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Moving JD Forward

There are always issues and problems that can keep us up at night. After praying and giving thanks to God for my children and family each night, I pray for my job, my work family and the community that I am so proud to help move forward each day – Hazlehurst and Jeff Davis County. Every night I try to ask myself, “What did I do to help my community today?”
My answer differs from day to day. One day it may be helping a Chamber member by helping them promote their business in some way. One day it may be celebrating an expanding business that is creating new jobs, which means people can buy a house, feed their family and live the American dream. One day it may be something as simple as picking up trash to make the community more attractive to visitors.
One of our goals at the Chamber of Commerce is to grow leaders – leaders who have a vision for the community. Our elected officials at the local and state level do a great job, but they won’t be here forever. This is one of the many reasons we are starting a local leadership program called JD Forward. One of my favorite quotes by John F. Kennedy is, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I believe that educating our future leaders in the community’s key assets and challenges will help us to build a better community.
JD Forward will kick off in January 2019 with eight sessions, one held each month through August. The first class will be facilitated by Georgia EMC and will focus on teambuilding. One of the greatest parts of classes like this are the bonds that are formed amongst the participants. You really do build life-long friendships with your fellow classmates.
The second session in February will be an overnight trip to Atlanta to the State Capitol and the Georgia Department of Economic Development in midtown where we will learn about how the state helps market our community for economic development. Participants will also hear from several legislators who will explain the law-making process.
Other sessions will focus on local issues and how participants can help better our community. Local industries will be highlighted in the March session while the April session will focus on workforce development and education. Other classes will focus on transportation, infrastructure, local government and leadership, and public safety and healthcare. All of these pieces of the puzzle affect economic development as a whole.
We hope to have about 15 participants in the JD Forward Class of 2019. Nominations are currently being accepted for the program. The class will cost $500 per person. Scholarships are available. One of the scholarships is being sponsored by the Joint Development Authority of Jeff Davis County, Hazlehurst and Denton. Applications for the sponsorship are available at the Chamber of Commerce office.
If you would like more information, please contact me at 912.327.0830 or

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