Editor’s note: Nearly five decades ago, Atlanta devoted an entire issue to predicting what life would be like in the year 2000. These were some of our most accurate—and most absurd—guesses.
• We will have, by 2000, a second airport serving the Metro Atlanta area, and possibly a third—the latter perhaps exclusively for cargo. . . . The second airport would be three times the size of Hartsfield International. . . . By the second airport’s completion, the Super Sonic Transport (SST) could be a reality, making London about as many air hours away as Los Angeles is today.
• State Representative Gerald Horton predicts a major jump forward for the city after it experiences its first Black mayor. “We will be a lot better off then. The Blacks will find out there is very little difference in a Black mayor and a white mayor. And the whites will find out the same thing,” he said.
• By 2000, high-speed MARTA lines radiating from the center city could enlarge the Atlanta community to include many North Georgia historic cities and new satellite towns.
• Between now and 2000, the outward migration will have drastically slowed, and a new wave of the affluent population will look back to central Atlanta for the good life.
• Metro Atlanta will grow to almost 5 million: Accept that. Unless a natural or manmade catastrophe befalls the region, metro Atlanta will nearly triple in population in the next 27 years.
• Garments, food, and other supplies may be ordered through phonovision and delivered through pneumatic tubes to storage receptacles in each household.
• Coupling—and uncoupling—will grow more casual, and child-bearing more calculated.
• The average work week will be down to 30 hours or perhaps less.
• Downtown will be filled mostly with high-income dwellers, principally because of land costs.
• More downtown housing will be high-rise; because of that, it probably will be populated largely with single persons, childless couples, and older couples whose children are grown.
• Opinion-manipulation through centralized control of channels for disseminating news
• The computer will come into our homes as well as our offices and be accepted almost as casually as the telephone or the TV set today.
• Couples may stay together forever, childless, unmarried. They may intersperse their association with other sexual dalliances, returning to each other when these have ended.
• The next major cycle in Atlanta’s housing evolution will be downtown high-rises similar to those on New York’s Upper East Side. Many will grow up along rapid transit routes, and total environment developments such as Colony Square will proliferate.
• Humans may be able to stay awake and in good functioning alertness 21 out of 24 hours
• Manipulation of the genetic code will make possible the development of made-to-order beings: 10-fingers-per-hand typists; nine-foot-tall basketball players; legless astronauts; people with eyes in the back as well as the front of their heads.
• Homosexual and lesbian relationships, openly engaged in, may incur no social disapproval. Group sex may be prevalent.
• The gap between the upper and lower strata of the economy could widen.
• A man may have five, six, or more careers, marriages, and/or family arrangements in a lifetime.
• Most adult women will be employed, and they will have achieved more peer status at work as well as in the home.
• Rich’s President Joel Goldberg asserts flatly that the downtown Rich’s will be there in the year 2000.
As a founding partner of ai3 in 2004, Lucy Aiken-Johnson has helped lead the firm to more than 40 awards for architecture, interior design, and product development. The firm has designed more than 50 restaurants and clubs around Atlanta. Aiken-Johnson also helped establish the Day One Workshop, a vision session developed to listen deeply to clients’ stories and imagine the possibilities. A practicing interior designer since 1994, Aiken-Johnson is known for her ability to discover stories deeply informed by the client’s vision and articulate design solutions by telling the meaningful stories behind them.
Education: Auburn University Hometown: Tucker, Georgia Why I chose this work: My AP art teacher recommended the Studio Op Design Program in Auburn’s school of architecture. I’m fortunate my passion for storytelling has aligned to make this a lifelong career. First job: Chick-fil-A, North DeKalb Mall Toughest challenge: Being the youngest and only woman in the room
Jordache K. Avery
Principal and Owner
Jordache Avery is the founder and sole principal of the architecture firm Xmetrical, which specializes in high-design residential/multifamily and commercial urban infill development. Avery’s homes have consistently been selected to appear in the architectural tour associated with the annual Atlanta Design Festival, and many of his projects have been highlighted in both print and digital media. Avery is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and the American Institute of Architects; in 2017 his Overbrook project was a finalist for AIA Atlanta’s residential design awards. Avery serves on the governing board of the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School in Grant Park.
Education: Florida A&M University Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida First job: Youth mentor at a summer camp Why I chose this work: I’ve loved buildings and cities since I was a kid. My father was a city planner and brought home plans of things to come. Favorite special occasion restaurant: Kevin Rathbun Steak
John Bencich Founding Principal
Square Feet Studio
With his wife, Vivian, John Bencich is the founding principal of Square Feet Studio and an architect with over 20 years of experience designing new uses for old buildings. He’s been an adjunct faculty member at Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University, and performed years of volunteer work with the American Institute of Architects, serving as Atlanta chapter president in 2012. The Virginia native’s work has been recognized by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, Urban Land Institute, International Interior Design Association, and American Institute of Architects.
Education: Georgia Tech Best advice received: Do what you say you are going to do, do the work well every time, and clients will come. Hobbies: Flatwater kayaking, backpacking, hiking, biking Bucket list: Hiking along the Via Dinarica in Croatia
Vivian Bencich Principal
Square Feet Studio
Vivian Bencich and her husband, John, founded Square Feet Studio in 2001 with the desire to seamlessly combine interior design and architecture in one distinctive practice. A registered interior designer with a background in architecture, Bencich strives in her work to honor the relationship between interior design and the larger context of a building’s history and urban environment. A skilled listmaker and confirmed Luddite, the North Carolina native enjoys guiding clients through the design process with determination, passion, and humor.
Education: Vanderbilt University, Georgia Tech (MArch) Hidden talent: I’m pretty good at ping-pong. Hobbies: Yoga Favorite travel destination: Nantucket or Paris Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Kimball House and now Watchman’s
G. Niles Bolton Chairman and CEO
Niles Bolton Associates
G. Niles Bolton is chairman and CEO of Niles Bolton Associates, a professional design firm founded in 1975. Headquartered in Atlanta, with an additional office in Washington, D.C., NBA has completed projects in 49 states and 16 countries. Bolton, who served in Vietnam with the Army Corps of Engineers, spent 10 years on the Georgia Board of Architects & Interior Designers. He’s a director and past chair of the Buckhead Coalition and an emeritus trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation, and remains highly involved with local community organizations and various national professional associations.
Jodi Borges-Bradley Managing Director, Principal
As managing director of IA Interior Architects’ Atlanta office, Jodi Borges-Bradley focuses on the overall client experience, ensuring team and resource alignment to enable creativity, innovation, and growth. Since joining the firm in 2018, she has added value by establishing streamlined processes and connectivity, with notable clients including the Georgia Department of Revenue, Salesforce, Bank of America, and commercial real estate firms such as CBRE and Banyan Street Capital. Borges-Bradley is also active in CREW Atlanta, a professional organization for women in commercial real estate, and served as the chapter’s president in 2020. In 2020 she was also honored as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Women Who Mean Business.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida First job: Summer camp counselor Why I chose this work: I have always been moved by my environment and felt a drive to create more appealing and functional spaces for others. It’s not about solving a puzzle of needs and numbers but making space feel like a destination.
David Dymecki Principal and Managing Director, Atlanta Office
Perkins and Will
As managing director of Perkins and Will’s Atlanta office, David Dymecki leads a staff of 150 working across numerous practice areas and disciplines: architects, landscape architects, urban designers, interior designers, and branded-environments specialists. Dymecki’s experience spans more than three decades, with a specific focus on the programming, planning, and design of athletic and recreation projects. The Philadelphia native has lectured, written, and presented on a variety of topics, from athletic and recreation master planning to design guidelines and trends to facilities renovation.
Education: Washington University, Princeton University (MArch) First job: Following graduation, spent five years working for Michael Graves Architecture & Design Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Great place to exercise, relax, and spend time with my wife. Bucket list: Learn how to fly-fish and enjoy the outdoors in the South
William H. Harrison Founder
At age 12, Bill Harrison began working as a draftsperson in an architect’s office every summer and on Saturdays—so by the time he entered Georgia Tech, he was already more than familiar with the first year’s architecture curriculum. Harrison continued his education touring the architecture of the masters in Europe and the Americas, and the tenets of classical architecture remain evident in every project undertaken by Harrison Design, the firm he founded in 1991.
Education: Georgia Tech First job: Drafting for Macon architect Hank Dixon Hidden talent: I’m an award-winning dancer! Favorite travel destination: Italy Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chastain Park Who’d play me in a biopic: Chris Cooper
Suzanne Kasler Principal
Suzanne Kasler Interiors
Suzanne Kasler, principal of Atlanta-based Suzanne Kasler Interiors, believes a room “should be collected, not decorated.” She incorporates the personal collections of her clients with fine art, antiques, contemporary pieces, and custom-designed furniture. Kasler’s interiors have been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, House & Garden, Southern Accents, and Veranda, and in 2009 Rizzoli published her first book, Inspired Interiors. In 2008 Kasler launched a line of furniture for Hickory Chair and a collection of lighting for Visual Comfort. Her style has been interpreted into a line of rugs with Safavieh, fine art with Soicher Marin, accessories with Ballard Designs, and fabric with Lee Jofa.
Education: University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning Hobbies: Avid collector
Robert J. Maricich Chairman and CEO
International Market Centers
Robert Maricich is chairman and CEO of International Market Centers, which he was instrumental in creating: As CEO of World Market Center Las Vegas, Maricich helped raise over $1 billion to purchase a spate of showroom properties in High Point, North Carolina, merging them into a single entity that’s the world’s largest operator of showroom space for the furnishing, home decor, rug, and gift industries. In 2018 IMC acquired AmericasMart Atlanta, creating the world’s largest permanent marketplace in these industries.
Education: Montana State University First job: I drove an ice cream truck—one of those that went through the neighborhoods—ringing a bell and selling ice cream. Inspiring person: Teddy Roosevelt Notable achievement: American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame (2020)
Bobby McAlpine Architect, Founder, and President
Envisioning home as a timeless, graceful, and emotionally evocative place, Bobby McAlpine designed his first house at the age of five and hasn’t stopped since. He founded his firm in 1983 and has designed homes for clients around the world. Today, with offices in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and New York, the McAlpine firm comprises an eclectic family of architects and interior designers. Bobby McAlpine has authored four books, including the bestselling 2010 The Home Within Us and 2017’s Poetry of Place.
Education: Auburn University Hobbies: Raiding Europe for antiques and artifacts Favorite travel destination: Lake Martin, Alabama Bucket list: Bali Who’d play me in a biopic: Colin Firth
Lew Oliver Owner and Principal
Lew Oliver is an Atlanta-based urbanist, master planner, and designer with more than a decade of experience advancing New Urbanism and residential design. The principal of his eponymous firm, Oliver is a preferred design consultant of the renowned New Urbanist firm DPZ; he was instrumental in the design and development of downtown Woodstock, Vickery Village, and Serenbe, and has worked on scores of other projects nationally and internationally. Oliver designs with each community’s values, vernacular, and climate in mind.
Education: Georgia Tech Hidden talent: I love building sandcastles. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Inman Park Charities: Sierra Club, Wesley Glen Ministries, Congress for the New Urbanism Bucket list: Eastern Europe, Morocco, Iceland Who’d play me in a biopic: Bradley Cooper
Matthew Quinn Principal
Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio
Matthew Quinn is the co-owner and principal of Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio and the Matthew Quinn Collection boutique showroom. He and his firm have worked with renowned designers and architects throughout the world. Finding inspiration through his frequent travels, Quinn narrates each design, working with designers, architects, homeowners, and craftsmen. His current product lines are designed with Art for Everyday, AKDO, Francois & Co., La Cornue, Julien: Home Refinements, MTI Baths, Sun Valley Bronze: Reveal Designs, and Hafele America. He has published Quintessential Kitchens by Matthew Quinn: Volume One and Quintessential Kitchens and Spaces by Matthew Quinn: Volume Two. In 2020 Quinn opened the second location of Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio in the new Nashville Design Collective in Tennessee.
Education: University of Florida, Art Institute of America First job: Dishwasher Toughest challenge: The recession Charity: Project Open Hand
Janet Simpson President
As the third president to serve tvsdesign in its 50 years, Janet Simpson is implementing new programs to empower more voices and encourage new ideas around servant-leadership, young leaders, and the company’s culture and values. In two decades as a workplace interior designer, Simpson spearheaded three “career-building” projects: the recent 400,000-square-foot renovation and consolidation of Fiserv’s headquarters in Alpharetta, the new headquarters for Mattress Firm in Houston, and the first Cox headquarters building at the Perimeter in Atlanta.
Education: Auburn University Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama Notable achievements: Staying in the same profession I got my degree in! How many people can say that these days? Hidden talent: In the role of president, I’ve been able to apply design thinking to business strategy, which has been transformational for the company. Why I chose this work: It was either architecture or law, and I decided I’d be happiest creating environments that make people feel good.
Chris Bontrager Atlanta Business Unit Leader
Chris Bontrager joined DPR Construction in 2000, filling multiple operations and management roles before being named leader of the Atlanta Business Unit in 2016. Bontrager has more than 24 years of construction industry experience and has been in the Atlanta market since 2000. He’s responsible for leading overall business operations, development, and sales efforts in Atlanta with a focus on DPR’s core markets, including construction in higher education, commercial office, advanced technology, healthcare, and life sciences. DPR’s portfolio of work ranges from large-scale new construction to small tenant improvements and special projects.
Education: Auburn University Hometown: Gadsden, Alabama First job: Working for my family’s residential construction business Best advice received: Your priorities in life are balls that you juggle every day. Some of the balls are made of glass, some are made of rubber. You must decide which of your priorities are glass and which are rubber. You drop a glass ball, it’s gone forever. Drop a rubber ball and it will bounce back.
Doug Davidson Chairman and CEO
New South Construction
Atlanta native Doug Davidson is chairman and CEO of New South Construction, which he founded in 1990, and which has grown into one of Georgia’s most respected construction firms. Davidson was Associated General Contractors president in 2008 and Construction Education Foundation president in 2001. New South’s current projects include Atlantic Yards, a two-building office complex overlooking I-75/I-85 at Atlantic Station; Emory University’s new Rollins School of Public Health, Building III; Pace Academy’s Lower School addition; and Isakson Living’s luxury 55-and-over community at Peachtree Hills Place.
Education: Auburn University First job: Pike Nurseries Best advice received: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Hobbies: Golf, boating, and skiing Favorite book: The Bible Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Truist Park
Albert G. Edwards
Founder and Managing Director
Corporate Environmental Risk Management
Albert G. Edwards is the managing director of Corporate Environmental Risk Management, a regional engineering, environmental, and program management firm that he launched with the late Marcus L. Reese in 1995. Edwards’s responsibilities include chairing CERM’s management committee and providing day-to-day leadership and strategic direction to its business management, project delivery, and client management functions. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Edwards has helped organizations throughout the country manage environmental, engineering, infrastructure, and capital projects. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Education: Mississippi Valley State University, Southern Polytechnic State University (MBA) Hometown: Prichard, Alabama First job: Army Corps of Engineers summer student assistant in high school Toughest challenge: Imposter syndrome Favorite travel destination: Alaska Notable achievements: First college graduate in my family, CERM’s Job Shadowing Program (20+ Years), U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Construction Firm of the Year (2020), PSMJ A/E/C Building a Better World Award (2019), ACEC Engineering Excellence National Recognition Award (2018)
R. Randall Hall President and CEO
Randy Hall is president and CEO of Batson-Cook, where he combines a knowledge of construction honed over three decades with the relationships he’s developed during 15 years in management roles within the company. The Millbrook, Alabama, native leads the firm’s strategic planning, business development, preconstruction services, and construction operations. Hall became president of Batson-Cook in 2012 and CEO the following year. He’d served previously as senior vice president and general manager of both the West Point and Atlanta regional offices.
Education: Auburn University Notable achievements: Past president of the board of directors of Associated General Contractors of Georgia (2016), member of the executive board of Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction Hobbies: Cycling, golf
President and CEO
Sovereign Construction & Development
Michael Hatcher is the president and CEO of Sovereign Construction & Development, which specializes in commercial interior renovations and construction management. Hatcher, who founded the firm in 2007, brings a wealth of experience related to integrated project delivery and collaborative construction practices, and believes construction should be a vehicle for innovation and a platform for inspiration.
Education: Morehouse College, Georgia Tech (MS, PhD) Why I chose this work: Construction is the most creative profession in the world and I always wanted my talents expressed on the canvas of the built environment. What I’d tell a secret graduate: If you have an entrepreneurial idea, do it. Do not hesitate, and have no doubt. First job: Shoveling snow in New Jersey Hidden talent: I am a grill master.
Thomas Holder Chairman and CEO
Thomas “Tommy” Holder joined Holder Construction in 1976, filling various positions in operations and management before being named chairman and CEO in 1997. Holder Construction is a national commercial construction services firm consistently ranked among the nation’s top 100 contractors. The company works in both the public and private sectors and is experienced in corporate headquarters, commercial office buildings, and data and technology centers, among others. Clients have included UPS, the Coca-Cola Co., and Emory University.
Education: Georgia Tech Notable achievements: Past chair of the board of Kennesaw State University, member of the boards of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the College of Charleston First job: Pumping gas at BP What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Take full advantage of your education. Inspiring person: My dad, Robert Holder
Dan Kaufman East Region President
JE Dunn Construction
Dan Kaufman began his career at JE Dunn (formerly R.J. Griffin) in 1997 as a project engineer, working his way up to division manager by 2007. Under his leadership, the Atlanta South Division of R.J. Griffin completed over $523 million worth of construction projects and planted seeds in markets that helped bolster the company through the global economic downturn. In 2010 Kaufman was promoted to president of JE Dunn’s East Region, comprising offices in Atlanta, Savannah, Tampa, Charlotte, and Nashville.
Education: University of Florida (MA) Favorite TV show:60 Minutes Favorite travel destination: A little island in Belize: Cayo Espanto Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Date night with my wife at the oyster bar at Ford Fry’s the Optimist Bucket list: Run a 100-mile trail race in under 30 hours
Meredith Leapley Founder and CEO
In 1999, at age 26, Meredith Leapley came to Atlanta from Washington, D.C., and founded a commercial contracting firm in a city where she had few professional connections. Now one of Atlanta’s top interior general contractors, Leapley Construction reaches over $85 million in annual revenue and serves clients including Coca-Cola, Kaiser Permanente, and Norfolk Southern. In 2016, Investopedia named the firm one of its Top Five Women-Owned Businesses in Atlanta, and Meredith Leapley was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Achievement.
Education: University of Maryland Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland Best advice received: Believe! I could not have built Leapley without believing in the vision. Bucket list: To share my story and bring more connections, ideas, and inspiration to others Who’d play me in a biopic: A 40-something Diane Keaton
C. David Moody Jr. CEO
C.D. Moody Construction
C. David Moody Jr. founded C.D. Moody Construction in 1988. Now one of the U.S.’s largest African American-owned construction companies, Moody’s firm has appeared every year for more than two decades on Black Enterprise magazine’s list of the nation’s top 100 black-owned industrial/services companies. The firm has undertaken more than 150 commercial projects valued at over $2 billion, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the Cyclorama at the Atlanta History Center, and the Maynard Jackson International Terminal.
Education: Morehouse College, Howard University Inspiring person: My grandfather James Moody Sr., who came to America at 17 in 1901 from British Honduras. He knew no one here. I admire his courage and thirst for education. Toughest challenge: Overcoming the trauma of childhood sexual abuse Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Stone Mountain Park Charities: Boy Scouts, Chris 180, Morehouse College, Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
Brent Reid CEO
Brent Reid is the CEO of Winter Companies—the parent of Winter Construction, which does commercial building, and Winter Environmental, which works on abatement, sustainability, and decontamination projects. Reid joined in 1984 as a project engineer and has worked in a variety of capacities, opening an office in Denver and helping create Winter Environmental. He took over as head of Winter in 2001; in 2009, Reid and the other members of the senior management team purchased the former owner’s full interest, and Reid has continued as CEO since.
Education: Georgia Tech, University of Chicago (MBA) Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 1998, emeritus board member of Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, past chair of the Council for Quality Growth, treasurer of the Midtown Alliance
Rob Taylor President
Brasfield & Gorrie
Rob Taylor built his entire career at Brasfield & Gorrie, opening the Atlanta office in 1984 and helping the firm establish a strong reputation in the market. Even after a host of successful projects—including the Georgia Dome, Georgia Aquarium, 12th & Midtown, and SunTrust (now Truist) Park—he remains passionate about working with his teams, supporting them when they face challenges, and bolstering their efforts, commitment, and desire to excel.
Education: Auburn University Best advice received: From high school coach Jim Cavan: “No substitution for hard work. Hard work can overcome lack of talent.” Hobbies: Golf, hunting Favorite movie:Remember the Titans Charities: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Make-A-Wish Foundation
Chondra Webster Myers
Chondra Webster Myers is president of WEBMyers Construction, the largest woman/minority–owned interior general contractor in Georgia, specializing in commercial interiors. Since founding the business in 2015, Myers has grown it into an enterprise that generates more than $10 million annually, with clients including Grady Health System, Kaiser Permanente, and Walgreens. A native of Inglewood, California, Myers has more than 25 years of industry experience, and previously held leadership positions at H.J. Russell & Co. and Leapley Construction.
Education: California State University, Los Angeles Lesson learned: Protect your children at all times. Hobbies: Traveling, bowling, tennis Favorite travel destination: Spain Favorite Atlanta place to visit: My bed Who’d play me in a bio pic: Sanaa Lathan or Tiffany Haddish
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERS
Chairman and Co-CEO
The Shopping Center Group
David Birnbrey is chairman and co-CEO of the Shopping Center Group, an Atlanta-based retail real estate service provider with 22 offices throughout the U.S. He is responsible for strategic planning as well as the overall management of the brokerage operation. Birnbrey began his career in 1980 as a general commercial real estate sales and leasing associate specializing in industrial properties, joining TSCG in 1984. A member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Commercial and Retail Development Council of the Urban Land Institute, he’s a frequent contributor to media platforms including CNBC and Fox News and speaks regularly to industry and civic groups.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Notable achievements: Along with the rest of our management team, I’ve been involved in the construction and perpetuation of a 35-year-old company that has survived and thrived through numerous economic cycles. Inspiring person: My father, and the best advice I ever received is everything he ever said.
