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Economic Development Director graduates from Appalachian Leadership Institute
Betsy McGriff 1200x1500.jpg

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Betsy McGriff graduated from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Appalachian Leadership Institute this month.

According to a press release by ARC, McGriff was one of 38 fellows to graduate in the Appalachian Leadership Institute Class of 2021 on July 15. The members of the class of 2021 gathered with their friends and family, some in-person in Washington, D.C., and others virtually, for a graduation ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. 

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a leadership and economic development program sponsored by ARC. According to ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, those in the program learned valuable networking and community skills. 

“In addition to network-building, the Fellows have been hard at work over the last nine months building skills needed to help their communities thrive,” Manchin said in the release.


These skills that McGriff and the other graduating fellows learned will help them to lead well in their individual communities, according to ARC States’ Co-Chair and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. 

“The Appalachian Leadership Institute gives local leaders the tools to make their communities stronger and more resilient,” Northam said in the release. “Congratulations to the 38 graduating fellows.” 

Out of the 38 graduating fellows, McGriff was one of three representing the state of Georgia. In the nine months, she was in the class, participated in six virtual sessions involving skill-building seminars with regional experts, peer-to-peer learning, and case study analysis. All aspects of the sessions were designed to help McGriff and the other fellows create positive change in their communities. 

“I was honored to be chosen to represent Georgia as an ALI Fellow in 2021,” McGriff said in the release. “The opportunity to share with peers from around the region was truly a gift. We all came to realize that although our accents might differ, we all speak with the same voice for the improvement of our communities and preservation and promotion of this beautiful and culturally rich region.” 

With her graduation from the program, McGriff now joins 77 others as part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network. With each future class, this network will continue to grow and connect leaders from across the 13 Appalachian states.