In the words of John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” At the June City Council meeting, the city of Kennesaw presented its new Follow the Leader award to three local leaders who personify these words. Allison Giddens, Rod Green and Ann Pratt were the first recipients of the award, which recognizes community leaders who are making a difference through their service.
Allison is the founder of The Dave Krache Foundation and part owner of Win-Tech in Kennesaw. Her dad, Dave Krache, who passed away unexpectedly at age 57, was known for his selfless generosity. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in his memory in 2012 to help kids in and around metro Atlanta play the sports they love, regardless of financial ability to afford the cost. Allison was recognized for her leadership abilities and her willingness to step up when needed in the community. She is chairwoman of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association, serves on the Chattahoochee Tech Foundation board and leads the Cobb Chamber’s Northwest Cobb Area Council. She is known for her humor and positive attitude.
Rod, co-pastor of One Church ATL, helped organize the first Kennesaw Juneteenth event in 2021 at Kennesaw First Baptist Church and planned the 2022 celebration at Swift-Cantrell Park. The event included vendors, family activities and positive interactions with community and government leaders to promote unity. Rod has impacted the city by creating a safe, open space for dialogue among all people, regardless of their background, and is working to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community. He has been described as a servant-leader who listens, shows humility, humor and empathy, and strongly serves his congregation and community through his ministry.
Ann was recognized for being the driving force behind the inclusive playground at Swift-Cantrell Park, one of the largest inclusive playgrounds in the country. She is a retired special-needs teacher and a member of the Civitan Club. As a member of the inclusive playground committee, she did not waver in her determination to have Kennesaw take the idea of a wheelchair swing and turn it into an 18,500-square-foot, fully accessible playground. Ann’s leadership qualities include patience, persistence and focus, and she constantly is thinking of the city’s best interests.
The Follow the Leader award program is a project of the inaugural class of the Kennesaw Leadership Academy. Ten young professionals, representing seven city departments, make up the academy. City officials prioritize leadership and professional development as succession-planning tools to invest in their employees’ futures. Through intentional enhancement of leadership skills and competencies, the academy strives to create a deep pool of potential candidates with wide-ranging leadership skills who are able to step into future leadership roles within the city. Participants will partner with the award recipients to volunteer their time and support.
Academy members are Lisa Bartlett, garden and education manager, Smith-Gilbert Gardens; Brittani Farmer, special events coordinator, parks and recreation; James Friedrich, assistant to the city manager; Becca Graham, communication and engagement manager, city manager; Joshua Guererro, system administrator specialist, information technology; Lt. Josh Irwin, support services, police; Sgt. Joseph Morgan, patrol, police; Sgt. Matthew Meade, patrol, police; Sgt. Philip Stroud, support services, police; and Miranda Taylor, economic development specialist.
– Nicole Smith is a public health professional living in Kennesaw with her epic houseplant collection and two senior dogs, Jax and Lily Grace.