President and CEO
Richard Bowers & Co.
Richard Bowers is president and CEO of Richard Bowers & Co., one of Atlanta’s premier privately held commercial real estate firms, which engages in the leasing and sale of office, industrial, retail, land, and investment properties. Since its 1980 founding, the company has continued its growth by adding affiliate companies to satisfy emerging and global commercial real estate needs: RB Management currently manages 75 properties, and Facilitec and Office Interiors specialize in interior architecture, interior design, and building architecture. Bowers has personally completed over 1,800 requirements throughout metro Atlanta, amounting to more than 17 million square feet of space either leased or sold.
Education: United States Military Academy, Georgia State University (MBA) Hometown: Decatur, Illinois Toughest challenge: Attending West Point
Chris Carter Founder
Vantage Realty Partners
Chris Carter began his commercial real estate career in 2001 with Cartel Realty, concentrating on in-town urban Atlanta: assembling land, repositioning buildings, and representing various groups in their acquisitions and dispositions of investment, retail, and office properties. With Gene Rice, Carter founded Vantage Realty Partners in 2007. Through its deep-rooted community involvement, Vantage has developed a reputation for being one of the top commercial brokerage and investment firms in Atlanta’s urban core, with a passion for historical preservation, proper urban planning, and promoting arts and nonprofit organizations.
Education: College of Charleston Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina Toughest challenge: The dynamic of parenting a severely retarded, nonverbal eight-year-old child. It’s been my greatest challenge and absolutely my greatest reward, as it’s truly enlightened me to what’s important in life.
John Ferguson President, Southeast Division
John Ferguson is president of the Southeast Division of CBRE, which he’s led since 2011. Ferguson oversees operations in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Jackson, Memphis, Nashville, and Savannah, and is the primary relationship manager for CBRE’s joint-venture offices in Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to his presidency, Ferguson served as the executive managing director for the Southeast, and before that as market leader for CBRE’s Atlanta office, where he was responsible for the activities of more than 500 professionals across the full spectrum of the company’s business lines. Ferguson has three times received CBRE’s President’s Award, recognizing his outstanding performance as Atlanta market leader.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Athens, Georgia
Robert S. Mathews President and CEO, Atlanta Office
Bob Mathews has been CEO of the Atlanta office of commercial real estate firm Colliers International since 2004. Colliers Atlanta has more than 70 brokers, 280 employees, and 107 million square feet under management, generating more than $3.3 billion in annual transaction volume. Mathews served six years in the U.S. Army after college graduation, then joined the personnel consulting and recruiting firm Lendman Associates. He entered the commercial real estate field in 1984 with a job at Portman Barry, joining Colliers International in 1991.
Education: North Georgia College and State University, University of Southern California (MS) Notable achievements: Reserve Officers Training Corp Hall of Fame (2016), Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Silver Phoenix Award (2012), Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Realtor of the Year (2009)
John F. O’Neill III President, Central Region
Cushman & Wakefield
John F. O’Neill III is the President of Cushman & Wakefield’s Central Region. The Atlanta native also serves on the firm’s global advisory board. O’Neill has been involved in several major transactions, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Carter’s, Primerica, and Graphic Packaging International. He’s a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and is active in the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Woodruff Arts Center, and Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Education: College of Charleston, University of Georgia Terry College of Business (MBA) First job: Cutting grass Hobbies: Sports with my three sons Favorite travel destination: Ireland Bucket list: Africa with my family
Michael J. Sivewright Market Director
As market director for JLL’s Atlanta region, Michael Sivewright provides overall leadership focused on supporting existing client accounts, developing new business opportunities, and enterprise management across all service lines. Sivewright has more than 25 years of real estate experience with a strong focus on transactions, development, corporate outsourcing, and large-portfolio oversight. Previously he was chairman of the Jones Lang LaSalle Banking Industry group and leader of Jones Lang LaSalle’s corporate real estate relationship with Bank of America, representing a staff of more than 900.
Education: University of Kentucky Board memberships: Chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Leadership Council, member of the executive committee of the Buckhead Coalition and boards of Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, Woodruff Arts Center
Pamela J. Smith
President and CEO
Smith Real Estate Services
Following a 20-year career in retail with CBRE, Ray Uttenhove joined SRS Real Estate Partners in 2005; as executive vice president, she leads the Atlanta office and serves on the company’s board of directors. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Uttenhove is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and serves on the boards of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia State University Foundation. She’s past chair of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation and former president of CREW Atlanta.
Education: Rutgers University, New York University (MPA), Georgia State University (MS) Best advice recieved: Always have a plan B. Toughest challenge: Successfully extricating myself from an abusive marriage. The life lesson I learned was that I would rather be happy and single than married and miserable. Charities: Atlanta Victim Assistance, Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program), Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunities Project
T. Dallas Smith
President and CEO
T. Dallas Smith & Co.
T. Dallas Smith is the president and CEO of T. Dallas Smith & Co., which since its 2007 founding has grown to be the largest African American–owned pure tenant representation firm in the country, having effectively negotiated projects nationwide exceeding $15 billion in value. Smith began his career in commercial real estate in 1982, working under Thomas W. Tift at Atlanta Air Center Realty; in 1989 he became the first African American broker at Cushman & Wakefield of Georgia. In 1995 he joined the African American–owned construction and management firm H.J. Russell. In 2020 Smith was appointed to the board of regents of the University System of Georgia.
Education: Georgia State University Notable achievements: Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Realtor of the Year (2018), Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2017) First job: Dishwasher at Steak ’n Shake on Old National Highway in College Park Few people know: I was born a comedian. Everyone knows I spend a lot of time enjoying a good laugh, but what they don’t know is that I actually performed as a comedian for 15 years. No joke!
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SPONSORS
Executive Vice President
As an executive vice president at Selig Enterprises, Chris Ahrenkiel leads the firm’s office division, with a focus on activating many of Selig’s land holdings with office developments. His current efforts include the development of 1105 West Peachtree, Atlanta’s largest office building under construction. Ahrenkiel also sits on the firm’s investment committee and focuses a substantial amount of time on community and civic engagement. In 2017 he graduated Leadership Atlanta and remains actively involved. In 2015 he was named one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 and is consistently recognized on the publication’s list of Who’s Who in Commercial Real Estate.
Education: University of Georgia, Georgia State University Robinson College of Business (MBA) Hometown: Dortmund, Germany Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 2017, Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2015) First job: Selling encyclopedias door-to-door in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania
David Allman Founder and Chairman
David Allman is owner and chairman of Regent Partners, an Atlanta real estate investment and development company that has developed or acquired more than $2.5 billion in real estate assets—including the $500 million, 2.2 million-square-foot Concourse Complex and the Sovereign, a 50-story mixed-use project in Buckhead and the tallest building to be built in Atlanta in 25 years. An Atlanta native, Allman is active in numerous real estate, civic, and ministry initiatives, and has been in the commercial real estate business since 1980.
Education: Dartmouth College Notable achievements: Founding chairman of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, past chairman of the Atlanta District Council of the Urban Land Institute, member of the board of councillors of the Carter Center Charities: Opportunity International Nicaragua
Steve Baile Chief Development Officer
As chief development and operating officer, Steve Baile oversees Selig Development’s commercial and mixed-use development platform. With Selig since 2014, Baile is recognized as one of Atlanta’s leading developers, with a dossier accounting for more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial, hospitality, residential, and mixed-use developments and acquisitions. Notable projects include the Plaza Midtown, 1010 Midtown, and the multiphase, mixed-use 12th & Midtown initiative. Baile’s ventures represent more than $2.5 billion in the Atlanta region since 2004.
Education: Auburn University Hidden talent: I love to tinker and fix things. My kids think I can fix anything (a little preemptive propaganda hasn’t hurt). Hobbies: Golf, travel Favorite movie:The Outlaw Josey Wales Who’d play me in a biopic: Younger Clint Eastwood
Ambrish Baisiwala CEO and Chairman
As CEO, Ambrish Baisiwala is responsible for the management and profitability of Portman Holdings. Bringing two decades of global real estate experience to the job, he oversees operations including real estate development, investment, and capital raising in the U.S., China, India, and South Korea. In 2020, Portman Holdings added two business platforms: Portman Residential and Portman Industrial. Prior to joining Portman, Baisiwala was development director of Aldar Properties in Abu Dhabi, responsible for a portfolio in excess of $30 billion. Previously he was development manager for the Greater Union Organisation, and has held senior positions with Coopers & Lybrand Consulting and the Tata Group.
Education: University of Rajasthan, Melbourne Business School (MBA) Board memberships: Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Central Atlanta Progress, Zoo Atlanta Leadership Council, Urban Land Institute Livable Communities Council
Vivian Barnes joined Ackerman & Co. in 1996. She directs asset and property management services, financial services, and day-to-day operations, overseeing the financial administration of the company, its developments, and the properties it manages. Barnes began her career in commercial real estate and financial services more than 25 years ago. Prior to joining Ackerman, she managed financial services for commercial, retail, industrial, and construction projects with Carter and Cushman & Wakefield.
Education: Georgia Southwestern State University Hometown: Dawson, Georgia Why I chose this work: I enjoy my diverse job responsibilities and the ever-changing dynamics of commercial real estate. Inspiring person: Charles Ackerman Toughest challenge: Surviving the loss of my 24-year-old son
James R. Borders CEO
James R. Borders is CEO of Novare Group, an Atlanta-based real estate investment and development company. Borders began his career as an attorney with Atlanta firm King & Spalding. In 1992, he founded the predecessor to Novare Group; since then the firm has developed more than 16,000 multifamily residences in 50 communities, including 39 high-rises in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, and Tampa. Novare Group’s Atlanta developments include the SkyHouse communities, Atlantic House, Twelve Hotels, the Biltmore, SouthLawn, and numerous high-rise condominiums.
Education: Georgia Tech, University of Georgia Terry College of Business (MBA), University of Georgia School of Law (JD) Notable achievements: Novare Group has been recognized with two Urban Leadership Institute Project of the Year awards and three Projects of Excellence. Board memberships: Buckhead Coalition, Midtown Alliance, Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures, Tanner Medical Foundation, Georgia Tech Foundation
Matt Bronfman Principal and CEO
Matt Bronfman is a principal and the CEO of Jamestown. He joined the company in 1998 as general counsel, and in 2002 was named managing director and chief operating officer. Bronfman became CEO in 2012. He’s led the acquisition, redevelopment, and oversight of more than $20 billion of real estate, including Chelsea Market in New York and Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Bronfman also serves as board president for the Jamestown Charitable Foundation, which supports nonprofits to help make cities more enjoyable places to live and work. He has been recognized as a leader in the industry and is a recipient of the Real Estate Roundtable President’s Circle Award.
Education: Tufts University, Northwestern University (JD) Inspiring people: Jamestown chairman Christoph Kahl and my father, Alan Bronfman, who taught me: Real estate is all about location, location, location . . . don’t forget the second one. What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: It’s better to be tired than bored. Favorite Atlanta podcast:How I Built This
Colin Connolly President and Chief Operating Officer
As president and CEO of Cousins Properties and a board member, Colin Connolly is responsible for the business’s new investments, dispositions, asset management, market leadership, development, and operations. He joined Cousins in 2011 as senior vice president, became senior vice president and chief investment officer in 2013, executive vice president and chief investment officer in 2015, and executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2016. Prior to joining Cousins, Connolly worked at Morgan Stanley as an executive director and, before that, vice president.
Education: Washington and Lee University, University of Virginia Darden School of Business (MBA) Favorite book:The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett Favorite destination: Any beach What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Have a plan but write it in pencil not pen so you can make changes.
Mark Dishaw Principal
Trammell Crow Co.
As a managing director for Trammell Crow’s Atlanta Business Unit, Mark Dishaw is responsible for sourcing and overseeing new industrial development and investment opportunities throughout the greater Atlanta market. Since joining Trammell Crow in 2013, Dishaw and his team have developed approximately 2.3 million square feet. His expertise includes development, acquisitions, asset management, construction management, marketing, and financial analysis. During his 30-year career, Dishaw has managed the development, leasing, acquisition, and property management of more than 18 million square feet of commercial real estate valued at $700 million. Dishaw previously served as director of industrial development at MeadWestvaco and chief operating officer of Republic Property Co.
Education: University of Connecticut Notable achievements: Dishaw is a member of NAIOP and the 2012 class of Leadership Charleston.
Jeffrey S. Fuqua Principal
Jeffrey S. Fuqua is the cofounder of Fuqua Development. He was previously a board member, partner, and president of the Sembler Co., where—in his 24-year tenure—he developed more than 14 million square feet in over 80 projects valued at $4 billion. During Fuqua’s time at Sembler, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named the company a Top Developer for 11 consecutive years starting in 2000. Its major real estate projects in Atlanta include the Prado, Town Brookhaven, Edgewood Retail District, Lindbergh Plaza, Perimeter Place, and Lenox Marketplace. In Florida, Fuqua developed Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens and Boynton Town Center in Boynton Beach. Fuqua has served on the boards of the Perimeter Community Improvement District and the DeKalb Police Alliance.
Education: University of Denver
Jack N. Halpern
Jack Halpern is chairman of Halpern Enterprises, where he has been employed since 1978. The family-owned business leases, manages, and develops shopping centers as long-term investments. An Atlanta native and a graduate of the Westminster Schools, Halpern has served as chairman of the board of the Epstein School, chairman of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and cochair of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, and is active in numerous other nonprofits. Halpern and his wife, Lynne, have three children and five grandchildren.
Education: Harvard University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD) Why I chose this work: After practicing law for three years, I received an offer from my father, Bernard Halpern, to become in-house counsel at our family’s company. Unfortunately, my father died two years later, and I had to assume greater responsibility. Real estate proved to be a great way for me to apply both my legal training and analytical skills, and with the help of talented colleagues, our family has been able to build upon the solid foundation that my father created.
Jim Irwin President
As president of New City, Jim Irwin directs the company’s real estate development and consulting operations as well as new business pursuits. Over the course of his career, Irwin has been responsible for nearly $700 million of new investment nationwide. Prior to founding New City in 2016, Irwin was senior vice president at Jamestown, leading the development of Ponce City Market—one of the largest and most significant historic renovations then underway in the U.S.
Education: Dartmouth College, Emory University Goizueta Business School (MBA) First job: Worked in a bike shop Favorite travel destination: Oregon What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Take more art classes
Robin Loudermilk President and CEO
The Loudermilk Cos.
Robert C. “Robin” Loudermilk Jr. is president and CEO of the Loudermilk Cos., an asset-based real estate development, investment, and management company. Prior to founding LCO, he served as president, CEO, and director of the retailer Aaron’s, and before that worked for Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services and Stratton Construction. An Atlanta native, Loudermilk is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. Currently chairman of the Atlanta Police Foundation, he also founded the Buckhead Alliance, a public safety organization.
Education: University of Alabama Board memberships: Genuine Parts Co., Shepherd Center, Buckhead Community Improvement District, Midtown Alliance Why I chose this work: To follow my passion for changing real estate in Atlanta Hobbies: Hunting, fishing
Egbert L.J. Perry Chairman and CEO
Egbert L.J. Perry, a native of Antigua and Barbuda, is chairman and CEO of Integral, which he cofounded with a mission to “create value in cities and (re)build the fabric of communities.” A community development, commercial real estate, and construction professional since 1979, Perry spent the 1980s and early ’90s helping grow an Atlanta real estate and construction company into the nation’s third-largest African American–owned business. Since its founding in 1993, Integral has become respected for its expertise in affordable, workforce, luxury, and mixed-income housing, often as components of master-planned, mixed-use, and transit-oriented developments.
Education: University of Pennsylvania (MS), Wharton School (MBA) Notable achievements: n 1990, Perry was the 11th graduate in the University of Pennsylvania’s history to be named to the Gallery of Distinguished Engineering Alumni.
Michael Phillips Principal and President
As a principal and the president of Jamestown, Michael Phillips is a driving force behind celebrated adaptive-reuse developments including Chelsea Market in New York, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, and Ponce City Market in Atlanta. He’s nationally recognized for his creative leadership and his ability to build distinctive urban communities. The Atlanta native is the vice chair of the James Beard Foundation and sits on the boards of Friends of the High Line and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Favorite travel destination: Paris Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Floataway Cafe Charities: James Beard Foundation
Norman Radow CEO
The RADCO Cos.
When he established the RADCO Cos. in 1994, Norman Radow’s vision came from a lifelong passion to improve both neighborhoods and people’s lives. RADCO’s first project was the redevelopment of a distressed 53-story hotel, office, and condominium tower that later became the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. Prior to founding RADCO, Radow was a real estate litigation, workout, and transactional lawyer. As chairman of the Kennesaw State University Foundation Board of Trustees, he oversaw the expansion of the 33,000-student university in metro Atlanta. The campus doubled in size during his 13-year tenure, with the addition of $500 million in new buildings that Radow helped finance and develop. Radow is currently a member of the New York Law School Board of Trustees. RADCO is one of the largest apartment owners in Atlanta and one of the leading private capital companies of its kind in the country. Radow also writes a blog, Coffee (and Real Estate) with Norm!
H. Jerome Russell Jr. President
H.J. Russell & Co.
As president of H.J. Russell & Co. and Russell New Urban Development, H. Jerome Russell’s focus is on the firm’s strategic direction and new business development. Over his more than 25-year career, Russell has experience with beverage distribution, consumer marketing, banking, construction, and real estate, which has led him to his current role as the lead owner over the $250 million real estate portfolio and chairman of the newly formed Herman J. Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE). In 1997, he was named to the board of Citizens Trust Bank, and was part of two successful mergers taken on by Citizens Trust Bank. He’s a member of the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta Rotary, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Tiger 21, and the board of councillors of the Carter Center.
Education: Georgia State University Board memberships: Citizens Trust Bank Loan Committee chairman, West End CID, Metro Atlanta YMCA, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Historical Society, Central Atlanta Progress, Concessions International, Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, H.J. Russell & Co.
Michael Russell CEO
H.J. Russell & Co.
Michael B. Russell became CEO of H.J. Russell & Co. in 2003 and also serves as vice chair of its sister company, Concessions International. He worked for Portman Architects for three years after graduating from college. Russell has spent most of his career with H.J. Russell & Co., serving in a variety of executive and nonexecutive positions such as cost estimator, project manager, business developer, and division VP. As CEO, he is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the four major divisions within the company (construction, program management, property management, and development), which is recognized as one of the largest Black-owned construction and commercial real estate companies in the country. The Atlanta native has been involved in the construction industry in one way or another since his youth.
Education: University of Virginia, Georgia State University Robinson School of Business (MBA) Inspiring person: My father, Herman J. Russell Notable achievements: Past president of the Association of Builders and Contractors of Georgia
Founder and CEO
Tim Schrager is the CEO of Perennial Properties, an Atlanta real estate development and property management company he founded in 1988. Meeting what Schrager saw as a need for quality housing choices in older neighborhoods with deteriorating rental stock, Perennial Properties has focused on infill development in gentrifying areas, specializing in high-end apartment projects with street-level retail. In three decades, Schrager and Perennial have been responsible for the development of numerous multifamily communities, as well as multifamily and retail mixed-use developments, in Georgia and Florida. Perennial also owns and operates Midtown Bowl.
Education: University of Southern California Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska First job: Picking weeds and digging ditches for irrigation Hobbies: Art collecting, visiting art museums and galleries Favorite book:The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Favorite travel destination: New York City
Mark Toro Managing Partner
North American Properties, Atlanta
Mark Toro’s passion is in creating smarter built environments. As managing partner at North American Properties, he’s overseen the repositioning of Atlantic Station, development of Alpharetta’s $1 billion Avalon project, and redevelopment of Colony Square. In a career that now spans four decades, he has delivered more than 25 million square feet of commercial developments, working with the vast majority of communities in metro Atlanta. Since founding the North American Properties Atlanta office in 1996, Toro has led the development of more than $3.1 billion and 9.4 million square feet of traditional retail and introduced the “experiential community-focused” model for mixed-use development.
Education: Rutgers University Hometown: Belvidere, New Jersey Toughest challenge: Not everyone sees the world the way I do. Learning and respecting their viewpoint is critical. First job: Gas station attendant at age 14 Favorite TV show:Everybody Loves Raymond Charities: City of Refuge Bucket list: Visit Japan
Lisa M. Ward Senior Vice President and Managing Director
Core5 Industrial Partners
At Core5 Industrial Partners, Lisa Ward’s chief responsibilities include business development and capital deployment in the southeastern U.S. Over her 25-year commercial real estate career, Ward has overseen more than 30 million square feet of industrial investment sales and leases for a total market value of over $1 billion. Since 1997, she has consistently ranked among the top five industrial producers in Georgia by NAIOP and the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors.
Education: University of Southern Mississippi, University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business (MBA) First job: Banking Best advice received: Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Favorite travel destination: Africa Bucket list: Ski the sand dunes in Namibia Who’d play me in a biopic: Meg Ryan
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERS
Bonneau Ansley III Founder
Ansley Atlanta Real Estate
Atlanta entrepreneur Bonneau Ansley is the top-selling real estate agent in the metro housing market, having built, developed, and sold more than $1 billion in a career spanning just 15 years. In 2015 he launched Ansley Atlanta Real Estate to offer his clients, team, and Atlanta a locally owned, more personal, service-oriented real estate experience with strong technology drivers. A fifth-generation Atlantan, Ansley was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Buckhead Business Association in 2018. Ansley has also been ranked as Georgia’s number one small team in sales volume by the Wall Street Journal/REAL Trends.
