Chambliss welcomes county's new leaders

By Justin Reedy

One of Georgia's U.S. senators on Tuesday night addressed a group that might just include his successor.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., delivered the keynote address to this year's graduating class of Leadership Clayton, a leadership development program for local residents and businesspeople.

"To complete (this program) is a real honor," Chambliss told the 23 graduates of Leadership Clayton, who had gathered at Clayton College & State University in Morrow. "I know that you're the folks who will be the county commissioners or city councilmen of your communities. Maybe there's even a congressman or senator here tonight."

The senator praised the importance of learning leadership skills for any profession, whether for business, politics or any other field.

"Just because you're not the type of person who provides leadership at the top, just by being part of the process you're providing leadership," Chambliss said. "It's the people who really get the work done who show that they're the true leaders."

Leadership Clayton is a leadership development program run by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce in coordination with CCSU. Since it was started in 1972 the program has had more than 700 graduates.

The leadership program can be a great help to those who complete it, according to Deb Salter, one of this year's graduates. Salter works in the pre-kindergarten program for the Clayton County school system.

"I loved it," Salter said. "I thought it was excellent. Making the contacts was great, and we learned a lot about the community."

Like the other Leadership Clayton graduates, Salter worked on a community development project as part of the course requirements. Her project n one that will be continued by future classes because of its scope n dealt with getting more youth recreational facilities in the community.

Going into the Leadership Clayton program is difficult, according to Chamber President Shane Moody, who graduated from it two years ago. It requires giving up time to work on community projects and foster contacts in the county, and can often be stressful, he told the graduates.

"Welcome to the world of leadership," he concluded. "It's not a world to take lightly."