CSU’s Activ8 Summer Camps Voted Best by Muscogee Moms (and Dads)

COLUMBUS, Ga. — For the fourth time in five years, Columbus State University’s Activ8 Summer Camps were voted the best summer camp program in the 2017 Muscogee Moms Choice Awards.

Activ8 is listed as the “1st Choice” among local summer camps in the seventh annual Choice Awards sponsored by Muscogee Moms, a popular local guide for parents looking for family-friendly events and activities in Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning and Opelika. “2nd Choice” went to Brookstone Summer Campus. Camp Viking at St. Anne-Pacelli and Elite Dance Academy also were nominated.

“We are so proud to be voted Columbus’ number one summer camp,” said Susan Wirt, executive director of CSU’s Center for Continuing Education, which runs the Activ8 camps. “Activ8 is our way of encouraging younger community members to be lifelong learners. It’s all hands-on engagement and so much fun that campers don’t even know they are learning. Of course, our plan all along is to bring them to campus, get them excited about CSU, and plant the seed that ‘going to college’ is a great thing to do.”

Activ8 Summer Camps, for children ages 4-18, offer a variety of programs that encourage kids to have fun while learning about technology, mathematics, art, sports, dance, sewing and more. Programs are taught on campus and at CSU’s outreach centers, including the Coca-Cola Space Science Center and Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, and with the Columbus Regional Math Collaborative and the Schwob School of Music. Baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dance, golf, soccer, softball and tennis camps are offered in partnership with CSU Athletics.

Camps begin May 30 and run through August 4, usually from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Before Care (7-9 a.m.) and After Care (4-6 p.m.) are offered on CSU’s main campus to accommodate the schedules of working parents.

For more information, visit continuinged.columbusstate.edu or contact Samantha Gurski at 706-507-8365 or gurski_samantha@columbusstate.edu.

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Columbus State University Presents a Free Afternoon of Storytelling

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Two renowned storytellers stopped by Columbus State University to share in an “Afternoon of Storytelling,” a free event presented by CSU Continuing Education on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center on CSU’s main campus.

Friends and families spent the afternoon with professional storytellers Carol Cain and Doug Davis. Cain, a native of LaGrange, Ga., travels the Southeast to perform her stories at festivals, museums, schools, churches and libraries. In 2011, she was featured on “What’s Your Story,” a workshop broadcast hosted by Donald Davis, an award-winning storyteller and prolific author. Donald Davis’ son, Doug, was the second guest speaker of the afternoon. In addition to storytelling, Doug Davis is a clinical psychologist for a private practice in Raleigh, NC.

“Storytelling is a cherished and traditional form of art practiced around the globe,” said Samantha Gurski, program coordinator for CSU Continuing Education. “This event was an excellent opportunity for families and friends to come together and witness the power of storytelling.”

Admission to an “Afternoon of Storytelling” was free, thanks to generous contributions from Calumet Bank and ServiceMaster Restore.

Cain also is hosting a one-day workshop called “Finding Your Stories” on Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. Workshop participants will learn how to uncover and express their own stories of memorable people and places. Registration is $49. Visit bit.ly/FindingYourStories for more information or to register online.

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President Bush and Family Among Highlights of CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

COLUMBUS, Ga. — President George W. Bush and his wife Laura made return appearances to Columbus State University’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum  and, this time with daughter Barbara leading a Q&A session, entertained the sold-out audience with memories, stories and learned lessons of leadership.

The trio spoke for about an hour to a sold-out audience of about 1,250 people attending the 10th anniversary of the forum, held Aug. 25 and 25. With Barbara asking most of the questions, President and Mrs. Bush kept the audience enthralled with quips and stories from their time in the White House, the importance of faith and family, memories from the Sept. 11 attacks, life after leaving Washington, D.C., their work today with the George W. Bush Institute and Barbara’s Global Health Corps, and lessons they have learned about leadership.

“It was a pleasure to return to the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum for its 10th anniversary,” President Bush said Monday night. “I appreciate my friends Jimmy and Sis Blanchard, Columbus State University, and its Leadership Institute for inviting Laura, Barbara, and me and giving us the chance to talk about leadership and share some stories from our time in the White House.”

The Bush family was one of the highlights of the 10th annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University. The conference continued with a lineup of the best and brightest minds in the world.

The first day pastor, coach and author Tom Mullins, who talked about the need for leaders to think like a coach, not a boss; and Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author who provided stories of leadership from some of America’s leading presidents.

Second day speakers included Shana Young, director of the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, who shared her top 10 leadership lessons; Scott Harrison, founder of Charity Water, who showed how stories and pictures can help power a movement; Daniel Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who said sales persuasion and moving others has changed more in the past 10 years than in the past 100 because information is now so readily available to consumers; John Maxwell, a world-renowned leadership expert, speaker and author who said intentional living is the key to success in life; James Dunne, Senior managing principal, Sandler O’Neill + Partners, LP, who told how he and his company persevered after losing 66 of its 171 partners and employees in the World Trade Center attacks; Simon Sinek, Author, speaker and visionary thinker who explained the physiological responses the body has to good leadership and why it is so important for employees to feel valued by their organization; Ken Blanchard, a business author and management expert, who talked about the need for humility and servant leaders; and finaly and General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan; who talked about the leadership and change lessons he has learned, including that being efficient — as military units often are — is no longer enough; leaders and teams also must have adaptability.

For the second year, faculty, staff and students with a valid CSU ID could watch most of the forum live via simulcast from the University Hall Auditorium.

“We were thrilled to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the forum with such a stellar lineup of powerful speakers,” said Ed Helton, executive director of leadership development. “With the support of the university and sponsors Synovus, TSYS, AT&T and WC Bradley, we have been able to consistently secure world-class leaders.”

Next year’s forum is slated for Sept. 12 and 13, 2016.

