• Leadership Peach Program

    The Community Leadership Program is a leadership skills development program for emerging leaders in communities throughout the state – it is based on the 6th edition of the UGA Fanning Institute’s Community Leadership Program and has been customized to meet the needs of our community. The curriculum is divided into an opening retreat and five modules relevant to community leadership and includes a variety of activities for each session.  Each topic has a broad learning objective with specific goals. Fanning offers information that allows leaders to learn, understand, or clarify issues on a particular topic as well as apply what they have learned. The Leadership Peach Program will consist of six days of training, ranging in topics that are relevant and specific to Peach County.  Click here for morning session overview.

    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
    • 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
    • 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, gain a better understanding of themselves and their role as future community leaders and help them take proactive roles in the community.

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


    The six days/modules are as follows:

    Opening Retreat - September 13, 2022 at Massee Lane Gardens

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by The Rail Road Cafe

    This session will be an all-day kickoff event held at Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley. Participants will take a deep dive into understanding their leadership styles through a variety of exercises designed to uncover how they operate in a dynamic, people-orientated environment. Leadership style assessments will be given at the onset to identify and pinpoint skillsets. 

    Module 1 - October 11, 2022 at the Byron Welcome Center

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by Georgia Bob’s BBQ

    Morning Session: Understanding Leadership

    The morning session will focus on exploring leadership theories & styles as applied to each individual. Participants identify their own strengths and ways to enhance leadership abilities.  Lunch will be catered by Georgia Bob's.

    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

    Module 2 - November 15, 2022 at Fort Valley State University

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by The Georgia Room

    Morning Session: Communicating Effectively

    The morning session will focus on building communication skills including sending & receiving messages, developing messages for others & changing role of communication in a technologically advanced world. 

    Afternoon Session: Education & Workforce

    In the afternoon, participants will tour the campus of Fort Valley State University, hear from a panel of education experts to include Wallace Keese, Dean of Students at FVSU; Mike Pace, Executive Director for Business & Industry Training at Central Georgia Technical College and James Lassetter, CTAE Director, Peach County Schools. 

    Topics will include:

    Education & Workforce

    • Stats on Peach County workforce
    • Employment needs – employers are hiring
    • Challenges
    • Why invest in education?
    • CTAE programs and why they are important
    • Workforce
    • Industry needs
    • Pipeline from our schools

    Module 3 - December 13, 2022 at the Byron Municipal Complex

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by Drug Store Deli

    Morning Session: Making Group Decisions

    The morning session will focus on developing an understanding of group dynamics, the environments in which groups work and the skills necessary for effective decision making. 

    Afternoon Session: Industry

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

    The class will also tour local industry in Peach County (finalizing list and will update here accordingly).

    Topics will include:


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

    Module 4 - January 10, 2022 at the Peach Regional Workforce Development Center

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by Mi Ranchito

    Morning Session: Collaboration

    During this module, participants will learn about leaders’ roles in affecting successful change including the process of navigating opposition, resistance and unintended consequences. 

    Afternoon Session: Utilities

    In the afternoon, key utility partners will explain their roles in our community and discuss the importance of collaboration between the different community departments when working on together on projects.  They will outline examples through a dive into various major infrastructure projects going on in Peach County.

    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

    The class will be taking a fieldtrip to the brand new Local Bounti Greenhouse here in Peach County in the latter part of the day (time pending and will be updated here accordingly)

    Module 5 - February 14, 2022 at the Peach County Board of Commissioners office

    9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided by Creekside Catfish

    Morning Session: Leading Change

    During the morning, participants will investigate networking, coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating as tools for leaders in developing strong communities.  Lunch will be provided by Creekside Catfish.

    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:

    At the end of Module 5, there will be a graduation celebration to commemorate the inaugural class of Leadership Peach!  Details are a surprise!

    A light breakfast will be served each morning and the class is encouraged to be at the 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 (as outlined within each Module description) along with snacks during scheduled breaks throughout the day.  If you have any dietary restrictions, please advise and submit to our office by September 10th, 2022.

    The investment for all sessions (which include a light breakfast, lunch and snacks each day) is $500.00.  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 2022/2023 class so please submit as soon as possible to be considered for this round.  Once you complete the application and are selected to participate in the program, a more detailed schedule will be provided along with a list of pre-module reading assignments, dietary restriction needs requests and shirt size information (for your team spirit shirt!).

    Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in the #LeadershipPeach Class of 2022/2023!