders at a Georgia Chamber of Commerce meeting. This visionary group included Pat Pattillo, then-president of the Georgia Chamber, business leader Jim Lientz Sr., Rogers Wade of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, and community visionary J.W. Fanning, who would eventually serve as the program’s longtime advisor and guiding hand.

The first class of Leadership Georgia started in 1972 and included aspiring leaders from across the state. One of the more famous members of that charter class was future U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, who at the time was a young lawyer from Perry, Ga. The story goes that Nunn was inspired to run for the Senate shortly after attending his first Leadership Georgia program.

During LGA’s first few years, program participation was limited solely to individuals who were chosen based upon their leadership potential. But after much prodding by Fanning’s wife, Cora Lee Fanning, the program was expanded to include spouses. Cora Lee insisted that married participants in Leadership Georgia often perform community service as a team and therefore should be allowed to go through the leadership program together.

Today, her influence lives on. Leadership Georgia is one of the few statewide programs of its kind to include – and even stress – spousal participation (although unmarried participants are just as much a part of the program, too). Another key focus of Leadership Georgia is diversity among its members.

Each year, the selection process strives for a balance of participants from every corner of the state as well as those from all walks of life – including different occupations, gender, culture and race. The central belief and philosophy behind this diversity goal is that each Leadership Georgia class can learn so much more from each other’s different perspectives as well as how to work together as one united force for Georgia’s best future.

From its fledgling beginning, Leadership Georgia has grown into one of the most successful state leadership programs in the country. With the exception of one paid staff position, the organization today is run entirely by an all-volunteer board of trustees and advisor.  The organization also retains its strong affiliation with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, with which it shares office space in downtown Atlanta.

More than 3,000 Leadership Georgia participants have crisscrossed the state over the past three-plus decades, and the alumni organization – which continues to reunite each year on the Georgia coast – is a strong and interactive network, fulfilling the original vision and mission of J.W. Fanning and his team of co-founders.


Leadership Georgia stands apart as one of the nation’s oldest and most successful leadership-training programs for young business, civic and community leaders with the desire and potential to work together for a better Georgia. Its primary purpose is to identify, train, and inspire a network of emerging young leaders, whose ages typically range from 25 to 45 years old. WHO WE ARE … Affiliated with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the organization has fielded numerous highly influential state and national leaders.  Among the ranks of Leadership Georgia alumni there are leaders in business, not-for-profit organizations, and elected officials including U.S. Senators, U.S. Congressmen, State Legislators, and a Georgia Secretary of State.


Approximately 60 participants, selected each year from a pool of several hundred applicants, visit five Georgia communities in an effort to learn more about important issues affecting the state. Diversity in gender, religion, race, occupation, and geographical location is a key factor in the selection of class members. Spousal participation is another key component separating Leadership Georgia from similar state programs across the country.



The organization is led entirely by an all-volunteer board of trustees, which is selected from previous Leadership Georgia classes to serve a three-year term. A volunteer advisor provides perspective and continuity, while a full-time paid manager of operations is responsible for daily office operations.  

Leadership Georgia is a non-partisan organization and is not affiliated with any particular political party or ideology. Leadership Georgia seeks to find and develop a geographically, occupationally and ethnically diverse leadership across Georgia – without regard to political, social, religious or ethnic backgrounds.



