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Ciara, Russell Wilson to speak at Savannah forum
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SAVANNAH -- The Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum announced today Ciara, Grammy-Award-winning singer/songwriter, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and Russell Wilson, Super Bowl Champion, entrepreneur and philanthropist will headline the speakers for this year’s Forum to be held February 27-28  at Kehoe Iron Works at Trustees Garden. 

A multi-platinum-selling superstar, Ciara has sold more than 23 million records worldwide over the course of her 17-year career. She is not only known for her vocal talent and dance moves, but she is also the founder and CEO of her own label, Beauty Marks Entertainment (BME), a company at the vanguard of the fast-changing music industry. In 2020, Ciara, along with her husband Wilson, launched The House of LR&C, a new concept in retail built upon the principles of Love, Respect, and Care, with a focus on doing good. In keeping with her entrepreneurial spirit, Ciara is the co-owner of Ten To One rum and recently launched her skincare line OAM (On A Mission) which provides clinical-level results through vitamin C.

Wilson, Super Bowl Champion and quarterback for the Denver Broncos, has not only cemented himself among the most accomplished and influential athletes of his generation, but he has also redefined the scope of the modern sports superstar through his work as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, and more. As a nine-time Pro Bowler who helped pave the way for dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL, Wilson ranks among the greatest players of his era. However, it is his commitment to his community off the field that has provided him with his most cherished experiences and memories. In 2021, Wilson was recognized with the prestigious 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year award, an honor bestowed upon one player each season in recognition of his commitment to philanthropy and community impact, as well as his excellence on the field. 

Wilson and Ciara are committed philanthropists, co-founding the Why Not You Foundation with a focus on pediatric cancer, fighting poverty and education. Since 2014, they have raised more than $10 million for pediatric cancer research. Recently, they became New York Times Bestselling authors with the release of their first children’s book “Why Not You” (Random House). Through the foundation, the Wilsons have also funded a charter school in Seattle, which opened in late 2021.

With its core mission being to include, listen, learn, act and grow, the Forum was founded to help our region break the cycle of systemic issues holding our community back from reaching its fullest potential.  The Forum brings people together for inclusive conversations to hear one another, craft solutions, and growth opportunities for all.  

This year’s theme is Expecting Excellence. 

Forum attendees include emerging, established and diverse leaders from civic groups, non-profits, neighborhoods, government, and businesses.  

In addition to Ciara and Russell Wilson, featured 2023 speakers include:

  • John O’Leary - New York Times Bestselling Author, “On Fire; The 7 Choices to Live a Radically Inspired Life” and “In Awe: Rediscover Your Child Like Wonder to Unleash Inspiration, Meaning, and Joy”

  • Lynsey Dyer - Seven-time overall winner of the extreme skiing tour/first woman to appear on the cover of Freeskier magazine/co-founder of charity 

  • John Guydon - Inspiring and Innovative Entrepreneur/Motivational Speaker/Startup Expert

  • Mashama Bailey/Johno Morisano - Partners behind Grey Spaces, which operates The Grey Market and The Grey/Co-Writers of Black, White and The Grey. which explores how two unconventional partners built a relationship and a restaurant that would inspire conversations around gender, race, class and culture.  

  • Lt. General Leslie Smith, US Army Retired/Former Inspector General of the Army/W.E. Carter Chair of Leadership, Georgia Southern University Parker College of Business.

  • Hala Moodlemog - President and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, home of the High Museum of Art. Alliance Theatre, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

  • Amelia Nickerson - CEO at First Step Staffing, a multi-market employment social enterprise company aiming to hire individuals with barriers to employment and help them take the first step to self-sufficiency.

  • Bird Blitch - Chief Payments Officer at Waystar/Started multiple technology companies/Served as an advisory board member of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology and Development Center (ATDC).

The cost for the 2023 Forum is $490 and includes access to all speaker presentations, morning coffee/beverage bars, any special events during the forum, daily snacks and beverages, and lunch on Monday and Tuesday. 

Sponsorship and scholarship opportunities are currently available. Tickets may be purchased online at:

For more information visit

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