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Building bridges: Letters from the editors

Julia and Susannah in the Poplar Street Tunnel

Building bridges: Letters from the editors

We were born to build bridges.

An activity that requires regular effort, it is leadership at its best – to remain active in the pursuit of results. When we walk the walk to widen our circles, we all win.

It’s an honor to extend this page to Julia Rubens, our guest editor. Her ability to show up in Macon only a few years ago, establish her roots, and to really engage in Macon’s culture with our people has made her a bridge builder I admire and respect.

In Macon, I’ve learned if you don’t know where to start or where to go next, ask. Start with the people in these pages.

Susannah C. Maddux


In a camp retreat I got invited to in high school, I vividly remember a guest speaker saying, “Leadership is stepping up and doing.” It’s the act of moving forward and saying yes. I believe in Macon we make a lot of progress with leaders like this. They fill big shoes as people who eagerly tackle a challenge by stepping up – charging ahead to boldly go where no (wo)man has gone before.

But if I’ve learned anything over the crises and realignment of the world over the past few years, it’s that sometimes leadership is stepping back to listen and make space for others. By opening the doors wider, a leader can gain perspective from innovative, new ideas. A leader can step back to recharge or to reconsider a long-held belief. And by being thoughtful and reflective, they can ultimately find new frontiers.

That kind of leadership, supporting collaboration over competition, is what brought me to this moment. The first event I was ever invited to when I moved here was Macon Magazine’s Women in Business session. I could count the people I knew in town on one hand, since I had driven down to Macon just seven days before.

But Susannah encouraged every new person to take the mic and introduce themselves. That kind act of crafting the invitation has led me to want to welcome others myself and to listen to their stories. It’s why I’m honored to have been a part of selecting some of Macon’s leaders to share the spotlight in this issue.

In this issue, you’ll find changemakers across our city who strike a balance between stepping up and stepping back. Their fresh approaches to building up a better Macon are as colorful and multifaceted as the geometric mural by Abraham Abebe that now arches spectacularly across Poplar Street tunnel – and, as the mural’s architecture suggests, they are building bridges to carry others with them.

Julia Rubens

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