Sixth Annual Leadership Symposium Scheduled at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

Barbara Kieker

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

On March 1, the sixth annual Gathering of Eagles will be held at Brooks Hall Conference Center on the Valdosta campus of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  The one-day leadership symposium features Bob Prosen, bestselling author of Kiss Theory Good Bye, corporate management consultant for USA Today, and monthly columnist for Jim Cramer’s, who will offer practical advice on how to become a determined and actionable leader.

"Our focus is always on practical application – it is the main area we ask our speakers to cover," said Angela Crance, special assistant to the president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and organizer of the symposium.  

"We want to ensure participants take what they learn back to the office and apply it to the appropriate situations.  We want leaders to grow both personally and professionally."

"Make It in South Georgia" – the title of the Gathering of Eagles for 2012 – will be limited to 200 attendees.  Crance believes that keeping the event small allows participants to truly engage by asking questions and have face time with speakers.

Following remarks from Bob Prosen in the morning session, the afternoon session will offer presentations from successful business leaders in southern Georgia.  Among the presenters are leaders from Langdale Industries, Georgia Olive Farms, South Georgia Pecans and Thompson Farms.

Regular admission to the symposium costs $199 and VIP admission, which includes dinner with the speakers the night before the event, costs $250.  All money goes to the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College foundation to be used for direct student assistance or program equipment.  Valdosta State University is the key sponsor of the event.  For more information or to register, call (229) 333-2121 or visit

Leadership Training is a Journey

According to Crance, the symposium was created six years ago by a committee of community leaders who were looking for a "go to" provider of leadership and business growth training.  The goal is to empower and inspire local leaders to perform at higher levels.

"We recognize that leadership training is a journey… a process that is ongoing and continually evolving," Crance said

"It has been fun to watch the younger generation view leadership differently.  For them it is more about… influencing people to create a better region for their children and grandchildren."

Valuable Connections

One of the most valuable aspects to attending the symposium is the ongoing connections and contacts participants make during the event, according to Crance.  For example, many attendees participate during the year in a leadership book club.

"Over the years, I think we have kept each other accountable and held our leadership standards high," Crance said.

"Companies are coming back year after year – relationships are richer, opportunities for partnership have developed… a lot of good character has connected with good character."


This year the Gathering of Eagles is expanding with a special half-day symposium specifically for agricultural leaders.  Scheduled for Feb. 29, the symposium will feature presentations from Georgia's Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black as well as remarks from many of the same local business leaders presenting at the March 1 event.

"We saw an opportunity to inspire people to think about how to use natural resources to increase value-added processing and create jobs in southern Georgia," Crance said.

Crance has enlisted Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Harvey's to set up booths at the event to sign up growers as direct suppliers.  She has asked the companies to make the process seamless and easy for participants.

Admission to the half-day event is $25.  The goal is to attract 50 attendees to the inaugural event.  For more information or to register, call (229) 333-2121 or visit

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.