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Research Articles

Vol 24 No 1

Georgia LEADS: Exploring a Statewide Leadership Engagement Effort

February 12, 2020
May 1, 2020


In this qualitative study, we focused on a two-way model of engagement, utilizing observational and individual interview data to examine community members' perceptions of their participation in a statewide initiative to increase leadership capacity at the community level. We review barriers to engagement recognized in the literature. Our study builds upon evolving definitions and models of community engagement, and furthers our understanding of community members' own perceptions of the definition and process involved in successfultwo-way community engagement. Our findings suggest three emergent themes for community participants: (1) trust, (2) relationships, and (3) priceless value of the engagement. Involving the community members in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the initiative was a unique approach  to scaling up a statewide leadership development engagement effort, and the inclusive nature of this process enabled us to examineperceptions of engagement efforts in a single initiative across communities throughout the state of Georgia.