Featured speakers include Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal and New York Times best-selling author; Bonnie St. John, the first African-American to win medals in Winter Paralympic competition as a ski racer; Ajaypal Singh Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard; Bill Curry, an author, motivational speaker and former football coach; Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist, leadership expert and best-selling author; Tommy Spaulding, world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author and former CEO; and Jim Nantz, sportscaster.

For more about the forum, visit https://jblf.columbusstate.edu/.

Ed Helton, CSU's executive director of leadership development, closed out Monday's Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum with a few questions for Barbara Bush, President George Bush and Laura Bush. Photo by Southern Exposure Photography.

Ed Helton, CSU’s executive director of leadership development, at the 10th anniversary of CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum with a few questions for Barbara Bush, President George Bush and Laura Bush. Photo by Southern Exposure Photography.

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Cunningham Center at Columbus State University Celebrates 10 Years

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Cunningham Center at Columbus State University will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its grand opening this week.

The 67,500-square-foot building started with a gift and a bequest to the university from John Cunningham, a lifelong salesman who possessed a true passion for the sales profession. His instincts led to years of self-study and reading, and a successful career that included John Cunningham Trucking, Radio Wholesale and a mail-order electronics business that grew to serve an international clientele.

Though he never went to college, Cunningham believed that the best legacy he could leave was to provide a way for others to help themselves. That idea grew into what was then called the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development, a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance leadership skills, increase sales effectiveness and conduct effective conferences/events. The overriding goal was to continue Columbus State University’s tradition of fostering community and economic development in this region.

Now called the Cunningham Center, the building was designed by 2WR and built by Denson Construction of Columbus in 2004-2005. It houses the Cunningham Conference Center, the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, and the Offices@Cunningham.

“In just 10 years, the Cunningham Center has really become both a Columbus destination, as well as a community resource,” said Ed Helton, managing director of the Cunningham Center. “Mirroring the university’s vision, we’re working to become organizations’ first choice for leadership development or event hosting.”

Helton focuses on three main areas:

1. The Cunningham Conference Center features a 5,432-square foot banquet hall, six seminar rooms, an executive board room and four computer training labs and is equipped with the most up-to-date audio/visual technology in all meeting spaces throughout the building.

2. The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University is a university-based consulting group that provides expertise and training in leadership development, team building, assessments, executive coaching and strategic planning. Its signature event, the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, is the premier leadership event in the region and offers an intimate setting with some of the world’s foremost leaders. The Forum, named in honor of Jim Blanchard, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Synovus Financial Corp., brings the best and brightest minds in the world to Columbus. Hosted annually by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum.

3. Offices@Cunningham offers well-appointed, professional office space complete with meeting rooms and comprehensive business services, including administrative support and a fully-appointed Business Center. Offices@Cunningham spans 20,000 square feet, comprises two floors at the east end of the facility and can accommodate up to 33 tenant companies.

The Cunningham Center also houses the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative and the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning, outreach centers for CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions.

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High School Visitors Star in Video Sent to the White House [VIDEO]

More than seventy students from area high schools visited Columbus State University on Thursday, Feb. 26 to participate in the African American Male Initiative’s “College Student for a Day” experience.

CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services captured the day’s events and submitted a video to the White House on Friday, Feb. 27 in response to Michelle Obama’s “Near-Peer Mentoring College Challenge.” The challenge, a Reach Higher initiative, asks institutions to share how they are making attending and completing college a reality for students.

Video finalists might earn a visit from the First Lady during spring 2015 commencement ceremonies.

“We believe this event, along with our continuous outreach, will perpetuate the cycle of recruitment, retention, and most importantly graduation for high school and college males,” said Johniqua Williams, student development specialist for CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services.

For more information about Michelle Obama’s commencement challenge, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/30/first-lady-michelle-obama-announces-reach-higher-commencement-challenges. To learn more about CSU’s African American Male Initiative, visit https://diversity.columbusstate.edu/AAMI.php or contact Williams at 706-507-8594 or williams_johniqua@columbusstate.edu.

 

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Cultivating a Culture of High Performance

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s new Center for Professional Solutions kicked-off service to the corporate community in Columbus with a Lean Six-Sigma Yellow Belt Certification workshop on September 16. The workshop was offered in partnership with Riverwood Associates, an Atlanta-based company that provides operational training and consulting to organizations working to improve performance levels, and was hosted by Synovus.

The Center for Professional Solutions is a new service of Columbus State University’s Division of Continuing Education that focuses on performance improvement through consultation and training to the Columbus, GA region. “We aim to be the primary resource within our region for helping companies identify and close the gap between current and desired performance,” says Susan Wirt, Executive Director for Continuing Education.

The core offerings of the Center for Professional Solutions include Lean Six Sigma, project management, outsourcing contracts, labor issues and risk management, contract law and intellectual property for the business manager. In addition, the center provides information technology and business intelligence consultation and training in partnership with Columbus State’s IT Innovation Center.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGroups from the private and public sector came together for this event at Synovus to learn proven techniques and practical tools for reducing waste, increasing profitability, improving quality and driving overall business improvement.

Lean Six Sigma offers a powerful methodology and set of tools for improving business processes. Many organizations have adopted Lean Six Sigma — manufacturing, service, healthcare and government — to significantly improve their bottom line and customer experience. The Yellow Belt is the first step for those new to Lean Six Sigma. This Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification was the second in a series of workshops that will be offered through this unique partnership.

Peter J. Sherman, Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with 20+ years of experience, lead this day of training. One goal of this certification is to cultivate a culture of high organizational performance and to provide a high performance workforce with solid skills in problem solving, analytical and critical thinking and decision-making.   Participants, working in teams, learned how to prepare a Voice of the Customer (VOC), map a current state process to identify and quantify gaps, and perform root cause analysis. When asked why Lean Six Sigma is so important, Peter replied, “Organizations are looking for people who can break down problems and solve them quickly and effectively. The skills we learned today are relevant for anyone in today’s workforce.”

