South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative Names Inaugural Cohort

Friday, September 8th, 2023

The South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative (SGWLI) is proud to announce the participants of its inaugural cohort of women leaders who will engage in an immersive development experience designed to create clarity of voice and intentionality for female leaders across the region.

Representing a broad cross-section of public, private and non-profit sectors, the SGWLI cohort will be a part of a seven-month program focused specifically on the needs, challenges and opportunities facing women in thirty-two counties throughout the region. With an emphasis on what is unique to female leadership, SGWLI will provide women with a platform to discuss the challenges they face in business, education, local government and non-profit management in this part of the state.

In partnership with Founding Sponsor Georgia Power Company and South GeorgiaLEADS (SGL), the South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative is proud to announce the 2023-2024 inaugural class:









Dale Rickett

Colquitt County Schools Foundation



Emily Watson

Colquitt Regional Medical Center



Tommie Beth Willis

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)



Lori Clemons Gadson

Keller Williams Realty Group



Lequrica Gaskins

City of Albany



Cicily Florence




Cindy Wisham

United Way of Southwest Georgia



Mary Crawford

Girls on the Run South Georgia



Sharah’ Denton

City of Valdosta



Kristi Hill

Valdosta Daily Times



Christie Moore

Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce



Chanel Randolph

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)



Christy Wray

Mitchell County School System



Carrie Viohl

Southern Regional Technical College



Nancy Bryan

Ruth’s Cottage and Patticake House



Melody Cowart

Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce



Cindy Evers

Alliance for Children Georgia



Dr. Audrey Luke-Morgan

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College



Dr. Tonja Tift

Tifton Urban Redevelopment Agency




Tifton Area Manager with Georgia Power, Toni Reid serves as the Chair of the SGWLI Planning & Steering Committee. She shares her enthusiasm in announcing this year’s class. “It’s exciting to see all of our planning efforts come to fruition and to know the names and faces of the women who will be starting this journey with us.” She continues, “Georgia Power strives to empower communities and enhance the capacity of individuals, businesses and nonprofits throughout our state by supporting efforts like the South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative. We believe elevating the voices of women in South Georgia will not only do just that, but it will also further enhance economic empowerment in some of Georgia’s most rural communities.”

Rob Collins, CEO/Founder of NEOS Technologies and Chair of the South GeorgiaLEADS Board of Directors, sees the program as a natural evolution of the mission of SGL. “LEADS is about building the capacity of leadership in the region. Part of doing that is supporting efforts like the South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative. We are proud to see this group of women, many of whom are alumni of the LEADS program or who have helped LEADS as it has grown in impact over the years, take this next step to facilitate growth in female leadership here in South Georgia.”

SGWLI will officially launch on September 27-28 in Albany-Dougherty County with the Opening Retreat being facilitated by Georgia Power and faculty from the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. Sessions will rotate around the region, culminating in an Empowerment Celebration during the month of March in recognition of Women’s History Month.

Planned for women by women, SGWLI will feature a Lunch ‘n Learn series during each session sponsored by Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), a community development funding institute which specializes in providing capital to small to medium sized businesses and some nonprofits.

With a lens towards female equity, the program seeks to establish a stronger network of women who can work to elevate issues around economic and social parity in South Georgia, while also creating a platform where women support women—helping them thrive in their own leadership journeys.

For more information about the South Georgia Women’s Leadership Initiative, please contact Toni Reid, Tifton Area Manager for Georgia Power and Chair of the SGWLI Planning & Steering Committee at (404) 831-4010 or at [email protected]. More information regarding SGWLI can also be found online at, or on Facebook and Instagram.