Education: University of Georgia Hobbies: Surfing, golf, tennis What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Say yes all the time in your 20s and 30s and just figure it out. When you are over 40, learn how to say no. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Painted Pin Charities: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Glennis Beacham Owner and Founder
Beacham & Co., Realtors
Even though she is the principal of her own firm, Glennis Beacham continues to sell real estate full-time by choice. A managing broker runs the day-to-day operations of the company so Beacham can focus on what she loves most: selling houses. Prior to founding Beacham & Co. in 2006, Beacham was the top agent for 13 years at one of Atlanta’s oldest and largest real estate companies. She’s sold more homes priced $1 million and higher than any other agent in Atlanta real estate history, and in 2011 was the 13th realtor (and the first Georgian) to be inducted into Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate’s Billionaires Club. Beacham began her real estate career in 1982.
Education: Auburn University Toughest challenge: Regaining my financial footing after my divorce Favorite book: I love all the Harry Potter books and movies. Charities: Winship Cancer Institute, in honor of my father Who’d play me in a biopic: Meryl Streep
David Boehmig President and Founder
Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
As president of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, David Boehmig has a hand in every aspect of the company’s work. His 20-plus years of experience in residential real estate is complemented by an additional decade in commercial banking, where Boehmig focused on real estate and small-business financing. The Atlanta Realtors Association named him Realtor of the Year in 2006 and a Captain of Industry in 2010. Boehmig serves on the board of directors of First Multiple Listing Service.
Education: Georgia State University First job: Mortgage loan officer for Georgia Federal Bank Hidden talent: I speak Korean. Favorite book: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss Best advice received: Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. Favorite travel destination: Lake Como, Italy
Jenni Bonura President and CEO
Harry Norman, Realtors
As president and CEO of Harry Norman, Realtors, Jenni Bonura oversees the operations of 14 sales offices while managing partnerships in the mortgage, title, and insurance ventures. Taking an active role in every aspect of the business, the Miami native particularly enjoys luxury-home marketing and sales, new-home and high-rise marketing and sales management, and coaching the current and next generations of sales leaders. Bonura started her career in real estate in 2002 as a sales agent.
Education: Samford University First job: I had two jobs the first summer that I was 16: as an intern at an engineering firm and a server at an ice cream shop. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: South City Kitchen Bucket list: Hang gliding
Kay Evans Co-owner and Cofounder
Keller Williams Realty International, Southeast Region
Kay Evans received her real estate license in 1978, marking the beginning of a long and successful career in sales, brokerage, and real estate education. In 1999, with Bob Kilinski, Evans cofounded Keller Williams Realty’s Southeast Region, helping grow the company to a dominant position in the Atlanta real estate market. In multiple years, the Southeast has been Keller Williams’s top-performing region. Evans and her husband, Glen, have a son, a daughter, and five granddaughters.
Education: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Favorite book:The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews Who’d play me in a biopic: Meryl Streep or Bette Midler! Why not?
Daniel T. Forsman President and CEO
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties
As president and CEO, Daniel T. Forsman has led Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties to become the market leader for real estate companies in metro Atlanta—distinguishing itself in overall sales, listing inventory, sales of new homes, and growth in luxury market share. Under his leadership, Georgia Properties has been nationally recognized for its innovations in marketing and technology and was the first-ever real estate company to win the coveted MAX Award from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, edging out many Fortune 500 companies. Forsman invented TeamBuilder, an incentive program that rewards agents and employees for registering and recruiting other productive agents.
Education: University of Georgia First job: Deckhand (striker) on a shrimp boat in Georgia Favorite travel destination: The mountains of North Georgia or river swamps of South Georgia. I am at ease most when out in nature. Bucket list: Take a three-month trip to see the U.S. with my wife and best friend, Rhonda
Ben Hirsh Broker and Owner
Hirsh Real Estate, Buckhead.com
At the age of 18, Atlanta native Ben Hirsh sold his established landscaping company to a competitor and set out to travel across the globe. His excursions led him to more than 40 countries. Upon his return, Hirsh turned his focus to real estate in Buckhead, founding Hirsh Real Estate. He was soon named one of Realtor magazine’s 30 Under 30 top real estate agents in North America. According to the Atlanta Realtors Association, Hirsh is the top-producing individual realtor in Atlanta based on sales volume, with personal sales nearing $80 million in 2018.
First job: I started a lawn care company at the age of nine and sold it to enable world travels at 18. Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Toughest challenge: Being told that I was “not Buckhead enough” for a premier listing assignment by a prominent potential client was the rejection that pushed me to buy Buckhead.com and become the top real estate agent in Buckhead. Hobbies: I love gardening and hope to have my own little farm in Buckhead one day.
Founder and CEO
Engel & Völkers Atlanta
In 2017, Christa Huffstickler joined the Engel & Völkers international network to open Engel & Völkers Atlanta, which has two dedicated divisions: one for new home sales and one for general brokerage real estate. A winner of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Obie Award, Huffstickler has specialized in residential real estate for nearly two decades, and has worked on some of Atlanta’s premier condominium, townhome, and single-family-home communities. She currently manages over half a billion dollars in new home development listings.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: I was a military brat always moving from city to city, so I consider Atlanta to be my hometown. Inspiring person: My mother Hobbies: As simple as it sounds, my favorite way to spend my time is with my three girls gardening or planting flowers. We love digging in the dirt and growing and nurturing our plants. My green thumb came from my dad, and I have been sharing this passion as an adult with my own children.
Kevin Levent President and CEO
BH&G Real Estate Metro Brokers and Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers
Kevin Levent, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers and Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers, has been in the business for more than 35 years and is recognized nationally as an industry leader. He manages both brands as well as the mortgage, insurance, and title divisions of Metro Brokers, which has 2,400 sales associates in 26 offices throughout the region. An Atlanta native, Levent is a licensed broker in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.
Hidden talent: I have a contractor’s license for residential and light commercial structures. Hobbies: ATV riding Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Stone Mountain Bucket list: Getting my kids married
Jenny Pruitt Founder and CEO
Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
Jenny Pruitt, a third-generation Atlantan, is revered as a community advocate and philanthropist and respected nationally as a visionary real estate leader. Her strong business acumen has led to more than five decades of success in the Atlanta residential real estate arena. Pruitt began her real estate career in 1968 before establishing Jenny Pruitt & Associates in 1988. In 2007, she and her business partner, David Boehmig, opened Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. The company’s 475 agents are among the most accomplished real estate professionals in metro Atlanta, with more than $2.7 billion in sales in the past 12 months.
Notable achievements: Atlanta Realtors Association Sally Washburn Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), Council for Quality Growth Four Pillar Tribute (2016), Atlanta Realtors Association E.A. Isakson Award (2006), YWCA of Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers (2004) Hobbies: Reading, painting angels, walking Favorite TV show/movie:Blue Bloods, Forrest Gump
David J. Tufts President and Principal
Ansley Developer Services
David Tufts is a national sales and marketing expert specializing in new-construction residential real estate developments. He is one of the nation’s most prolific development-sales professionals, having sold more than 25,000 new-construction residences. After a decade of real estate sales in New York City, Tufts started the Condo Store in Atlanta in 1993. Achieving a billion-dollar year in 1999, Tufts merged his company with Coldwell Banker, growing the combined entity into one of the largest and most profitable new-home-sales companies in the country. Tufts joined Bonneau Ansley in 2016 to create Ansley Developer Services.
Education: Williams College Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts Hidden talent: Frustrated artist Hobbies: Sailing, swimming, painting Charities: Human Rights Campaign, Humane Society, Cape Ann Museum Bucket list: Sharpen my foreign-language skills
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS
Paul Corley Jr. CEO
Edward Andrews Homes
With more than 25 years of homebuilding experience—including over a decade as CEO of one of the region’s top residential community developers—Paul Corley Jr. established Edward Andrews Homes in 2007 and has spearheaded its growth. In 2019, Edward Andrews Homes formed a strategic partnership with Empire Communities to further facilitate growth of the company across the Southeast. Corley is active in the day-to-day management of the firm, guiding the overall direction and growth strategy, and leads its land acquisition and development, relying on his ability to envision the future development of large tracts of land into award-winning communities.
Education: University of Florida Notable achievements: Corley is active in numerous industry associations, including the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Atlanta-area Council for Quality Growth, where he serves on the executive board of directors. He’s also a long-standing member of the Urban Land Institute and its Council for Community Development.
Steven DeFrancis Founder and CEO
Steven DeFrancis has more than 25 years of experience in complex multifamily development and management opportunities. He founded Cortland in 2005 to focus on in-town, mixed-use, multifamily developments. Since then, Cortland has expanded into a global, vertically integrated, multifamily real estate investment and management company. With a focus on providing a hospitality-driven approach to apartment living, Cortland is one of the largest multifamily owners in the U.S. and manages more than 60,000 apartment homes nationwide. DeFrancis is a member of the Buckhead Coalition and serves on the board of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership. He is also a member of the Real Estate Roundtable, the Urban Land Institute, and the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Education: University of Georgia Terry College of Business First job: Busboy at Fuddruckers Favorite travel destination: Cashiers Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Varsity
Tom Hill East Region President
As East Region president of Texas-based D.R. Horton—the country’s largest new-home builder by volume—Tom Hill is involved in all aspects of land acquisition, development, construction, sales, and operations for more than ten D.R. Horton divisions across the Southeast. A native of Mount Olive, North Carolina, he’s been in the homebuilding industry for 25 years, joining Horton in 1997.
Education: Georgia State University Why I chose this work: I have always had a passion for real estate, dating back to my early days, when my parents would look at homes for themselves. That fortunately led me into a career where I have been able to do what I enjoy each day. We build a lot of homes each year, but knowing that we are building them one at a time for a particular family, where their dreams and children will flourish, is a great feeling. First job: Busing tables at a Chinese restaurant. A tough boss at a young age will shape you. Inspiring person: My father, who always worked hard and taught me to value every dollar, dime, and penny, and the importance of family
Ryan R. Marshall President and CEO
In 2016, Ryan R. Marshall was promoted to president and CEO of PulteGroup, one of the nation’s most geographically and product-diverse homebuilders. With operations in 26 states, the company serves all major consumer groups through its family of national brands, which includes Pulte Homes, Centex, Del Webb, DiVosta Homes, and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. Marshall most recently served as PulteGroup’s president, with responsibility for the company’s homebuilding operations and its marketing and strategy departments. Previously he was executive vice president of homebuilding operations, and he’s also served as Southeast area president, Florida area president, division president in both South Florida and Orlando, and area vice president of finance.
Education: University of Utah, Arizona State University (MBA)
Allan P. Merrill President and CEO
Beazer Homes USA
Allan P. Merrill is chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA. He joined the company in 2007 as its chief financial officer and executive vice president. He was named president and CEO in 2011 and was elected chairman in 2019. Previously Merrill served as executive vice president of strategy and corporate development for the real estate listing company Move, and as president of Homebuilder.com. He also spent 13 years with UBS Investment Bank and its predecessor, Dillon, Read & Co. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, and serves on the Policy Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and on the board of the Homebuilding Community Foundation.
Education: University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Board memberships: Builder Homesite, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Rod Mullice Managing Partner
Rod Mullice is the managing partner at Windsor Stevens, a development firm that aims to create vibrant, walkable, and livable urban communities close to mass transit. Since 2009, Mullice has closed more than $150 million in transactions in urban development, financing, and acquisitions, and he led the team that renewed the lease of a 217,000-square-foot office building in College Park for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern Region headquarters. He also conceived, planned, financed, and managed the construction of the Pad on Harvard, a $20.9 million apartment community next to the College Park MARTA station.
Education: Savannah State University, Harvard Graduate School of Design (AMDP) Why I chose this work: During college, I became fascinated with building and infrastructure and the impact it had on our community, so I got a job working with an engineering firm that was rebuilding the Atlanta sewer system. It was a natural progression to structures as we seek to maximize clean water and share the many benefits of urban-core living.
As owners and operators of Hedgewood Homes, Pam Sessions and her husband, Don Donnelly, have designed and built more than 4,000 houses in the Atlanta region since 1989, including award-winning, smart-growth homes in neighborhoods such as Vickery Village, Woodstock Downtown, Alpharetta City Center/Voysey, and Manchester. Prior to beginning her homebuilding career, Sessions—who received her bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Georgia—studied photography with Ansel Adams and worked with the landscape photographer and writer Dave Bohn.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Notable achievements: Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award (2008), Urban Land Institute Development of Excellence Award (2006), Professional Builder National Builder
of the Year (2003) Favorite book:Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner Favorite TV show:The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Thomas E. Aderhold
Chairman of Aderhold Properties, Atlanta’s premier loft apartment owner and manager, Aderhold focuses on historic properties and offering creatively designed residential and commercial lofts. Aderhold was named chairman of the company in 2014. He has been intimately involved in the Atlanta real estate and development markets for more than 40 years.
Antonin “Tony” Aeck is chairman emeritus and a senior principal of the architecture, interiors, planning, and preservation firm Lord Aeck Sargent. His career began in Paris, where he worked on completing the late Le Corbusier’s final unfinished design commissions.
William Millard Choate
Choate is executive chairman of Choate Construction, one of the largest commercial building contractors in the Southeast. He founded his company in 1989 after serving for 12 years as an officer of another Atlanta general contractor, and previously as a project manager with a Kentucky contractor.
Jerome M. Cooper
In 1960 Cooper cofounded Cooper Carry, an architecture and design firm based in Atlanta. Cooper has received the Rothschild Award, the highest honor granted by the Georgia
chapter of the American Institute of Architects; in 2018 the AIA named Cooper Carry its Architecture Firm of the Year. As a student, he received a Fulbright Fellowship and studied under architect Bruno Zevi in Rome.
Cofounder of Cousins Properties, one of the nation’s largest equity real estate investment trusts, Cousins developed Atlanta landmarks such as the CNN Center, the Omni Coliseum, 191 Peachtree Tower, Bank of America Plaza, and Wildwood Office Park. His firm also donated the land for and helped launch the World Congress Center. With his wife, Ann, he established the Cousins Foundation and the CF Foundation, which fund many arts, education, and faith-based organizations in Atlanta. They were instrumental in rehabilitating East Lake. In 2009, to duplicate that community’s turnaround nationally, Cousins established Purpose Built Communities in partnership with philanthropists Warren Buffett and Julian Robertson.
Lawrence L. Gellerstedt III
Gellerstedt joined Cousins Properties in 2005 when it acquired his firm, and later led the company as chairman and CEO. Through high-profile urban deals and a major merger with Parkway Properties, he led Cousins from an equity market cap of $665 million to more than $3.8 billion.
Founder of the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry and now design adviser, Johnson is an architect and interior designer lauded for his highly personal approach to restaurant design. Since launching his restaurant-design career with Atlanta’s Peachtree Cafe in the early 1980s, he’s worked on local projects including Chops Lobster Bar, Seeger’s, Aria, and Rathbun’s. His designs across the country include the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris Las Vegas, Tru in Chicago, and Cypress in Charleston, South Carolina.
During Selig’s tenure as president, Selig Enterprises has helped develop key projects such as the Buckhead Triangle, Logan Circle, the Plaza Midtown, the District at Howell Mill, and 12th & Midtown. From 1976 to 1980 he served as President Carter’s chief liaison with the business community, and he chaired the host committee for the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. His family endowed the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
William J. Stanley III & Ivenue Love-Stanley
Since 1978, Stanley and Love-Stanley have focused on integrating architecture and interior design. As one of the largest Black architectural practices in the South, they have been responsible for many landmark projects in Atlanta and throughout the region. Their award-winning projects include the Olympic Aquatic Center at Georgia Institute of Technology and Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Over three decades and with more than 25,000 homes, Wieland established his company as the Southeast’s leading builder of semi-custom homes. He has been inducted into the Home Builders Association of Georgia’s Hall of Fame and has received the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s lifetime achievement award.
As CEO of Communities in Schools of Atlanta, Frank Brown oversees the organization’s mission to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS of Atlanta has programs in 65 public schools in Atlanta and Fulton, Clayton, and DeKalb Counties. Previously, Brown was the first executive director of the Butler Street Community Development Corporation (formerly the historic Butler Street YMCA) and director of civic engagement and activation at Points of Light.
Education: Johnson C. Smith University, University of South Carolina School of Law (JD) Inspiring person: Thurgood Marshall Toughest challenge: Restoring CIS of Atlanta back to prominence after the organization nearly closed in 2013 Few people know: I love practicing yoga. What I’d tell a recent graduate: Life is more difficult if you’re not prepared to seize opportunities that present themselves. Bucket list: To lead a national nonprofit that has impact across the country
Ed Chang Executive Director
Ed Chang is the founding director of RedefinED Atlanta, whose mission is to ensure a high-quality education for every student in the city. A longtime champion of public schools, Chang began his career as a physical therapist before entering the education profession as a seventh-grade science teacher. He spent five years teaching at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Southeast Atlanta before going on to found KIPP STRIVE Academy in 2009. Following that, Chang focused on coaching and strategy for school leaders and districts across the country.
Education: Washington University, Mercer University (MA), National Louis University (CAS) Toughest challenge: My first year of teaching was simultaneously the most challenging and most rewarding time of my life. Hidden talent: I won a mechanical-bull-riding contest once upon a time. Favorite travel destination: Machu Picchu Favorite Atlanta podcast:Everyday Dope
Ron Clark Teacher and Author
The Ron Clark Academy
“America’s educator” Ron Clark is the cofounder of the Ron Clark Academy, an Atlanta middle school that serves as a demonstration school for educational best practices—in the past 10 years, Clark and his staff have provided professional development for more than 85,000 educators. Known for his innovative teaching methods and work with children from various educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, Clark is the author of The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator’s Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child.
Education: East Carolina University Hometown: Chocowinity, North Carolina Notable achievements: Andrew J. Young International Leadership Award (2017), NAACP President’s Award (2011) Lesson learned: As long as I am helping others and seeking to be a good person, what others think isn’t worth a hill of beans. Few people know: I won the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right.
Steve Dolinger President
Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education
Steve Dolinger became the third president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in 2002, leading the organization as it promotes education reform across the state through research and communication, including strong advocacy through its EdQuest Coalition. Dolinger previously served for seven years as superintendent of schools in Fulton County and was a teacher and administrator in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Education: Wake Forest University, George Mason University (EdM), Vanderbilt University (EdD) Notable achievements: Georgia PTA Visionary Award (2010), Georgia Superintendent of the Year (2001), Georgia School Public Relations Association Leadership Award (2001) First job: Concrete construction Why I chose this work: I’ve always enjoyed helping prepare students for the next steps in their lives. Education is the ticket. Best advice received: From a sergeant major in the U.S. Army Reserve: “Take care of your troops and the troops will take care of you.”
F. Stuart Gulley
Stuart Gulley is the seventh president of Woodward Academy, the largest college-preparatory school in the continental U.S., with 2,400 students. Previously he served as president of LaGrange College, and before that in several administrative capacities at Emory University, including associate vice president for university development and church relations. An ordained United Methodist minister, Gulley is the author of The Academic President as Moral Leader: James T. Laney at Emory University, 1977-1993, published by Mercer University Press.
Education: Vanderbilt University, Emory University Candler School of Theology (MDiv), Georgia State University (PhD) Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee Why I chose this work: Education is crucial for the growth and development of individuals and communities. It is a privilege to be part of helping people and communities to become all they are meant to be. Lesson learned: Being challenged is inevitable; being defeated is optional. Favorite book:The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks
Lisa Nicole Herring
Atlanta Public Schools
Lisa Nicole Herring became superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools in 2020. She came to APS from Birmingham City Schools, which she led through a significant transformation by stabilizing leadership, improving system performance, and increasing student achievement. Herring built strong civic and corporate partnerships to provide innovative and equitable opportunities for all students across the diverse Birmingham community. The Macon native also served as chief academic officer for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, a system with more than 100,000 students, where she successfully restructured the academic division and led the district’s strategic plan.
Education: Spelman College, University of South Carolina (EdM, EdS), Georgia Southern University (EdD) Notable achivements: Helped launch the Birmingham Promise, which provides college tuition assistance and apprenticeship opportunities to local students, and Ed Farm, a public schools partnership with Apple, Alabama Power, TechBirmingham, and city leadership to build technology skills in students, teachers, and community members
Fulton County Schools
Mike Looney became superintendent of Fulton County Schools in 2019, having served in similar positions in Williamson County, Tennessee, and Butler County, Alabama. Under his leadership in Butler County, the school district realized significant student achievement gains, improved the graduation rate, and established its first magnet school. A public educator since 1994, Looney has also been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. Prior to entering education, Looney was a finance manager and served for seven years in the U.S. Marines.
Education: Jacksonville State University (EdM), University of Alabama (EdS, EdD) Notable achievements: Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) Superintendent of the Year (2016), Greenville, Alabama, Citizen of the Year (2008)
Tony Roberts President and CEO
Georgia Charter Schools Association
As president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association since 2007, Tony Roberts is the leading advocate for Georgia’s public charter schools. Under his leadership, Georgia’s voters approved a 2012 amendment giving birth to the State Charter Schools Commission, making Georgia the first in the nation to pass such a ballot issue. The number of charter schools has grown by 329 percent to 112, and students attending charters have grown by 232 percent to over 70,000 students.
Education: Carson-Newman College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM, PhD) First job: Working in a gas station in the days of full service to customers Hidden talent: I can do plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work with the best of them. I own two power nailers, for instance! Hobbies: Collecting and playing vinyl records and turntables, travel, home improvement Favorite book:The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer
J. Alvin Wilbanks Superintendent and CEO
Gwinnett County Public Schools
J. Alvin Wilbanks has been superintendent and CEO of Gwinnett County Public Schools since 1996. Under his leadership, the district has earned recognition as an Advanced Placement District of the Year and twice won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, which recognizes urban school districts nationally making the greatest strides in raising student achievement and reducing education gaps. An education leader in the state and nation, Wilbanks was the first chairman of the Georgia Education Coalition, formed in 2006 to give districts a unified voice on education funding and policy, and the founding president of Gwinnett Technical College in 1984.
