Arianne Weldon Receives the 2018 Yellow Rose Nikki T. Randall Servant Leader Award

(From left to right) Sen. Elena Parent, Arianne Weldon, and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle

Get Georgia Reading Campaign Director Arianne Weldon was among 31 women who received the 2018 Yellow Rose Nikki T. Randall Servant Leader Award in March during a ceremony at the State Capitol. The annual event is hosted by the Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Sen. Elena Parent (D-42nd) nominated Weldon for the award and co-sponsored Senate Resolution 948, which highlights Weldon’s “significant organizational and leadership talents, her remarkable patience and diplomacy, her keen sense of vision, and her sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of this state” and states that she has “devoted innumerable hours of her time, talents, and energy toward the betterment of her community and state as evidenced dramatically by her superlative service in the public health field.”

The Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus, a bipartisan organization established in the 1990s, promotes useful, effective public policy that focuses on Georgia’s families, children, and environment. Former State Rep. Nikki T. Randall, of Macon, who served as co-chair of the Caucus, wanted to create an opportunity to honor the unsung heroines throughout the state. The Servant Leader Award Ceremony was established to honor that desire.

“This award represents the culture shift I’ve witnessed in our state over 20 years in which people have chosen to go beyond small changes—together,” said Weldon. “It is a choice to partner, a choice to be bold, a choice to let go of the old and work in unimaginable ways to create the conditions to achieve the expectations we hold dear.”
Eric Lewkowiez, associate dean for student affairs and assistant professor of psychiatry and health behavior at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, said he has benefited from Weldon’s tutelage over the years.

“Before I met Arianne, I was under the mistaken assumption that nothing would ever change for the better for our children,” said Lewkowiez. “Thanks to her incredible matchmaking abilities and boundless optimism, I now know that everything is possible and not to settle when we know things can be improved upon.”

Judge Michael Key of the Troup County Juvenile Court described Weldon’s wide-reaching impact in the state by recounting a favorite phrase of Deputy Superintendent for Policy at the Georgia Department of Education Garry McGiboney.

“Garry talks frequently about the multiplier effect being 10 to one,” said Key. “I daresay because of the positions and power of the people she has touched—not just the ordinary citizen—the multiplier is more than 10. Arianne will never really know the number of people she has reached, or the difference she has made and will continue to make. She has made us all better at what we do—and caused us to never be satisfied with what we do. We must all do more.”

Weldon has served as Campaign director since December 2012. By using multi-dimensional data to identify patterns of risk and protective factors related to language and literacy development, she has helped change the conversation about what is needed and what is possible to create a new future for Georgia’s children.

“Our Campaign partners have an energy and passion for the children of Georgia that drives me,” said Weldon. “It is the privilege of a lifetime to walk this path with them and support their efforts.”