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Berrien, Cook Chambers announce LINC graduation

Twenty-three participants from Berrien and Cook Counties have recently graduated from the inaugural class of LINC (Leadership in Neighboring Communities).  

The group was joined by special guest speaker State Representative Penny Houston to mark the occasion.  

LINC is a partnership between neighboring communities to provide a leadership program for developing and sustaining leadership in our region. This program uses the University of Georgia Fanning Institute Community Leadership Program which has a proven track record of success. Embedded in this curriculum is the belief that people must continuously develop their skills and knowledge to be effective leaders.  

“On behalf of the Adel-Cook and Berrien County Chambers, we congratulate the 2022-2023 class of LINC!  Reflective of the diversity of our region, we have professionals from a wide range of sectors including medical, K-12 education, local government, financial institutions, utilities, agricultural, entrepreneurs and more. This diversity of experiences and mindsets have made an engaging and productive class,” says Heather Green, Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce President. 

During the graduation ceremony, UGA’s Elizabeth Lutz offered special recognition to Cook County’s Charles Shiver. “On behalf of the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, I want to congratulate Mr. Charles Shiver on completing the Leadership in Neighboring Communities Program as the inaugural Nancy Shepherd Lesser Rural Leader in Print Media,” Mrs. Lutz said. 

“Established in 2020 with a charitable gift to the University of Georgia Foundation, the Nancy Shepherd Lesser Fund for Rural Leaders in Print Media supports the participation of newspaper reporters in rural Georgia in local community leadership programs,” Mrs. Lutz said. “Created by Fanning Institute for Leadership Development board member Craig Lesser, to honor his wife Nancy, this fund reflects the institute’s mission to strengthening communities, organizations, and individuals through leadership development, training, and education.

“Mr. Shiver will be recognized on a plaque listing the Nancy Shepherd Lesser Fund recipients in the J.W. Fanning Building at the University of Georgia. I would like to extend special thanks to Mr. Shiver for his service to his community and his commitment to engaging as a community leader in Cook and Berrien counties.”

LINC’s comprehensive program consisted of six modules intended to give new and emerging leaders a foundation for leadership development.  A typical day of LINC training included one of the six module presentations in the morning, lunch, and then spending the afternoon on various community visits designed to reinforce that morning’s lesson. Class sessions rotated between Berrien and Cook Counties each month to allow participants to see what each community has to offer. 

Representing Berrien and Cook Counties, the desire to engage and proactively address the issues facing South Georgia is a consistent passion of this year’s class.  At a time when leadership is critical in all communities, we are proud to announce the graduates of this year’s class.

The 2022-2023 LINC class is as follows:

Selena Brady, SGMC Berrien/Lanier Campuses; Jay Carmichael, Tift Regional/Southwell Medical; Sara Carter, Berrien Chamber; Stephen Chammoun, Magistrate Court of Cook County; Ashley Covington, Legacy Realtors; Dana David, Downtown Adel Main Street; Rebekah Ditto, Hall Booth Smith, PC; Joseph Ditto, Pixel Point, LLC; Jake Ford, Bayer Crop Science/JFord Farms; Robby Hastings, Georgia Power Co.; Carrie Fuches, Custom Ag Formulators; Ashli McDaniel, Brent Dixon-State Farm Insurance; Tyler McMillian, Houston & Associates; Tim Meeks, Berrien County Schools; Matt Moody, Georgia Power Co.; Melissa Moore, Renasant Bank; Courtney Norman, The Trust Bank; Amber Payne, Reed Bingham State Park; Becky Ratts, Cook County Board of Education; Charles Shiver, Adel News Tribune; Rodrick Smith, D.A.D.’s; Thomas Williams, Williams Investment Co.; and Shane Willis, BASF. 

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