Education: Georgia State University, University of Georgia (EdM) Hometown: Nicholson, Georgia Notable achievements: Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award (2008), Georgia Superintendent of the Year (2005), National Superintendent of the Year Finalist (2005)
Mark P. Becker President
Georgia State University
Since becoming president in 2009, Mark Becker has led Georgia State University through a period of growth and transformation. In a consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College in 2016, GSU increased its student population to more than 53,000, making it the largest university in Georgia and one of the largest nationwide. Also one of the most diverse universities in the U.S., GSU has set records for its graduation rates and is recognized for eliminating disparities in student achievement based on race, ethnicity, and income.
Education: Towson State University, Pennsylvania State University (PhD) Hometown: Havre de Grace, Maryland Why I chose this work: I wanted to assure American higher education would continue to be an engine of opportunity. Hobbies: Cycling, ice climbing, mountaineering What I’d tell a recent graduate: Big Dreams + Hard Work = Opportunity
Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research
Georgia Institute of Technology
Raheem Beyah is Georgia Tech’s vice president for interdisciplinary research, executive director of the online masters of cybersecurity program, and a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of cyber-physical systems security, network monitoring, and network security, Beyah has secured millions of dollars to support his research program at Georgia Tech, served as associate editor or guest editor for numerous journals in his field of expertise, and published more than 140 technical articles concerning security and networking. The Atlanta native is also the cofounder of the industrial security company Fortiphyd Logic.
Education: North Carolina A&T State University, Georgia Tech (MS, PhD) Few people know: I’m a huge fan of mindfulness meditation. Toughest challenge: The myth of meritocracy Hobbies: Weight training Favorite book:Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Georgia Institute of Technology
In 2019 Ángel Cabrera became the 12th president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the leading and most research-intense public universities in the nation. During his first year as president, he steered the institution through the Covid-19 pandemic and produced a new strategic plan focused on impact, access, and inclusive innovation. Previously Cabrera served a seven-year stint as president of George Mason University. From 2004 to 2012 he was president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is now part of Arizona State University. Born in Madrid, Cabrera is the first native of Spain to serve as president of an American university.
Education: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Georgia Tech (MS, PhD) Why I chose this work: Education is the best tool we have to shape the world for the better. I have always been an educator at heart and have always known I would be in education one way or another. Notable achievements: Carnegie Corporation of New York Great Immigrant (2017), Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow (2008), Businessweek Star of Europe (2004)
James Curran, MD Dean and Professor
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
Before becoming dean of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health in 1995, James Curran spent 25 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reaching the rank of assistant surgeon general. In 1981 he was tapped to lead the investigation into the first cases of a mysterious new disease now known as AIDS. The author of nearly 300 scientific publications, Curran led the CDC’s research and public health activities in response to the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic. Curran is also codirector of the Emory Center for AIDS Research. In 2009 the Rollins School’s dean of public health position was named the James W. Curran Dean of Public Health in his honor.
Education: University of Notre Dame, Harvard University (MPH), University of Michigan (MD)
Gregory L. Fenves
In 2020 Gregory L. Fenves became the 21st president of Emory University, joining the school from the University of Texas at Austin, where he had served as president for the previous five years. During Fenves’s 12 years in leadership at UT Austin, including a stint as dean of the engineering school, the university recruited world-class faculty while retaining an impressive network of current faculty, broadened cross-disciplinary research, and significantly increased extramural research funding. As president, Fenves strengthened graduate education and resources; 48 graduate programs at UT Austin are now ranked in the top 10 nationally.
Education: Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley (MS, PhD) First job: My first real job was as a computer programmer in 1974, back when computers took up the entire room. Favorite movie:Annie Hall Favorite travel destination: Paris Facorite Atlanta podcast:Buried Truths on WABE, hosted by Emory’s own Hank Klibanoff
George T. French Jr.
Clark Atlanta University
In 2019, George T. French Jr. became the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University, the largest United Negro College Fund institution in the country. Prior to his appointment, French served for 13 years as the president of Miles College. A nationally recognized leader in higher education and educational policy, French has served three secretaries of education under two presidents as a congressional appointee to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. He is a three-term board member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.
Education: University of Louisville, Miles Law School (JD), Jackson State University (PhD) Notable achievements: Under French’s leadership Clark Atlanta University has exponentially exceeded all fundraising records in the history of the university; maintained stable enrollment in the midst of the global pandemic; and developed corporate and community relationships to position the university for unprecedented growth. His awards include Birmingham Spotlight Man of the Year, NAACP Man of the Year, and the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dan Immergluck Professor, Urban Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Dan Immergluck, a professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, is the author of four books, more than 60 scholarly articles, numerous book chapters, and scores of research reports. An expert on housing, neighborhood change, real estate, and community development, he’s been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Justice, testified several times before Congress, and served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Education: Northwestern University, University of Michigan (MPP), University of Illinois at Chicago (PhD) Hometown: Detroit, Michigan Why I chose this work: I have a passion for making cities more just and equitable. Toughest challenge: Raising teenagers Few people know: I once wrote a press release for Illinois state senator Barack Obama. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Buford Highway
Morris Brown College
In 2020 Kevin James became the 19th president of Morris Brown College, a historically Black college founded in 1881, where he had been interim president since 2019. James is responsible for the leadership and management of all aspects of college operations and for the college’s strategic direction. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, James has served in various executive-level roles in higher education and within the nonprofit sector; immediately prior to joining Morris Brown, he was interim CEO of 100 Black Men of America, whose mission is to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.
Education: South Carolina State University, Winthrop University, Troy University (MS), Nova Southeastern University (EdD) First job: Cook at McDonald’s Best advice received: If possible, find a way to say yes. Toughest challenge: Resurrecting Morris Brown College, the first HBCU in history to earn its accreditation back 20 years after losing it
Linda A. McCauley
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
A global leader in environmental health, Linda A. McCauley is the dean of Emory University’s Woodruff School of Nursing. For over 20 years, McCauley has spearheaded innovative research on children’s environmental health, vulnerable workers and occupational health, environmental justice, and the impacts of climate change on human health. She currently cochairs the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on Primary Care. In 2020 McCauley was named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and received an honorary fellowship in the Royal Academy of Nursing for the international impact of her work.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (MSN), University of Cincinnati (PhD) Hometown: High Point, North Carolina Inspiring person: My mother was a nurse and I grew up seeing how her work was such a defining factor of who she was. Hidden talent: Played women’s soccer 30 years ago
Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD
President and Dean
Morehouse School of Medicine
Valerie Montgomery Rice is the sixth president of Morehouse School of Medicine and the first woman to hold the position. Before joining Morehouse in 2011 as executive vice president, Montgomery Rice was founding director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately affect women of color. An infertility specialist and researcher, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016.
Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School (MD) Hometown: Macon, Georgia Notable achievements: Atlanta Business League Visions of Excellence Award (2018), Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Horatio Alger Award (2017), Trumpet Awards Foundation Vanguard Award (2015), American Medical Women’s Association Elizabeth Blackwell Medal (2011)
Jere W. Morehead President
University of Georgia
Jere W. Morehead became the University of Georgia’s 22nd president in 2013. Previously he held other key administrative roles, including senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Morehead has been a faculty member of the Terry College of Business since 1986, coauthored several books, and published scholarly articles on legal topics ranging from export controls to jury selection. He was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1986.
Education: Georgia State University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD) Hometown: Lakeland, Florida Notable achievements: University of Georgia Josiah Meigs Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1995), Terry College of Business Teacher of the Year Award (1988, 1998) What I’d tell a recent graduate: Never compromise your integrity or trust. Charities: Student scholarships
CEO and Director
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
Loretta Parham is the CEO and library director at Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, shared by Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. Under Parham’s leadership, the library received the Association of College & Research Libraries’ 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, and in 2017 Parham was honored as ACRL’s Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. With more than 30 years of experience in the field, Parham has also been director of the library at Virginia’s Hampton University, deputy director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and district chief of the Chicago Public Library.
Education: Wittenberg University, Southern Illinois University, University of Michigan (MLIS) Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio First job: Cross-reference editor with World Book Encyclopedia, which required me to read an entire set (24 volumes) to search for blind (inaccurate) “see and see also” references in articles Favorite book:The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Mary Schmidt Campbell President
Mary Schmidt Campbell became the 10th president of Spelman College in 2015. A major cultural force in New York City before moving to Atlanta, Campbell began her career at the Studio Museum in Harlem, serving for 10 years as director. In 1987 she became the city’s cultural affairs commissioner, followed by more than two decades as dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Campbell vice chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She is the author of the award-winning biography An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden.
Education: Swarthmore College, Syracuse University (MA, PhD) Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Toughest challenge: Spelman’s number one goal is to graduate 100 percent of the women who enroll. As a college community our challenge is to find a successful pathway to graduation and a lifetime of career possibilities for each and every one of our 2,100 students. Hobbies: Skiing, travel, writing, arts Favorite travel destinations: New York and my home in Montana
Victoria Seals President
Atlanta Technical College
Victoria Seals became the sixth president of Atlanta Technical College in 2016. Previously she worked at Gwinnett Technical College, which she joined in 2005 as a mathematics instructor and left as vice president of academic affairs. Seals began her teaching career in Athens, where she worked for the public school system and Athens Technical College, and also served as assistant coach for the Clarke Central High School girls’ basketball program. In 2020, Seals was recognized as CEO of the Year for the Southern Region of the Association of Community College Trustees.
Education: Spelman College, University of Georgia (MA, EdS, EdD) Hometown: Norwood, Georgia Inspiring person: My father, Mr. Tommie Seals. His advice to me at an early age—“Never settle” and “You are the best”—continues to inspire and motivate me daily. Hidden talent: I am a grill master! Hobbies: Puzzles, creating photo books Favorite movie:Tombstone Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Sweet Auburn Historic District
Jagdish N. Sheth
Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Jagdish N. Sheth is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The author or coauthor of numerous books and hundreds of scholarly papers, Sheth is known globally for his work in consumer behavior, relationship marketing, competitive strategy, and geopolitical analysis. He has over 50 years of combined experience in teaching and research, including at the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and MIT. Sheth and his wife, Madhu Sheth, established the Sheth Family Foundation to support charities in the U.S. and India. In 2020 Sheth received the Padma Bhushan award, one of the highest civilian honors bestowed by the Indian government.
Education: Loyola College, University of Pittsburgh (MBA, PhD) Hometown: Chennai, India Why I chose this work: I chose the field of marketing and consumer behavior because I was very interested in what motivated consumers to buy certain products and brands. I was also interested in globalization and the impact of geopolitical dynamics on markets, trade, and investments.
David A. Thomas President
In 2018 David A. Thomas became the 12th president of Morehouse College. Under his leadership, Morehouse raised $107 million last fiscal year—more than any other president in the history of the college. Morehouse has also expanded its profile as a national center for thought leadership on civil rights. Thomas has used his platform as president of Morehouse to speak out against injustice as the nation faces two pandemics—Covid-19 and the persistence of systemic racism. With more than 30 years of experience in the business of higher education, Thomas has served as a professor and executive leader at mostly Ivy League institutions.
Education: Yale College, Columbia University (MA), Yale University (MPhil, PhD) Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri Notable achievements: Nationally known for his research on managing diversity in the workplace, Thomas has written two books and numerous academic articles.
Paula S. Wallace President and Founder
Savannah College of Art and Design
Paula Wallace founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978, and as president has led the school’s expansion to locations in Atlanta and France, and pioneered SCAD eLearning. With more than 100 academic degree programs and almost 15,000 currently enrolled students, SCAD has prepared more than 43,000 alumni for creative professions worldwide. Over the decades, Wallace has emerged as an entrepreneur in both higher education and the art world, and her work in industries from fashion to user-experience design has been heralded across the globe. In addition to other awards, the French Embassy appointed Wallace a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, the Georgia Historical Society named her a Georgia Trustee, the City of Atlanta presented her with a Phoenix Award, the City of Savannah awarded her a key to the city, and DesignIntelligence named her to its 30 Most Admired Educators.
Education: Furman University, Georgia State University (EdM, EdS)
Pamela S. Whitten
Kennesaw State University
Since Pamela Whitten became president of Kennesaw State University in 2018, the university has experienced record-breaking enrollment, now counting more than 41,000 students. As president, Whitten has made improving student education and experience her top priority by expanding engaged learning opportunities, initiating new faculty and adviser hiring, and raising funds for student scholarships. With KSU’s designation as an R2 research university, Whitten is also strengthening the research capacity of the university.
Education: Tulane University, University of Kentucky (MA), University of Kansas (PhD)
Steve Wrigley Chancellor
University System of Georgia
As the 14th chancellor of the University System of Georgia, Steve Wrigley oversees 26 public colleges and universities with a $9.6 billion annual budget, 48,000 faculty and staff, and more than 333,000 students. He has focused on three core goals: affordability, efficiency, and graduating more students. Before becoming chancellor in 2017, Wrigley served as executive vice chancellor of administration. Previously, as chief of staff to former governor Zell Miller, he helped create the Georgia Lottery and HOPE scholarship.
Education: Georgia State University, Northwestern University (MA, PhD) Hometown: Hutchinson, Kansas Notable achievements: Reduced administrative costs by $32 million; increased the number of students earning degrees and held tuition steady in 2018-2019 First job: Mowing grass Why I chose this work: Higher education changed my life. Best advice received: Take what you do seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
Leocadia I. Zak
Agnes Scott College
Leocadia I. Zak was appointed the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in 2018, and under her leadership the school has achieved record enrollment, launched graduate programs, and been recognized for three years in a row as the most innovative national liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Zak has an extensive background in international economic development and international project finance. In 2010 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Zak first joined the agency in 2000; prior to entering public service, she was an attorney in Boston for 18 years.
Education: Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University School of Law (JD) Hometown: Lynn, Massachusetts Notable achievements: Under Zak’s leadership, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency was recognized for five consecutive years as one of the best places to work in the federal government, as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. First job: Working in a veterinary clinic
Tom Andrews President and CEO
Saint Joseph’s Health System and Mercy Care
In 2003 Tom Andrews became president of Mercy Care, a healthcare provider that serves Atlanta’s homeless population, and in 2012 he was named president and CEO of Saint Joseph’s Health System, which comprises Mercy Care, Mercy Care Foundation, and Mercy Care Rome. Recognized for his leadership in combating tuberculosis, Andrews was previously president of the consulting firm Independent Physician Strategies.
Education: Ohio State University Why I chose this work: I was drawn to healthcare at a very young age when I witnessed my mother die unnecessarily due to the nonmanagement of a chronic disease. Few people know: I love dogs. I want to buy a farm and adopt 100 of them. Best advice received: Always do the right thing. Toughest challenge: Losing my mother at age 12 Hobbies: Tennis, golf, hiking
Kevin Brown President and CEO
Kevin Brown joined Piedmont Healthcare as president and CEO in 2013. Formerly, he was CEO of Swedish Health Services in Seattle. Under his leadership, Piedmont has become the largest healthcare system in Georgia, doubling in size since 2015 with more than 600 locations, including 11 hospitals. The Piedmont Clinic has also expanded from 800 to more than 2,300 physicians. In the last three years, among other clinical improvements, Piedmont has reduced its hospital-acquired infections by 69 percent. Brown has been an advocate for transparency. Piedmont was among the first hospitals to post online patient reviews and emergency room wait times, allow patients to schedule appointments online, and offer a 24-7 virtual care app.
Education: University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Arizona State University (MHSA) Why I chose this work: I purposely chose the nonprofit side of healthcare because, at the end of the day, we are here to make a positive difference for our patients without having to worry about shareholder interests. I also grew up in the industry. My father was a rural hospital CEO and my mother was a nurse practitioner.
Carol H. Burrell
President and CEO
Northeast Georgia Health System
Carol H. Burrell has served as president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System since 2011. Under her leadership, Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, the system’s flagship hospital, has garnered state and national acclaim, including recognition by Healthgrades as one of the country’s 50 Best Hospitals. Burrell also led the construction of NGMC Braselton, the state’s first new hospital in 20 years that wasn’t a replacement or a relocation, and helped the system acquire its third hospital, NGMC Barrow, in 2017. In 2018 she was an Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business honoree. Georgia Trend named her its Most Respected Business Leader in 2017 and, for six years in a row, has placed her on a list of 100 Most Influential Georgians.
Education: Georgia Southern University, Emory University, Central Michigan University (MHA) Hometown: Carl, Georgia First job: Teaching private piano lessons Best advice recieved: Sometimes in life, you are going to have to choose between doing something that will make people like you or respect you. Always choose respect. Hobbies: Traveling, cooking, lake activities
Walter J. Curran Jr., MD
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Walter J. Curran Jr. is the executive director of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute, the first and only cancer center in Georgia designated by the National Cancer Institute; Curran is also the first radiation oncologist to serve as director of an NCI-designated cancer center. A widely regarded expert on the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors, he’s been a principal investigator on numerous NCI grants and currently serves as a group chair and principal investigator of NRG Oncology—the largest of the five NCI-funded National Clinical Trials Network groups. Curran is also a professor in and chair of Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology. Previously he was a professor and chair of radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and clinical director of Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center.
Education: Dartmouth College, Medical College of Georgia (MD)
Carlos del Rio, MD
Chair, Hubert Department of Global Health
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
Carlos del Rio is a distinguished professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. He serves as the executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System, and is the codirector and principal investigator at the Emory Center for AIDS Research. Del Rio is the foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, chair of the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, and a member of the UNAIDS Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. Before joining the Emory faculty in 1996, del Rio was executive director of CONASIDA, the agency of the Mexican government responsible for AIDS policy.
Education: Instituto Cumbres, Universidad La Salle (MD) Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico Inspiring person: Dr. Bill Foege, whose advice throughout my public health career has been invaluable Favorite movie:Casablanca Favorite travel destination: Paris Charities: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Douglas Graham, MD, PhD
Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
As chief of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Douglas Graham helps recruit cancer and hematology researchers who will be able to guide the development of new treatments for pediatric hematology/oncology patients. A physician-scientist with clinical expertise in the treatment of children with leukemia, Graham is involved in children’s oncology and has assisted in the implementation of national clinical trials in pediatric cancer. He leads a research lab developing novel therapeutics for pediatric cancer and has helped develop a new cancer drug that’s in clinical trials at the Emory School of Medicine.
Education: Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina (MD, PhD) Hometown: Carthage, North Carolina Hidden talent: Play alto saxophone
Hobbies: Tennis, Hiking Favorite book:The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee Bucket list: See the northern lights
Gulshan Harjee, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Clarkston Community Health Center
Gulshan Harjee is the chief medical officer at Clarkston Community Health Center, a nonprofit free health clinic serving the immigrant, refugee, and uninsured populations of metro Atlanta. Following three decades in private practice, Harjee cofounded CCHC in 2013 and committed herself to it fully in 2016. The clinic has since served more than 10,000 patients, provided free mammograms, insulin, and dental care to asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants, and offered educational experiences to hundreds of area medical and nursing students. Harjee oversees clinical operations and quality of care while forging new collaborations with medical training programs and spearheading a capital campaign.
Education: Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine (MD) First job: “Doc in a box” in Toco Hills Hometown: I was raised on a sisal farm in a Karanga village of 500 about an hour from the town of Moshi, Tanzania. Toughest challenge: The sudden death of my 52-year-old husband by senseless gun violence in 1999
Patrice A. Harris, MD Immediate Past President
American Medical Association
In 2020, Atlanta psychiatrist Patrice Harris completed her one-year term as the 174th president of the American Medical Association; she was the first African American woman to hold the position. Harris has held numerous leadership positions in the AMA, the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, and the Medical Association of Georgia. She was also founding president of the Georgia Psychiatry Political Action Committee. As former chief health officer for Fulton County, Harris spearheaded efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health, and primary care.
Education: West Virginia University (MA), West Virginia University School of Medicine (MD) Hometown: Bluefield, West Virginia Few people know: I was a majorette/twirler in junior high and high school. Lesson learned: Leaders often stand between the “no longer” and the “not yet.” They must remain humble. It is about the work, not the title. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Mercedes-Benz Stadium on a Sunday
John M. Haupert President and CEO
Grady Health System
As president and CEO of Grady Health System since 2011, John Haupert leads the safety-net healthcare system that serves DeKalb and Fulton Counties and operates the primary Level I trauma center and burn center for metro Atlanta. Previously chief operating officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Haupert began his career in healthcare management at Dallas’s Methodist Health System, where he became president of one of the system’s hospitals and executive vice president for corporate services and business development.
Education: Trinity University (MS) Hometown: Fort Smith, Arkansas Notable achievements: Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, recipient of the ACHE Regent’s Award, 2018-2019 board chair of the Georgia Hospital Association, former board chair of America’s Essential Hospitals First job: Working in a warehouse, unloading semitrucks filled with 500-pound oil drums for $1.93 an hour Favorite travel destination: Sante Fe, New Mexico
Monica A. Hum, MD Colorectal Surgeon, Managing Partner, and Founder
ATL Colorectal Surgery
Monica Hum is managing partner of ATL Colorectal Surgery, a specialized practice she started and expanded within 10 years to a partnership of five high-volume surgeons. She is the first female physician elected as president of the medical staff of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, a member of the Piedmont Healthcare board and the MD Anderson Cancer Network, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. A native of New York, Hum began practicing in Atlanta in 2003 after fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Florida and general surgery residency at Saint Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital.
Education: Boston University, Emory University Goizueta School of Business (MBA), State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine (MD) Notable achievements: The first to perform several endoscopic surgeries at Piedmont First job: Soda girl Why I chose this work: During my freshman year in college, my mother quit smoking. One year later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She died during my senior year.
Donna W. Hyland President and CEO
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Donna Hyland has overseen monumental growth and achievement at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, first as chief financial officer, then as chief operating officer, and now as president and CEO. She was instrumental in the 1998 merger of Egleston Children’s Health Care System and Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, and the later additions of Hughes Spalding and Marcus Autism Center, into what is now one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country.
Education: Western Kentucky University First job: An intern for a judge Favorite books: Patrick Lencioni’s leadership books Favorite travel destination: Italy or the beach What I’d tell a recent graduate: Try new experiences and push yourself to keep learning.