James Allen (Trey)
David Bates
Leonte Benton
Tracee Benzo
Irene Borum
Curtis Briscoe
Alton Brown
Thomas Callaway (TJ)
Kay Childers (Katie)
Derek Chitwood
Richard Clark (Rick)
Hannah Dees
Katie Dubnik
Sloane Evans
Jaclyn Ford
Stephen Goodman
Ashley Goss
Robert Graves
Josina Greene
Wesley Griffith
Bradford Hardy
Hoganne Harrison-Walton
Sarah Haynes (Christie)
Derek Heard
Shakila Henderson-Baker
Erika HIll
Archibald Hodges (Arch)
Monique Honaman
Vincent Horton (Brian)
Lowry Hunt
Evette Jones
Trey Kelley
Jacqueline Killings (Jackie)
Jane Kinsey
Kimberly Knight
Jamie Konn
Laura Lanier
Caroline Lewallen
Brenda Lopez Romero
Griff Lynch
Ronald Mabra (Ronnie)
James Masters (Mitch)
Ben McElrath
Alfred McGuire
Amol Naik
Ferrell O’Quinn (Shaun)
Kathryn Petrie (Katie)
Edward Pope
Ingrid Redmon
Steven Riddick
Melinda Robinson-Moffett
Justin Strickland
Ashley Taylor
Desmond Timmons
Ciji Townsend
Cindy Williams
Kyle Wingfield
Christopher Woodruff
William Worthy (Thomas)
Chandra Yadav
Srikanth Yamala
Karl Zimmer
Wesley Zwirn
Susan Allen
Rodrick Baker
Elizabeth Bates
Shaistha Begum
Shelley Benton
Akhenaton Benzo
Natalie Brown
Catherine Callaway
James Childers
Kari Chitwood
Amy Clark
Kailey Dees
Aliandro Drake (Ali)
Matthew Dubnik
Jacob Ford
Susannah Goodman
Clint Goss
Kyra Graves
Derrick Greene
Betsy Griffith
Danetta Hardy
Teresa Heard
Talbert HIll
Corinne Hodges
Justin Honaman
Mary Horton
Katherine Hunt
Anthony Jones
Amy Kelley
Joseph Kinsey
Kelvin Knight
Shannon Konn
Joseph Lanier (Joe)
Kyle Lewallen
Denise Lynch
Dawn Mabra
Margaret Masters
Sarah McElrath
Kimberly McGuire
Wesley Millsap
Keith Moffett
Michael Moore
Holly O’Quinn
Michael Owens
Curtis Petrie
Susan Pope
Charles Redmon
Tonya Riddick
Rebecca Strickland
Jeffrey Taylor (Jeff)
Quacy Timmons
Travis Townsend
Erik Walton
Tricia Whitlock
Emily Wingfield
Julia Worthy
Sugandha Yadav
Joan Zimmer
Jennifer Zwirn

Matthew Almand
Eric Atkinson
Kevin Aycock
Julia Ayers
Cameron Bean
Lester Bell
William Bentley
Whitney Berelc
Zell Blackmon
Michael Blakely
Eshonda Blue
Kimberly Bourroughs
April Bragg
Jason Branch
Terry Bryant
Casey Burkhalter
Joshua Burnette
Scott Chastain
Pedro Cherry
Bobby Christine
John Cogburn
Krystal Conner
Kayla Cooper
Jay Crosby
Albert Dallas
Mary Demmler
Hillary Edgar
Ashley Edmonds
Sonja Fillingame
James Floyd
Christina Folsom
Santina Fryer
Kevin Gooch
Britt Grant
Jamison Griffin
William Gudenrath
Rebecca Hood
Robert Howard
Dominique Johnson
Erik Johnson
SaDohl Jones
Jon-Peter Kelly
Fatimot Ladipo
Dax Lopez
LaRae Moore
Nicole Motsek
Aaron Mumford
Jennifer Oetgen
Michael Park
Faith Pinnell
Matthew Reed
Yolanda Rivers
Alonzo Sexton
David Sneed
Jeffrey Spence
Suzanne Tatum
Steadman Taylor
Charles Thompson
John Tuten
Kristina Vaughn
Staci Vinton
Gina Webb
Laura Whitaker
Jamison Almand
Lindsay Atkinson
Andrew Ayers
Andrea Bell
Ember Bentley
Justin Berelc
Jennifer Blakely
Terry Bragg
Catherine Branch
Robert Bryant
Cassie Burkhalter
Marjorie Burnette
Katie Chastain
Tomeka Cherry
Sheri Christine
Hannah Chung
Rachel Cogburn
Kevin Conner
Selina Copeland
Vonda Crosby
Lauren Dallas
Barry Debrow
Derek Demmler
Christopher Edgar
Ryan Edmonds
Edward Fillingame
Jennifer Floyd
David Folsom
Franca Frossini
Justin Grant
Brennan Griffin
Stafford Gudenrath
Kim Hoffman
Scott Hood
Elizabeth Howard
Chsandra Johnson
Kate Johnson
Antoine Jones
Zulma Lopez
Mammie Madden
Christopher Motsek
Karen Mumford
Robert Oetgen
Yoojeoung Park
Lee Pinnell
Kelsey Reed
Margot Schley
Shenara Sexton
Erin Slover
Letta Sneed
Whitney Sumrall
Bryant Tatum
Hillary Taylor
Liles Thompson
Darci Tuten
Benjamin Vaughn
Mack Vinton
Daniel Webb
Joseph Whitaker