“The entire day was insightful,” stated Amanda Lewis, a workshop participant. “The Center for Professional Solutions delivered on quality and professionalism. Peter Sherman from Riverwood Associates created that personal touch by really getting to know us as individuals. There was great synergy in the room that added even more value to the information that was received.” Forty-seven participants benefited from this learning environment charged by the synergies created among the diverse group of participants as they became certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belts. Participants from the private sector included Aflac, Columbus Specialty Hospital, Communicorp, DMI Columbus, Golden Peanut, Kellogg, Panasonic Energy Corporation, Paragon Benefits, OmegaFi, Synovus and Tensar. Those from the public sector included Columbus State University, Columbus Water Works and the Muscogee County School System.

In early December, the Center for Professional Solutions and Riverwood Associates will be offering a Green Belt Certification, the next step in the Lean Six Sigma methodology.  Information about the Green Belt program can be found online at ColumbusState.edu/CE or www.riverwoodassociates.com.

For 40 years, the Columbus State Division of Continuing Education has served as the center for lifelong learning by providing innovative educational training and personal enrichment opportunities for students, businesses and community partners in Columbus, Georgia area.

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Spanx Creator to Speak at CSU’s Blanchard Leadership Forum

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Spanx founder Sara Blakely, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012, has been added as a speaker for Columbus State University’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum 2014.

Blakely, 43, whose line of flattering undergarments made her the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, was confirmed as a speaker for the Aug. 25-26 event at the Columbus Iron Works and Trade Center by CSU’s Leadership Institute, which organizes and hosts the forum in partnership with Synovus and TSYS.

A Florida State University graduate, Blakely was working for an office supply company, selling fax machines door-to-door, when she came up with the idea for her hosiery product. It wasn’t until she used her life savings, moved to Atlanta and found a manufacturer that she was able to launch her company from her home in August 2000. Three months later, Oprah Winfrey proclaimed Spanx her favorite product of the year and sales took off.

Her success and self-determination is exactly what makes her an excellent addition to this year’s forum.

“Many of the young professionals I talk with are intrigued and inspired by entrepreneurs,” said Ed Helton, executive director of the Leadership Institute. “They like the independence and the thrill of opportunity. We chose this year’s theme for the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum (Leadership: Seizing the Opportunity) with that idea in mind. I can think of no one that best exemplifies this than Spanx founder Sarah Blakely.”

Blakely joins an impressive roster of speakers for CSU’s Blanchard Leadership Forum 2014, including:

  • Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook.
  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, business magnate, investor and philanthropist.
  • Scott Harrison, founder-CEO of charity: water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
  • Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John R. Ryan, president and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit organization focusing on leadership education and research.
  • Author Marcus Buckingham, a leading expert on employee productivity.
  • And Ronald A. Heifetz, senior lecturer and co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

For more information on and to register for the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, visit http://jblf.org.

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Columbus State Focuses on Outreach Centers for Georgia Gives Day

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is joining organizations around the state to participate in Georgia Gives Day on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The statewide initiative asks citizens to donate money to causes they care about locally and across the state. Georgia Gives Day is a collaboration of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits in partnership with participating nonprofits, state agencies, corporations and businesses, associations, foundations, and public relations and advertising firms.

Columbus State is hoping the community helps it raise $3,000 to support three outreach centers: Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, Coca-Cola Space Science Center and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians. The centers all extend CSU’s reputation as a teaching university, offering learning opportunities for students as well as the public. Each center seeks  $1,000 to support the following projects:

  • Oxbow Meadows: An interactive, educational gopher tortoise exhibit, which would be open to the public, school groups and other environmental observers
  • Coca-Cola Space Science Center: Public observatory programs that also provide a significant platform for CSU student research efforts.
  • McCullers Center: Membership in the Georgia Poetry Circuit, an organization that brings three world-renowned poets to speak and read at the center each year. These readings, free and open to the public, give the community an opportunity to engage in discussions with and listen to readings by established poets.

For more information and to give online, visit https://www.gagivesday.org/c/GGD/a/columbusstate.

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Columbus State Earns Prestigious IACET Accreditation

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University Continuing Education has been awarded “authorized provider” accreditation by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training, recognizing a thorough review by IACET.

“Columbus State’s Continuing Education is proud of the value we add to the community through such adult training programs as Medical Coding/Billing, Real Estate and Project Management,” said Susan Wirt, executive director of CSU Continuing Education. “Our new partnership with IACET puts us in a worldwide network of organizations that have been vetted by third-party experts to ensure the highest possible standards — a demonstration of our commitment to lifelong learning and excellence in all of our programs. We are very pleased to join such a prestigious organization and be listed on their website.”

The accreditation period extends for five years and includes all programs offered or created during that time.

To earn authorized provider accreditation, CSU Continuing Education completed a rigorous application process, including a review by an IACET site visitor, and successfully demonstrated adherence to IACET standards addressing the design, development, administration and evaluation of its programs.

“We are pleased to welcome Columbus State as our newest authorized provider organization,” said Michael Todd Shinholster, IACET president, founder-principal consultant of Culture Bridge and an international business lecturer at Kennesaw State University. “Columbus State University Continuing Education joins nearly 650 organizations around the globe that have had their programs vetted by third-party experts in continuing education to ensure the highest possible standards are met.”

The new status allows Columbus State to use the IACET name and its authorized provider logo on promotional course material. Additionally, CSU Continuing Education is now linked to the IACET website and is recognized as offering the highest quality continuing education and training programs.

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CSU Hires Army Commander-Turned-Business Executive for Key Role

Scott, LareseCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Scott Larese, a retired Army colonel and former Fort Rucker garrison commander who’s now chief operating officer of an Alabama consulting firm, has accepted the position of managing director for business and leadership development at Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center. Larese will report directly to CSU President Tim Mescon and be a part of the university’s leadership team.

Larese’s primary responsibilities will be business development for CSU’s Leadership Institute, the Cunningham Conference Center and the Cunningham Business Enterprise Center.

