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From Vidalia to Dallas

From Vidalia to Dallas
Audrey Thompson
From Vidalia to Dallas
Audrey Thompson

Checking in with Audrey Thompson, who was recently accepted into LEAD YP in Dallas

Audrey Thompson’s story began among the sweet onions of Vidalia — a place where the soil is just as rich as the history that roots its people. As the daughter of Pam and Reese Thompson, her youth was steeped in gorgeous, golden Georgia sunsets; picking blueberries at a cabin in nearby Wheeler County; eating her mother’s lemon pound cakes; and basking in the boundless love of family. But beneath Thompson’s sweet, Southern drawl lay an ambition that stretched farther than the sprawling kudzu vines of her homeland.

After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Marketing, she worked for nearly two years for the Office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as a Policy and Legislative Affairs Coordinator before taking a position as the Executive Assistant to the First Lady, Sandra Deal. After Deal left office, Thompson stayed in the Atlanta area and worked for the Georgia Department of Economic Development until late 2021, when she packed a suitcase and ventured to the heart of cowboy country — Dallas, Texas — carrying the comforts of her upbringing to the concrete and steel of the city.

Today, Thompson supports the Managing Director and Senior Partner (as well as the Head of the Southwest Region) for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“I absolutely love my job and partnering with Erin [George] by working with her closely to foster her client relationships, support her and the Southwest Leadership team with their agenda, and planning events which is truly my love as it comes naturally to me," (ompson says. "Re cently, I had the opportunity to plan the agenda for our CEO, who is based in Germany, for a tour of the Southwest Region meet ing with 11 CEOs — nerve racking but a fabulous opportunity and experience.”

In an effort to plant roots in Texas while learning more about Dallas, she joined the Dallas Regional Chamber's (DRC) Young Professionals, and a few weeks ago, she was accepted into their LEAD YP program which is a leadership group for young professionals in the Dallas area. Similar to other leadership preparation programs, LEAD YP deepens young professionals’ understanding of their leadership style and primes them to grow into leaders who champion the Dallas Region. (e 54 members of the LEAD YP Class of 2024 represent a diverse group of companies and industries. They were selected through a competitive application process based on their commitment to enhancing their leadership skills and their professional background, community involvement, and educational background.

“Our leadership programs, including LEAD YP, develop the leaders of tomorrow our companies and region will need,” said Dale Petroskey, DRC President and CEO. “The ambitious members of the LEAD YP Class of 2024 are investing in their professional and personal growth while gaining the skills necessary to foster our region’s continued prosperity.”

A retreat kicked off the program in early April, followed by a class day every month until graduation in October. Upon graduation, Thompson and other participants will have the opportunity to serve on the Young Professionals Advi- sory Council at the DRC to further develop their skills and have an impact on other young professionals in the Dallas Region.

As for Thompson, she’s a perfect fit for the program and is excited for the opportunity to learn, grow and shape the future. She has se(led in the Knox area next to the Park Cities (Highland Park and Uni versity Park) which makes her version of Dallas feel a bit like a small town surrounded by a large metropolitan area.

“Dallas has incredible shopping, delicious restaurants, majestic old live oak trees which create umbrellas over the roads, and everything is within a fifteen-minute drive,” she says. “My hair salon, nail salon, and favorite grocery store are all on the same road — Lovers Lane — which gives it a smaller feel as I see familiar faces each week. Between work, church, Junior League, and volunteering with various organizations, I am slowly creating a community.”

She’s enjoying her time in the Dallas area and plans to stay.

“I do find the constant breeze and lack of humidity to be refreshing, and I am lucky to have a shorter commute to work than I did from my parent’s home to Robert Toombs in high school,” she says. “And the people here are much more welcoming and hospitable than I ever imagined.”

“But there is nothing like home and hugging your parents,” Thompson adds. “Living in an apartment makes me miss the farm the most. My father sends me pictures each day of scenes from the farm, whether it be a controlled burn or beautiful flowers.”

And suddenly, a wave of homesickness washes over the trailblazing young professional as she remembers her home, her people, and the community that helped shape her indomitable spirit and launch her into the world. For now, she’s happy and looking forward to facing the challenges ahead in the big Texas city, and though no dream or opportunity is ever too big for a Georgia girl, even Audrey Thompson says, “There’s just no place like home.”

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