Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum Unveils 2024 Legacy Leader Award Recipients

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

The Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum  announced the distinguished recipients of the 2024 Legacy Leader Awards will be business leader and philanthropist, Bob Jepson, and State Representative, Edna Jackson. The Emerging Leader Award recipient is Catherine Grant, CEO of Expercare. Additional details about award recipients included below. 

The Legacy Leadership Awards will be presented  at the Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum, scheduled to take place on February 26th and 27th at Kehoe Iron Works at Trustees Garden. The two-day event will bring together established and emerging leaders together in an innovative environment promoting leadership development, networking and collaborative teamwork for the betterment of our growing Coastal Georgia region.

Past Forums have had nearly 350 attendees each year, including a wide array of diverse leaders from civic groups, non-profits, neighborhoods, government, and business.  The Forum also awards more than 50 scholarships per year to leaders who cannot afford the cost of attendance and would benefit by being in attendance.

Cost for the 2024 Forum is $490 and includes access to all speaker presentations/regional tours, lunch each day, morning coffee/afternoon beverage/snack bars, and invitations to additional special events being held during the forum.  

Major sponsors of the Forum include Gulfstream Aerospace, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Power, and Morris Multimedia. 

Tickets may be purchased online at:

For more information, please visit

About the 2024 Legacy Leader Award Winners: 

Robert S. Jepson, Jr. 

Robert S. Jepson, Jr. is Chairman of Jepson Associates, Inc., a private investment firm located in Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Jepson and his wife, Alice Andrews Jepson, are active philanthropists and direct the main focus of their giving to the field of higher education. Among their most notable contributions is the University of Richmond School of Leadership Studies in Richmond, Virginia, founded in 1992. In addition, Mr. Jepson has now established the Jepson Oxford Scholars Foundation, which seeks to send qualified graduate students to the University of Oxford in England to study for a master's degree in the field of their choice.

Mr. Jepson earned two degrees from the University of Richmond: a B.S.B.A. in 1964 and an M.S. in Commerce in 1975, and he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science Degree in 1987. He has also been awarded honorary degrees by ten other American institutions of higher learning.

Over the past thirty-five years, much of the Jepson philanthropy has been focused in Savannah, including The Jepson Center for the Arts at The Telfair Museums, the Savannah College for Art and Design, and the Georgia Historical Society, where they were the principal benefactors of the Jepson House Education Center. Their support also made possible the renovation and expansion of the Georgia Historical Society Research Center.

Robert Jepson served on the Georgia Ports Authority Board from 2008 to 1016 and served as its chairman for the fourth term of 2014-2016. He is a Trustee of the Endowment Trust of the Georgia Historical Society and Chairman Emeritus of the Georgia Historical Society Board of Curators. From 2001 to 2006, he founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Edna Jackson 

Edna Branch Jackson was elected Mayor of Savannah in December 2011 and currently serves in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 165.  She served three terms as city of Savannah Alderman at Large Post 1 from 2000 to 2011.  Subsequent to her election, the members of City Council elected her to serve as Mayor Pro Tem from 2004 to 2011, making her the first female and first African American female to hold that position on the Council.  

Jackson began her career as a public servant at an early age.  She joined the NAACP Youth Council in Savannah at the age of 9.  While a student at Alfred Ely Beach High School, she began her journey with the Civil Rights movement in Savannah under the leadership of the late W.W. Law and the late Judge Eugene H. Gadsden.  She was among the students who participated in the “Sit Ins” at downtown Savannah businesses, the “Wade-Ins” at Tybee Beach, and the “Kneel-Ins” at various Savannah churches during the Civil Rights movement in Savannah in the early 60’s.  After graduating from Beach High in 1962, she entered Savannah State College (now university), but the fight for the civil rights for her people took precedence over her education for a few years.  During this period, she was employed by the NAACP National Youth Task Force and as a result spent time in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia demonstrating and carrying out voter registration drives.  In addition, she was instrumental in organizing NAACP Youth Councils and college chapters throughout the south.  At age 18, Mrs. Jackson took an integrated group of students from Tampa, Florida to the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King made his famous “I Have a Dream speech.” Mrs. Jackson also participated in the March to Selma in 1965.

Having returned to Savannah State, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Sociology in 1968.  In 1972, she earned her Master of Education in Political Science from Savannah State/Armstrong State Colleges and did additional studies in Counseling at Georgia Southern University.

Mrs. Jackson has served in many capacities over the years as a member and officer for organizations on the national, state, and local level including the National League of Cities, Georgia Municipal Association, NAACP, Savannah State University National Alumni Association, Chatham County Democratic Party, Chatham County Hospital Authority, Economic Opportunity Authority, Second Harvest Food Bank, Step Up Savannah, and many others.  She is also a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta and a communicant of St. Phillip AME Church.

Jackson is the daughter of the late Mrs. Georgia Dilliard of Tampa Florida and the mother of one son, Kevin LaMar Jackson, also of Savannah.