Brandy Blanton

Leadership Franklin began its 24th program year on August 27, 2019, and announced Leadership Franklin alumnus Brandy Blanton as this year’s recipient of the Caroline J. Cross Award.

Blanton grew up in Franklin, Tennessee, and has been involved in the community as a community volunteer, elected official, entrepreneur and member of the media with her creation of Southern Exposure Magazine. In 2018, she compiled “Legacy – The Stories of Williamson County from 2002 – 2018.” Among her volunteer activities are board member for Leadership Franklin, Franklin Tomorrow, Franklin’s Charge, the Williamson County Library Foundation, Williamson County Homeless Alliance and the Franklin Public Arts Commission.

According to Leadership Franklin Board Chair Julian Bibb, “Brandy is deeply involved in the fabric of our non-profit life – building on community, making lives better. She has brought her skills to the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman (elected in 2011), and because of her dedication to her granddaughter Ellie G, she saw a means to help other families and joined High Hopes as its development director.”

The Caroline J. Cross Award was established to honor Caroline J. Cross, Founding Executive Director of Leadership Franklin, and create an ongoing award that identifies a leader in the community who exemplifies the values and lessons of Leadership Franklin. This award was created as the class project by Dan Klatt, Charles Pareigis, Chris Clausi and Brandy Blanton in 2007. Criteria for nomination include leadership that motivates and inspires other individuals along with traits of creativity, character, dedication, and community service. Each year’s class submits nominations and selects an individual who makes a true impact in the community.

Past recipients of the award are: (LFA: Leadership Franklin Alumnus): Jimmy Gentry; Rogers Anderson (LFA); Julian Bibb III (LFA); Scott Roley (LFA); Janet Keck; Alma McLemore (LFA); Rick Warwick; Emily Magid; Paige Pitts (LFA); Dr. Joseph Willoughby; Mary Mills and Judy Hayes.

Leadership Franklin is a non-profit organization originally founded in 1996 to develop leadership and community engagement to further a vision for Franklin and Williamson County. For more information about the organization, visit