Annie Baxter
Annalisa Bloodworth
John Borrow
Joshua Bryant
Taifa Butler
Kevin Carmichael
Richard Carvajal
Carlos Celaya
Justin Clay
Matt Coley
Kyle Cook
Hasco Craver
Jason Cuevas
Dion Davis
Christopher Dempsey
Austin Dickson
Davis Dunaway
Elizabeth Edwards
Rachel Edwards
Omar Esposito
Ralph Evans
Tim Evans
Jason Faircloth
James Farmer
Mark Foster
Jason Goodroe
Stephanie Gordon
Ashley Groome
Milton Hall
Chandra Harris
David Haygood
Amy Howell
Eric Johnson
Hamilton Johnson
Zachary Johnson
Demetrius Jordan
George Joyner
Jesse Killings
Kelly Lee
Thomas Lee
McGregor Lott
Robert Lucas
Aimee Madden
Ragen Marsh
Lauren McDow
Robert Miles
Amanda Miliner
Levy Moore
Jonathan Murrow
Kelli Ogunsanya
Jonathan Pitts
Nora Polk
Ralph (Trey) Rhodes
Willette Shalishali
Mitchell Sheppard
Amna Shirazi
Jeffrey Sinyard
Monica Smith
Lesley Taylor
William Temple
Anna Thomaston
Stephen Vault
Derek Waugh
David Werner
Brandon Bloodworth
Holly Borrow
LaSandra Boykin
Bonnie Bryant
Jeanna Bryant
Andre Butler
Emily Campbell
Amy Carmichael
Cheryl Carvajal
Laura Celaya
Betsy Clay
Whitney Coley
Rebecca Craver
Sarah Cuevas
Whitney Deal
America ‘Amy’ Dempsey
Laura Dunaway
John Edwards
Emily Evans
Lindsey Faircloth
Megan Foster
Amy Gerber
Kristie Goodroe
Brian Groome
Heiko Gruenwald
Michael Harrison
Laura Haygood
Patrick Howell
Anna Johnson
Jenna Johnson
Tisha Johnson
Vanessa Johnson
David Jongebreur
Maryam Jordan
Erika Joyner
Ashley Lee
Morgan Lee
Mary Lott
Julie Lucas
Ericka Macias-Esposito
Britt Madden
Randolph McDow
Laura Miles
Kellen Miliner
Misty Moore
Laurel Murrow
David Ogunsanya
Keisha Pitts
Philip Polk
Summer Rhodes
Alex Shalishali
Brannen Sheppard
Abbey Sinyard
Andre Smith
Paul Taylor
Camille Temple
Jody Thomaston
Mary Waugh

James Alfriend
Elizabeth Arthur
Lynn Ashcraft
James Bailey
James Boykin
Tamara Brock
Bianca Brown
Jacqueline Brown
James Brown
Rodney Bullard
Antonie Caldwell
Keisha Callins
Andrew Camp
Charles Cannon
Erin Chance
Tricia Chastain
Sharif Chochol
Anna Clifton
Thomas Cook
April Crow
John Daviston
Drew Echols
Ashley Epting
Jason Esteves
Walt Farrell
Robert Ferris
Ali Freeman
Robert Guy
Stacy Hall
Michael Hazelton
J. Clark Hill
Jamie Hill
Ryan Inlow
LaDawn Jones
George LaHood
Kristy Lindstrom
Teresa MacCartney
Daylon Martin
Justin Martin
Kellie McIntyre
David Mincey
Eric NeSmith
Andrea Oates
Kevin Perry
Shannon Pierce
Frank Powers
Tremaine Reese
Brandon Riddick-Seals
Brian Robinson
Joshua Rogers
Matthew Rogers
Bryan Sappe
Jenny Savelle
Brian Smith
Jodie Snow
Ralph Staffins
Rukiya Thomas
Blake Tillery
Lee Turner
Julie Wade
Michael Ward
Daren Wayne
Blaine Williams
Blayne Alexander
Sarah Alfriend
Hugh Arthur
Celia Boykin
Joshua Brock
Jyl Brown
Ramon Brown
Ruth Brown
Silvette Bullard
Paula Caldwell
Joel Callins
Molly Camp
Beth Cannon
Stephen Chance
Casey Chochol
Chad Clifton
Karina Cook
Brian Crow
Meredith Daviston
Shelly Echols
Ariel Esteves
Emily Farrell
Amberly Ferris
Tripp Forth
Lana Foster
John Freeman
Jillian Guy
Ivy Hall
Benjamin Harris
Michelle Hazelton
Doreen Hill
Kimberly Inlow
Nathaniel Jones
Crystal LaHood
Andrew MacCartney
Arleatha Martin
Devan Martin
William McClain
Edward Mcintyre
Scott Meier
Tracie Mincey
Connell NeSmith
Benn Parker
Heather Powers
Corinna M. Robinson
Meaghan Rogers
Carla Sappe
Jud Savelle
Alicia Smith
Alison Smith
James Snow
Rachel Staffins
Darrell Thomas
Carla Turner
Drew Wade
Hannah Ward
Merri Wayne
Joanie Williams
Katonga Wright

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