He will work to reinforce Columbus State University’s outreach to the city of Columbus, the region, Fort Benning’s command team and economic development organizations across the Chattachoochee Valley, Georgia and Alabama.

“We are looking forward to Scott joining our team and playing a pivotal role in the operations of the Cunningham Center and the continued development of our Leadership Institute,” Mescon said. “His corporate and military history is a great match for our needs. He will be a great partner to Ed Helton, executive director of the Leadership Institute, who has done a magnificent job of managing the Cunningham Center on an interim basis over the last few months.”

Larese was in the U.S. Army for 25 years, leading from bases in Germany, New York, and Virginia before arriving at Fort Rucker, in 2004. He was quickly promoted to commanding officer (the military equivalent of a city manager) of Fort Rucker Garrison, a large, diverse military helicopter training center consisting of more than 19,000 residents, 2,500 buildings, five airfields and 17 heliports, with an annual operating budget of more than $165 million, spanning three distinct communities. More recently Larese was senior vice president for operations at Navigator Development Group, a consulting firm offering leadership management, strategic planning, military operations, systems acquisition, and war game development and execution.

Larese, a native of Columbus, Ohio, is a combat decorated Army aviator, rated in AH-1 Cobra, AH-58D Kiowa Warrior and AH-64 Apache helicopters. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master of Science from the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Active in many civic organizations and executive boards, he’s past president of the Fort Rucker Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America; president of the Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army; chairman of the Enterprise Military Affairs Committee; member of the Enterprise Planning Commission; member of the Army Aviation Association of America; president-elect of the Enterprise Rotary Club; president of the Jerry B. Brunson Foundation and vice chairman of the Friends of Fort Rucker.

Larese and his wife, Julie, are the parents of two daughters, Ally and Andi, who is currently a CSU student. 

“Everyone at CSU has made me and my wife feel so welcomed into the family,” Larese said. “I cannot tell you how excited we are about this awesome opportunity and to join and contribute to the great CSU team. What a wonderful place to invest our lives. We are looking forward to continued growth as we together will take CSU to new heights.”

He will start on Sept. 23.

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Philanthropist Bob Jepson of Savannah Receives The Blanchard Award for Business Ethics and Leadership

A visionary entrepreneur and exemplary leader, with modest beginnings in Richmond, Va.  

COLUMBUS, Ga., Aug. 26 – Robert Scott Jepson Jr. of Savannah, Ga., was honored Monday evening as a successful entrepreneur and generous humanitarian who has become a model of ethical business success.

Jepson was presented with the Blanchard Award for Business and Ethical Leadership before an audience of about 1,000 Georgia business, political and military leaders attending the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, an annual event by Columbus State University’s Leadership Institute. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and American Astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly were in attendance as keynote speakers for this year’s forum in Columbus.

The award was created by a group of Georgia leaders in 2009, following their concern about ethical lapses in business that contributed to the 2008 economic crash. W. Todd Groce, president of the Georgia Historical Society, made the presentation to Jepson Monday on behalf of the panel of judges drawn from cities across the state. 

Previous winners have been B. Franklin Skinner of Atlanta, president of BellSouth Telecommunications; the late Ray C. Anderson of Atlanta, founder of Interface, the sustainability textiles company; and William B. Turner of Columbus, philanthropist, author and former chief executive officer of W.C. Bradley Co. The award is named for James H. Blanchard of Columbus, retired Chief Executive Officer of Synovus. Blanchard received the inaugural award before the judges decided to name it for him. 

Jepson, the 2013 honoree, is chief executive officer of Jepson Associates Inc., a private investment firm founded in 1989. He is the former head of the Jepson Corp., a Fortune 500 diversified manufacturing conglomerate, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He sold the company in 1989.

As a boy, Jepson said he was never dirt poor, but does recall being hungry, skipping meals as he grew up in the care of his mother and grandmother in the Fan, a now-fashionable neighborhood of row houses in Richmond, Va.

“Hunger is a great motivator,” he says.

Jepson is now chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority and currently serves as vice chairman of the Board of the Georgia Historical Society. “There is nothing in Georgia that I could do that is more important than the work I’ve done on this board,” Jepson said of his experience with the authority.

He has established a reputation as an admired philanthropist. After he sold the Jepson Corp., he resolved to spend the rest of his life engaged in philanthropy, especially that which benefits education.

Jepson and his wife of 49 years, Alice, have been giving their money, time and creativity to schools and other educational programs for more than 30 years. Beneficiaries have included schools such as Bethesda Academy for boys in Savannah and the Savannah College of Art and Design. They have contributed to the Savannah community through the development of the Jepson Center at the Telfair Museum in the historic heart of the city.

The Jepsons also funded the creation of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, which opened in 1992 at the University of Richmond, his alma mater.

“It’s what you do with your resources for the rest of the world, for others, that really lasts, and all of that business success created some wonderful opportunities for me to support the things that really matter to me,” Mr. Jepson said.

For more information, contact:  Liz Rushing, The Ledlie Group

                                                   404.290.2139
                                                   Liz.rushing@theledliegroup.com

                                                                          Or

                                                   Joseph M.A. Ledlie, The Ledlie Group
                                                   404.444.2667
                                                   Joe.ledlie@theledliegroup.com

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Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Astronaut Mark Kelly to Speak at CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum 2013COLUMBUS, Ga. – Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle D. “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, former space shuttle Commander Mark Kelly, will headline Columbus State University’s eighth annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, hosted by CSU’s Leadership Institute, on Aug. 26-27, at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

The forum will open at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 with remarks from Columbus State President Tim Mescon and Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Caglel prior to dinner. There also will be the presentation of the Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business.

Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy captain, will deliver the keynote speech at 8 p.m. He is also a best-selling author, prostate cancer survivor and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War, winning the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Selected as an astronaut in 1996, Kelly flew the first of his four missions in 2001 aboard Endeavour, the same space shuttle he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded space shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station four times. (NASA recently donated a nozzle used on Endeavour and Discovery for display at CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.)

