March 2023 eNews Guest Editor, Vicki Bradley (LT 39)

There’s a phrase you might have heard before: BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. For me, it’s not just a catchy saying, but how I’ve chosen to live my life here in Tallahassee. So much so that those words are planted on the wall right outside my office door.  

I moved to Tallahassee in 2019, after what was one of the most challenging times in my life. There was the sudden death of a family member, a crumbling marriage, and a desire to do nothing more than just exist. Thank God, I made it on to the other side. My goal when I came here was to stay for a year and move on to the next opportunity. For those who do not know, I lead the news team at WTXL ABC 27 in the role of News Director. In news, you are constantly moving, constantly working your way up from one market to another. So, it’s natural to come to a smaller market like Tallahassee and think it’s just a stop along the way to something great. I never imagined that my something GREAT would be right here!  

I applied for Leadership Tallahassee because I had a desire as a news director to learn more about the communities we cover.  To know me is to know that one of the things I enjoy the most about my job is the ability to positively impact the lives of others. At times, that’s done through bringing awareness about an issue. Other times, it’s through our community work: helping improve literacy rates through free book fairs at Title I schools, and our partnership with the Second Harvest to help feed families in the Big Bend. I was not prepared for all the other AMAZING things I would gain through my LT journey.  

To talk about my LT experience, I must talk about a tough time for my class. Our classmate Bill Kimberl’s wife, Melanie, died suddenly early in our year. This was heartbreaking and still very much is today. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. It was this tragedy that showed me that our LT 39 Class was bonded for life. It was through my own personal health challenges that I really got to see what kind and caring souls I was surrounded by. This LT 39 Class is made up of some of the most brilliant, hardest-working people in this city. Tallahassee is so much better because of people like them. Outside of my class, I continue to meet incredible people who have gone through this program…Many who I feel blessed to call my friends today. Many who I admire. Many who inspire me to continue to push myself to be my absolute best in all that I do. 

Now, as LT Class 40 prepares to wrap their year, we’re in the search for leaders who are making a difference in communities across Leon County. I jumped at the opportunity to be Recruitment Chair for Class 41, because I know just how powerful and life-changing this journey can be. There’s really something special about each program day and how it opens your eyes, heart and mind to a better understanding of the challenges many face in our communities. The experience also opens the door to allow us to celebrate the AWESOME things happening around us, that we might not otherwise have known about without LT.  

My hope for anyone who is reading this that is unsure about Leadership Tallahassee, is that you will consider giving LT a try. Forget all the things you heard about who Leadership Tallahassee is looking for and look at all the reasons why you are who we need in our next Class. 

If you are one of the lucky ones like me, who has been fortunate enough to go through this journey… I leave you with these three things: 

  • Hold on tight to those lessons learned from each program day through your year.  
  • Keep your classmates close and cherish those relationships forever.  
  • Never stop looking for ways to keep growing and positively impacting the lives of people around you.  

The most beautiful things can happen when you allow yourself to BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.  

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