The 2017 Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum was held on August 28-29 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. The theme of the 2016 Forum was “Inspired Leadership”. The Forum is sponsored by Mr. Blanchard and The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University along with Platinum Sponsors Synovus, TSYS, and AT&T; Gold Sponsors W. C. Bradley Company, Aflac, Georgia CEO, Ledger-Enquirer, and Motion House Media.; Silver Sponsors Georgia Trend and the Georgia Chamber; and Bronze Sponsors 2WR Partners, Columbus State University Bookstore, and Liberty Utilities; and Supporter Kodak. Over 1,000 attendees joined together on Monday evening and Tuesday to hear the “best and brightest minds in the world.”
This year the speakers all have Inspired, which means literally to “breathe into.” They have inspired – breathed life and passion into – education, politics, military, technology, business, religion, and personal achievement. This year’s theme, “Inspired Leadership,” is exemplified in this group of speakers. Opening the program on Monday afternoon was Dr. Chris Markwood, president of Columbus State University, who welcomed the attendees to the event. Speakers for Monday afternoon were Georgia U.S. Senator David Perdue and former Fortune 500 CEO; General Eric J. Wesley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning; Dan Rose, Facebook vice president of partnerships; and Amy Cuddy, a New York Times best-selling author.
Octavia Spencer, an Academy Award-winning actress, headlined the 12th annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum at the dinner on Monday evening. The Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business was also presented to Chick-fil-A Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Cathy during the evening.
On Tuesday, several additional big thinkers shared their leadership strategies, successes, and failures, and the take-away lessons they’ve learned: Leadership Institute Director Shana Young and CSU Women’s Head Basketball Coach Anita Howard; Chris Conlee, author and Lead Pastor at Highpoint Church; Jim Blanchard, who had a Q&A session with Ed Helton of the CSU Leadership Institute; John O’Leary, inspirational speaker and best-selling author; Ron Clark, America’s Educator; and Bruce Pfau, partner at KPMG LLP.