• Leadership Peach Program

    The Leadership Peach Program consists of curated Leadership Learning Modules and exercises designed to be of immediate practical value for the participants. The Program also includes pre-attendance assigned reading as well as homework assignments between sessions. This is designed to be a hands-on experience that seeks an immediate return on investment.

    The Leadership portion of the program will be conducted by Cardinal Ridge Enterprises (CRE), a Peach County-based and veteran-owned business. CRE operates via a multifunctional, multi-disciplinary approach to preclude a singular focus, a potential single point of failure. CRE does not use a cookie cutter approach – interventions are tailored to need using a sociotechnical model, i.e., a model that leverages your people and your processes to amp up performance. Foresight is embedded in every intervention to help you shape your preferred future. CRE’s approach is no fluff, no extraneous material, just practical ROI-inducing techniques.

    Click here to read more about the provider. 

    Click here to read the presenter's CV.

    Additionally, participants in the program will learn about key topics related to economic development efforts in Peach County.  They will meet and hear from current leaders from different agencies in Peach County, the State and some local partners to include representatives from:

    • Peach County Board of Commissioners
    • Peach County Tax Commission
    • Peach County Tax Assessor
    • Peach County Board of Equalization 
    • Development Authority of Peach County
    • Peach County Fire Department
    • Peach County E911
    • Peach County EMS/Office of Homeland Security
    • Peach County Courts
    • Peach County Sheriff Department
    • Center for Economic Development Research at the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute
    • Georgia Department of Economic Development
    • Georgia Department of Community Affairs
    • Fort Valley State University
    • Central Georgia Technical College
    • VECTR Center
    • Georgia Power
    • Fort Valley Utility Commission
    • Flint Energies
    • And more!

    Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and engage with these representatives on a more focused, personal level, learn what they do and more importantly … why and how. There is a tremendous need to make this information clear and available to our citizenry so they can understand what is going on behind the scenes. 

    Another objective of the program is to create and encourage community pride and team spirit

    There will be participants from diverse backgrounds and they’ll bring different perspectives to the table. 

    The class will learn how to recognize and enhance their existing leadership skills/styles and gain a better understanding of themselves.

    The expected result from the Program for the participants to have a better, brighter sense of self and community, to build a stronger current and future leadership base and finally, a larger group of more informed citizens.  Ultimately, the goal is to develop champions who will carry the positive message and useful information into the community! 


    The eight classes/modules are outlined below.  Note: field trips are optional and transportation to/from each is not provided; however, lunch will be provided during the RAFB tour and during the trip to ECG in Atlanta. Scheduled field trips are highlighted in green.  The list of field trips continues to grow and will be added to this page as confirmations come in.

    Thank you to SunMark Community Bank for being a Major Sponsor and Supporter for the 2023 Leadership Peach Program and throughout the year. SunMark Community Bank actively participates in and supports many of the Peach Regional Chamber of Commerce functions and events ... we appreciate the team and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship!  


    Module 1 - Opening Session - The Foundation
    September 11, 2023 at The Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Perspective: Know Thy Self
    This learning module focuses on the Leader's self-awareness, e.g., understanding one's world view; the bottom-line utility of self-assessments; and the need for recurring, scheduled self-reflection which is a Future's tool. An integrated component of this Leadership Program includes the opportunity for a subsequent 30 to 45-minute 1:1 coaching session in this area if desired.

    Primer: Foundations of Leadership
    This learning module sets the stage for everything that follows by providing aspiring and current Leaders a script that can be repeatedly used. Within the script, three foundational Leadership theories are introduced.

    Primer: Process Improvement
    Process is an ubiquitous word yet many Leaders are not versed in process design or improvement. This learning module reviews the history of process improvement and provides critical factors for process improvement success. It also sets the stage for a shift in mental models from an efficiency focus to a focus on effectiveness. Many confuse the terms. 

    Deeper Dive: Job Relations 4.0© - Today's Missing Link
    In a world of increased conflict between employer and employee, another opportunity to change mental models presents itself. Job Relations 4.0© provides the Leader with a stylized approach to employee interactions that is time-tested and which has been psychologically validated.

    Deeper Dive: Leaving Money On The Table
    Leaders are often overwhelmed in our Big Data environment as they struggle to make or increase profit. This learning module simplifies much of the human element and the process cost-related complexity. The learning module monetizes the value of Leader Engagement while also introducing key Visual Management tools that can offset lost margin.

