It’s Time to Lead
for our Coast!

Conference Workshops:

Panels, Interactive Workshops, and More

Save The Date | 4th Annual Choosing to Lead conference
March 7, 2020 | Jekyll Island, GA

Interested in attending Choosing to Lead? Visit our 2019 conference webpages to see what you can expect.

Schedule | RegistrationSpeakers | Field Trips | Sponsorships | Scholarships


We’re excited to have lined up workshops with topics ranging from advocacy to art to wildlife. There is an exciting youth-only track for students interested in becoming a leader for our coast.
Session 1 Workshops (10:00 am – 11:15 am

Mission-Driven Writing • Room 102: Every writer – fiction writers, essayists, journalists, and poets – is driven to the page by personal experiences and convictions. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll talk about how to create a mission-driven writing life and harness your passion and expertise to effect change. We’ll cover how to create compelling work, especially writing that addresses the natural world, and distribute it for maximum impact. This class is appropriate for all writing levels; beginners welcome. Workshop Leader: Megan Mayhew Bergman

Sea Levels Are Rising and So Are We • Room 103: Even without considering politics, sea level rise is an overwhelming problem. The extent to which coastal communities all over America are struggling with this issue varies from basic acknowledgement to spending millions of dollars to invest in projects to keep people and property out of harm’s way. During this skill-building workshop, participants will learn from two community leaders about messaging and campaign-building strategies that help citizens and elected officials identify and implement sea level rise adaptation strategies in their own communities. Workshop Leader: Jill Gambill, UGA MAREX

Make a Difference at Any Age: Ways to Help Our Coast (Youth Track) • Room 104: Join us as we learn that no matter what your age, you can make a difference. This hands-on workshop for students will explore current issues affecting Georgia’s coast and how those issues impact the animals that call our coast home. You’ll discover simple, everyday actions to take and how these small choices add up to make a big impact on the world around us. Workshop Leaders: Kristy Burja and Stephanie Chewning

Tourism can Kill the Coast, or Save It: Here’s How to Tame the Two-Edged Sword • Room 105: Protecting the destination is often an afterthought in the business of tourism. Yet, in a place as unique and diverse as Georgia’s 100-mile coast, preservation must be incorporated into our business plans. What’s more, preservation can be presented as a unique selling point, one that can attract the most desirable tourists and prove the value of caring for the coast. Join international thought leader Jonathan Tourtellot of the Destination Stewardship Center (a program he founded at National Geographic) for an inspiring session on how we can develop new ways of promoting and preserving the wonders of Georgia’s coast. Workshop Leader: Jonathan Tourtellot, Destination Stewardship Center

Eradicating Plastic • Room 106: Plastic pollution is the largest pollution problem facing our planet’s water. In fact, in many places, microplastics can be found in tap water. Concerned citizens everywhere have different approaches to tackling the plastic crisis, and this panel is made up of individuals who are successfully addressing the problem in their own ways. Attendees of this panel discussion will leave inspired and filled with new ideas about how to work within their communities for a cleaner, plastic-free coast. Workshop Leaders: Truck Carlson, Emily Cedzo, and Sean Russell 

Session 2 Workshops (1:00 pm – 2:15 pm)

Taking Flight: Citizen Science for Shorebird Conservation • Room 102: The Georgia coast provides unparalleled habitat for shorebirds throughout the  year. Whether during nesting season when American Oystercatchers and Wilson’s Plovers raise chicks on our barrier island beaches, or during the spring and fall when migrating shorebirds like Red Knots stop to rest and refuel on their journeys, Georgia’s coast is pivotal to shorebird survival. Despite the incredible resources found here, shorebirds are one of the most imperiled groups of birds. Population declines have been documented for the majority of shorebird species. Learn more about their plight and how nonprofit organizations like Manomet are building networks to address the significant conservation challenges these birds face, as well as opportunities for you to get involved to help with this international conservation effort. Workshop Leader: Abby Sterling, Manomet

