Leadership Focus is written by Deke Copenhaver, Principal with Copenhaver Consulting LLC. The former mayor of Augusta, a triathlete, writer and runner, Deke is focused on transforming great ideas into great actions.
Last summer I was contacted by Advantage|Forbesbooks about the potential for me to write a book. To be perfectly honest, I thought the email was a joke or a scam and I almost deleted it. However, curiosity got the best of me and a meeting was arranged. My first question to their team during our first conversation was naturally “How did you find me?” As it turns out they have a team who does internet-based research to find potential authors who are creating content on par with the Forbes brand. So, a large part of my journey to becoming a published author started with my friends at GMA publishing this monthly column. In the end, I’m sure glad I didn’t hit delete and my first book “The Changemaker: the Art of Building Better Leaders,”
will have its national release on May 28.
I recently returned from an Authority Insiders conference held in Denver for Advantage|Forbesbooks authors from around the nation. During the conference I had the opportunity to meet and have conversations with individuals authoring books on a wide variety of fascinating topics. When the topic of my book, how to be successful in local politics through positive unifying leadership and inspiring a community to believe in itself, came up, I explained for my new friends my firm belief that positive political change in our nation must start at the local level. To a person everyone I met expressed extreme frustration with the current state of hyper-partisan politics in our nation and many said they hoped that my book would spark a movement.
During my time in office and since returning to the private sector, I have had the opportunity to work with and be inspired by true public servants throughout our state, many of whom are active with GMA. In all honesty, my experience in working with GMA during my time as mayor, and continuing with a wonderful relationship out of office, has underscored my belief that the work of local governments is simply where the rubber meets the road in our nation. I also believe that the work being done by local governments to improve the lives of the citizens they serve throughout this nation is now more important than ever.
Throughout my life, I’ve developed a love of cities that I know people involved with the GMA share. Each city is unique, they can be a bit unwieldy at times, and they all face issues to be overcome, but there is a reason why the citizens we serve choose to call them home. It has always been my hope that I can use life lessons learned during my nine years in office to help cities everywhere. I believe Advantage|Forbebooks has given me a wonderful platform to do just that. Hopefully, it will also inspire a new generation of leaders to consider offering themselves for public service along the way.
To all my dedicated friends who are working diligently every day to make cities throughout our state all that they can be, thank you for what you do and please know how much it is appreciated.