Russell Stall is a true champion of Leadership Greenville, having served the program in multiple capacities – as student in Class 31, class facilitator for 13 years, and winner of the 2012 LG Distinguished Alumni Award. With the exception of winning the at-large Greenville City Council seat earlier this month, participating in LG is the most important thing he’s done since he returned from Atlanta nearly 20 years ago. It was during the November Human Services Day that Vision 2025 (the bold and aggressive dreams set forth by progressive leaders Dr. David Shi, Minor Shaw and the late Max Heller, Greenville’s 29th mayor, among others) was unveiled. The concept so inspired Russell that he founded Greenville Forward in 2006 so he could carry the torch and be the someone who woke up every day thinking about Greenville.
As City Councilman Elect, Russell will retain that role and use his platform to help achieve Vision 2025. He reports that 75% of the 500+ items on the to-do list have been accomplished (a milestone reached more than 10 years ahead of deadline), but cautions that Greenville must remain steadfast to not let transportation, traffic, and community, economic and political divisiveness derail the vision. Some goals, such as inclusivity, and focus on quality of life, education and creativity/arts will endure as we constantly strive to improve those areas. He believes they must remain priorities in the next phase, Vision 2050, which is in need of its torch bearer.
Russell affirms that LG helps students identify their passions and discover what is interesting to them. Most importantly, it serves as the link to connect participants to their newfound or long-held passions. Having observed students for over a decade makes Russell an expert on discerning passion, and he recognized early on that those who possessed true passion went on to do great things in this community and beyond. For Russell, board or agency involvement void of passion is a disservice to the person serving, and to the organization.
If you are in Class 44 and want to make the most of LG, Russell insists that you “invest in the process, put your heart into it, and do everything – attend all classes and every lab, and go on the ride along. It’s your one shot to learn as much as you can about Greenville in a 10-month window.” And if you are inspired by a class speaker, follow up with that person and make a connection. “Take advantage of that open door. Speakers love to hear from you,” he declares. Hopefully, your experience will mirror his in that you gain new sets of friends and peers...where people are valued for who they are and not for where they stand on issues and politics.