Community Development Services

Professional Facilitation

Facilitation helps groups work more efficiently and minimize common problems people have when working together. Georgia EMC’s team of professional facilitators help groups determine what needs to be accomplished, who needs to be involved, the design, flow and sequence of tasks, work to maintain and read group energy, momentum and capability.

  • SWOT Analysis:
  • Often a component of Strategic Planning for any organization, looking at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats is a great way to get a benchmark of where you are. It’s hard to know where you’re headed without knowing where you are starting.


  • Community & Economic Development Summit:
  • Community Summits can be used to get information out and gather input and concerns from the citizenry. Controversial issues can be better managed if information is offered up front to the public; a community summit can head off potential problems later. Communities that communicate are the ones that are most successful.

Strategic Planning Services

Strategic Planning can help your community help itself; find out what your community is all about and plan the direction you want it to go for the next 2-5 years; and develop a vision that can effectively be used in marketing your community. Our team has found that effective planning builds teamwork and consensus, gathers support from key leadership as well as the naysayers, and plays a direct, proactive role in building the community that your children will inherit.

  • Board Retreats for Chambers Of Commerce, Development Authorities, and Community Organizations
  • Does your organization know where it is headed? Does your organization take a leadership role in promoting community unity and planning for the future? Does it need a road map? An annual Program of Work planning session can help any organization set priorities on what it would like to get done in the coming year(s).


  • Visioning
  • The foundation of successful community building is having an inspiring vision of the future. Let our trained facilitators take your group through a visioning process that will help you see and sell the future.


  • Mission and Vision Statements Development
  • Does your organization have a Mission Statement or a Vision Statement? Our trained facilitators can help you draft or refine a Mission, Vision or Statement of Purpose that will help your organization focus on its prime activities AND gather support!

Leadership Development

Followers are looking for leaders with something more. They are looking for leaders who inspire and can paint a vivid picture of the future. Self-assessment and personal growth are key parts of leadership development. Let us help you develop a strong leadership base that can tackle the tough decisions and inspire folks to get involved in economic development issues.

  • Team Building
  • Does your team work well together? Does it need some focused team building time? Exercises for getting acquainted, self-assessment, problem solving, etc. help build cohesiveness among groups that act as teams.


  • Leadership Groups
  • Georgia EMC’s facilitators specialize in kick –off and closing retreats for Leadership Classes. Let our Team get your Leadership class started on the right foot. Closing retreats help bring closure to a Leadership class whose participants are trained and ready to go their separate ways. Friendships and partnerships that last a lifetime are made during these retreats.


  • Youth Leadership Groups
  • The youth of your community have exciting and vibrant perspectives in how they look at your community. They will inherit it – they need to be involved in the planning for it. Let us help you get a Youth Leadership program off the ground! Kick-off retreats are especially important for these groups.


  • Elected Officials
  • Does your team of elected officials work effectively as a group and hold annual planning retreats? These meetings can bring about consensus and help elected officials prioritize the important goals they want to accomplish on behalf of the citizens.

CliftonStrengths Coaching

CliftonStrengths® is an online assessment that reveals an individual’s natural talents and offers strategies for turning those talents into strengths. The world-renowned Gallup organization governs the CliftonStrengths® online platform. More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies use CliftonStrengths. Gallup research indicates that people who know and use their CliftonStrengths are 6 times as likely to be engaged at work, 7.8% more productive in their role, and 3 times as likely to have an excellent quality of life. Whether you’re an individual looking to improve or a leader wanting to empower your people to perform better, your efforts start with CliftonStrengths.

Community and Economic Development Orientation Program (CEDOP)

Do you have newly elected officials in your county or city government that need an update on important economic development initiatives? Let us coordinate a Community and Economic Development Orientation Program (CEDOP). This customized one-day program, held in Atlanta, orchestrates meetings with key state economic development organizations and agencies that could take a community leader days to organize. This program is also vital for elected officials, newly appointed Chamber of Commerce, and Development Authority Board Directors. Few business people can afford a week away from work, in about 8 hours, this program is filled to the brim with comprehensive information that is customized to the specific needs of your community.

