Lifelong resident and city Alderman-at-Large Brandy Blanton has been selected as this year’s recipient of Leadership Franklin’s Caroline J. Cross Award, honoring the founding executive director of the organization.

The announcement was made as Leadership Franklin began its 24th program year Aug. 27. Blanton is an alumnus of the nonprofit that was founded in 1996 to develop leadership and community engagement to further a vision for Franklin and Williamson County.

Currently the director of development at High Hopes Development Center, Blanton has been involved in the community as a volunteer, elected official, entrepreneur and member of the media with her creation of Southern Exposure Magazine. Among her volunteer activities are board member for Leadership Franklin, Franklin Tomorrow, Franklin’s Charge, the Williamson County Library Foundation, Williamson County Homeless Alliance and the Franklin Public Arts Commission.

“Brandy is deeply involved in the fabric of our nonprofit life — building on community, making lives better,” said Leadership Franklin Board Chair Julian Bibb. “She has brought her skills to the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman (elected in 2011), and because of her dedication to her granddaughter Ellie G, she saw a means to help other families and joined High Hopes as its development director.”

The Caroline J. Cross Award is an ongoing award that identifies a leader in the community who exemplifies the values and lessons of Leadership Franklin. This award was created as the class project by Dan Klatt, Charles Pareigis, Chris Clausi and Blanton in 2007. Criteria for nomination include leadership that motivates and inspires other individuals along with traits of creativity, character, dedication and community service. Each year’s class submits nominations and selects an individual who makes a true impact in the community.

Past recipients of the award are (LFA: Leadership Franklin Alumnus) Jimmy Gentry, Rogers Anderson (LFA), Julian Bibb III (LFA), Scott Roley (LFA), Janet Keck, Alma McLemore (LFA), Rick Warwick, Emily Magid, Paige Pitts (LFA), Dr. Joseph Willoughby, Mary Mills and Judy Hayes.

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