November eNews Guest Editor, Amanda Wiggins (LT Program Director)

There is a lot more power and pressure in this article than I realized when I’ve asked many of you to be featured, write a 400ish word article and send in any photo you wanted (always adding that including your dog increases readers and engagement, shout out to Melissa VanSickle (LT 29))Anyway, here we go.

As a proud and undeniable CliftonStrengths Blue domain (shout out to Dan McGrew (LT 31)), I am filled with every emotion possible to announce to you that my family will start a new adventure in Tucson, Arizona next month to follow an incredible career opportunity my husband, Dillon, has earned. 

Each year when I speak at local high schools to recruit students for Youth Leadership Tallahassee I say, “YLT will show you your hometown in a way you have never seen. I guarantee you will have a new appreciation for Tallahassee. While that is all true, this program will show you how to be involved, successful and make a positive difference in ANY community your life path takes you to and for however long you are there.”  

I see, feel, and believe that statement now more than ever. It is because of Leadership Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce that I am confident in our decision to move across the country during the middle of a global pandemic and these “unprecedented times”.  It is because of the strong and capable community leaders who have made confidence-building statements to me that they won’t remember, but I will never forget (shout out to Jon Brown (LT 30), Brent Coughlin (LT 32), Elizabeth Emmanuel (LT 32)Sha’Ron James (LT 21), Ely Rosario (LT 35), Laura Rogers (LT 12), Sondra Timpson (LT 31) and Khanty Xayabouth (LT 28)). And we all know that I am stronger, more capable and confident because I have been empowered (her superpower) with responsibilities and opportunities by the Executive Director of this incredible organization (shouout to Barbara Boone (LT Affiliate, best boss ever))

This decision has also allowed me to reflect on the well-known saying “Talent Lives Here” (shout out to Jay Revell (LT 32)). What I now realize is that “Lives” represents more than a physical address or a state of being “Here”. The “Lives” is why a college student chooses to stay and start a family in Tallahassee. The “Lives” is how incredible professionals and community advocates can make a mark in other cities of any size.  The “Lives” is what allows the “Talent” to grow, execute, strengthen, collaborate, inspire, and succeed.  I have personally experienced this with so many of you (shout out to ALL LT Members). I will carry my time with each of you, every program day, membership event and email exchange (and Zoom call) with me to this adventure and beyond Tallahassee will forever be a part of me and my impact in whichever community I live in. 

It is important for me to shout out all of LT 32!  Thank you for going above and beyond to include and encourage me as one of your own.  It is because of you that I #csws. Yours truly, BabyBel. 

To close, this is my thank you to Leadership Tallahassee for taking a chance on a college student by adding a parttime position (shout out to Martha Olive-Hall (LT 19)), hiring her full time after graduation, and allowing her for more than six years to be a part of the best community leadership program ever. 

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