Kim H. Jones
As executive director, Kim Jones is responsible for the strategic management and financial operations of NAMI Georgia, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of mental health. Since taking the helm in 2015, Jones has built stronger relationships with affiliates, leaders, and members throughout the state to support NAMI Georgia’s efforts to help families and individuals seeking recovery from mental illness. She is also a cofounder of the Georgia Mental Health Policy Partnership. Previously Jones was part of the senior-level management team of Goodwill of North Georgia. She has 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, education, training, marketing, and business development, and served for more than eight years as a mayoral appointee to Dacula’s Planning and Zoning Board. In 2019 she was appointed by Speaker of the House David Ralston to the state’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, where she sits on the Hospital and Short-Term Stay Subcommittee.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia Best advice received: What gets measured gets done.
Jonathan S. Lewin, MD EVP, Health Affairs
CEO and board chair
Jonathan Lewin, a radiologist and pioneer in interventional and intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging, came to Emory University in 2016 as executive vice president for health affairs and as president, CEO, and board chair of Emory Healthcare. An inventor on more than 35 patents related to MR technology, he has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. Previously he was senior vice president of integrated healthcare delivery for Johns Hopkins Medicine and radiology chair at Johns Hopkins University.
Education: Brown University, Yale School of Medicine (MD) Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio Why I chose this work: There is no privilege greater than the opportunity to improve human health and well-being. First job: Movie theater usher (at the age of 14!) Hidden talent: Playing jazz saxophone What I’d tell a recent graduate: Never waste the opportunity to make someone feel valued and respected.
Sarah A. Morrison
President and CEO
Sarah A. Morrison is president and CEO of Shepherd Center, which she joined in 1984. Since then she’s held a variety of leadership roles, including vice president of clinical services, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program, director of the medical/surgical and ICU programs, manager of the Spinal Cord Injury Day Program, physical therapist, and physical therapy supervisor. Morrison has written many peer-reviewed publications, presented nationally and internationally, and participated in research studies; in 2003 she received the award for Clinical Excellence in Neurology from the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Education: University of Miami, Georgia State University (MBA, MHA) Hometown: Fredonia, New York Why I chose this work: While on the University of Miami diving team, I injured my back severely enough to be in a body cast for nine months. During my recovery, I underwent physical therapy and realized what I wanted to do with my life—help others recover. First job: Baskin-Robbins
President and CEO
Robert Quattrocchi is president and CEO of the Northside Hospital health system, which provides care to more than 4.6 million patients annually; Quattrocchi oversees a system comprising five nonprofit hospitals, more than 3,900 physicians, and more than 24,000 employees. In 2017 the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Quattrocchi one of the area’s Most Admired CEOs, and he was included in a list of the country’s top 100 CEOs in the 2019 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards. He was also one of the 25 best CEOs of 2020, ranked by female employees across large companies, on the career website Comparably. Quattrocchi has been part of Northside Hospital’s senior management team since 1987; prior to assuming the top job in 2004, he served as chief operating officer and executive vice president of finance and administration, chief financial officer, and director of fiscal services.
Robert R. Redfield, MD Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Robert Redfield, a virologist with expertise in HIV/AIDS, is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He was founding director of the Department of Retroviral Research in the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, and he cofounded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology. Redfield made important early contributions to the scientific understanding of HIV, including the demonstration of active HIV replication in all stages of infection.
Education: Georgetown University, Georgetown University School of Medicine (MD) Notable achievements: Past member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (2005-2009) and advisory boards within the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration
Candice L. Saunders President and CEO
WellStar Health System
As president and CEO of Wellstar Health System, Candice Saunders oversees one of the largest and most integrated health systems in Georgia, with 25,000 employees and 11 hospitals. Under her leadership, Wellstar opened the nation’s second-largest and busiest emergency department, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, during the height of the pandemic; established the state’s largest multilevel trauma network; and has navigated through one of the most challenging periods in healthcare history. Saunders also led Wellstar to embark on an 18-month listening and learning journey to redefine the standard for Georgia healthcare. From this, Wellstar launched the new brand campaign “More Than Healthcare. PeopleCare.” in February 2020.
Education: University of South Florida, University of Alabama at Birmingham (MBA, MHA) Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida First job: Administrative assistant Notable achievements: Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Georgia Hospital Association W. Daniel Barker Leadership Award (2017), National Association of Female Executives Healthcare Champion (2015)
Anne Schuchat, MD Principal Deputy Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
First joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1988 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, Anne Schuchat has filled a number of leadership roles within the organization, including acting director; she’s currently principal deputy director. The author of more than 230 scientific articles, chapters, and reviews, Schuchat has played key roles in CDC emergency responses including to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic and the 2003 SARS outbreak in China. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2008.
Education: Swarthmore College, Dartmouth Medical School (MD) Toughest challenge: Testing an Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone in the midst of an epidemic Few people know: Hiked the length of Vermont (on the long trail) after high school Who’d play me in a biopic: Kate Winslet already did (see Contagion).
President, Georgia Commercial Division
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Pamela Stahl is the president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, and has more than 25 years of experience across the healthcare spectrum. She joined Anthem in 2018 as vice president of the company’s sales operations and effectiveness team; previously she served as chief commercial officer for InVivo Therapeutics, a biomaterials and biotechnology company. Stahl has also held leadership positions at UnitedHealth Group, Merck, Astra Merck, AstraZeneca, Orphan Medical (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals), and American TeleCare.
Education: Saint Olaf College Notable achievement: Built the marketing and sales organization for the first in-home, video-based telemedicine company in the U.S. two decades ago Hidden talent: I know how to bake a pretty darn good gingersnap cookie. My mother took first place at the Nebraska State Fair many years ago with this family recipe. Hobbies: I love interior design. We bought a charming house in Atlanta that was built in 1938, and that gives me plenty of opportunity to dream about possibilities.
Bassam Tomeh, MD
First Medical Care
Bassam Tomeh became the CEO of First Medical Care after acquiring the practice from his mentor, Dr. Gulshan Harjee. Tomeh, whose practice serves refugees and immigrants from Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries with cultural sensitivity and care, has a special interest in disease prevention and primary care for ages 15 and up. An Atlanta native, Tomeh serves as an active voting member on the Emory Healthcare Board of Managers and Dekalb Physicians Hospital Organization board and is an active member and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the National Arab American Medical Association. He was an assistant professor at Mercer University School of Medicine.
Education: Emory University, Medical College of Georgia (MD) Inspiring people: My father, Dr. Mohammed Tomeh, and Dr. Gulshan Harjee. These two invaluable public servants taught me that it is vitally important to be an active part of our patients’ lives and that compassion and commitment should be foremost in our daily work. Charities: Al Farooq Masid of Atlanta and RAKSHA, which advocates for the South Asian community
Kathleen E. Toomey, MD
Commissioner and State Health Officer
Georgia Department of Public Health
As commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Kathleen E. Toomey oversees 159 county health departments in 18 health districts and has helped lead the response to the coronavirus pandemic in Georgia, fostering critical partnerships with hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare organizations, business leaders, the agricultural community, and statewide public health and community organizations. Prior to her appointment as commissioner in 2019, Toomey was director of Fulton County’s Department of Health and Wellness. She is an epidemiologist and board-certified family practitioner with a long career in national and global public health, including a stint as Botswana country director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Education: Smith College, Harvard Medical School (MD), Harvard School of Public Health (MPH) Why I chose this work: The work I am doing now represents the culmination of nearly 40 years of public health service and commitment to improve community health in the United States and globally. Favorite travel destinations: Peru, Botswana
Mary Wilson, MD
President and Executive Medical Director
The Southeast Permanente Medical Group
Mary L. Wilson is president and executive medical director of the Southeast Permanente Medical Group, one of Georgia’s largest multispecialty medical groups, with more than 700 clinicians caring for over 300,000 Kaiser Permanente members statewide. Wilson is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Previously she served as area medical director for the Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center in Los Angeles. Wilson has also served with nonprofits in support of victims of domestic violence, and on overseas medical mission trips.
Education: Colorado College, University of Washington (MD), University of California, Los Angeles (MPH) Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska Notable achievement: Having the opportunity to lead physicians in the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based medicine that improves the health of our members and our communities
Executive Vice President, Southeast Region
American Cancer Society
Brant Woodward is the executive vice president of the American Cancer Society’s Southeast Region, serving Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Virginia. As the region’s most senior staff executive, Woodward drives development and implementation of the ACS’s mission and engages corporate executives, high-level donors, and leadership volunteers in furthering the fight against cancer. Woodward started his career with the ACS in 1994 and has filled a number of roles in the organization, including income development vice president, regional vice president, and most recently senior vice president of operations for the East Central Division.
Educaction: Elon University Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia Few people know: I’m not a bad juggler, traditional and soccer. Notable achievement: Provided leadership in the building or expansion of 5 Hope Lodges throughout the country Inspiring person: My father, who is battling cancer for the third time
Vonda Wright, MD
Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute Sports Medicine
Vonda Wright is the inaugural chief of sports medicine at the Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon and internationally recognized authority on active aging and mobility, Wright is the founding director of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she was the inaugural medical director of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Wright cares for athletes and active people of all ages and skill levels, including members of the Georgia State Panthers, Olympic track and field athletes, and dancers in the Atlanta Ballet.
Eduaction: Wheaton College, Rush-Presbyterian-Saint Luke’s Medical Center (MS), University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (MD) Notable achievements: Writing Fitness After 40 (2008) and creating a nonprofit, Women’s Health Conversations
William Foege, MD, MPH
Considered a titan of epidemiology, Dr. William Foege was instrumental in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. At Emory University, he holds the title of Emeritus Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health, in addition to being a Gates Fellow and former Carter Center leader.
David Satcher, MD, PhD
A renowned physician, public health leader, and scholar, Dr. David Satcher is best known for serving as the 16th U.S. Surgeon General. Prior to that, he was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is the founding director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Shepherd and husband Harold cofounded Atlanta’s Shepherd Center in 1975.
The facility has grown from a six-bed unit to a world-renowned hospital specializing in research, medical treatment, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries and other neurological conditions.
Louis W. Sullivan, MD
With the exception of his four-year tenure as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which ended in 1993, Dr. Louis Sullivan was president of Morehouse School of Medicine for more than 20 years. Today he’s the chairman and CEO of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions.
A noted scholar, teacher, author, administrator, and race relations expert, Tatum was the ninth president of Spelman College. Tatum is a licensed clinical psychologist with an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan, as well as an MA in religious studies from Hartford Seminary, and is the author of the acclaimed 1997 book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race.
A champion of education and literacy, Emory Law graduate and former high school teacher Comer Yates has served since 1998 as executive director of the Atlanta Speech School. Yates also serves as chair of the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons.
Raphael W. Bostic President and CEO
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Raphael W. Bostic is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and a current voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. In 2017 he was recognized as a Planning Pioneer by the American Planning Association’s Los Angeles section, and he received an Urban Leadership Award from the Penn Institute for Urban Research in 2011. Bostic is a native of Delran, New Jersey.
Education: Harvard University, Stanford University (PhD) Hobbies: Birdwatching, sports Charities: Affordable housing, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Human Rights Campaign Bucket list: Visiting the state capitol in Honolulu to complete goal of visiting the state capitol buildings in all 50 states
Cynthia N. Day President and CEO
Citizens Bancshares Corporation and Citizens Trust Bank
Cynthia Day provides the vision and strategic direction for Citizens Trust Bank. During her tenure, the bank continues to reach many milestones including achieving record-level earnings since the inception of the institution. Navigating unprecedented times and a rapidly changing and competitive market landscape, Citizens Trust Bank remains healthy and financially strong. These achievements continue to receive recognition as Citizens Trust Bank has been consistently named one of the top African American–owned commercial banks in the country. On numerous occasions before it went private in 2017, the company was cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of Georgia’s top 100 publicly traded companies.
Education: University of Alabama Notable achievements: Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award (2020), Atlanta Business League CEO of the Year (2014) )
Mike Donnelly Region President of North Metro Atlanta
Mike Donnelly is region bank president of Wells Fargo consumer banking operations in northern Atlanta, one of the company’s top three markets in total consumer households served. An active civic leader, he’s held leadership positions with the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the Buckhead Coalition, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the University of Georgia Board of Visitors. Donnelly chaired the 2016-2017 campaign for United Way of Greater Atlanta. He chairs the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and is a past chair of Leadership Atlanta.
Education: Radford University
Head, Commercial Real Estate
Truist Financial Corp.
Kathy S. Farrell has more than 25 years of experience in real estate finance and banking, including origination, underwriting, capital markets, workout strategies, and risk management. Currently the head of commercial real estate at Truist, Kathy held the same title with SunTrust prior to the closing of the SunTrust-BB&T merger that formed Truist in December 2019. Farrell has also served at SunTrust as chief risk officer for commercial real estate, head of the REIT banking group, and REIT senior credit officer. Previously she was executive vice president and credit executive of commercial real estate for PNC Bank.
Education: College of the Holy Cross Hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut First job: Stuffing and rolling jelly doughnuts at Devore’s Bakery in my hometown What I’d tell a recent graduate: Be patient and work hard at your current job. Careers are a marathon and not a sprint. Hobbies: I am an avid tennis player and play on a mixed doubles team and ladies doubles team. Favorite travel destination: Ireland. My husband is from there and we love to go back and visit his family as often as we can.
John N. Gregg
Head, Corporate and Investment Banking
Truist Financial Corp.
John Gregg is the head of corporate and investment banking for Truist Financial Corp., leading a team of investment and corporate bankers and product specialists delivering strategic advisory, capital-raising, and financial risk-management solutions to large corporate and middle-market clients. Prior to the closing of the SunTrust-BB&T merger to form Truist in December 2019, Gregg served as chairman and CEO of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and he has more than 30 years of experience in financial services. He currently serves on the board of Grady Health Foundation—where he helped establish the cycling event VeloCity—and was previously on the board of Trees Atlanta.
Education: North Carolina State University, Duke University Fuqua School of Business (MBA) Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Hank Halter CEO
Delta Community Credit Union
Hank Halter is an accounting and finance professional with nearly 30 years of experience overseeing finance and accounting operations at Fortune 100 companies. Since 2013, he’s served as CEO of Delta Community Credit Union, one of Atlanta’s largest financial institutions and Georgia’s largest credit union. Halter, a CPA, came to the credit union from Delta Air Lines, where he held a variety of roles including chief financial officer. Previously he worked at American Airlines and Ernst & Young.
Education: Villanova University, Duke University (MBA) Hometown: Savannah, Georgia Toughest challenge: Helping lead Delta Air Lines through financial reorganization in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks Favorite TV show:House of Cards Bucket list: Convincing every consumer to find a credit union to join Who’d play me in a biopic: Matt Damon
Regional President, Northern Georgia
Truist Financial Corp.
Jenna Kelly is the Truist regional president for Northern Georgia, responsible for leading client management and business development efforts in the state. Prior to the 2019 SunTrust-BB&T merger, Kelly served as president of the Georgia division of SunTrust Bank. Previously, she was SunTrust’s Charlotte Region president. Kelly began her career in 1993 with Trust Company of Georgia. She serves on the board of Camp Twin Lakes and the leadership council of Learn4Life, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Notable achievement: Leadership Atlanta class of 2019 Why I chose this work: Banking offered the opportunity to feed my curiosity for how things work and to develop relationships in order to help companies grow. Best advice received: Ask questions. Bucket list: South America wine trip
President and CEO
Fifth Third Bank Georgia
Randy Koporc serves as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank in Georgia, responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of the bank’s commercial, wealth and asset management, and consumer businesses. Under his leadership, the bank has accelerated its growth in the region and worked with many local organizations to strengthen communities in the Atlanta area and beyond. Koporc has been with Fifth Third Bank since 2010; before joining the company he worked for more than two decades for Wells Fargo. He serves on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Buckhead Coalition, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and other local groups.
Education: University of Florida, University of Central Florida (MBA) Hometown: Orlando, Florida First job: Runway flight crew member for Delta Air Lines in Orlando Hobbies: Coaching my kids in baseball, golf, traveling Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chattahoochee River
President, Preferred and Consumer Banking and Investments
Bank of America
Aron Levine is the president of Preferred and Consumer Banking and Investments for Bank of America as well as a member of the company’s executive management team. Responsible for the growth of the Preferred business—one of Bank of America’s eight lines of business, which provides banking, investing, and lending solutions to U.S. mass affluent customers—Levine also leads a team of more than 40,000 employees responsible for helping meet the financial needs of clients through the bank’s Consumer Investments Group, which provides access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and the banking convenience of Bank of America.
Education: University of Rochester Hometown: New York, New York Inspiring person: Omar Bradley, one of the primary architects of the Normandy invasion, who later became general of the U.S. Army Charities: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Horizons Atlanta, Operation HOPE
William H. Linginfelter President
Bill Linginfelter oversees commercial revenue growth, business model execution, and strategic planning in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina for Regions, a Birmingham-based bank that operates throughout the South, Midwest, and Texas. Throughout his 40-year career, Linginfelter has held various management positions in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Regions in 2008, the Saint Simons Island native served as Georgia CEO for Wachovia, and before that was director of SouthTrust Bank’s Enterprise Banking Division. He serves on many boards, is chair of the Georgia Allies, and is a past chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Research Alliance.
Education: University of Georgia First job: Paperboy on Saint Simons Island Inspiring person: Ronald Reagan Favorite travel destination: The beach Bucket list: Italy
Eddie Meyers Regional President, Georgia
Eddie Meyers is regional president of Georgia for PNC Bank, and PNC’s first African American regional president. Named to his current position in 2012, Meyers previously served as executive vice president of PNC Business Credit and as senior vice president and national investment manager of Harris Williams, PNC’s investment banking unit. In 2008, he helped facilitate the successful integration of National City Bank after its acquisition by PNC. A former Marine Corps captain who was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon for his service in the Gulf War, Meyers was also a running back for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1980s.
Education: U.S. Naval Academy, National University (MBA) Notable achievement: Downtown Athletic Club College Player of the Year (1981) First job: Picking lettuce Hobbies: Golf, reading, home improvement Favorite Georgia pro sports team: Atlanta Falcons
David Preter President and CEO
Georgia’s Own Credit Union
Dave Preter is president and CEO of Georgia’s Own Credit Union, a $3.12 billion financial services institution. Before assuming his current role in 2011, Preter facilitated growth in the credit union industry by bolstering and executing the strategic plans of several organizations in the Midwest and Southeast. Under his leadership, Georgia’s Own has seen membership grow by 24 percent and assets nearly double. Georgia’s Own Foundation, which Preter created, amplifies the organization’s commitment to the community by empowering local youth.
Education: University of Missouri Few people know: Delivering papers at age 13, I learned that if you work harder and longer than others, you get more opportunities and better pay. That worked for my next three student jobs: caddie, fast food cook, and exterminator. It worked in my professional career too. Favorite movies: Marvel movies Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Varsity Bucket list: Graduate three kids from college, then find a beach and stay there
Jai Rogers Vice President, Business and Community Development
Delta Community Credit Union
Jai Rogers joined Delta Community Credit Union in 2012 as vice president of business and community development, overseeing a team responsible for identifying and developing business strategies with leading corporations throughout metro Atlanta and at multiple out-of-state branch locations. Rogers leads the execution of a comprehensive community-engagement strategy to strengthen civic, high school, and corporate collaborations. Prior to joining Delta Community, Rogers launched and directed the corporate development department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Education: California State University, Long Beach Inspiring person: My mother always encouraged me to pursue my love of travel by telling me that I “can always come home” if my plans did not work out. Few people know: My twin sister and I have the same first name. Favorite travel destinations: Alaska, Bali, Costa Rica
Jack Sawyer Partner and Managing Director
A managing director for Cresset in the greater Atlanta region, Jack Sawyer most recently served as Southeast Region president for Wilmington Trust. In that role, he was responsible for leading wealth advisory services in Georgia, including planning, trusts, investment management, family office, and private banking services. Sawyer has extensive experience in charitable planning, trusts, estates, and private foundations, and is also a fiduciary attorney. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including Andee’s Army and the High Museum of Art. Sawyer received the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award in 2011, and was honored by the National Black Arts Festival in 2014 and the United Negro College Fund in 2016.
Education: University of Georgia, Mercer University School of Law (JD) Favorite TV shows:Hunters, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Best advice received: Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself; something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”
Kessel Stelling Chairman and CEO
Kessel Stelling was named president and CEO of the financial services company Synovus in 2010, becoming chairman of the board in 2012. Under Stelling’s leadership, Synovus consolidated 30 bank charters into one, returned to sustained profitability, exited TARP, increased capital returns to its shareholder base, and has been named one of American Banker’s most reputable banks. Stelling is a native of Augusta.
Education: University of Georgia, Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking First job: Bank form printing-press cleaner, Georgia Railroad Bank in Augusta Toughest challenge: Leading Synovus through the financial crisis Hobbies: Being a grandfather to four grandchildren!
Wendy Stewart Atlanta Market President
Bank of America
As Atlanta market president, Wendy Stewart is responsible for advancing Bank of America’s strategy across metro Atlanta by delivering the company’s resources and expertise to customers and clients. She also works to ensure that Bank of America’s environmental, social, and governance strategies—including philanthropy and community development efforts—have a positive impact on metro Atlanta. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Stewart is also cohead of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Commercial Banking practice for the Southeast region.
Education: Presbyterian College Hidden talent: I was voted “funniest” in my high school senior class. Favorite travel destination: I love to travel, so my favorite destination is usually the last place I’ve visited! We spent time in Norway this summer. It was beautiful. I also love the beach. I love the Caribbean, but Amelia Island is our go-to year after year. Charities: Grove Park Foundation
Justin A. Sullivan
Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Market Leader
PNC Wealth Management
As Georgia regional head for PNC Wealth Management, Justin A. Sullivan oversees all aspects of client acquisition and leads a team of highly credentialed advisers covering banking, investment, and fiduciary and relationship management services across the state. He also serves on the board of Atlanta Court Appointed Special Advocates, which supports abused and neglected children in Georgia’s foster care system, and is involved with the Next Chapter Project, a nonprofit formed to provide books to Georgia’s incarcerated population.
