Full circle, from leader to consultant, and back to leader — AS a consultant. Patrick talks with 1000 Feathers President Forrest Alton about the shift. What changes? What stays the same?
Forrest has spent more than 20 years in the nonprofit and social service sectors in a variety of capacities. After a decade of service in the C-suite of a highly successful nonprofit organization, Forrest stepped down to focus his energy on the launch and operations of 1000 Feathers. Forrest made this transition because he saw a need to improve the social service sector and strategically advance work in underserved communities. He has committed his life’s work – and the work of 1000 Feathers – to training and developing leaders; helping organizations think and act more strategically; posing the difficult questions organizations are afraid to ask; and encouraging big, bold, courageous conversations at all levels of organizations and throughout communities.
A dynamic and inspirational leader, Forrest has developed a contagious energy for helping others identify their vision and strategy, and for disrupting the status quo. He has become a frequently sought-after speaker for conferences and events and is a respected voice on topics related to adolescent health, nonprofit leadership, and community engagement.
During his tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Now, Fact Forward), the organization experienced unprecedented growth and success. That doesn’t happen via random chance – especially on such a contentious issue, in a conservative, southern state. It happens because of strong vision, strategic thinking, bold leadership, and certainly a little luck. Forrest’s contributions to the field of adolescent health have garnered wide praise, including a review of a book he co-authored in 2011, “[the book] is a tour de force… [and] represents the cumulative experience, expertise, and practice of some of the leading sexual health researchers and practitioners in the United States. It is a ‘must-have’ on any bookshelf.”
Previously recognized by The State newspaper as one of South Carolina’s “20-under-40 emerging leaders” and by the Free Times as one of the “50 Most Influential People in Columbia,” Forrest is also a Riley Institute Leadership Fellow and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network (Liberty Fellowship).
Forrest currently serves in leadership roles on the boards of Power to Decide and the University of South Carolina’s Alumni Association. He is a past board chair of Together SC—South Carolina’s nonprofit, membership organization.
He earned his Master of Public Health from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, where he has been recognized with a Young Alumnus of the Year award (2011), and received his Bachelor of Science from Coastal Carolina University where he was named a Distinguished Alumnus (2009).
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