This article appears in the October issue of 400 Life.
All around Forsyth County, particularly at schools, libraries or parks, visitors may notice unique trails, gardens or courts, such as the StoryWalk, a trail featuring pages of a children’s’ book on large displays, or a multi-sport court at Bald Ridge Boys Lodge.
Those projects are one of the undertakings of Leadership Forsyth, a group that has provided leadership training for local community leaders since 1989. Each year’s Leadership Forsyth class takes on a community project, and their fingerprints can be seen throughout the community.
“It has to be something that has a positive impact on our community, individuals can benefit from and it betters our community in some way,” said Executive Director Tammi Bramblett. “It has to fulfill a community need, not an individual need.”
Bramblett has led Leadership Forsyth for more than a decade but said the group was started by local judge Phill Bettis, who modeled the program after Leadership Georgia. Bramblett said the group “provides our county with a leadership pool, people they can pull from in times of celebration as well as in times of strife that could step up and lead, outside of our elected officials or appointed officials.”
Along with projects, during the nine-month-long program, attendees take part in weekly, day-long meetings, covering a designated topic, like schools or healthcare, each week and receive training from local university officials.
No matter what we do, we’re all in a bubble. We all have our comfort zone. We all go to work, sporting events with our families or whatnot. In this program, our goal is to stretch if not pop that bubble and help you see some many different other areas of your community and different areas you want to expose your family and friends to.”Tammi Bramblett, executive director of Leadership Forsyth
“The purpose of the program is to further develop individuals’ leadership skills, and we work with the University of North Georgia to offer master’s level leadership training and to also make individuals more aware of their community and how they can get engaged to make it a better place,” Bramblett said.
Bramblett, who was born and raised in Alabama, said she is a graduate of Leadership Forsyth’s 2006 class and thinks it is incredibly valuable to have gone through the program before leading it.
Each class, she said, is a mixed bag of who might take part.
“We have a broad diverse base of who is going to be in the program, meaning it can be native Forsythians who have lived here their entire lives or it can be someone that’s new to our community or it can be a person from corporate America, a nonprofit, it could be a volunteer, small business owner,” Bramblett said.
Bramblett said being a leader isn’t always easy but members in the program could stand to benefit from meeting those with different professions or hobbies or living in a different part of the community.
“No matter what we do, we’re all in a bubble. We all have our comfort zone. We all go to work, sporting events with our families or whatnot,” she said. “In this program, our goal is to stretch if not pop that bubble and help you see some many different other areas of your community and different areas you want to expose your family and friends to.”
With more than 800 graduates in the program and the 2020 class just getting started ahead of their May graduation, Bramblett said she considers herself lucky to work with “caring, kindhearted people” who want to improve the community.
“I have the best job in the world because I truly get to meet and work with the best of the best. The people that go through our program are just exemplary,” Bramblett said. “They really have a passion that we share for Forsyth County and a passion for leadership. I truly believe we’re all leaders. We all lead in different ways, but that doesn’t make one leader a better leader than the other, it’s just letting each other shine.”