Creating Effective Campaigns from the Ground Up • Room 103: Sometimes our largest barriers exist because we fail to understand the audience we need to reach. It’s often said that you have to meet your audience where they are, but before the rendezvous, serious research needs to be done to ensure the right group is being targeted. Chandra Brown is an expert in strategy development, decision-maker lobbying, and connecting grassroots and grass-tops with messages and tools to help them communicate effectively with decision-makers. Workshop participants will leave with a better understanding of how to build an efficient, effective campaign that directly targets and influences the people who hold the keys to their desired outcome. Workshop Leaders: Chandra Brown, Consultant, Influence Advocacy LLC  

Sea Level Rise: An Ecological Concept Expressed in Manipulated Photographs • Room 104: Learn how one artist developed a body of work to express her concern about changes, present and future, on Georgia’s coast as a result of sea level rise. Explore creativity theories and process as we discuss how ideas are generated and then collaborate to begin planning your own work in simple artist’s books to take with you. Participants don’t need drawing skills or camera equipment more sophisticated than a cell phone. Workshop Leader: Paula Eubanks

Build a Coalition, Increase your Impact • Room 105: Coalitions can be tricky. It’s often easier just to work alone. But those who work alone rarely experience the successes that are possible through coalition work. Coalitions help organizations build power, diversify their message, and get more done. This diverse panel of advocacy experts will share stories about how the coalitions in which they work have achieved outcomes no one ever thought possible. Despite their different stories, they all agree: it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Workshop Leaders: Hamilton Davis, Jessica Diaz, Kate McGregor Mosely, Shelby Buso

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out? (Youth Track) • Room 106: In response to Dr. Seuss’ question, several young members of the coastal community will share their stories of finding ways to act on their passion for our coast. Their inspirational efforts are making the world a better place for all of us! Workshop Leaders: Hannah Bonvechio, Rylee Maxwell, and Samarra Mullis, Moderated – Atiba Mbiwan

Session 3 Workshops (3:00 pm – 4:15 pm)

Checklist for Changing The Word • Room 102: Do you have an idea to solve a community problem, but no idea what to do with it or where to start? Megan Desrosiers has launched hundreds of action projects and has jump-started no fewer than five successful non-profit organizations, including One Hundred Miles. This workshop will help participants understand how to develop an idea, ask the right questions, and stay focused on solving the problem you set out to solve. From garnering support for projects to building a budget and identifying the right people to get the job done, this workshop will help participants harness their own ideas to change the world! Workshop Leader: Megan Desrosiers, CEO of One Hundred Miles

Using the Power of the Past to Influence The Future • Room 103 : In this workshop, Dorinda Dallmeyer will take a deep dive into Georgia’s past, introducing attendees to significant people, places, and events that have made Georgia’s coast what it is today. Attendees will not only find inspiration in the stories but will learn innovative ways of channeling the power of our coast’s history and culture to meet today’s challenges and influence their own course of action. Workshop Leader: Dorinda Dallmeyer

Empowered for Action! (Youth Track) • Room 104: To ensure a sustainable future for our blue planet, it is imperative that young people take the lead in protecting local ecosystems. During this engaging workshop, you’ll reflect on the marine conservation challenges facing Georgia’s coast and develop an action plan for your own project or campaign to address these issues. Working alongside your peers you’ll identify a coastal conservation issue of interest, develop a solution to address this challenge in your community, plan out your project goals, and create the actions steps to successfully implement your project. You’ll also outline a project budget and fundraising needs, a communication strategy, and a plan to evaluate the impact of your work. After this session you’ll be equipped with your own blueprint for leading your peers and community members to take action! Workshop Leader: Sean Russell

Finding Your Purpose • Room 105: 
During this entertaining presentation, sociologist and author Bertice Berry, Ph.D., discusses the foundation for living a purposeful life at home, at work and in the community. Dr. Berry combines her expertise in the areas of diversity and organization with humor to discuss the issues of doing more with less, balancing your life, and staying focused on achievement, even when the odds are against you. Because “Finding Your Purpose” means finding your place to serve, Dr. Berry emphasizes the need for individuals to recognize their full potential in every area of their life. “When you walk in purpose, you collide with destiny,” Berry says. Participants will leave this session with a sense of renewal and commitment to life, family and work. You’ll laugh, think, and feel, but most of all, you’ll leave much differently than you came. Workshop Leaders: author Dr. Bertice Berry, Sociologist and Author