    Module 2 (Morning Session)
    September 18, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Primer: Change Management
    Research indicates that up to 97 percent of all Change efforts fail. This learning module introduces key Change Management related concepts that are not well recognized, or if recognized, utilized. This learning module sets the stage for the Deeper Dives that follow.

    Deeper Dive: The ABCs of Resistance©
    Resistance to change manifests in many ways. Polarization occurs. Conflict emerges. Changes fail. This learning module exposes the Leader to concepts that may be uncomfortable but that should be addressed if Change Management is to succeed.

    Deeper Dive: Change Plus 7© - Antecedent of Success
    Successful Change Management requires a long-term focus and a set of soft skills that many find antagonistic to the MBA mental model. The difficulty for many is captured by the phrase "Soft is Hard. Hard is Soft."

    Afternoon Session: Taxes & Housing

    In the afternoon, Alfie Meek, Ph.D., the Director of the Center for Economic Development Research at the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, will outline and examine the fiscal impacts of taxes and housing in a community. There will also be a panel discussion with representation from the following Peach County agencies/offices: Board of Equalization; Board of Commissioners; Tax Assessors, and Tax Commissioner. 

    Topics will include:


    • Historical trends
    • What they pay for
    • Freeport Exemptions
    • What and how taxes are generated
    • Retail
    • Real property


    • Burdon vs benefit
    • Average sales
    • Area statistics
    • Why we do/do not need additional housing

    September 26, 2023 at Robins Air Force Base
    8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    Field Trip

    Private, guided group field trip and tour of Georgia's largest industrial complex and Middle Georgia's largest employer: Robins Air Force Base. This tour will be an amazing opportunity to see behind-the-scenes and gain a better, broader understanding of the importance of our Base and its economic impact on our region.  Our group will gather at the Museum of Aviation and board government transportation for the tour. Lunch will be scheduled for the Heritage Club or Wynn Dining Facility. Picture IDs are required as are closed toe, flat shoes (no flipflops, spiked heels or sandals are allowed) and dresses are not allowed since locations on the tour will require climbing ladders/stairs and grated floors. The Base recommends wearing limited jewelry for safety reasons.

    October 2, 2023 at Blue Bird
    9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Field Trip

    Private, guided group field trip and tour of Peach County's largest employer: Blue Bird Bus Company. This tour will be a great learning experience for participants as we tour the main plant and get an inside look at how school busses are made, right here in Peach County.  Attendees must be mobile and able to be on their feet for approximately 3 hours. Safety glasses are required and are provided.  Individuals can bring their own if they prefer.  Shoes must be fully enclosed with sturdy sole and sturdy foot covering material. No open toe shoes, sandals, high heels, etc.  Time permitting, we will also tour the Blue Bird Fabrication Facility. Shorts are not allowed on the Fabrication Facility tour, so dress appropriately.

    Module 3 (Morning Session)
    October 10, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Primer: Introduction to Culture
    Culture has multiple levels that must be understood by the Leader. In many cases, new Leaders are stymied because the organization's culture precludes innovation and breakthrough performance. This learning module introduces key concepts that can first be learned then leveraged for success. Critically, culture always trumps strategy.

    Deeper Dive: The Dimensions of Culture
    The Dimensions of Culture learning module delves into issues that we see daily in the media, e.g., the causes of discord between and among the various subpopulations of American society. The savvy Leader operating in a global context will recognize the need to master this topic.

    Deeper Dive: The Hard Stuff - Changing Culture
    Culture change is often addressed as though it is easily accomplished. The reality is much different as organizations tend to have subcultures, microcultures, and liminal cultures with different values and beliefs in play. Attempting to change organizational culture is not for the faint of heart.

    Afternoon Session: Education & Workforce

    In the afternoon, participants will hear from a panel of education and workforce development experts to include Wallace Keese, Dean of Students at FVSU; Mike Pace, Executive Director for Business & Industry Training at Central Georgia Technical College, Laura Pallini, Director for VECTR Center Operations, and James Lassetter, CTAE Director, Peach County Schools. 

    Topics will include:

    Education & Workforce

    • Stats on Peach County and regional workforce
    • Industry needs 
    • Soft skills development
    • Exiting the military - how we can tap into this skilled workforce
    • Challenges facing our employers 
    • Why invest in education?
    • CTAE programs and why they are important
    • Pipeline from our schools

    Module 4 (Morning Session)
    October 24, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Deeper Dive: Power Dynamics 
    Power is a dimension of culture that addresses compliance, conflict, and uncertainty. For this learning module, it will be introduced at a high level as it relates to conflict and conflict management. Power is also a perfect segue into the next learning module, Leader Communications, as power alone does not guarantee anyone's success.

