Shirley Clark Franklin is remembered by most people as being the 58th mayor for the City of Atlanta, Georgia. However, she had more than 20 years in various positions of city government that gave her a firm grasp on organizational structure.
But her leadership training began much earlier than that.
Shirley grew up in Philadelphia, PA. and had unique life experiences. She spent years training with one of the most recognized professional dancers in the world. She attended one of the oldest African American churches in the United States and attended an all girls public school run by Quakers.
She began making fiercely independent decisions for her life. She told her rather not to give her money to use on a downpayment of a car. She wanted to use the money to go to Africa. That changed her life.
So did a teaching experience in Talladega, Al which is where she lived before moving to Atlanta in the late 1970s. It's then she met a cadre of truly brilliant people who worked with Atlanta's first African American mayor, Maynard Jackson. Shirley names them and explains what they did to establish the policies that gave the African American business community a strong foundation.
That business foundation helped Atlanta, GA gain the winning bid for the 1996 summer Olympics. Again, Shirley held a pivotal position during those important summer weeks. But her motivation for taking a high ranking job with the organization is once again, related to her desire to see equity in business relations for women and minorities.
Shirley Franklin's life is history lesson on a variety of topics.
She has spent her life surrounded by fascinating people. Many of them changed the business landscape in Atlanta, GA. She spends a lot of her time giving them their due in this edition of Lessons from Leaders.