Alana Shepherd to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership Character

Turknett Leadership Group ( TLG ) announced that Alana Shepherd, co-founder and secretary of the board of directors of Shepherd Center, is the second recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership Character. The award recognizes leaders who exemplify the highest standards of character and integrity over a lifetime of service to an organization and to the larger community. The presentation of the award will take place at the 10th annual Leadership Character Awards ceremony on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Alana has worked as an advocate for neurological healthcare in Atlanta for over 40 years. Along with husband Harold and son James, Alana founded Shepherd Center after James sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 1973. Frustrated by the lack of state-of-the-art rehabilitation care in the southeastern United States, the family galvanized support among the Atlanta community to open a specialty facility. Alana also recognized early on that she had to help change the community to which patients would return so these individuals would be accepted and could, once again, assume their place in society. Through the years, Alana has been Shepherd Center’s chief fundraiser and prime mover-volunteer, a woman known for her upbeat honesty, business savvy and relentless drive.

Alana’s leadership has brought the Shepherd Center from a six-bed unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed rehabilitation hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury and other neurological conditions. Last year, as the nation’s largest hospital of its kind, the Shepherd Center admitted 965 people to its inpatient programs and 571 to its day patient programs. In addition, Shepherd sees more than 6,600 people annually on an outpatient basis.

Her advocacy for accessibility resulted in the addition of lifts to Atlanta’s MARTA bus system and in making Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport one of the country’s most accessible airports.

Alana championed the fight, despite opposition, to bring the International Paralympic Games to Atlanta in 1996. She changed Olympic/Paralympic history when her efforts led the International Olympic Committee to decree that all cities seeking to be the site of future Olympic Games must include plans and proposed financing for the Paralympics, as well as access to the same sites and facilities.

Alana, Harold and James Shepherd were awarded honorary doctorate of humane letters degrees in December 2011 by the University of Georgia, in conjunction with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, in recognition of their contributions to healthcare and the state of Georgia.

Among her many awards, Alana received the 2012 J.W . Fanning Award from Leadership Georgia and the Georgia Hospital Association’s 2009 Lifetime Heroic Achievement Award for her lifetime of service to enhancing operations and patient care at Shepherd Center. She also received Atlanta Gas Light’s and WSB Radio’s 2005 Shining Light Award. Alana was included in the Georgia Trend list of Notable Georgians for 2009 and inducted into the National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame in 2008.

Her numerous civic involvements have included serving as former vice president and current member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, member of the CDC Foundation’s Atlanta Advocacy Council, member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Grady Task Force and secretary of the Board of Directors for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.

In 1989, Alana was the first woman elected to be a member of the Buckhead Coalition and, in 2003, the first woman elected as chairman of the Coalition. She was also the first woman elected to the Board of Directors of Genuine Parts and the Board of Directors of Wachovia Bank of Georgia.

“We are honored to recognize Alana with our second Lifetime Achievement Award for her relentless advocacy of neurological healthcare and for her sustained contributions to the community,” shares Bob Turknett , CEO, TLG . “Her passion, dedication, and unsurpassed respect for all are reflections of her exceptional character.”


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