Giffords, a Democrat, began serving Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in 2006 and was re-elected twice, in 2008 and 2010. She was seriously injured a week into her third term, on Jan. 8, 2011, when a gunman opened fire at a Tucson shopping center where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed and 13 injured. Giffords sustained a gunshot wound to the head among her injuries yet, in less than seven months, she returned to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Giffords resigned her seat in January 2012 to focus on her recovery.

Following Kelly’s remarks, he and Giffords will have a brief question and answer session. Kelly will sign books at the close of the event.

“The fact that they can talk about not only surviving, but thriving, in the new normal is inspiring,” said Ed Helton executive director of Columbus State University’s Leadership Institute and Client Relations. “Their lives changed dramatically, and we are living in a time of dramatic change. Theirs is a story we all need to hear.

“And that (Kelly) is going to share his story with 800 Muscogee County School District children the next day (during a talk with third-graders about Kelly’s book, Mousetronaut, at 9 a.m. Tuesday at CSU’s University Hall) speaks to who he is, and the kind of people we want to bring in.”

A full slate of national business and thought leaders are on tap for the forum’s second day:

  • Seth Godin, an author widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on online marketing.
  • Tom Mullins, founding pastor of one of the nation’s largest churches, the non-denominational Christ Fellowship, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
  • David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates or licenses Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and other restaurants worldwide.
  • John Stankey, group president and chief strategy officer of AT&T Inc.
  • Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co.
  • Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning.

“Being able to hear from some of the best CEOs in the world in Mulally and Novak, and from one of the world’s cutting-edge thinkers in Seth Godin, I think they are getting their money’s worth,” Helton said.

Registration for the full conference is $429. Tickets for tables of eight are $3,400. Registration closes Friday, August 23. For more information and to register, visit www.jimblanchardleadershipforum.com.

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Oxbow Meadows Goes to the Bugs with Insectival

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Flying fiber and the bee-auty of honey extraction will be some of the featured events at the 13th annual Insectival, scheduled from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, July 13 at Columbus State University Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center.

“We’ve brought in a lot of new things this year,” Janet Kent, program manager at Oxbow, said. “It’s going to be different from any we’ve ever had before. We think this year there will be something for everyone.”

Insectival is designed to show visitors just how important insects are for a healthy environment. But Insectival is disguised as a fun, family event, and visitors will be able to experience insects in a variety of ways. Visitors can hold them, eat them, watch them or even spit them.

Yes, there will be an assortment of bug snacks, and a cricket-spitting contest. Also on the agenda for this program is:

•   Live Insects!

•   Cricket Spitting Contest

•   Honey Extraction

•   Bug-Eyed Vision

•   Creepy Crawly Crafts and Food

There also will be the Insectival Science Booth (with Doc Atoms). There will be Insect-O-Slime (10 a.m. – 11 a.m., 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.), where you create your own slime and learn about the types of insects that leave behind or spit out sticky residues; Instaworms (11 a.m. – Noon), give patrons an opportunity to make instant glow worms; Flea Jump (Noon – 1 p.m.), where, using air cannons, patrons will get to see a demonstration on how high a flea could jump if it were the size of a cat, and also learn about the leg strength of a flea and Bee Balloons (1 p.m. – 2 p.m.), where participants can create their own buzzing bees using friction inside a balloon. 

Admission to Insectival is $5 per person. Children 3 and under get in free. Those who Follow Insectival on Facebook have a chance to win free tickets.

Columbus State University’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is an educational outreach program of Columbus State University operated in association with Columbus Water Works. It’s located at 3535 South Lumpkin Road in South Columbus. For more information, call 706-507-8550.

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CSU’s Leadership Institute Unveils Whitewater Leadership Experience

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Leadership Institute is taking advantage of the community’s new whitewater course to create a unique, engaging leadership development experience.Eva Cooper

CSU’s Leadership Institute now offers an experiential, results-driven, learning-oriented river trip incorporating teamwork, communication and trust — leadership concerns more often addressed in a classroom setting.

The whitewater offering is the latest addition to a full slate of leadership development experiences the university offers, said Eva Cooper, director of leadership and business development for CSU’s Leadership Institute.

“We are looking for ways that organizational team members can get out of the office, have a bit of fun, but also learn more about how they can operate more effectively on a day-to-day basis,” Cooper said. “These experiences can be tailored to a company’s needs to address a full slate of issues.”

Columbus and CSU provide a wide array of experiential leadership development opportunities, including:

An Amazing Race-style experience where teams use clues to complete exhilarating challenges on foot and by water

A golf-themed experience led by Mark Immelman, CSU’s men’s golf coach and a former Division II National Coach of the Year, who uses the driving range and golf course for driving home leadership lessons such as following through to achieve results.

A hands-on experience at Fort Benning where participants immerse themselves in the new-recruit transformation process at the direction of actual drill sergeants.

A cooking collaboration competition guided by local chef Jamie Keating, a member of the United States Culinary Olympic Team.

An opportunity, working with renowned Columbus State conductor Paul Hostetter and CSU’s Schwob School of Music String Orchestra, to learn non-verbal communication skills that enhance performance.

Each experience starts and ends with at least one of the Leadership Institute’s experts, who regularly facilitate sessions around strategic planning, assessments, leadership development, executive coaching and other related areas, Cooper said.

“The experts take care of the adventures, but typically we discuss issues the client wants addressed, then follow up the experience with lessons learned and provide a framework for better synergy in the workplace,” Cooper said.

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Photo: Eva Cooper

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Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly to Speak at CSU’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

Gabrielle GiffordsCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle D. “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, former space shuttle Commander Mark Kelly, will headline the eighth annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, hosted by Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center-based Leadership Institute, on Aug. 26-27, at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

Giffords, a Democrat, began serving Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in 2006 and was re-elected twice, in 2008 and 2010. She was seriously injured a week into her third term, on Jan. 8, 2011, when a gunman opened fire at a Tucson shopping center where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed and 13 injured. Giffords sustained a gunshot wound to the head among her injuries yet, in less than seven months, she returned to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Giffords resigned her seat in January 2012 to focus on her recovery.

Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is also a best-selling author, prostate cancer survivor and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War, winning the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Selected as an astronaut in 1996, Kelly flew the first of his four missions in 2001 aboard Endeavour, the same space shuttle he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded space shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station four times. (NASA recently donated a nozzle used on Endeavour and Discovery for display at CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.)

“As a family, they have modeled the kind of leadership for how one deals with tragedy, and they did it on an international stage,” said Ed Helton, interim executive director of the Cunningham Center. “We are honored to have them here to share their story with us and to learn what we are sure will be invaluable lessons.”

Second-day speakers for the forum are:

  • Seth Godin, an author widely considered one of the world’s leading experts on online marketing.
  • Tom Mullins, founding pastor of one of the nation’s largest churches, the non-denominational Christ Fellowship, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
  • David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates or licenses Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and other restaurants worldwide.
  • John Stankey, group president and chief strategy officer of AT&T Inc.
  • Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co.
  • Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning.

“Once again we have a simply outstanding lineup,” Helton said. “We will have three of the most effective CEOs (Novak, Stankey and Mulally) with us, which will really highlight the business component of the forum.”

Godin, who Business Week described as “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age, “ brings to the Blanchard forum “a unique perspective on marketing and an innovative approach to selling and promoting business — which is invaluable when so many of us are competing for ways to engage customers and varied audiences,” Helton said. “We’re also fortunate to have our own commanding general (McMaster) and Mullins with us sharing their knowledge on leadership from vastly difference arenas.”

Registration for the full conference is $429. Tickets for tables of eight are $3,400. About a fourth of the tickets for the event have already been sold as individuals and companies register daily. For more information and to register, visit www.jimblanchardleadershipforum.com.

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Editors: High-resolution original photos of Giffords, Kelly

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Former President to Speak at Columbus State’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

George W. BushCOLUMBUS, Ga. — George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, headlines the seventh annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, hosted by Columbus State University and the Leadership Institute at CSU’s Cunningham Center, on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 27-28, at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

President Bush will speak at 8 p.m. Monday, following introductory remarks by Gov. Nathan Deal.

The forum will open at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 with remarks from Columbus State President Tim Mescon and Carmen Cavezza, executive director of the Cunningham Center. Dinner, a performance by the Maneuver Center of Excellence Jazz Combo and Columbus State’s Schwob School of Music Jazz Ensemble, and presentation of the Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business will precede President Bush’s speech.

“He will be incredible, as will the entire lineup of our forum speakers for 2012,” said founder and namesake Jim Blanchard, chairman of JordanBlanchard Capital, LLC and retired chairman and CEO of Synovus Financial Corp.

Since leaving office, President Bush has focused his attention on developing the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which will encompass the Presidential Library and Museum, Archives, and the George W. Bush Institute.

Second-day speakers for the forum, themed “Resilient Leadership in Turbulent Times,” are, in order of appearance:

  • Teresa Tomlinson, mayor of Columbus
  • Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, vice chief of staff, U.S. Army
  • James Carville and Mary Matalin, a husband-and-wife team widely recognized as the nation’s best-known political consultants and commentators
  • Jim Blanchard, chairman, JordanBlanchard Capital, LLC and retired chairman and chief executive office of Synovus Financial Corp.
  • Dan Amos, chairman and chief executive officer of Aflac Inc.
  • Robert Gates, former secretary of defense for two presidents (George W. Bush and Barack Obama)

“When I look at the speakers that have been with us at the leadership forum since the beginning, I believe that we have achieved our original vision for the forum,” Blanchard said. “That vision is to bring the brightest minds in the world to Columbus so that we can create and enhance a culture of leadership for our community and for the entire region.”

Tuesday’s presentations will run from 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m. and be accompanied by speaker book signings and lunch.

“We have a sellout again for this year’s event,” Blanchard said. “I hope that it will become a tradition that leaders who attend will sign up for the next year’s event as soon as the current event ends. This is a great way for all of us to continue to grow and expand our capabilities as leaders by hearing from the best!”

Presenting sponsors for the 2012 forum are Synovus, TSYS and AT&T. Other sponsors include Atlanta Business Chronicle and Georgia Trend magazine.

An expected crowd of 1,245 will be on hand for the two-day forum. To accommodate those unable to attend this year’s sold-out event, registration for the 2013 Leadership Forum will begin Tuesday.

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Columbus State Reaching out to Thousands via Classes, Camps

COLUMBUS, Ga. Continuing Education at Columbus State University enjoyed a healthy surge in participation during 2011-2012, with enrollment in its 800-plus courses and programs up 9 percent.

Ballroom dancing

In all, 7,397 people registered in 816 Continuing Education classes during the year ending June 30. The non-credit classes focusing on personal and professional development run the gamut, from children’s summer camps to certification programs in career areas such as Medical Coding and Billing, Paralegal Studies and Project Management.

Enrollment in professional certificate programs rose nearly 10 percent in the past year.

“Many people are either unemployed or under-employed and need to update their skills without investing an enormous amount of time.” said Susan Wirt, CSU’s executive director of Continuing Education since 2003.  “Professional certificate programs are an affordable and efficient way to gain credentials to be ready for the job market or get a better job.”

Certificate programs that meet certain criteria are particularly attractive to military families, thanks to a Department of Defense program to fund participation in “portable” certificate programs by spouses of active-duty military personnel. Certificates require multiple courses in a given topic area, followed, in some cases, by testing to ensure proficiency.

A self-supporting division of Columbus State, Continuing Education has a full-time staff of nine, supplemented by more than 50 part-time instructors. “We spend a significant amount of time determining the needs of the community and developing programs to meet those needs,” Wirt said.

