Leadership Sandy Springs also uses funds raised during its Anniversary Gala to support programs such as the recent Evening with the Mayor, which included Dunwoody Mayor  Lynn Deutsch, left, and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, right. (LSS)

Leadership Sandy Springs will honor its past and celebrate the future in its 35th anniversary gala on Feb. 25.

The gala will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at 1 Galambos Way in Sandy Springs. The theme will be Old Hollywood Glam, with attendees decked out in that or cocktail styles. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online.

The gala committee is co-chaired by Leadership Sandy Springs (LSS) alumni Janon Redmond, Class of 2020, and Pam Rosenthal, Class of 2013.

“It’s going to be a magical night with festive cocktails, fabulous food stations, a dessert and coffee bar, amazing silent and live auction items, casino games, music, dancing and more,” Redmond said.

The blackjack, craps, poker and roulette casino games will be played for entertainment and no money will be won, he said.

The event serves as a fundraiser in addition to a celebration, she said. Auction items such as theater and sports tickets, wine and vacations will help LSS raise funds for future regional growth, new curriculum offerings, and scholarships for adult and youth class members.

Neva Dixon Roundtree, a Sandy Springs resident and the LSS founder, will attend with her husband, as will some legacy members, LSS Communications Director Carol Ciepluch said.

A small LSS museum will be on display with photos, binders and other memorabilia that showcases the origin and growth of the organization.

In 1985 Roundtree, who opened up her own public relations firm after success as an executive in the industry, suggested that the Sandy Springs Chamber start a leadership program patterned after other programs around the country.

“It was important for her that it be a program of the Sandy Springs Chamber, and with the goal of identifying and educating local community members and leaders,” Ciepluch said.

The chamber’s executive director, Linda Gilman, helped form the Leadership Foundation committee and to develop the initiative as a chamber program. The first class of 20 graduated in 1987, she said.

At some point LSS became an organization separate from the chamber with its own executive director. After one year in which a class wasn’t held, former Community Assistance Center Executive Tamara Carrera asked Carolyn Axt to take on LSS.

“We’ve graduated more than 700 alumni who have become our significant leaders in the community and they’ve been an icon that we got to know,” Ciepluch said.

“The rest as they say is history. Many people have been instrumental in our organization’s success, especially our most recent past Executive Directors Ellen Stein, Carolyn Axt, and my predecessor, Jan Paul,” Executive Director Rosalyn Putnam said.

A list of leaders at nonprofits in the community would show most of them are graduates of LSS, Ciepluch said. And several of them serve on City Council and its boards and commissions.

LSS has created programs such as Movies by Moonlight and now the LSS Youth Leadership program. It is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who must apply just like the requirements for the adult classes.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.