Tallahassee, FL. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) alum and City of Tallahassee Commissioner Andrew Gillum was named “Emerging Leader of the Year” by IMPACT, a national organization based on recognizing and training emerging leaders ages 21 through 40.
Gillum is currently the national director of the Young Elected Officials Network with People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). In May 2006, the program evolved into a national network linking young elected officials in the nation and helping identify solutions to challenges facing their communities.
“I am overjoyed and humbled by the amazing support that I received from close friends, supporters, and ‘new friends’ near and far,” Gillum said. “It was a magical process to observe and be a part of. Although deeply honored and humbled by this recognition, I am most inspired by the fact that I can share this experience with family, friends and colleagues.”
Gillum was honored at a reception in Washington D.C. that he co-hosted with U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate, Barak Obama.
Each month IMPACT highlights a new Emerging Leader. They solicit nominations from their readers and the directors make the determination as to who they honor each month. The Emerging Leader of the Year is voted on by the community at large.
A Miami native and Gainesville bred, Gillum graduated from FAMU’s political science program in 2003. During his tenure at FAMU, Gillum served as student senator and Student Government Association President from 2001 to 2002. He was the first student member of the FAMU Board of Trustees.
Gillum addressed the Democratic National Convention (DNC) concerning election violations in Florida soon after the 2000 presidential election. He was also instrumental in organizing the March on Tallahassee in protest of Gov. Jeb Bush's order to do away with affirmative action in state university admissions and state contracting.
In 2003, he was elected the youngest person ever to the Tallahassee City Commission. In 2004, he was re-elected by the citizens of Tallahassee, to serve as one of four on the Tallahassee City Commission. That same year, he was elected Mayor Pro Tem by his peers.
After accepting a position as field organizer with the Tallahassee Office of PFAWF, Gillum organized and led a campaigning encouraging voters called Arrive With 5. In 2003, Gillum served as the deputy political director of the Florida Democratic Party.
Gillum has been recognized by the National Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, D.C. as the country's top student leader in 2001. In 2003, he received the Emerging Leaders Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Ebony magazine named him one of The Fast Track 30 Leaders Who are 30 and Under in 2004 and Tallahassee Community College honored him at their Fourth Annual African-American History Calendar.
According to Gillum, FAMU nurtures leaders.
“FAMU is a very special place,” he said. “Students at FAMU are taught the virtues of strong character. I often refer to FAMU as a ‘character building experience,’ saying that ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ Judging by the fruit that FAMU bears, this statement still holds relevance today.”
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