Education: University of Pittsburgh Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Favorite book:Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah Favorite travel destination: Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Center for Civil and Human Rights
Director and CEO
Cadence Bank, NA
As CEO of Cadence Bank and president of Cadence Bancorporation since 2011, Sam Tortorici has led Cadence through four acquisitions, an initial public offering, and the raising of debt capital to support the bank’s growth. Tortorici began his career at Regions Bank and its predecessor AmSouth Bank. Prior to joining Cadence, he led Regions’ Commercial & Industrial business, comprising over 500 banking professionals across 16 states, with annual revenue exceeding $1 billion. Cadence’s acquisition of Atlanta-based State Bank Financial Corporation in January 2019 was transformational for the company. As part of this merger, Tortorici relocated to Atlanta, as did the headquarters of Cadence Bank.
Education: University of Alabama Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama First job: Dental assistant at age 15 in my father’s practice Favorite movie:Forrest Gump Board memberships: Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Buckhead Coalition, United Way of Central Alabama immediate past board chair
Douglas L. Williams President and CEO
Atlantic Capital Bancshares
Douglas L. Williams is president, CEO, and a director of Atlantic Capital Bank and its holding company, Atlantic Capital Bancshares. He has nearly 40 years of experience in banking, finance, and capital markets, and extensive experience in executive management roles at publicly held banking institutions. Previously the Atlanta native was managing director and head of Wachovia’s International Corporate Finance Group, with responsibility for Wachovia’s investment banking and corporate finance activities in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Education: Auburn University First job: Corporate-banking trainee at Wachovia Hobbies: Running, reading, spending time with family Favorite books:The Last Lion, William Manchester’s three-volume biography of Winston Churchill Charities: Good Samaritan Health Center
Asad Abdulla Managing Partner
Asad Abdulla is the managing partner of Radazon Capital, an entrepreneurial investment fund that includes accomplished entrepreneurs and distinguished investors with a passion for growing lower-middle-market companies. Abdulla is actively involved in the Atlanta community and serves as a pro bono consultant for nonprofit organizations and as a career mentor to aspiring professionals. In 2018 he was one of the Emory Alumni Association’s annual 40 Under 40 honorees.
Education: Emory University, Columbia Business School (MBA) First job: Rolling burritos at Taco Bell What I’d tell a recent graduate: Focus on developing a few distinct skills that may not always go together. Bringing these different skills together is what will differentiate you, just like the Chick-fil-A sauce magically brings together honey mustard, barbecue, and ranch in a unique and differentiated taste. What’s your Chick-fil-A sauce? Favorite travel destination: Savannah Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Downtown Decatur
Founder and Managing Partner
Roark Capital Group
Neal Aronson is founder and managing partner of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that focuses on consumer and business service companies, with a specialization in franchised and multiunit business models in the restaurant, retail, consumer, and business services sectors. Affiliates of Roark have made investments in 65 franchise/multiunit brands that have generated approximately $32 billion in system revenues from 32,000 locations in 50 U.S. states and 81 countries. Prior to founding Roark, Aronson was cofounder and chief financial officer of U.S. Franchise Systems. Previously he was a principal of Odyssey Partners, a principal and general partner at Acadia Partners (now Oak Hill Partners), and subsequently a managing director of a successor company, Rosecliff. He began his career in the corporate finance department at Drexel Burnham Lambert.
Education: Lehigh University
Robert Balentine Chairman
Robert Balentine is chairman of Balentine, bringing more than 35 years of experience advising clients on matters related to their wealth and legacy. The Atlanta native has built, bought, and sold businesses and counseled many entrepreneurial clients on business and wealth management. In 2013, Balentine was the inaugural recipient of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, and both Barron’s and Forbes have named him one of the country’s top wealth advisers.
Education: Washington and Lee University Toughest challenge: Convincing 16 colleagues to leave secure jobs in the depths of the financial crisis to start over and build the kind of firm we would hire to manage our own money Favorite book:East of Eden by John Steinbeck Charities: Southern Highlands Reserve, Garden Conservancy, Rotary International
Andy Berg CEO
Andy Berg is the CEO of the wealth management firm Homrich Berg, which he cofounded with David Homrich in 1989 with the belief that high-net-worth individuals need access to conflict-free financial planning and investment advice. A member of the Financial Planning Association, the North Atlanta Tax Council, the Georgia Planned Giving Council, the Atlanta Estate Planning Council, and the board of the Atlanta Police Foundation, Berg is also a contributor to financial media and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and elsewhere.
Education: Purdue University Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Notable achievement:Barron’s 2019 Top Independent Advisors Hobbies: Golf
Michael Fierman Managing Partner and Co-CEO
Angel Oak Companies
Michael Fierman is managing partner and co-CEO of Angel Oak Companies, a firm focused on credit opportunities within asset management, capital markets, and mortgage lending. The Atlanta native provides strategic direction and leadership to Angel Oak’s various businesses, with a focus on mortgage lending and asset management. Previously Fierman was a cofounder of SouthStar Funding, a national wholesale mortgage lender specializing in nonagency mortgage products that funded as much as $6.5 billion annually in nonagency mortgages.
Education: University of Georgia Inspiring person: My mother Hidden talent: I am an instrument-rated pilot. What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Don’t chase money. Find your passion and surround yourself with the smartest people you can find. Good things will happen.
Martin Flanagan President and CEO
Martin Flanagan has been president and CEO of Invesco since 2005. He’s also a director, as well as trustee and vice chair of the Invesco Funds. Flanagan joined Invesco from Franklin Resources, where he was president and co-CEO from 2004 to 2005. He’d previously held numerous leadership positions at Franklin, including chief operating officer and senior vice president. Flanagan serves on the board of governors and as a member of the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute, and is a member of the executive board of the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business and 2020 Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Education: Southern Methodist University
James W. Hamilton Jr. Senior Vice President and South Atlantic Regional Director
Raymond James Financial
Jim Hamilton, senior vice president and South Atlantic regional director for Raymond James Financial, brings more than four decades of industry and client-services experience to his current role. Hamilton began his career in the financial services industry with Shearson Hayden Stone, later becoming a branch manager at Robinson Humphrey and a regional director with Morgan Keegan, which he joined in 1999. Hamilton formed his current team with his son, Jimmy, in 2014.
Education: Mississippi State University Favorite book:A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe Bucket list: New Zealand Who’d play me in a biopic: Tom Hardy
Aziz Hashim Founder and Managing Partner
Aziz Hashim is the managing partner of NRD Capital, a private equity firm he founded in 2014 that invests in companies that offer compelling unit-level economics, as well as in technologies that improve the profitability of operators. Its portfolio includes iconic brands such as Ruby Tuesday and Frisch’s Big Boy, as well as fast-growing concepts like Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and the Captain’s Boil. Widely recognized as a leading expert in franchising, the Atlanta native is also the founder of Franklin Junction, a digital platform launched in April 2020 to help restaurants weather the COVID-19 crisis by monetizing excess kitchen and storage capacity.
Education: University of California, Irvine Notable achievements: UCI Samueli School of Engineering Hall of Fame (2020), Nation’s Restaurant News Power List (2018), Restaurant Business Power 20 (2018) First job: Burger King Best advice received: Think beyond your current situation and project to where you wish to be.
Voya Investment Management
Christine Hurtsellers is CEO of Voya Investment Management, the asset management business of Voya Financial, which helps Americans plan, invest, and protect their savings. In this leadership role, Hurtsellers drives the strategic direction and operational performance of Voya Investment Management, which managed over $230 billion in assets as of June 30, 2020, for both affiliated and external institutions as well as individual investors. The firm, which has a more than 40-year history, is a top-25 manager of U.S. institutional and defined contribution assets across equities, fixed income, and multi-asset strategies and solutions. Hurtsellers also serves on Voya Financial’s executive committee.
Education: Indiana University Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana Why I chose this work: I participated in Junior Achievement, and I was the CFO of our JA company. I fell in love with finance as a result. Favorite books: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Truist Park for Braves games
Ted Jenkin CEO
Ted Jenkin is the founder and CEO of oXYGen Financial, a financial services company with more than $1.2 billion in assets under management. In 2017 and 2018, Investopedia ranked him among the top 10 financial advisers in the country. Jenkin is a featured personal-finance expert for HLN and a guest writer for the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. He has six advanced designations from the College for Financial Planning, and lives in Milton with his wife, Genna, and their three children.
Education: Boston College Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey Why I chose this work: My mother was a fifth-grade schoolteacher. My father passed away when I was 18 and left my mother in financial shambles. I wanted to dedicate my life to a place where I could use my mother’s skills of being a teacher, but also be able to educate the masses about how to do better with their financial future. First job: Dog walker Who’d play me in a biopic: Tom Cruise
Tommy L. Lester III
An Atlanta native, Tommy Lester has worked for more than 20 years in the city’s financial services community, with roles in commercial banking and real estate finance at institutions including BB&T, SunTrust, and PNC. Since 2016, Lester has served as president and CEO of SWAN Development Partners, which manages the acquisition, rehab, and disposition of single-family homes and small commercial properties around Atlanta, with a focus on market-rate affordability and neighborhood stabilization. He’s also a capital adviser at the fintech start-up StackSource and provides consulting and seed funding to early-stage companies through his firm StartupBFF.
Education: Hampton University, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business (MBA) First job: Busing tables and washing dishes at my father’s restaurant and events he catered Lesson learned: Poor communication can be the greatest obstacle to growth. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and when not to say it can be the difference between the success and failure of a project. Favorite movie:Krush Groove Favorite travel destination: Cuba
Cofounder and Executive Director
Village Micro Fund
Donte Miller is executive director of the nonprofit Village Micro Fund, which he founded in 2014 with Nathan Jones and Robin McKinnie. The organization offers support and classes to entrepreneurs in underserved communities and uses crowdfunding to invest in small businesses. VMF also created a Worker’s Equity Fund that uses equity investments to turn small businesses into worker-owned cooperatives by selling shares back to employees. Previously Miller has had work experience at Goldman Sachs, Google, and the Atlanta Micro Fund, and he’s been featured on WABE and in the Bitter Southerner.
Education: Morehouse College First job: My first unofficial job was sweeping up hair at a local barbershop in the mall. My first real job was as an intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco right in the midst of Occupy Wall Street—so, a fun time. Inspiring person: Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya
David Nicholas President and Founder
Nicholas Wealth Management
David Nicholas is the president and founder of Nicholas Wealth Management, a private wealth management firm that helps clients—from families to corporations—navigate the world of financial markets and economics. A sought-after commentator on financial and economic matters, Nicholas also hosts a weekly radio show and has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Fox & Friends, and CBS News.
Education: Kennesaw State University, University of Georgia (MS) Hometown: Kennesaw, Georgia Notable achievement: Member of the Buckhead Coalition’s Diplomatic Leadership Corps, a onetime honor given in recognition of the coalition’s 25th anniversary First job: My lawn company I started at 15 years old Favorite travel destination: Rosemary Beach, Florida
Navigation Capital Partners
David Panton is managing partner of Navigation Capital Partners’ SPAC Opportunity Partners, an investment firm focused on building a diversified portfolio of investments in special-purpose acquisitions companies using three strategies: providing sponsor capital, leading investments in SPAC initial public offerings, and investing in and pricing private investments in public entities for SPACs. Panton is also a cofounder of Navigation Capital Partners and the chair of Panton Equity Partners, a private family office he founded in 2012. A former member of Jamaica’s Senate, Panton is also an adjunct professor of finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Education: Princeton University, Oxford University (PhD), Harvard Law School (JD) Hometown: Mandeville, Jamaica Inspiring person: Jesus Christ Favorite movie: Love Actually Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe & Upscale Lounge
Eric Schimpf Division Executive, Southeast
As division executive of Merrill Lynch’s Southeast Division, Eric Schimpf oversees more than 4,400 employees, over $2.7 billion in revenue, and $414 billion in assets. Based in Atlanta, Schimpf’s division encompasses 18 markets in the Southeast, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Schimpf serves as executive sponsor of the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Black/African American Leadership Council and the Bank of America Black Professionals Group. He began his career at Merrill Lynch as a financial adviser in 1994.
Education: U.S. Military Academy Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Hidden talent: I love ’80s heavy metal music, and I still play guitar every day. Favorite travel destinations: Hong Kong, Sydney Bucket list: Skydiving with my son Cory
John Wright II
CEO and Managing Partner
With three decades of experience in the profession, John Wright II is the CEO and managing partner of Northwestern Mutual Goodwin, Wright, which consistently ranks as a leading national financial planning firm, focused on mitigating risk and growing generational wealth. The company has over $40 billion of life insurance in force and, under Wright’s leadership, has grown assets under management by more than 1,000 percent. The Atlanta Business Chronicle named Wright as one of Atlanta’s 2018 Most Admired CEOs, and has also honored Northwestern Mutual Goodwin, Wright as one of Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers.
Education: University of Illinois First job: Janitor Few people know: I played competitive bridge in college and earned multiple titles. Favorite movie: Field of Dreams Favorite travel desination: Italy Favorite song about Atlanta: “Oh, Atlanta” by Alison Krauss Who’d play me in a biopic: James Dean
Arthur M. Blank Owner and Chairman Blank Family of Businesses Founder AMB Group
Perhaps best known as the cofounder of the Home Depot, Arthur Blank is now widely recognized for his diverse businesses: The Arthur M. Blank Family of Businesses portfolio includes the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, PGA Tour Superstore, the Blank Family Foundation, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch, and AMB Group, the parent company of Blank’s for-profit businesses. Blank and the Falcons, in partnership with the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia, are the private funders of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The stadium is operated by Atlanta Falcons Stadium Co., a newly created company also owned by AMB Group, and is home to the Falcons and Atlanta United. In October 2020, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced a $200 million donation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to launch a $1.5 billion hospital—representing the single largest naming gift to a freestanding pediatric hospital in the history of the country.
Education: Babson College Notable achievements:SportsBusiness Journal Sports Executive of the Year (2018), Forbes World’s 100 Greatest Living Business Minds (2017), SportsBusiness Journal 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business (2016)
Paul Brown Cofounder and CEO
Paul Brown is cofounder and CEO of Inspire Brands, a multibrand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 11,000 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Jimmy John’s, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. In 2019, Inspire’s system sales exceeded $14.6 billion, making it one of the top five largest restaurant companies in the U.S.
Education: Georgia Tech, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management (MBA), Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (MA) Notable achievements: International Foodservice Manufacturers Association Silver Plate Award (2018 ), Restaurant Business Restaurant Leader of the Year (2017), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Southeast (2016) Charities: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Tech Foundation, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Woodruff Arts Center, Buckhead Coalition, Commerce Club, Atlanta Police Foundation
Executive Vice President and Chief People and Operations Officer
Jill Campbell is the executive vice president and chief people and operations officer for Cox Enterprises, a private, family-owned communications, media, and automotive-services company with $21 billion in annual revenues and more than 50,000 employees worldwide. Campbell leads the real estate, aviation, people solutions, facilities, security, and corporate affairs departments. She previously served as executive vice president and chief operations officer of Cox Communications, overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations and ensuring companywide alignment with competitive strategies to enhance marketplace execution and grow Cox’s 6 million residential and commercial customers. Campbell joined Cox in 1982 as director of communications in Oklahoma City.
Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Oklahoma City University (MBA) First job: Working at my parents’ park concession stands selling popcorn and cotton candy at age 12 Charities: Girl Talk, Atlanta History Center Bucket list: Antarctica!
Dan T. Cathy Chairman and CEO
Dan T. Cathy is chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A, one of the nation’s largest family-owned businesses, and a member of the company’s board of directors and executive committee. Having taken over the business from his father, founder S. Truett Cathy, in 2013, Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. Cathy’s career began at age nine when he sang songs for customers and performed radio commercials for the chain’s original Dwarf House restaurant in Hapeville.
Education: Georgia Southern University Toughest challenge: Sixteen years ago, I was significantly burned in an accident at my home. Through this I learned that our most difficult times in life can teach us profound things, that you’re never too busy for what’s important, and that it’s important to lead and live with gratitude. Hidden talent: I’m an avid trumpet player. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Varsity Charities: Westside Future Fund, City of Refuge, Eagle Ranch, Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Music Project
Joe Christina CEO
Joe Christina, who leads the global teams for Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken, has spent his entire career in the restaurant industry—starting as an assistant restaurant manager and eventually becoming a franchisee with Burger King. As his career progressed, Christina served as Church’s executive vice president of U.S. operations, providing strategic planning and execution for 1,200 restaurants, $950 million in sales, and $35 million in EBITDA. He became CEO of the company in 2016.
Education: Quinnipiac University First job: Delivering Pepsi with my father Hidden talent: Trivia, especially movies Charities: No Kid Hungry, Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital Bucket list: Trip to Italy with my wife Who’d play me in a biopic: Tom Hanks
Dallas Clement Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
As executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises—a leading communications and automotive-services company—Dallas Clement is responsible for strategy and corporate development, treasury, financial reporting and control, tax, audit, and financial planning and analysis functions. He previously served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox Automotive, the largest automotive marketplace and a leading provider of software solutions to auto dealers in the U.S. Clement is a native of Sarasota, Florida.
Education: Harvard College, Stanford University (MA) Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 2006, National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Young Leadership (2004), U.S. Patent 8,477,914 (automated communication escalation) Hidden talent: Squash player Hobbies: Digital photography
Kat Cole Chief Operating Officer and President, North America
As chief operating officer and president, Kat Cole leads FOCUS’s seven brands—Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, McAlister’s Deli, Carvel, and Jamba—and oversees the company’s licensing and CPG division. Cole joined FOCUS in 2010 as president of Cinnabon, and in 2015 was named president of FOCUS Brands Global Channels group. Previously she was a vice president at Hooters of America. Cole invests in and advises founders of early-stage start-ups and was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2015.
Education: Georgia State University Robinson College of Business (MBA) Best advice received: From my mom: “Don’t forget where you came from, but don’t you dare ever let it solely define you.” Hidden talent: Painting—I painted abstract landscapes for years. Bucket list: Sailing around the world with my family
René M. Diaz President and CEO
René Diaz is president and CEO of Atlanta-based Diaz Foods, a specialty-foods distributor to restaurants and grocers in 28 states, with 400 employees and sales of $200 million. Diaz Foods was founded in 1980 and is a privately owned company. René Diaz has served on the boards of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Leadership Atlanta, and Emory Center for Ethics, among others. Born in Cuba, he came to the U.S. at age six.
Education: Georgia State University Notable achievements: Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia (2018), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta Legacy Award (2003), Leadership Atlanta class of 1994 Favorite travel destination: Paris Hobbies: Art collecting
Christian Fischer President and CEO
Born and educated in Germany, Christian Fischer became president and CEO of Georgia-Pacific in 2017. He previously served as executive vice president of the packaging and cellulose segment, responsible for GP’s containerboard and kraft paper, corrugated packaging, bleached board, and cellulose businesses. He began his career with the company in 1989 as a market pulp sales manager in Europe. Fischer is on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of councilors for the Carter Center.
Education: University of Hamburg, University of Düsseldorf Hidden talent: I once wanted to become a writer. Hobbies: Listening to music, reading, watching movies, traveling, food Favorite book:A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
S. Taylor Glover President and CEO
Taylor Glover is president and CEO of Turner Enterprises, a private company that manages Ted Turner’s business affairs. Glover has oversight of Turner Enterprises’ landholdings, financial investments, and business interests, and works closely with Turner’s philanthropic and charitable organizations, serving as an adviser to the boards of the UN Foundation, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Turner Foundation. Previously Glover, a native of Newnan, was a senior vice president at Merrill Lynch, where he retired after nearly 30 years.
Education: University of Georgia Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, golf Charities: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Woodruff Arts Center, Nature Conservancy of Georgia
Jim Hannan Executive Vice President
As executive vice president and CEO of Koch Enterprises, Hannan is responsible for oversight of Georgia-Pacific, Infor, Molex, Koch Engineered Solutions, and Koch Investments Group, as well as Koch’s logistics, communications, and public-sector groups. Previously, as CEO and president of Georgia-Pacific, he oversaw one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of tissue, packaging, pulp, paper, cellulose, nonwovens, building products, and related chemicals. Hannan began his career with Koch Industries in 1998 as chief financial officer in the mineral services unit.
Education: California State University, East Bay Hidden talent: Threw shot put and discus in college Favorite movie:Tombstone Notable achievements: American Jewish Committee National Human Relations Award (2016), Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry PIMA Executive of the Year Award (2015), Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEOs (2014), RISI North American CEO of the Year (2013)
Doug Hertz President and CEO
Doug Hertz has been CEO of United Distributors since 1984; under his leadership, the beverage distribution business has grown to be listed as one of the top 25 private companies in Atlanta. Hertz sits on the boards of the Marcus Foundation, Atlantic Capital Bank, Georgia Research Alliance, and the Westminster Schools, and serves on the board and executive committee of Tulane University. He’s also chairman of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. A native Atlantan, Hertz began his career with KPMG in New Orleans, working in the accounting and consulting services area.
Education: Tulane University (MBA) Notable achievements: Hertz is chairman of Camp Twin Lakes, a facility he founded in 1989 for chronically ill and disadvantaged children. He also helped engineer the merger of Scottish Rite and Egleston pediatric hospitals to establish Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, now one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country.
Jim Kennedy Chairman
Jim Kennedy is chairman and former CEO of Cox Enterprises, a privately held communications, media, and automotive-services company founded by his grandfather, James M. Cox, in 1898. Kennedy joined in 1972 as a production assistant in Cox’s newspaper division, and has held various positions including reporter, copy editor, business manager, and executive vice president/general manager. He was named chairman and CEO in 1988. During Kennedy’s tenure, Cox has increased annual revenues from $1.88 billion to more than $21 billion.
