Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum Aug. 27-28 in Columbus

A former U.S. commander in Iraq, a former U.S. senator and a management guru in the business world are among those scheduled to address the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum Aug. 27-28 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

This is the second year for the forum, which is a partnership between Synovus and Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development.

The forum’s theme this year is "Leading Change."

U.S. Army Gen. John P. Abizaid will kick off the event with a dinner address Aug. 27. He is the former commander of the U.S. Central Command where he oversaw a 27-country region from the Horn of Africa to South and Central Asia, covering much of the Middle East. Abizaid also served as deputy commander, (Forward) Combined Forces Command, U.S. Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On Aug. 28, Ken Blanchard, chief spiritual officer of Ken Blanchard Companies, will speak at 8:30 a.m. Ken Blanchard Companies is aninternational management training and consulting firm that Blanchard and his wife, Dr. Marjorie Blanchard, founded in 1979 in San Diego, Calif. Ken Blanchard is a visiting lecturer at his alma mater, Cornell University, where he is a trustee emeritus on the Board of Trustees. He isco-founder of the Center for Faith Walk Leadership, which is dedicated to helping leaders "walk their talk" in the marketplace.

Blanchard will be followed at 9:50 a.m. by former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm. He joined UBS Investment Bank as vice chairman in December of 2002 after serving 24 years in Congress, including the last 18 years as a senator from Texas. His role at UBS is focused on working with major corporate and institutional clients. As chairman of a congressional Banking Committee, Gramm fostered legislation that helped modernize banking, insurance and security laws.

Following Gramm at 10:40 a.m. will be Dr. Mark Rutland, president of both Southeastern University and Global Servants. Rutland’s 30-minute daily radio program, Herald of Joy, is heard in multiple markets. He is author of 11 books, including "Launch Out into the Deep," "TheFinger of God," "Hanging by A Thread," "Behind the Glittering Masks," "Streams of Mercy," "God the Valleys," "Dream," "Character Matters," "Power," and his latest book, "Resurrection."

Closing out the forum will be Jim Blanchard — no relation to Ken Blanchard — retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Synovus Financial Corp., a regional bankholding firm. He started with Synovus in 1970 when he was selected to be the top executive at Columbus Bank and Trust Co. He served as CEO of Synovus from 1971 until being named chairman of the board in July 2005. The executive also played an instrumental role in establishing credit-card processing firm Total System Services Inc.(TSYS) in 1983. He retired from Synovus in October 2006.

"My focus is simple – to give people an opportunity to meet and learnfrom the best leaders in the world," Blanchard said in a statement.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE The Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum will take place Aug. 27-28 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, 801 Front Ave. Cost for the forum is $249 per person and includes three meals. A guest of a registered attendee can the dinner Aug. 27 for an additional $60. For more information or to register, visit the Web at ccld.colstate.edu or call 706-568-5101.