Classes are held seven days a week, mostly at two locations. The Rankin Arts Center, on CSU’s RiverPark Campus in Uptown Columbus, houses the Rankin Arts Photography Center, which is home to a new Digital Photography Certificate program that’s helped Continuing Education enjoy 164 percent growth in digital photography classes since their introduction in 2009. The Rankin is also home to the CSU Dance Conservatory, which is a partnership between Columbus Ballet and Continuing Education.

Other classes are held at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center for Continuing Education on the southwest corner of main campus

sewingSummer is a particularly busy time for Continuing Education, mostly thanks to the Activ8 camp program that serves kids from age 4 through their teen years. Summer camp enrollment has risen 43 percent from Activ8’s birth in 2008 to 2011, and Continuing Education is on track to set a new record in 2012.

“We love the energy that the camps bring to the Turner center this time of year,” said Wirt, whose office is there.  “The children get a sense they are attending `college,’ and we want them to all be future college students.”

In 2009, Activ8 won the Georgia Adult Education Association’s annual award for Outstanding, Innovative Program. Most CSU summer camps fall under the Activ8 umbrella that covers everything from artistic crafts to a more serious introduction to computer programming. All CSU summer camps, including those offered by Athletics, Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Oxbows Meadow Environmental Learning Center and the Math Collaborative, are detailed in the Activ8 catalog published each February, plus at Activ8er.com.

In 2011, CSU Continuing Education established the Empowered Youth of Columbus program, an arts-based, after-school program for at-risk youth. Initially funded by CSU and Columbus’ Crime Prevention Board, EYC will expand dramatically over the next five years, thanks to a $2.25 million Georgia Department of Education grant announced in mid-July. The grant will allow Continuing Education to hire more “teaching artists” to use the arts to help children with core subjects such as math and science.

“We are so proud to have received this grant and know that it will change the lives of at-risk children throughout Columbus,” Wirt said.

Another growing outreach program offered by Continuing Education is its English Language Institute, which was established in 2002 to help prospective CSU students whose native language was not English, as well as local residents. Today, ELI’s services extend beyond the university, by offering English as a Second Language classes at Fort Benning and also by hosting large groups of international students who visit Columbus and learn English via “immersion experiences.”

Learn about CSU’s Continuing Education classes, certificates, camps and more at http://ColumbusState.edu/continuinged.

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Media: Select photos to access high-resolution originals. Photos by Kristin Barker.
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Columbus State University Offering an Array of Summer Camp Activities

COLUMBUS, Ga. Columbus State’s robust slate of summer activities continues to grow. Along with that increase has been an increase in demand as well. This year features additional options for youth camps and class participants offered through CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and the College of Education and Health Professions.

Camp Oxbow and Summer Spectacular 2012, both running through June, will complement the June-July camps covering space science, athletics, mathematics, ballet and the wide-ranging Activ8 activities — all coordinated through CSU Continuing Education.

Summer Spectacular

There has been a spectacular response to this long-running activity. It is already sold out. The spectacular, directed by CSU teacher education students and faculty, runs in weekly sessions, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, June 4-28, at Gentian Elementary School.

“We’ve had more register for our camps this year than ever before,” said program director Jan Burcham, CSU’s Moselle Worsley Fletcher Distinguished Chair in Teacher Education. “We are very happy about that.”

The program, which started in 2005, offers families an alternative, fun learning opportunity, while CSU teacher education students gain valuable field experience and more freedom in their approach to curriculum and teaching styles.

The Columbus State students will guide children in designing activities and selecting transportation topics to explore in multi-age classrooms. The approach corresponds to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development — to help participants improve their thinking skills, become more independent and improve their self-esteem.

The cost per child is $100 for the entire camp (four weeks) or $30 per week. Spaces are limited and will be filled based on order of registration. For more information or registration forms, go to http://ColumbusState.edu/COEHP/summer_spectacular.php or call 706-569-2888.

Camp Oxbow

Camp Oxbow, which is themed, “Leave No Child Inside,” is actually two separate camps at CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center.

Wild About Animals, June 18-22, explores the center’s surrounding wetlands. While catching insects and bird watching, the participants will meet live animals that call the wetlands home. Crafts and games will teach the importance of clean water.

Naturally Artistic, July 16-20, involves participants in photographing wildlife, creating pottery with Georgia clays and more. Results from a group project will be displayed at the center, while the students take home some of their work as well.

Registration fees per child are $159 for Wild About Animals and $179 for Naturally Artistic. CSU faculty and staff receive a $50 discount per camp for their children.

For more information, contact Janet Forrest Kent at 706-507-8555 or forrestkent_janet@ColumbusState.edu.

Registration Open for Activ8, Other Youth Camps

Families also can register their children, ages 4-14, for summer camps comprising CSU’s award-winning Activ8 program.

Activ8’s various enrichment and sports camps opened May 29 and run weekly through August 3. Upon registration, parents and kids can build their own schedules according to separate age groups: 4-7, 8-11 and 11-14.

“Many of the camps this year filled up pretty early,” Kristin Barker, Senior Marketing Manager Continuing Education, said.  “We’ve seen a good increase. The camps have definitely gotten more popular.”

The program, with activities covering sports, dance, technology, arts and more, has earned statewide recognition and recently was a Muscogee Moms Award winner as the area’s top summer camp program.

For more information, call CSU Continuing Education 706-507-8070 or go to http://activ8er.com or www.ColumbusState.edu/CE for an online catalog and registration information.

The websites include information about other Columbus State summer camps offered through Athletics, Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the CSU Dance Conservatory and the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative.

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CSU Women’s Conference Tackles `Courageous Leadership’

Karen Handel, Mimi DonaldsonCOLUMBUS, Ga. – Nine of the country’s top female executives and bestselling authors will be in Columbus later this month as part of the seventh annual Women’s Leadership Conference at Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development.

 

Headlining this year’s conference are Karen Handel, until recently senior vice president for public policy at the Susan G Komen breast cancer charity, and Mimi Donaldson, an internationally known speaker and author who has presented at numerous women’s leadership events with the likes of poet Maya Angelou and former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Speaking to the conference theme of “Courageous Leadership,” Handel and Donaldson “are a perfect complement to the wide array of speakers from around the country slated for the March 13-14 conference,” said Kim Rozycki, director of events and marketing at the Cunningham Center.