Education: University of Denver Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii Notable achievements: A former competitive cyclist, Kennedy is a past Masters National, Pan American, and World champion in the 3,000-meter pursuit. He served as captain of a four-man team that won the Race Across America in 1992, setting a world record. Hobbies: Avid outdoorsman Charities: Education, healthcare, sustainability
As president of RaceTrac Petroleum, Natalie Morhous is a third-generation leader in an 85-year-old family-owned business. Founded in 1934 by Morhous’s grandfather Carl Borch Sr., RaceTrac Petroleum owns and operates more than 780 retail fuel and convenience stores in 12 states under the RaceTrac and RaceWay brands. Morhous joined the company in 2012, serving in a variety of roles including vice president of energy dispatch before becoming president in 2019. Previously she worked as a strategy and management consultant in Washington, D.C.
Education: Connecticut College, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (MBA) Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Notable Achievement:Convenience Store News Women in Convenience: Woman of the Year (2020) and 40 Under 40 (2015) First job: Camp counselor at Westminster Summer Camps in Atlanta
Farooq B. Mughal
Chairman and Managing Partner
Mughal Strategies Global Partners
As chairman and managing partner of Mughal Strategies Global Partners, Farooq Mughal focuses his practice on government relations, business advisory, and public engagement. Since founding the firm in 2008, Mughal has built it into a government relations powerhouse that has come to be regarded as one of the state’s best. Mughal has worked with clients in nearly every sector of the economy, developing and executing business and government strategies on a diverse range of issues including international trade, agriculture, aviation, and technology. He is a member of Leadership Gwinnett’s class of 2021.
Education: Mercer University Why I chose this work: Everyone has a stake in the policies enacted by federal, state, and local governments. I was inspired to make the political, legislative, and lobbying field more diverse and inclusive for all Americans. Best advice received: From my dad and mom: “Be humble and treat everyone with respect—especially those who cannot do anything for you.”
Gregg Paradies President and CEO
Gregg Paradies is president and CEO of Paradies Lagardère, a leading airport travel retailer and restaurateur in North America with more than 950 stores and restaurants in approximately 100 airports. With expertise in international, national, and local brands, Paradies Lagardère works with airport, brand, and supplier partners to create memorable and positive experiences for travelers. Gregg Paradies is responsible for the company’s overall business and ensuring that it continues its strong tradition of providing exceptional customer service, superior design, and award-winning store and restaurant operations and management.
Education: University of Texas at Austin Best advice received: You cannot do wrong by doing right. Hobbies: Outdoor sports Favorite book:Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t by Jim Collins Favorite travel destination: Colorado
Donata Russell Ross
Donata Russell Ross is the CEO of Concessions International, a national food and beverage concessionaire that currently operates and manages facilities in eight major airports across the country. Russell Ross has been an integral part of Concessions International’s management team for more than 35 years and previously served as president. She’s also president of the Herman J. Russell Foundation—a family foundation named for Russell Ross’s father, the legendary Atlanta builder—which supports community initiatives and programs focusing on entrepreneurship, youth development, and mentoring. Russell Ross has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Education: University of Pennsylvania Notable achievement: One of a handful of African American women leading a food and beverage company First job: IBM marketing rep Lesson learned: You can’t please everyone. Favorite TV show:The Wire Favorite travel destination: Anywhere warm and with water!
Alexander C. Taylor President and CEO
Alex Taylor is president and CEO of Cox Enterprises, a communications, media, and automotive-services company with more than $20 billion in annual revenues and approximately 50,000 employees worldwide. He is responsible for the company’s two major subsidiaries—Cox Communications and Cox Automotive—as well as the Cox Family Office and corporate functions including financial operations, human resources, and administration. Taylor is the great-grandson of former Ohio governor James M. Cox, who founded the company in 1898.
Education: Vanderbilt University First job: Reporter for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in Colorado Hidden talent: Author of The Longest Cast: The Fly-Fishing Journey of a Lifetime. All royalties from the book were donated to the International Game Fish Association for the preservation of endangered fishing sanctuaries.
Mark Begor CEO
Mark Begor was named CEO of Equifax and a member of its board of directors in April 2018. He served previously as a managing director in the Industrial and Business Services group at Warburg Pincus, a $40 billion private equity firm with more than 120 portfolio companies. Begor spent 35 years at GE, most recently as president and CEO of its $8 billion Energy Management business, and prior to that as president and CEO of GE Capital Real Estate. He also served as president and CEO of GE Capital Retail Finance (Synchrony Financial). Begor was a senior vice president and member of GE’s Corporate Executive Council for 10 years, and a GE officer for 19 years. He also served as the chief financial officer at NBCUniversal Media and as GE’s Investor Relations leader, overseeing many acquisitions and dispositions.
Education: Syracuse University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MBA)
Craig Menear Chairman, President, and CEO
The Home Depot
Craig Menear is chairman and CEO of the Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer with more than 2,200 stores and 400,000 associates. Under his leadership, the company continues to focus on providing a seamless, interconnected shopping experience that blends the physical and digital worlds—leveraging the convenience of its stores, digital experiences, innovative product offerings, and reliable delivery options for professional and DIY customers. Menear was named CEO and president in November 2014 and chairman in February 2015. In his more than 20 years with the company, he has held roles spanning merchandising, supply chain, store operations, sourcing, marketing, and online. Prior to joining the Home Depot, he worked in a variety of roles in mass, home center, and specialty retailing.
Education: Michigan State University Inspiring people: The Home Depot’s founders: Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, and Ken Langone Charities: Team Depot, Junior Achievement, Salvation Army
James Quincey President and CEO
The Coca-Cola Co.
James Quincey is chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. Before becoming CEO in 2017, he led the company’s worldwide operating units as president and chief operating officer. Previously Quincey was president of Coca-Cola’s Europe Group, comprising 38 countries including the EU, the European Free Trade Association countries, and the Balkans. The United Kingdom native also played a leading role in the merger that formed Coca-Cola European Partners, now the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler based on net revenues.
Education: University of Liverpool Hobbies: I love skiing. My family and I have been going to Colorado for over 25 years. Favorite movie:The Matrix Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Atlanta BeltLine
President, North America
The Coca-Cola Co.
In 2020, Alfredo Rivera became president of Coca-Cola North America, which includes the United States and Canada. Rivera has held a number of leadership positions within the Coca-Cola Co.; before taking the helm in North America he was president of the company’s Latin America group, overseeing the operations of four business units across nearly 40 countries. Rivera joined Coca-Cola in 1997 as a district manager for Guatemala and El Salvador in the Central American and Caribbean division; prior to that he had worked for two independent Coca-Cola bottlers in El Salvador and Honduras, his native country.
Education: University of Southern Mississippi (MBA), Harvard Business School Notable achievements: Under Rivera’s leadership, the Latin Center business unit qualified for the Woodruff Cup for three consecutive years, and won in 2015. The Woodruff Cup is the most prestigious global award granted by The Coca-Cola Company to the business unit with the most outstanding annual performance.
President and CEO
Ravi Saligram is president and CEO of Newell Brands, whose portfolio includes Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Coleman, Yankee Candle, Crock-Pot, and many other recognizable names. A native of India, Saligram served most recently as CEO of Ritchie Bros., the world’s largest onsite heavy-equipment auctioneer; before that he was CEO of OfficeMax, leading that company’s 2013 merger with Office Depot. At the helm of Newell Brands since October 2019, Saligram has focused on weathering the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening diversity and inclusion within the Atlanta-based company, which counts more than 30,000 employees worldwide.
Education: Bangalore University, University of Michigan (MBA) Why I chose this work: I am a marketer at heart and love building brands and businesses. Inspiring people: My daughters have engaged proactively in reverse mentoring and taught me humility. They have made me more liberal and more accepting, and shaped my views on diversity and inclusion. One piece of specific advice was to engage with employees on the elevator and talk to them about their day.
Jeffrey Sprecher Chairman and CEO Intercontinental Exchange Chairman New York Stock Exchange
Jeff Sprecher is founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange and the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Formed in 2000, Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 company. Sprecher has served as CEO since 2000 and chairman since 2002 and continues to transform global markets through information, technology, and transparency. Expanding through its recent acquisition of Ellie Mae, ICE continues to bring efficiency and transparency to the mortgage finance industry through ICE Mortgage Technology. In 2005, ICE completed its initial public offering on the NYSE and today has a market capitalization of over $50 billion.
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pepperdine University (MBA) Board memberships: Buckhead Coalition, Commerce Club, Atlanta Committee for Progress, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce immediate past chair
Carol Tomé was named CEO of UPS in 2020, becoming the 12th chief executive in the company’s century-plus history as well as the first woman to hold the top job. Previously Tomé was executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Home Depot, which she joined in 1995 as vice president and treasurer. A native of Jackson, Wyoming, Tomé began her career as a commercial lender with United Bank of Denver (now Wells Fargo) and then spent several years as director of banking for the Johns Manville corporation. She serves on the boards of Grady Hospital, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and other local organizations.
Education: University of Wyoming, University of Denver (MBA) Notable achievements: At the Home Depot, Tomé helped increase sales almost eightfold to more than $110 billion, and delivered a 450 percent increase in shareholder value. Favorite travel desination: My 550-acre farm in Walker County, Georgia Favorite Atlanta podcast: Crazy Good Turns Favorite song about Atlanta: “Oh, Atlanta” by Alison Krauss
Steve Voorhees CEO
Steve Voorhees is CEO of WestRock Co., an $18 billion leading provider of sustainable fiber-based packaging solutions. Previously Voorhees worked for the paper and packaging company RockTenn in a variety of executive leadership roles, including chief administrative officer, executive vice president and chief financial officer, president and chief operating officer, and ultimately CEO. Before joining RockTenn, Voorhees was in operations and executive roles at Sonat, a diversified energy company based in Birmingham.
Education: Northwestern University, University of Virginia Darden School of Business (MBA) First jobs: Newspaper route, dishwasher, ice cream truck driver Few people know: I married the perfect wife. Favorite book or movie: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Sara Blakely Founder
Sara Blakely is the founder and CEO of Spanx, a global underwear brand known for inventing smarter, more comfortable solutions. Blakely was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, and was featured on the cover of Forbes as the youngest self-made female billionaire. Blakely has invested millions of dollars to elevate women and in 2013 she signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment to donate half her wealth to philanthropy. To this day, Spanx has never taken any outside investments.
Education: Florida State University Hometown: Clearwater, Florida Charities: Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation
Kevin Knaus Principal
Kevin Knaus Consulting
Kevin Knaus is an accomplished fashion-industry professional with expertise in trend forecasting, retail management, event planning, marketing, education, and international public speaking. He’s achieved success in developing and capitalizing on emerging trends in fabrics, apparel, home, luxury, and entertainment. A skilled negotiator, Knaus is adept at developing cost-effective resources and solutions for all areas of business. He is experienced in multicultural environments, with more than 25 years of business related to international travel.
Education: Central Michigan University, Georgia State University Hometown: Lansing, Michigan Favorite TV show:I Love Lucy. I own the complete series. Favorite travel destinations: Paris and Mackinac Island Favorite Atlanta places to visit: High Museum of Art, SCAD FASH
Ann Mashburn Chief Creative Officer
Ann Mashburn, chief creative officer of Mashburn LLC, began her career in New York in 1984 as an assistant to Vogue fashion editor and stylist Polly Mellen. She subsequently served as an editor and stylist for Glamour, then as a stylist for J.Crew—where she met her husband, Sid. The couple moved to Atlanta in 2007 and opened the Sid Mashburn men’s shop. Ann Mashburn served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer during the first three years, and in 2010 she opened the Ann Mashburn shop as a women’s counterpoint. Ann and Sid shops are now in Houston, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., with a men’s-only shop in Los Angeles. In 2018 the Mashburns expanded the footprint of their flagship Atlanta store with the opening of an adjacent coffee shop and experiential lifestyle concept shop.
Education: University of Colorado Boulder
Sid Mashburn CEO and Designer
Sid Mashburn serves as CEO and designer of Mashburn LLC. He began his career in New York as the first men’s designer at J.Crew, and was subsequently recruited to Polo Ralph Lauren. Mashburn went on to serve as vice president of design at Tommy Hilfiger and senior vice president of design at Lands’ End. In 2007 Mashburn and his wife, Ann, moved to Atlanta, where they opened the men’s shop Sid Mashburn. In 2010 they expanded the business with Ann Mashburn, a women’s line and shop, followed by the launch of e-commerce sites in 2011 to serve the brand’s expanding customer base outside of Atlanta. In 2018 the Mashburns expanded the footprint of their flagship Atlanta store with the opening of an adjacent coffee shop and experiential lifestyle concept shop.
Education: University of Mississippi
Chief Marketing Officer
As chief marketing officer for Fiserv, Leigh Asher leads brand strategy, corporate communications, and creative direction worldwide, as well as overseeing market research and marketing technology and operations. She is responsible for the Fiserv portfolio of client engagement platforms, including the company’s annual Forum client conference. An Atlanta native, Asher plays a key role in shaping the company’s workplace experience and led the design of its flagship office in Alpharetta, which has served as a model for other Fiserv locations worldwide.
Education: Georgia State University First job: The concession stand at Loews Tara Theater Notable achievement: Instrumental in the company’s decision to become the naming-rights sponsor of Fiserv Forum, a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue in downtown Milwaukee Bucket list: I’d love to see the northern lights.
Founder, President, and CEO
Kabir Barday is president and CEO of OneTrust, a privacy, security, and third-party risk technology platform used by more than 4,000 companies across 100 countries. With headquarters in Atlanta and London, OneTrust employs nearly 1,000 people across nine global offices. Barday, who founded the company in 2016, oversees all aspects of OneTrust’s product development, operations, and sales internationally. In 2019 OneTrust was one of Forbes’s World’s Most Innovative Companies. Barday sits on the advisory boards for the Future of Privacy Forum, the Center for Information Policy Leadership, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Cloud Security Alliance, and Shared Assessments.
Education: Georgia Tech Notable achievements: EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Southeast (2019), Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2019) Best advice received: Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Favorite book:How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Mark Buffington Cofounder and CEO
Mark Buffington is cofounder and CEO of BIP Capital, the most active venture fund in Georgia for the last nine years. He’s cofounded three successful companies over the course of his career. Since founding BIP Capital in 2006, Buffington has led investment rounds in more than 70 companies in multiple market verticals. His roster of venture investments includes Atlanta success stories like Vendormate, Ingenious Med, QASymphony, Trella Health, PlayOn! Sports, GoFan, and ConnexPay.
Education: Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, Tulane University (MBA) First job: International business analyst for Total System Services Best advice received: If you want to be the best at your craft, you have to push harder and be better than everyone else. Hidden talent: I speak fluent Spanish and love econometrics. Hobbies: Fly-fishing
Eddie Capel President and CEO
Eddie Capel serves as president and CEO of Manhattan Associates and is a member of its board of directors. Prior to assuming his current role in 2013, Capel helped lead the company as president and chief operating officer, and previously served as COO and executive vice president. Before joining Manhattan Associates in 2000, he held various positions at Real Time Solutions, leading teams that supported the supply chain strategies of companies such as Walmart, Amazon, and J.C. Penney.
First job: Pumping gas Toughest challenge: Managing through the Covid-19 pandemic Inspiring person: Bill Dixon, A former boss Bucket list: Learning to pole-vault Who’d play me in a biopic: Bruce Willis
Ben Chestnut Cofounder and CEO
Ben Chestnut is cofounder and CEO of Mailchimp, an all-in-one marketing platform for growing businesses. Based in Atlanta since 2001, Mailchimp is privately held, with more than 1,000 employees and millions of global users. In 2017 Mailchimp was named Company of the Year by Inc. and recognized as one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. A native of Hephzibah, Chestnut was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.
Education: Georgia Tech First job: Grocery bagger at Fort Gordon military commissary Hobbies: Mountain biking What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: When you get there, don’t forget to have some fun. Charities: Moving in the Spirit, Atlanta Music Project, ArtsNow, Ballethnic Dance Company
David Cummings CEO
David Cummings is an Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur who has founded 10 companies collectively valued at nearly $1 billion, including Pardot, SalesLoft, and Terminus. He’s also the founder of the Atlanta Tech Village—the U.S.’s fourth-largest tech hub—and the largest investor in Calendly, the world’s most popular scheduling app. After selling Pardot, he was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Cummings is a partner in Atlanta Ventures, which invests in subscription companies in the Southeast.
Education: Duke University Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida First job: Mowing yards Lesson learned: The importance of corporate culture and building a great team Hidden talent: Wakeboarding and wakesurfing
Alan Dabbiere Cochairman
Entrepreneur Alan Dabbiere is cochair of OneTrust, a privacy management software platform used by more than 1,500 global organizations. Dabbiere has more than 20 years of experience in building successful software companies, holding more than 25 patents or patent applications on supply chain, logistics, and enterprise mobility software. He’s a founder and past chairman of AirWatch, the largest enterprise mobility management provider in the world. Dabbiere also founded Manhattan Associates, the world’s leading supply chain execution software company.
Education: Indiana University (MBA) Why I chose this work: I was a chemistry major and planned to go to medical school, but my father died my senior year and I reevaluated my life. I decided to get an MBA with an emphasis in finance. Between the two, I had taken computer science courses, and when I graduated the systems-consulting market was white-hot. This drove me to a career in software. First job: Kurt Salmon Associates What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Being tenacious is the most important quality for success.
David Dabbiere Board Member and Legal Adviser
OneTrustDavid Dabbiere is a board member and legal adviser for OneTrust. Previously he was president and chief operating officer of Aware Software and, prior to that, chief operating officer at enterprise mobility management provider AirWatch, where he was responsible for all legal and operational matters and played a key role in the company’s 2014 sale to VMware. Dabbiere was previously senior vice president and chief legal officer for Manhattan Associates, where he assisted the company’s successful initial public offering.
Education: Indiana University, Indiana University McKinney School of Law (JD) First job: Patent lawyer for Procter & Gamble Favorite movie:My Cousin Vinny. I love the scene where Vinny tips the prison guard who brings him to his nephew’s cell, and the guard pockets it. Charities: Shepherd Center
Vice President of Development
Andre Dickens is a member of the Atlanta City Council as well as a businessman, nonprofit executive, engineer, speaker, deacon, and father. He serves as chairman of the council’s transportation committee, providing oversight to city streets, bridges, sidewalks, paths, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. An Atlanta native, Dickens is also vice president of development for TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofit organizations. In 2018, he cofounded TechBridge’s Technology Career Program, which prepares unemployed and underemployed people for careers in technology by teaching high-demand skills while helping participants land jobs in IT departments across Atlanta.
Education: Georgia Tech, Georgia State University (MPA) Notable achievements: Coauthored and passed resolutions establishing a $15/hour minimum wage for Atlanta and affordable housing requirements around the BeltLine Hidden talent: I’m learning the piano that came with a house I bought this year. Hobbies: Bible study, swimming
Bernie Dixon Chairman and CEO
Bernie Dixon is the founder and CEO of Launchpad2X and former chairman and CEO of Atlanta Technology Angels. She served previously as vice president of HP Services Americas, as Enterprise chief information officer for Raytheon, and as CIO for two divisions of United Technologies: Carrier and Hamilton Standard. Dixon also led the information technology practice at Booz Allen Hamilton. She began her career as a leading member of the first class of female officers within the Department of Defense.
Education: Pennsylvania State University, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Few people know: I am a real foodie. Maybe I’ll do my own cookbook on my favorite snacks. What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Life is for living and learning. Enjoy every moment of it. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Dog park at Piedmont Park Who’d play me in a biopic: Emilia Clarke, who portrays Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones
Allyson Eman Executive Director
Allyson Eman has nearly 30 years of experience in marketing, communications, sales leadership, and business development. In 2007 she became executive director for the newly created Venture Atlanta annual conference, and was promoted to CEO in January 2020. Eman has worked with key business leaders across the country and founding organizations—the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta CEO Council, and the Technology Association of Georgia—to build Venture Atlanta, which is now the largest venture capital conference in the Southeast, with over 1,200 attendees including venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and senior business executives. Previously, Eman was senior vice president of marketing and communications for SouthStar Funding, an Atlanta-based wholesale mortgage lender.
Education: University of Florida Favorite movie:Legally Blonde Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Ponce City Market Bucket list: Italy for my 25th anniversary Who’d play me in a biopic: Julia Roberts. People say I look like her—I wish!
Justin Ferrero President
Atlanta native Justin Ferrero has served as president of Sharecare, a digital company that helps people manage their health in one place, since its founding in 2010. He’s responsible for technology, finance, corporate development, and strategic partnerships. For the past 18 years, Ferrero has worked closely with serial entrepreneur Jeff Arnold, Sharecare’s chairman and CEO, overseeing all matters related to finance and corporate development for Arnold’s businesses. During that time, Ferrero has raised more than half a billion dollars and has bought, integrated, and built approximately 25 businesses.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill First job: Dishwasher at OK Cafe Hobbies: Spending time with my kids, Finn and Banks Charities: The Schenck School, which is doing unbelievable work and truly changing the course of lives for children who suffer from dyslexia
Rob Frohwein Cofounder and Kabbagehead
In 2008, Rob Frohwein cofounded Kabbage in Atlanta to empower small businesses with data-driven cash-flow solutions. Kabbage has provided billions of dollars to 500,000 customers, became the second-largest lender in the Paycheck Protection Program, and recently launched Kabbage Checking, a new business checking account built for the smallest businesses but fit for the largest. It has been recognized for its technology and innovation with awards from Inc., Forbes, Glassdoor, Fast Company, and more. In 2020, CNBC named Kabbage one of the 50 most disruptive companies.
Education: Dickinson College, Villanova University Widger School of Law (JD) Inspiring person: My wife. She is simply the most focused and earnest person I know. Lesson learned: Persistence is so vitally important. Too many people give up too soon, and I think that’s because they don’t realize just how hard entrepreneurship is.
