GaForward Forum 2017

September 30, 2017



 How do we improve the state of Georgia and make life better for ALL Georgians? GaForward is on the road to accomplishing that goal. Georgia Forward is an organization whose mission is to address local community issues, make recommendations for change, and ultimately improve the state of Georgia


Kris Vaughn is the Executive Director of Georgia Forward. She heads this innovative organization on a path that brings together stakeholders, elected officials, citizens and young leaders who all are on a mission for change and improvement.  This year’s theme was Defining Georgia’s Prosperity. There were many interesting and insightful breakout sessions that explored topics such as Technology in Agriculture, Georgia’s Future Workforce, Sustainability of Georgia’s Infrastructure, and Civic Leaders: Positive Impact in Young Game changers Communities, and Young Leaders in Rural Georgia. The forum also included guest speakers who challenged the audience to take action on the many challenges the state faces. Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market President and Co-Head of the Southeast Region of Bank of America summed up the contrast of equality vs equity.  Giving people the same versus giving people what they individually need, can make a difference and further excel the process of change.



The keynote speaker Dr. Kirby Godsey, Chancellor of Mercer University, challenged the audience with his 7 principles for life.  Dr. Godsey shared that “Listening is the most basic form of respect” and that the greatest lesson one can learn is that more problems can be solved if people would do more listening rather than talking. Dr. Godsey emphasized that each one of us has an “unduplicated gift” that we must use to help others.


The Georgia Forward incorporates the Young Game Changers program.  It is a program that brings together 50 innovative minded individuals from a variety of backgrounds.  These young leaders are all under the age of 40 and are tasked with visiting communities around the state of Georgia to assist in solving some local issues.  The group collaborates and comes up with applicable ideas and recommendations for the community.  There is a 6-week application window for interested and eligible applicants. More information can be found at The future of Georgia Forward is filled with change and innovation as the organization continues to seek ways to improve the state of Georgia for ALL citizens.

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