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Emerging Leaders of Carroll County

For 30 years, Leadership Carroll has cultivated leaders through community engagement, exploration, and professional development.  Many of the over 700 Leadership Carroll graduates have become leaders in the community.  Sponsored by Addison Smith Mechanical Contractor, America Commerce Bank, Carroll County Schools, and MedSpa Downtown, the program has produced and nurtured leaders in the west Georgia region since 1992.  

Leadership Carroll, a flagship program of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, is designed to provide local business leaders with a unique opportunity to experience the many facets of Carroll County, preparing them for the challenges of tomorrow.  

The program educates and prepares existing, and emerging leaders to make a positive impact as they work to shape our community’s future.  Participants experience an eight-month program with day-long sessions on leadership styles, community assets and economic development, the arts and tourism, healthcare, public safety, education and talent development, agribusiness, effective team building, and more.  Leadership Carroll challenges participants to become involved in Carroll County and pursue leadership roles.

Fred O’Neal, a financial advisor with Edward Jones and former Board Chair for the Chamber, welcomed the participants during the opening session.  Mr. O’Neal was instrumental in planning and implementing the first leadership program and spoke to the group about the importance of vision, innovation, ethics, and character. 

O’Neal stressed the importance of understanding learning one’s purpose and being authentic, telling the group:; “Leadership is the cornerstone that sets the framework for progress, possibilities, and provision for our modern-day society,” said Mr. O’Neal.

The 2022 Leadership Carroll class is one of the most dynamic in the organization’s history.  Each of the 35 participants was nominated and completed a competitive application process to be considered for the class.  The cohort members come from various backgrounds and communities, with leaders working in innovation and business, local government, education, small business, and more. 

“Carroll County and the West Georgia region is are fortunate to have such a generous and selfless business community,” said Bill Stone, President/CFO at Systems & Methods and past Chair for the Chamber.  Stone continued, “Organizations go out of their way to cultivate strong relationships and cheer on the success of businesses, non-profits, schools, and government.  A key ingredient to cultivating this type of community culture is strong leadership in businesses.  For 30 years now, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce has been playing a vital role in growing local leaders through Leadership Carroll.  Our family business, SMI, encourages all our local managers to take part in Leadership Carroll, where they learn so much about our community, build relationships with other leaders in the area, and experience leadership qualities to grow their professional career.”  

Karen Handel, President/CEO of the Carroll County Chamber and Carroll Tomorrow, keenly understands the importance of strong community leadership. said that “strong leadership is crucial.  In recent focus groups, community stakeholders noted that our community’s strong leadership and connectedness are among the key characteristics that have made Carroll County such a thriving, exceptional place to call home.” 

To participate in Leadership Carrol, individuals may nominate themselves, or they can be nominated by their companies or organizations or by other individuals.  Once nominated, they receive an application form that asks general questions about their personal, educational and professional background.  They are also asked essay questions, such as why they are interested in the program and how their interest will benefit the community, what community issues are important to them, and what they are passionate about regarding their community or professional involvement.  Two letters of recommendation also are required, and applicants must commit to full participation in the program.  Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort will be available in early spring.

Leadership Carroll 30th Anniversary Cohort

Ashley Allen Systems & Methods, Inc.
Hayley BeaverCity of Carrollton
Lynda BinghamCarroll County Board of Commissioners
Jacqulene BridgesCity of Carrollton
Kevin BushCity of Carrollton
Adam CarterSouthern States Bank
JJ ColeCity of Carrollton – Police Department
Rudy CrowderADP
Ryan DahlbergWest Georgia Technical College
Tyler DuffeyCentury 21 Novus
Nichole FanninTanner Foundation
Paul Fitz-SimmonsCarrollton City Schools
Monica HarmonRaLin
Emily HeathMedspa Downtown
Zachary HendersonSystems & Methods, Inc.
Lisa HerndonAssociated Credit Union
Holly IllidgeTruffles Vein Specialist
Kari JarrettK&B Bookkeeping
Donna KribbsCentury 21 Novus
John LayngCarrollton Parks and Recreation
Mary LewisFOGO Solutions
Jackie NortonAmerican Commerce Bank
Joe PatrickPatrick Valuation Advisors
Sarah PowellUniversity of West Georgia
Bree PuckettTanner Health System
Ryan SammonCarroll EMC
Rick SaulsVilla Rica High School
Eva SchultzCity of Carrollton
Camry SmouseFOGO Solutions
Connie SprewellCentury 21 Novus
Wesley StoneSystems & Methods, Inc.
Molly StricklandCommercial Services of West Georgia
Kelly WalkerAddison Smith Mechanical Contractor
Jennifer WallaceAddison Smith Mechanical Contractor
Lisa WoodSystems & Methods, Inc.

For more information on the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, please visit their website at www.carroll-ga.org.