Potential CEDOP Topics include:

  • Strategic Planning for Chambers Of Commerce, Development Authorities, and Community Organizations
  • Does your organization know where it is headed? Does your organization take a leadership role in promoting community unity and planning for the future? Does it need a road map? An annual Program of Work planning session can help any organization set priorities on what it would like to get done in the coming year(s).


  • Economic Development Recruitment
  • Unsure of how to recruit jobs and industries to your community? Hear from the Georgia Department of Economic Development about the project process works and best practices for communities on economic development


  • Economic Development Incentives
  • Incentives have been the buzzword since the 1980’s – are they going away? Probably not. How can you create an incentives plan that is right for your community?


  • Marketing Your Community
  • There are many tools to market your community. None of them are exclusive. Most communities use a variety of tools for getting the word out – let us show your groups some examples of what successful communities do to make sure statewide developers and prospects know their community’s name.


  • Tourism Development
  • Tourism is the second largest industry in the state. Eco- or nature based tourism is a rapidly growing sector. Learn how to safely utilize existing resources to bring tourists (and their money) to your community.

Meet the Community Development Team

Carrie Barnes

Carrie Barnes

Carrie is a Community Development Consultant, serving the northern region of our state. She is an experienced facilitator, Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths® coach, and certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). She has worked with Georgia EMC since 2014 and specializes in community and organizational planning.

Carrie began her career in Community Development in 2010 with the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission. She then went on to work with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in the Office of Downtown Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). A native of Tampa, Florida, Carrie attended Mercer University and completed her Masters in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) with a focus on Economic Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Carrie lives in Cartersville, Georgia with her husband and daughter.


Carrie’s Top 5 CliftonStrengths® are:

Empathy | Positivity | Relator | Developer | Harmony

ArainaReaves

Araina Reaves

Araina serves as a Community Development Consultant in the central-east region of our state. She is a dynamic presenter and facilitator, Gallup Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach and Builder Profile 10 trained. She has worked with Georgia EMC since 2016 and specializes in Strengths coaching and leadership development.

Prior to joining Georgia EMC, Araina gained extensive community and economic development experience during her time serving as a chamber of commerce director. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Communications. Araina lives in Dexter, Georgia, with her husband Michael, and their favorite “dumpster dog,” Sammie.


Araina’s Top 5 CliftonStrengths® are:

Strategic | Developer | Individualization | Positivity | Relator

Jenny Robbins

Jenny Robbins

Jenny is the manager of Community Development and serves the south and southwest portions of the state. She has more than 20 years of experience in community and economic development as the manager of the Homerville Main Street program, a UGA Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Science Agent, and with Department of Family and Children Services. Since joining Georgia EMC in 2014, she has obtained certifications as a Leadership Strategies Professional Facilitator, a Gallup CliftonStrengths® Coach, and an Orton Family Foundation Community Heart & Soul Coach.

Jenny is a lifelong resident of Georgia who is personally passionate about helping communities build vibrant economies by growing cooperative leaders, improving the quality of life, and telling their unique story. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communications from Valdosta State University, and lives happily in Homerville with her husband, three children, and rescue dog.


Jenny’s Top 5 CliftonStrengths® are:

Strategic | Connectedness | Adaptability | Communication | Positivity

Community Development Resources

Leadership Development

Leadership Development is the intentional effort to grow leaders who understand and value cooperation, diversity, inclusion, open and transparent government.


Gallup CliftonStrengths


Community Development

Community Development is a locally-driven inclusive effort to identify and address issues based on data. The results improve quality of life for all.


Community Heart & Soul

Georgia Center for Nonprofits


Economic Development

Economic Development is developing and marketing local assets like workforce and infrastructure using a unified brand based on a unique sense of place.


Georgia Academy for Economic Development

Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA)

Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE)

Certified Chamber Program

Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program

Georgia Main Street

Georgia Department of Economic Development

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