    Primer: Leader Communications
    Communication is the Leader's superpower regardless of work specialty or work environment. The communication competency is vital at all levels of Leadership yet is often avoided and/or misused. And this before the Leader understands first impressions occur within nano seconds due to the body's involuntary nervous system.

    Deeper Dive: Vision Casting - Narratives & Storytelling
    Vision what? The Leader's ability to narrate and tell stories is critical to influencing stakeholders to align to the vision and goals. This ability is complicated by a global and diverse workforce with differing dimensions of culture as no one communicative approach is acceptable to all. Key Step? Address the emotive before the rational.

    Afternoon Session: Industry & Business Support

    During the afternoon, participants will hear from a panel of speakers to include:

    Topics will include:

    • New (current/active projects; expanding industries and businesses)
    • Future (labor trends, how to address challenges, etc.)
    • Regional and local resources
    • The role each partner/partner agency plays in recruitment and retention
    • State programs (what they are, who they are for and how they work to incentivize/attract/grow business in Georgia)

    October 25, 2023 at Local Bounti Greenhouse
    9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    Field Trip

    November 2, 2023 at Atrium Health Navicent Peach
    9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
    Field Trip

    Private, guided group field trip and tour of the 67,500 square foot health care facility located in Peach County: Atrium Health Navicent Peach.  The hospital serves Peach County and the surrounding counties with 25 spacious private rooms, 14 emergency treatment rooms, 2 trauma rooms and an extended care program for rehabilitation. They have a state-of-the-art orthopaedic-sized operating room, 2 endoscopy suites and a variety of imaging, lab and therapy capabilities. We're fortunate to have a community-based hospital and are excited that they're opening the doors to our class for this unique tour opportunity. Participants will receive specific instructions and/or information on restrictions for participation (if ill, etc.) to insure the safety and health of patients receiving and providing care at the facility.

    Module 5 (Morning Session)
    November 6, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Deeper Dive: Transformational Leadership 
    Transformational Leadership epitomizes Leader Engagement and is the antithesis to the micromanagement and laissez-faire styles of Leadership. This module addresses the key components of this Leadership style to reinforce prior program learning. The attendee should be able to benchmark his/her style as the module proceeds: This is a key learning point that links back to Knowing Thyself.

    Deeper Dive: Eliminating Work Backlog
    Workflow, no matter how well designed, will invariably encounter constraints and backlog. The validated techniques in this learning module work in all environments even as they can be scary to the uninitiated. The focus is on amplified throughput of product or service to generate revenue. Bottom line, these techniques work if used with diligence and long-term intent.

    Deeper Dive: Learning to See
    Learning to See is an interesting concept for many aspiring and current Leaders. This learning module addresses tactics, techniques, and procedures that the artful Leader can use to better understand what is really happening within the organization via the use of Visual Management and other heuristics designed to impart information.

    Afternoon Session: Utility Partners

    In the afternoon, key utility partners (Georgia Power, Flint Energies and the Fort Valley Utility Commission) will explain their roles in our community and discuss the importance of collaboration between the different community departments when working together on new and existing business/industry projects.  They will outline examples through a dive into standard procedures for project RFIs, expansion efforts and infrastructure improvements to accommodate growth and economic development.

    Topics will include:


    • Commercial and industrial (explain load requirements, rate differences, etc.)
    • Importance/impact of well-planned infrastructure systems and how they are implemented
    • How utility partners work with economic development agencies to attract/expand business and industry in a community

    Module 6 (Morning Session)
    November 27, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Primer: Gaining a Future Orientation
    The Leader is responsible for the organization's Future success yet many live and operate in the current moment. A Leader's imperative is to learn how to anticipate and shape the Future such that the organization not only survives but prospers. Unfortunately, many Leaders are not well-versed in this critical competency. This learning module postures the Leader to gain a new mental model, a new time orientation -- a Future Orientation.

    Deeper Dive: Systems Thinking
    Systems Thinking is a Future's tool that addresses cause and effect. In this learning module, Systems Thinking will be explored and key tools explained that every Leader can use to leverage his/her operation. Beware. Once introduced, it becomes difficult to avoid usage.

    Deeper Dive: Foresight
    The Future cannot be predicted but it can be shaped if the right techniques and approaches are used. Foresight has numerous tools that can be used to great effect to gain awareness of trends, patterns, and events that will impact each of us. This deep dive explores macro level Foresight approaches.