The conference is designed for women who aspire to develop skills that will move them toward their career goals and increase their effectiveness in the corporate world, another organizer said.

“Sessions will benefit both emerging and senior female leaders” said Shana Young, assistant director at the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development. “This conference will empower and enhance leadership skills for the 21st Century woman.  Attendees will learn how to be authentic, conscious, courageous leaders at work, at home, and in their communities; what it takes to be successful in the face of obstacles and tough decisions; and how to inspire and guide others through tough times by aligning with their true values, purpose and potential.”

The conference runs from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13 and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. Individual tickets are $349 ($2,500 for tables for eight), including two breakfasts, two lunches, a reception and nine nationally respected speakers:

  • Barbara Kelley, an expert on women in transition, including obstacles and opportunities in choosing the right path from college and grad school to today’s workplace. She and her daughter, Shannon Kelley, also a speaker at the conference, are co-authors of the book, Undecided: How To Ditch the Endless Quest for Perfect and Find the Career — and Life — That’s Right For You.
  • Cathi Hight, president of Hight Performance Group, which advocates the principles of Kaizen — continuous improvement to manage gradual change and use existing resources more effectively. She has more than 20 years experience in performance improvement. Using proven strategies, assessments, and intervention tools, Hight helps clients identify problems and solve them. She has worked with a wide range of organizations from the association, education, finance, public and technology sectors to navigate market changes, streamline operations, increase productivity and develop staff and customer retention.
  • Karen C. Handel, who was responsible for leading Susan G. Komen for the Cure in its federal and state advocacy efforts. Her responsibilities included management of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance, the organization’s public policy arm. She was elected and served as Georgia’s secretary of state from 2007-2010.
  • Jacki W. Lowe, vice president of Georgia Power’s west region. Named one of the 2008 Women to Watch by Diversity Journal, she serves on the board of directors of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, Columbus Economic Development Corporation, Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation, Columbus Technical College Foundation, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers and the downtown Columbus Rotary Club.
  • Elisabeth Marchant, founder and CEO of Womenetics, a global media platform reaching readers in more than 140 countries. Marchant describes herself as a change agent who’s able to identify opportunities and provide transformative leadership to realize her vision.
  • Mimi Donaldson, whose latest book is about success and football, Necessary Roughness: New Rules for the Contact Sport of Life. Donaldson uses football as a metaphor for shaking off the bad plays, or roadblocks, of challenging times to lead with perseverance and courage. She’s won acclaim for her rousing keynote speeches, compelling workshops and in-house training programs.
  • Sally Helgesen, an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and consultant. She’s one of the world’s brand-name experts on women’s leadership and was named by Leadership Gurus as No. 15 in its annual survey of the world’s most influential experts on the topic. Her latest book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, explores the strategic insights women bring to organizations. She’s also author of The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, which has been continually in print for 21 years, translated into 12 languages, and used in schools and organizations around the world.
  • Shannon Kelley, who’s an expert, like her co-author mother, on women in transition. Kelley’s a featured blogger for the Huffington Post, a freelance writer, speaker, and personal and career coach.
  • Karen Walrond, author of the best-selling book, The Beauty of Different, a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with essays and observations on the concept that what makes women different makes them beautiful. The book inspired BlogHer’s Own Your Beauty initiative, where Walrond became the lead blogger. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, having covered topics as varied as parenthood, social media and women in leadership.

For more information or to register, visit WomensLeadershipConference.org.

 

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Columbus State, Crime Prevention Board Present Artwork by At-Risk Youth

COLUMBUS, Ga. —Columbus State University and the city’s Crime Prevention Board are staging a reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 that opens the Empowered Youth of Columbus Fall 2011 Student Art Show.

 

The public is invited to attend the reception in CSU’s Rankin Arts Photography Center, 1004 Broadway (10th Street and Broadway, seconnd floor). Refreshments will be served.

Joyce Hethcox, photo studentsEmpowered Youth of Columbus is an after school arts program that was created as a result of a partnership between the City of Columbus Crime Prevention Board and CSU’s Department of Continuing Education. EYC brings professional mentors and teaching artists to local community groups and schools and provides professional arts training to their youth.

“Studies have shown that the positive effects of arts education on at-risk youth are far reaching,” said Susan Wirt, CSU Continuing Education director. “The arts engage disaffected students on several levels, so we’re offering nontraditional ways to fight the social and academic issues that can lead to criminal behavior.”

EYC began last spring as a pilot program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus, offering two classes initially. This fall, the program  expanded to also work with the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, the Muscogee County School District and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

“We’ve gotten an extremely enthusiastic response from a wide variety of community organizations who want programming for their at-risk youth,” Wirt said. “That tells us that Columbus is hungry for ways to engage kids and immerse them in programs of substance.”

Teachers in the program are local arts professionals, ranging from painters to theater directors to musicians.

“I learn as much from them as they do from me,” said Joyce Hethcox, who teaches photography and collage for Empowered Youth of Columbus. “They’ve got a very unique eye on the world, which is obvious in their artwork.”

The reception features photography and collage work by the students, as well as a performance of a 10-minute play written and performed by EYC drama students.

“It’s been very cool to write our own play,” said drama participant Dajanae Tarver. “I thought I’d miss hanging out with my friends, but I get more excited coming to drama.”

For more information on the Empowered Youth of Columbus program and other partnership possibilities, contact Anne Thibault at 706.507.8437 or thibault_anne@columbusstate.edu. The public is also invited to view photos and other artwork created by Empowered Youth of Columbus participants that will be on limited display from Dec. 8-16 and Jan. 10-20 in the Rankin Arts Photography Center. Call Thibault for information on gallery hours.

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Photo caption: Joyce Hethcox, Empowered Youth of Columbus photo students
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