Folsom opens Women’s Lecture

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2000

Series at TSU’s Girls State


Staff Writer

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June 7, 2000 10 PM

Former Alabama First Lady Marsha Folsom fulfilled a dream Wednesday morning.

The Democratic nominee for the Fourth Congressional District seat attended Alabama Girls State at Troy State University and spoke to about 500 people during the first Women in Leadership lecture.

"When I was a junior in high school, I wanted to go to Girls State, but I didn’t get chosen," Folsom told the 327 young women representing high schools across the state.

Folsom may have lost that opportunity to her best friend, but since then has proven she has what it takes to be a leader.

"Leadership isn’t necessarily becoming president of the United States or CEO of a top company," Folsom said, adding a true leader gives back to the community. "A leader is someone who can be counted on to act for others."

One of the most important lessons for anyone to remember is "leadership is extraordinary feats (that come) from ordinary people."

Folsom posed a question to those in the audience ­ "Do you have the courage to touch?" Possessing that quality, she said, is vital to leadership.

"You have to have the courage and desire to touch other’s lives."

Folsom, who is a native and resident of Cullman County, has always lived in the limelight of politics since her father was a legislator and her husband, Jim Folsom Jr., served as governor, following in his father’s footsteps.

Listening from the front porch as her father talked with others about state and local politics, Folsom learned a lesson she has always carried with her ­ listening is the most important role of a public servant.

And, listening is one way a person can help others and make a difference.

From a very early age, Folsom was encouraged to "make a difference" in her family, community, state and nation.

That encouragement along with gentle pushes from "women who saw in me the ability" gave Folsom what she needed to do just that through volunteer work.

"I hope you will all get involved in your community," Folsom told the young women before her.

"We have come so far, but we have so far to go," Folsom said regarding women in leadership roles, especially in government.

Troy State’s Women in Leadership lecture series is designed to highlight women of achievement who can inspire TSU students and women who serve in leadership roles across southeast Alabama. Folsom was the first to speak at what Troy State hopes will become an annual event.