    Afternoon Session: Public Services

    In the afternoon, representatives from Peach County's Fire Department, Law Enforcement, EMS, E911 and Courts will highlight what their organization does, its role in the community, the services it provides and why they do what they do for the citizens of Peach County. 

    Speakers will include:

    November 29, 2023 at Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG) in Atlanta
    All day trip; arrival in Atlanta for start time at 10:00AM
    Field Trip

    Private, group field trip to Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG) in Atlanta.  Participants in the Leadership Peach cohort are encouraged to car pool and allow ample time for travel.  Once at ECG's headquarters, the group will hear from industry experts to include Daryl Ingram.  He serves as a primary liaison with state and local leaders including the governor and administration, legislators, regulators, and agency officials related to the organization’s legislative, regulatory and economic and community development efforts. Daryl is responsible for the organization’s economic and community development strategy for the recruitment of new businesses to ECG communities and the State of Georgia.

    Module 7 (Morning Session)
    December 4, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Deeper Dive: The Futures Wheel
    The Futures Wheel, an important Foresight tool, will be explored in more detail. The Futures Wheel can set the stage for deeper issue awareness, new strategies, business opportunities, and/or improved resource allocation.

    Deeper Dive: Scenarios - The Four Futures
    Scenario building is a critical Foresight tool that in most cases should precede strategy development and deployment. Scenarios become the basis for building Action Plans and resource allocation to attain the organization's Preferred Future.

    Class Out Brief and Discussion
    Revisit topics covered and discuss next steps/implementation of skills learned.

    Afternoon Session: Economic Development 101

    In the afternoon, Executive Director of the Development Authority of Peach County, BJ Walker, will tie all of the previous afternoon sessions together into one, easy to understand package and discuss how economic development works in a community. 

    Topics will include:

    Module 8 (All Day)
    December 11, 2023 at the Byron Welcome Center
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    In this module, participants will work on their group project and have one-on-one coaching sessions.  Lunch will be a Meet & Greet with past presenters and an opportunity to network, socialize and connect with current leaders in Peach County.

    General Information About The Program & Answers to FAQ

    Complete, signed and dated Application and Participant Commitment deadline: August 10, 2023 (no extensions)

    If selected, non-refundable investment payment deadline: August 25, 2023 (no extensions)

    A light breakfast will be provided each morning. The class is encouraged to be at the class location by 8:30 a.m. each day to settle in, grab a bite to eat, socialize with fellow classmates and be ready for the start at 9:00 a.m. sharp

    Lunch will be provided each day along with snacks during scheduled breaks throughout the day.  If you have any dietary restrictions, please advise and submit to our office no later than September 11th, 2023.

    Field trips are optional; however, you are strongly encouraged to participate in these group activities. Facility tours of existing industry, for example, are not easily coordinated and oftentimes, these opportunities are not available to the general public.

    Homework and pre-class reading assignments are for your benefit and will augment, reinforce and prepare you for topics covered during each module.

    You will be asked to attend public meetings, e.g., City Council, County Commission, Planning & Zoning, etc.  The choice will be yours as to which one(s) you will attend. You can gain tremendous insight into the various governing bodies of Peach County by attending agency/department meetings, therefore, you are required to attend at least one of your choosing and encouraged to attend several.

    The investment for all sessions is $500.00. This investment will include light breakfast, lunch and snacks for all sessions; your Field Book, and, a copy of the book titled Dirty Hands And Busted Knuckles: A Primer for Practical Leadership by Dale Foster, Ph.D.  You are asked to bring appropriate writing materials to take/make notes.

    You will learn a LOT and come away from the program knowing more about your leadership style and your strengths (and how to apply them in your daily life) AND you will have a much clearer understanding of incredibly important topics related to your community, not to mention the focused, small-group environment where you can meet, talk to and ask questions of local, regional and state leadership.  

    There are a limited number of spots available for the 2023/2024 class so please submit as soon as possible to be considered for this round.  

    Once you complete the Application and Participant Commitment and if you are selected to participate in the program, you will be notified via email and given a list of pre-class assignments. 

    Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in the #LeadershipPeach Class of 2023/2024!

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  • SunMark Community Bank - Major Supporter of the Leadership Peach Program for 2023!
  • Leadership Terms
  • Leadership - It's About Relationships
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  • Leading People
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  • Human Element
  • Job Relations
  • Taxes and Housing
  • Housing
  • RAFB
  • Education
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  • Education
  • Education
  • Business
  • Business
  • Industry-
  • Utilities
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  • Law Enforcement
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  • Economic Impact
  • Economic Growth
  • Change
  • Leadership Peach