Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 2.06.15 PM - CopyThe City of Woodstock is proud to announce that Assistant City Manager Coty Thigpen was selected as one of 45 promising professionals to serve in the GeorgiaForward 2023 Young Gamechangers (YG) program. YG is a unique leadership action program hosted by GeorgiaForward, a non-profit organization administrated by the Georgia Municipal Association. Young Gamechangers brings professionals from across the state to work on the persistent challenges of one Georgia community.

In 2023, Columbus-Muscogee County will host the Young Gamechangers. Columbus leaders have finalized their four “Challenge Questions” that the 2023 cohort will be charged to answer through the eight months they will spend developing specific, actionable recommendations for the community. These questions focus on economic development, community engagement, local entrepreneurship, and more.

"We are delighted to bring the Young Gamechanger program to Columbus after a very successful run in Dalton," said AJ Robinson, chair of GeorgiaForward’s board of directors. “This program has proven beneficial to every locale in which it has taken place, bringing new and fresh ideas to cities and counties across the state.  It is a premier leadership development opportunity which produces results on many levels.”

Since earning a Master’s in Public Administration from Kennesaw State, Coty Thigpen worked with the cities of Canton, Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs before joining the City of Woodstock in 2020. She is passionate about creating communities which inspire people to connect and works every day to make Woodstock a place where citizens are proud to live, work, and play.

“What an honor it is to be chosen to participate in the Young Gamechangers Program,” Thigpen said. “I look forward to collaborating with this undoubtedly accomplished group of young professionals from across the state to be inspired by what the City of Columbus has done and what we think it can be.”

"We can’t be more excited to host the Young Gamechangers program in the beautiful City of Columbus during a time when Columbus is experiencing the greatest momentum this city has ever seen," said Isaiah Hugley, City Manager. "We look forward to highlighting the many projects that are underway and in the pipeline over the next few years, and young people will play a huge role in what the future of Columbus will look like."

The 2023 cohort of Gamechangers will meet for the first time in the City of Columbus on April 26th, and their work will culminate with a community presentation of their findings and recommendations on October 19th.

“The professionals who participate in the Young Gamechangers Program in Columbus will bring fresh eyes and an openness to big new ideas,” said GMA CEO and Executive Director Larry Hanson. “Many of the innovative recommendations provided by past groups have shown that this fresh perspective can be a catalyst for positive, creative and thoughtful development for the host city. I am confident our next group will find great benefit from the program and leave a lasting impact on Columbus.”

Previous Young Gamechangers Host Communities are Americus-Sumter County, Dublin-Laurens County, Douglasville-Douglas County, Augusta-Richmond County, LaGrange-Troup County, Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Albany-Dougherty County, Monroe-Walton County, and Dalton-Whitfield County.

About GeorgiaForward: GeorgiaForward is a convener, connector, and unifier. We exist to unite our state, strengthen communities, and create a talent pipeline within Georgia. GeorgiaForward engages young professionals with leaders in civics, industry, government, academia, and the media to find a common vision for Georgia. The nonprofit organization, which is administered by the Georgia Municipal Association, accomplishes this by creating an environment in which vision and pragmatism can overcome political deadlock, fostering communication and goodwill among Georgia’s stakeholders, and seeking innovative solutions to Georgia’s biggest challenges. To learn more about GeorgiaForward visit, georgiaforward.org.

About the Georgia Municipal Association: Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to all of Georgia’s 537 cities. GMA anticipates and influences the forces shaping Georgia’s cities and to provide leadership, tools and services that assist municipal governments in becoming more innovative, effective and responsive. Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. For more information, visit www.gacities.com.

About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community, a Platinum Level ARC Green Community, and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award. Learn more at woodstockga.gov.