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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