Leadership Development

Chamber Champions

Chamber Champions Youth Leadership program is an initiative targeting second semester sophomores. Participants are chosen based on a list of criteria set forth by the Workforce Development division. The youth initiative keeps a similar focus as the chamber, which is private sector support, growth, and jobs. In preparing students for the private sector, the initiative provides educational and hands-on experience to expose students to these realms. Area business men and women are involved and help host and/or teach the modules which include Self-Presentation &  Customer Service Training, Time & Stress Management and Robert’s Rules of Order, Personal and Business Finance, How to Start a Business, Marketing a Business and a Product , and Higher Education Exposure.

  • Targeted to 20 students from both public and private schools
  • The program will meet once a month from 9am – 2pm
  • Students begin in the second semester of their sophomore year
  • Program wraps up in the first semester of their junior year
  • Summer months used to earn community hours required for graduation

For complete Program information, CLICK HERE

Advancing Sumter

Advancing Sumter Leadership Institute is a collaboration between the Chamber and  Sumter Archway Partnership, providing curriculum-based leadership skills training utilizing materials from the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.


Advancing Sumter is a community-based leadership development program. It is focused on equipping citizens with skills to enable them to be future leaders in our community through their churches, homes, jobs, civic organizations, appointed board positions and possibly elected capacity. A curriculum from the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development is used by local, trained professionals to educate others.


Advancing Sumter is targeted to a wide array of individuals in our community. The overall goal is to educate citizens who plan to remain in our community. Therefore, no restrictions will be placed on age, gender, or educational attainment. Recruitment and selection will be geared toward ensuring a diverse group of citizens participate.  Advancing Sumter begins annually each January.


Advancing Sumter works with local community partners for meeting locations. These include South Georgia Technical College, Georgia Southwestern State University, and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. The participants will meet on a weekly basis, with each of the four months being hosted at various locations in the community to expose participants.


A team of local individuals initially gathered through the Sumter Archway Partnership and now referred to as the Advancing Sumter Board will provide oversight and support staff to the effort. This team will serve in a board capacity, with plans to rotate board membership to ensure diversity and accurate community representation.


The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, University of Georgia: The Institute has created a curriculum of modules designed to develop knowledgeable, skilled, committed and action-oriented community leaders. The Institute provides varying opportunities for participation, which include Train-the-Trainer, the option selected by Advancing Sumter. Twenty-four community members participated in the training, and will now serve as the facilitators for future sessions. Along with the facilitators, local leaders who address these topics on a daily basis will supplement each module. The module topics include: Understanding Community Leadership, Effective Communication, Valuing Community Diversity, Group Dynamics, Conducting Successful Meetings, Group Problem Solving and Decision Making, Managing Conflict, and Building Communities through Partnerships and Collaboration.

For the Curriculum-Based Leadership Training Flyer, CLICK HERE

For the Advancing Sumter Application, CLICK HERE

Guided by the belief that leadership is key to economic success and that those communities that embrace leadership development gain an inherent competitive advantage, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia have partnered to create GeorgiaLEADS. The program will ultimately ensure a continuum of leadership development opportunities at the youth, adult and regional levels throughout our state.

GeorgiaLEADS will work with selected communities and regions throughout the state using a one to three year leadership planning and implementation process facilitated by experts from the Fanning Institute and in partnership with a committed group of existing community leaders, including local chambers of commerce. A comprehensive needs assessment will determine what kinds of programs are needed in each particular community in order to ensure a continuum of opportunity for youth, college students, young professionals, emerging leaders, retirees and even established leaders looking to create broader community impact. The initial goal is to pilot the GeorgiaLEADS program in 10 communities and two regions, starting in 2015. Sumter County is one of the ten pilot communities.

Locate South GeorgiaLEADS

Locate South GeorgiaLEADS (LSGL) is a 8-month leadership experience for leaders throughout South Georgia designed to facilitate awareness of issues that are essential to the future success of the region by giving participants the necessary skills and training needed to effectively lead South Georgia in the 21st Century economy. LSGL links regional site visits and issue awareness to relevant leadership development content within the framework of the Locate South GeorgiaLEADS priorities. Emphasizing regional priorities throughout the program, each session directly links leadership skills training to issues of critical importance to South Georgia: ·

  • Regional Identity & Influence Includes creating a regional brand and identity for South Georgia that is recognized internally as well as externally, enhancing both perception and influence of the region across the State.
  • Workforce Development Includes the strategic alignment of public and private sectors-business, industry, and educational partners-to address key workforce development needs and challenges; and to increase the economic viability of South Georgia.
  • Collective Visioning & Planning Includes developing leaders who understand the changing South Georgia economy and culture; and recognize why it is essential to both think and act within a global context, working collaboratively to ensure the region's success.

The purpose of Locate South GeorgiaLEADS is to develop informed, aware, and educated leaders to promote and grow South Georgia by: ·

  • Increasing awareness of assets and resources
  • Creating a shared sense of regional pride and ownership in both action and solutions
  • Strengthening partnerships and alliances·
  • Enhancing political influence and acuity to support the needs and opportunities of South Georgia.

For additional information, CLICK HERE.