(SOUTHEAST GA): Leadership Southeast Georgia (LSEGA), a professional development and leadership program in 10 coastal counties, has added five local business and community leaders from the region to serve on the board of directors and is pleased to announce its executive committee for the 2023-2025 cycle. Spanning such diverse industries as education, marketing, banking, business consulting, civil engineering, manufacturing, philanthropy, and human resources, the LSEGA executive committee and board of directors guide and refine the five-month program that connects and inspires leaders to improve the quality of life in the Southeast Georgia region.
The new LSEGA board members include:
Scott Allison, a 2018 graduate of LSEGA, is the Director of Planning and Development for Coleman Company, a civil engineering, land surveying, and planning firm based in Savannah, Ga. Prior to joining Coleman Company in 2022, Allison served a dual role as Assistant City Manager/Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of Richmond Hill, Ga. Scott has also served as the Director of Planning and Economic Development for Garden City, Ga. and in private sector consulting as a project manager in Metro Atlanta.
Karen Bogans, a 2022 graduate of LSEGA, has served as the Communications Manager at International Paper’s mill in Savannah, Ga. for more than 13 years. She also sits on boards for the Economic Opportunity Authority (EOA), where she serves as Board Chair; Second Harvest Food Bank, where she serves as Board Secretary; Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA); and The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.
Peyton Fuller, a 2022 graduate of LSEGA, is the Senior Accountant and Grants Manager for the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners. He also served as Leadership Bulloch Chairperson and President of the Leadership Bulloch Alumni Association. Peyton is a past member of the Statesboro Jaycees, serving in various leadership positions. He currently serves as Board Chair for the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau and a Board Member for United Way of Southeast Georgia.
Krystal McGee, a 2018 graduate of LSEGA, is the COO of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, overseeing 10 branches in eight counties. Prior to serving at the YMCA, she was employed by the U.S. Army where she served military families, civilians, and soldiers. McGee held several positions in Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, and was also the Health Promotion Director for the Army’s Physical Fitness School where she created the Army’s Civilian Fitness program and the Soldier’s Pregnancy Fitness program.
Maria Whitfield, a graduate of the 2020-2021 LSEGA class, is the Director of Workforce for the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority. She has worked in Human Resources for nearly three decades. During that time, she has gained extensive experience in her tenure, working with several local startup international manufacturing companies. Whitfield has also worked for the Department of Defense in Germany.
LSEGA executive committee members are current board members and graduates of LSEGA who have been elected to take a more involved role within the program. The newly elected executive committee members include:
Kendria Lee – Board Chair
Lee, a 2017 graduate of the program, formerly served as the LSEGA Treasurer and served as chair for the class nominations and selection committee. She was also a 2019 program manager for Bulloch County. In her professional life, Lee is the Deputy Chief of Staff at Georgia Southern University. She also serves on the boards of Goodwill Southeast Georgia, Junior Achievement Savannah, and Synovus (Statesboro).
Stephanie Dammen-Morrell – Vice Chair
After graduating from the program in the Class of 2018, serving as a Secretary to the organization, and as the program manager chair, Dammen-Morrell has now been named Vice Chair. She currently works as the Director of Marketing for Hussey Gay Bell, a Savannah architecture firm. She also serves on the ACEC-GA Engineering Georgia Magazine Editorial Board, is a SAME Savannah Post Vice President and Board Member, a GEDA Member and Marketing SIG Chair, and a Senior Citizen’s, Inc. Board Member.
Patton Dugas – Secretary
A 2015 graduate of the LSEGA program, Dugas is has been named Secretary for the program. He is currently the Market President at Truist Bank. He was a Savannah Magazine “Next Generation Rising Star” in 2013, has partnered with World Trade Center Savannah and served on the boards of UGA Small Business Development Center, March of Dimes, and Metropolitan Savannah Rotary.
Leia Dedic – Treasurer
A 2016 LSEGA graduate, Dedic has been a board member since 2021 and has been named Treasurer. In her professional life, she is the Managing Consultant for Strategy and Business Transformation at Guidehouse, a business consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Dedic also serves on the boards of Employability, SBAC, Parent University, and Junior Achievement Savannah.
Jared Downs – Immediate Past Chair
Downs, a Class of 2015 graduate, assumes the title of the immediate past chair on the executive committee. He currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah. Previously, Downs served as the Southeast Georgia Regional Director for U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. He served as the Senator’s top representative in a 48-county area with more than 1.6 million constituents for 12 years. Jared held the same position for U.S. Senator Zell Miller and the late U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell.
“I am honored to be named Board Chair for the 2024 Leadership Southeast Georgia program. Having graduated from the program myself, I know the benefits of this experience. It can open doors to personal growth and make a real difference in our community. The executive committee and I are ready to greet the Class of ’24,” said new Board Chair Lee.
“I’m even more excited about the new board members we’ve selected. They have a broad range of professional skills and come from such a wide variety of industries. I know the Class of ’24, as well as all of us at LSEGA, can learn a lot from their perspective,” Lee added.
ABOUT LEADERSHIP SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
Leadership Southeast Georgia is a five-month, region-wide program designed to equip, empower, and connect community leaders to most effectively advance positive growth and improve the quality of life in the southeast Georgia region. The executive board and program participants represent a variety of industries across Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties. From February through June, the class spends two to three days a month traveling to surrounding counties exploring regional issues such as healthcare, education, natural resources, economic development and transportation. For more information, visit lsega.com.