Marc Gorlin Founder and CEO
A successful Atlanta entrepreneur for almost 20 years, Marc Gorlin founded Roadie in 2014 as the first on-the-way service that connects items for delivery with drivers headed in the right direction. Previously Gorlin cofounded and was chairman of Kabbage, which provides working capital to small and medium-sized businesses. To date, Kabbage has raised more than $500 million in funding and provided over $5 billion in capital to small businesses. Gorlin also cofounded the content personalization service VerticalOne.
Education: University of Georgia Hidden talent: I was a teenage magician. I learned about the willing suspension of disbelief, and that’s helped me a lot as an entrepreneur. What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: When you’re getting the job, don’t think you’re just getting the job—you’re getting the keys to the whole damn building. It’s not enough to connect with your boss or your immediate team. You need to make connections with people on the other side of the office. Favorite travel destination: Perdido Key, Florida
Michael Hayford President and CEO
Mike Hayford is president and CEO of NCR Corp. Previously he served as chief financial officer and corporate executive vice president of the financial technology company FIS. Prior to that, as president and chief operating officer of Metavante Technologies, Hayford led the completion of Metavante’s merger with FIS to create the world’s largest financial technology company. He was instrumental in building Metavante into a global leader of financial technology with over $6 billion of annual revenue.
Education: University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business (MBA) Notable achievements: Hayford is a director of Endurance International Group Holdings and has served on the board of West Bend Mutual Insurance, for which he chairs the Audit Committee. Hayford is a certified public accountant.
Founder and Chairman
Hive Financial Systems
JP James is the founder and chairman of the financial technology company Hive Financial Systems, which provides end-to-end financial automation software including marketing, underwriting, loan management, and analytics architecture to a closely held portfolio of lenders. Under James’s leadership, Hive grew almost 8,000 percent in revenue between 2017 and 2020. The coauthor of two patents and a visiting lecturer at Georgia State University and Georgia Tech, James is also chair of Libreum International, a multinational conglomerate with multiple global offices and hundreds of employees serving in advisory capacities for capital markets, IT and software development, accounting and bookkeeping services, and operational consulting.
Education: Georgia Tech First job: Computer teacher at 12 years old at Peters Township Public Library Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Favorite Atlanta podcast:Decision Vision Bucket list: Getting pilot-type rating for a twin turboprop Who’d play me in a biopic: Christian Bale
Paul Judge Cofounder
Technology entrepreneur and investor Paul Judge is cofounder and partner of TechSquare Labs, an Atlanta-based company-building studio and venture fund, and cofounder and executive chairman of the information security company Pindrop, whose technology protects some of the largest enterprises in the world. Pindrop has received total funding of over $100 million from venture firms including Andreessen Horowitz, CapitalG, and IVP. Judge has cofounded three companies that have been acquired and has invested in more than 60.
Education: Morehouse College, Georgia Tech (PhD) Why I chose this work: I chose to build software companies because software and technology are changing every aspect of life. We get to change the world by building something from nothing. This also creates a new generation of wealth creation and opportunities for building diverse teams.
Dan Kurzius Cofounder and Chief Customer Officer
Dan Kurzius cofounded Mailchimp with Ben Chestnut in 2001, as a developer who also served as the company’s first support agent. Kurzius built Mailchimp’s support department and continues to advocate for its users through research efforts in partnership with the data science, product, and marketing teams. He also oversees Mailchimp’s workspace and real estate needs, making sure the office is a place where employees feel welcome and inspired. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native was previously a DJ and sponsored skateboarder.
Education: Self-taught LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) developer Toughest challenge: Losing my father to heart disease when I was 12. Overnight I went from riding bikes with friends to helping my mother raise two younger brothers.
Lynne Laube Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer
Lynne Laube is the CEO and cofounder of Cardlytics, an advertising platform in banks’ digital channels. The company is based in Atlanta with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, and India. Since taking the company public in 2018, Laube has led Cardlytics through numerous accomplishments, including partnering with some of the largest banks in the country, increasing the platform’s reach to over 150 million monthly active users, and bolstering the leadership team and board of directors. Before cofounding Cardlytics in 2008 with Scott Grimes, Laube held multiple executive positions with Capital One.
Education: University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Notable achievements: Laube recently earned honors from Business Insider as one of the key executives driving the country’s most promising start-ups and from Inc. as a top-10 venture-backed female founder.
Thomas E. Noonan Founding Partner TechOperators Chairman TEN Holdings
Atlanta native Tom Noonan is a founding partner of TechOperators, an early-stage technology investment firm in Atlanta, and chairman of TEN Holdings, a diversified family office investment company. Most recently, Noonan was vice president and general manager of the Energy Management business of Cisco Systems following its 2013 acquisition of JouleX, where he was cofounder and CEO. A serial entrepreneur, Noonan also cofounded and serves on the board of Endgame, which was acquired in 2019 by Elastic, and was the cofounder, chairman, and CEO of Internet Security Systems, which was acquired by IBM in 2006.
Education: Georgia Tech, Harvard University Inspiring person: Winston Churchill Favorite travel destination: Ireland Bucket list: Hike the Alps Who’d play me in a biopic: Me
Stephen Pair Cofounder and CEO
Stephen Pair is the CEO of BitPay, the world’s leading provider of bitcoin payment technology. In 2011, Pair cofounded BitPay with Tony Gallippi because he saw bitcoin’s potential to transform payments for businesses and consumers. As CEO, Pair directs the day-to-day operations as well as the long-term vision of BitPay, from research and engineering to product development and information technology. Pair has 20 years of experience building software systems in the financial and telecommunications industries; before founding BitPay, he held various roles including entrepreneur, architect, manager, team lead, and developer. He holds two patents in the field of streaming analytics.
Education: Georgia Tech Hometown: Cumming, Georgia First job: Fry cook at Captain D’s Hidden talent: Wake-surfing Favorite movies:Star Wars Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Georgia Aquarium
Cofounder and Kabbagehead
Kathryn Petralia is the president and cofounder of Kabbage, a data and technology company providing small-business cash-flow solutions. A seasoned leader in financial services with more than 20 years of experience across credit, payments, and lending, Petralia helps lead Kabbage to simplify the way small businesses access the capital and financial services they need to run and grow.
Education: Furman University Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina Notable achievement:Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women of 2017 Why I chose this work: Because tech, at its core, serves others. It can be used to give people what they need faster and better than before. Inspiring person: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Favorite books:Outliers: The Story of Success and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Museum of Natural History
Tripp Rackley Technology Entrepreneur
Tripp Rackley is an accomplished technology entrepreneur with a background building and growing successful businesses. He’s founded multiple successful companies, including nFront, Firethorn, Experience, and Clutch Technologies, developing partnership strategies and driving adoption prior to their acquisitions. Rackley grew up in Roswell and has won many prestigious awards including the Ernst & Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Award, TechAmerica’s Spirit of Innovation and Entrepreneur of the Year awards, and the MIT Distinguished Entrepreneur Achievement Award. He has been inducted into the Bank Technology News Innovators Hall of Fame, the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia, and most recently the Technology Association of Georgia’s FinTech Hall of Fame.
Education: Georgia Tech Lesson learned: You can’t be the best at everything. Focus on what you are great at and what you love to do and be a part of a team that highlights each other’s strengths and fills in each other’s weaknesses. Charities: Marine biology research, animal conservation
Founder and CEO
Sanjay Sehgal is the founder and CEO of the MSys Group, including MSys Technologies—which designs, develops, and manages modern distributed systems and complex integrations—as well as MSys Training and Mobinius, India’s leading digital transformation and mobile app company. An entrepreneur, start-up adviser, and motivational speaker with more than two decades of tech experience, Sehgal also founded Pramana and cofounded FarCare and Scentric, and successfully acquired tech companies including Clogeny and DigiFutura. In 2018 he received a Top Entrepreneur award from TiE Atlanta.
Education: University of Delhi Hometown: New Delhi, India Hobbies: Meditation Hidden talent: I love singing and dancing. Favorite book:Designing Destiny: Heartfulness Practices to Find Your Purpose and Fulfill Your Potential by Kamlesh D. Patel Favorite travel desination: Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, India Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Avalon Mall
Jeffrey S. Sloan
Jeff Sloan joined Global Payments as president in 2010 and became CEO in 2013. Previously, he was a partner and the worldwide head of the Financial Technology Group for Goldman Sachs in New York. Sloan pioneered the development of the payments practice in investment banking.
Education: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, New York University School of Law (JD) Notable achievements: Institutional Investor America’s Best CEOs, Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO Board memberships: FleetCor Technologies, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Wharton School Undergraduate Executive Board, Atlanta Committee for Progress, previous president and chair of the board of the Electronic Transactions Association
Dawn Whaley President
Dawn Whaley has served as president of the digital health company Sharecare since its founding. She participates in the development of the overall corporate strategy and is directly responsible for marketing, strategic partnerships, and business development. Previously Whaley was executive vice president of marketing and strategic relationships for the website HowStuffWorks, where she helped manage operations and corporate development efforts, including business development and creation and execution of the marketing strategy. She currently serves on the boards of Forbes Travel Guide and the American Heart Association’s Metro Atlanta Division.
Education: University of Georgia Toughest challenge: Raising my wonderful daughter, Spencer Favorite Atlanta places to visit: Atlanta BeltLine, Stone Mountain Charities: Metro Atlanta Division of the American Heart Association, whose board Whaley serves on
Larry Williams President and CEO
Technology Association of Georgia
Larry Williams is president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia, bringing to the job more than 25 years of experience in global branding, international trade and finance, public and industrial policy, and administration and management. As former president and CEO of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership, Williams led the creation and execution of a new development framework to help the area grow and secure investments in today’s innovation economy, resulting in $687 million in new investment, 119 company relocations or expansions, and more than 4,500 new jobs. From 2011 to 2014 Williams helped shape Atlanta’s tech sector as vice president of technology development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Education: North Carolina State University
Founder and CEO
Joey Womack is the founder and CEO of Goodie Nation, a nonprofit that accelerates relationships for social entrepreneurs and diverse founders, and the founder and CEO of Amplify 4 Good, a mission-driven agency that helps large companies, nonprofits, and government agencies create social impact. With a goal to positively affect 1 billion people by 2039, Womack has worked with clients including Google, Coca-Cola, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Ford Motor Co. He is also the cofounder of the Atlanta Black Tech initiative, serving as colead for the start-ups and K-12 divisions.
Education: Florida A&M University (MBA) First job: Sears call center customer support Few people know: Both of my parents are from historic neighborhoods in Alabama. My father is from Africatown in Mobile, where the last slaves settled, and my mother is from [Montgomery’s] Centennial Hill, where Martin Luther King Jr. lived while he was at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Favorite travel destination: Seychelles
Jason W. Young
MindBlown Labs Innovation Partners
Jason W. Young is the cofounder and CEO of MindBlown Labs, an Atlanta-based financial wellness innovation lab whose mission is to empower Americans to make better financial decisions and achieve enduring financial wellness as a result. The company partners with financial institutions to develop digital solutions that connect with users on an emotional level, driving positive saving and investing behaviors. A member of the board of trustees of the National Endowment for Financial Education, Young was appointed by Barack Obama in 2014 to serve on the newly created President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans.
Education: Harvard College Hometown: Inglewood, California Why I chose this work: My family struggled with money. During my sophomore year in college, those struggles came to a head when, the day after Christmas, my family was evicted. That experience impressed upon me the need to make better financial decisions and help others do the same. First job: I was nine. I assisted a local plumber.
Jon Ziglar CEO
Jon Ziglar is a seasoned executive with a track record of driving growth and innovation in software- and technology-enabled service businesses. Prior to being named ParkMobile CEO in 2015, he served as managing director, international, for Ceridian HCM, a global provider of human-capital management software and services. He also served as Ceridian’s chief strategy officer and chief product and innovation officer. Ziglar was previously senior vice president of strategic planning and enterprise development at the global payments technology company Elavon.
Education: Princeton University, Emory University School of Law (JD) Hidden talent: I went to college intending to be an art major. Hobbies: Skiing, hiking Favorite movie:Office Space Bucket list: Take my kids heli-skiing in Canada Who’d play me in a biopic: Obviously Hugh Jackman
At age 28, Arnold founded WebMD and grew it into a $1 billion revenue company. Next came the Convex Group, a media and internet investment organization that acquired HowStuffWorks, then sold it to Discovery Communications, where Arnold met Dr. Mehmet Oz, who collaborated with him to launch yet another health-focused website, Sharecare.
J. Veronica Biggins
Biggins is currently a managing director in the Atlanta office of Diversified Search. Previously she served as director of presidential personnel and assistant to President Bill Clinton. She was also vice chair of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Michael J. Coles
After a long career in the clothing business, Coles founded the Great American Cookie Co. with Arthur Karp in 1977. They grew an initial $8,000 investment into the largest cookie store franchise in the United States. The serial entrepreneur has chaired the Georgia Film Commission and served on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the Kennesaw State University Foundation Board, and the Walker School Board.
As CEO of Georgia-Pacific, Alston D. “Pete” Correll helped the company grow from a forest-industry materials manufacturer to a consumer-products company, leading to its acquisition by Koch Industries in 2006. In addition, he joined the fight to change Georgia’s flag, played a key role in helping Grady Hospital escape financial ruin, and was an early backer of the BeltLine.
Lonnie G. Johnson
Johnson earned his master’s degree in nuclear engineering from Tuskegee University and went on to work for the U.S. Air Force and the NASA space program. Experimenting with high-powered water guns, he invented the bestselling Super Soaker. He has since been developing the Johnson thermoelectric energy converter (JTEC), an engine that converts heat directly into electricity, a potential source of low-cost solar power.
R. Charles Loudermilk Sr.
Loudermilk founded Aaron’s, a lease-to-own retailer, in 1955 with a $500 bank loan. He took the company public in 1982. In 2009, the Atlanta City Council changed the name of Buckhead Triangle Park to Charlie Loudermilk Park in honor of his contributions to the neighborhood. He helped build the Omni and once owned the Atlanta Hawks and the Flames.
As president of Imlay Investments and then managing partner of Mosley Ventures, Sig Mosley has invested in 120 start-ups since 1990—likely making him Atlanta’s most active angel investor. He helped nurture the city’s technology industry.
Susan V. Booth Jennings Hertz Artistic Director
Since 2001, Susan Booth has brought national attention to Atlanta’s theater scene as artistic director of the Alliance Theatre, where she’s launched six productions to Broadway, won a Regional Theatre Tony Award, and directed world premieres by Pearl Cleage, Natasha Trethewey, John Mellencamp, and Stephen King. She has also initiated the Palefsky Collision Project for teens, the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, and local producing partnerships and regional collaborative productions. Booth has directed productions at theaters including the Goodman, the La Jolla Playhouse, and the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and has taught at Northwestern, DePaul, and Emory.
Education: Denison University, Northwestern University (MA) Notable achievement: Led the Alliance through an off-campus season that produced plays in 13 locations across the city, while building a new theater to return to in our 50th year Best advice received: Johnnetta Coles told me to stop worrying about filling someone else’s shoes. “Get your own shoes,” she said.
Susan Bridges Owner and Director
For 15 years, Atlanta native Susan Bridges curated pop-up shows around the city in churches, U-Haul facilities, shipping containers, and an underground parking garage. In 2006 she opened Whitespace Gallery in a former carriage house behind her Victorian home in Inman Park. Today the gallery represents more than 40 local and national artists, who’ve shown work at the Smithsonian Institution, the Venice Biennale, and Art Basel Miami Beach.
Education: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga First job: Receptionist, ad agency What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Everything’s going to be okay. Few people know: I love to dance. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: My garden
Yehimi Cambrón Álvarez Artist, Activist, and Public Speaker
Yehimi Cambrón is an artist, activist, and public speaker born in Michoacán, Mexico, and raised in Atlanta whose work focuses on celebrating the humanity, resilience, and contributions of immigrants. Cambrón’s series Family Portrait was displayed at the High Museum in 2019 and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in 2020. In June 2020 she completed her tallest mural to date, We Give Each Other the World, a community-responsive piece cofunded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Hapeville. In August 2020, Cambrón completed Monuments: Atlanta’s Immigrants, a mural at the Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Education: Agnes Scott College Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2020), Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia (2018-2020) Why I chose this work: I am an artist because I don’t know how else to exist. Creating art has allowed me to create certainty for myself throughout my life, which has been especially significant and affirming for me as an undocumented immigrant living in the South.
Monica Campana Founder and Executive Director
A native of Peru, Monica Campana moved to the United States in 1998. As the founder and executive director of the mural program Living Walls, The City Speaks, she’s facilitated the creation of more than 100 public murals throughout the metro Atlanta area from a diverse array of national and international artists. Campana has also served as curator at WISH ATL and project manager for Philadelphia’s Open Source, and curated an exhibition at Moscow’s Artmossphere biennale.
Pearl Cleage Distinguished Artist in Residence
Pearl Cleage is the author of 15 plays, eight novels, two books of poetry, two books of essays, a book of short stories, and a memoir. She worked in politics as speechwriter/press secretary to Mayor Maynard Jackson and as a consultant in many local political races. She has worked with the Palefsky Collision Project at the Alliance for 10 years as a playwright and mentor, and recently completed her first animated feature for young audiences with Sit-In, a story of movements, past and present. She is the wife of author Zaron W. Burnett Jr., with whom she recently collaborated on In My Granny’s Garden, a book for the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, with illustrations by Radcliffe Bailey. She is the mother of one daughter and the grandmother of five.
Education: Spelman College Notable achievements:New York Times bestselling author, nationally produced playwright Best advice received: From John Lewis: “Make good trouble.” Bucket list: Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon
Annette Cone-Skelton President, CEO, and Director
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
Annette Cone-Skelton founded the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in 2000 with a mission to support the state’s artists. MOCA GA is currently home to more than 1,000 pieces, as well as a library and a voluminous archive. A longtime educator, curator, and editor, Cone-Skelton is also a respected artist whose work is collected in the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the High Museum, among other places. She received the Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities in 2012 and Atlanta Contemporary’s Nexus Award in 2019.
Education: Atlanta College of Art Hometown: LaGrange, Georgia Hidden talent: Played the French horn in high school Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Atlanta Botanical Garden Charities: Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, Idea Capital, MOCA GA Favorite travel destination: Barcelona
As executive director of Atlanta Contemporary, Veronica Kessenich led the art center’s transition to daily free admission in 2015—and has seen a subsequent attendance increase of more than 109 percent. She continues to work alongside staff to create and implement unique programs and strategic funding initiatives to maintain free admission. Prior to becoming executive director in 2015, Kessenich was Atlanta Contemporary’s development director, closing out a $625,000 capital campaign and reimaging the center’s annual ART PARTY fundraiser. Kessenich is also an adjunct instructor in the art history department of Agnes Scott College.
Education: Saint Mary’s College, University of Saint Andrews (MPhil) Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Why I chose this work: I fundamentally believe that we need art in order to understand our place in the world. Best advice received: What’s the worst thing they’ll say, no? Who cares. Just ask again. Favorite movie:Blow-Up Favorite travel destination: Scotland Bucket list: Egypt
In 2016, Gennadi Nedvigin became the fourth artistic director in the 87-year history of the Atlanta Ballet. Born in Russia, Nedvigin was accepted into the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 10, and joined the Moscow Renaissance Ballet upon graduation. He joined the San Francisco Ballet in 1997; promoted to principal dancer three years later, Nedvigin has performed as Albrecht in Giselle, Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He gave his final performance as a professional dancer in 2016 at Despertares, an international ballet and modern dance festival in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Education: Bolshoi Ballet Academy First job: Soloist dancer at Moscow Renaissance Ballet Notable achievements: Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (2001, 2010, and 2017), Erik Bruhn Prize (1999) Hobbies: Cooking Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing Who’d play me in a biopic: Justin Bieber
Cofounder and Associate Producer
Ann-Carol Pence is the associate producer of Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theatre, which she cofounded 20 years ago with Anthony Rodriguez. Under their leadership, the theater has grown from 120 to 5,000 season subscribers; it produces 800 events annually for 80,000 visitors, and is the second-largest theater in Georgia by membership and budget. With Aurora now in the midst of a huge campus expansion, Pence continues her work as an advocate of radical inclusion, creating space where people of all backgrounds gather to celebrate the arts. She’s also been a pianist and/or musical director in productions nationally and in Atlanta.
Education: James Madison University Hometown: Harrisonburg, Virginia Why I chose this work: As a musician by trade, I believed Gwinnett County deserved and could sustain a professional theater, capable of producing world-class musicals in a way I had not seen produced in Atlanta. First job: Church organist at age 12 Inspiring person: Oprah Winfrey, the most influential self-made businesswoman in America
Cofounder and Producing Artistic Director
Anthony Rodriguez is the producing artistic director of Aurora Theatre, which he cofounded 20 years ago with Ann-Carol Pence, and which is now the second-largest professional theater in Georgia. Rodriguez negotiated the relocation of the theater to downtown Lawrenceville, where it opened in 2007 in a nearly $7.5 million complex; in 2019 a partnership between Lawrenceville and Aurora broke ground on a $31.2 million performing arts campus that will serve the entire metro region. An Atlanta native, Rodriguez is a graduate of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute, and in 2016 was the first Latino and the first arts leader to serve as chair of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
Education: University of Georgia Notable achievements: Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia, Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities (2016) First job: Running a jackhammer Hidden talent: I’m an excellent cook. Favorite movie:All That Jazz Bucket list: Dive the Great Barrier Reef
Michael Rooks Wieland Family Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art
High Museum of Art
Since joining the High Museum in 2010, Michael Rooks has curated or managed more than 35 exhibitions and increased the museum’s collection by a quarter, including work by Julie Mehretu, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, and Kara Walker. He was also commissioner and cocurator of the U.S. pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2010 Venice Biennale. A 2015 Atlanta Contemporary Nexus Award winner, Rooks previously held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Honolulu’s Contemporary Museum, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MA) Hometown: Ottawa, Illinois First job: Paper route Lesson learned: The necessity of compromise to enjoy the pleasure of consensus-building Few people know: I opened an antique shop in Chicago, specializing in 18th- and 19th-century decorative arts, which covered the cost of my graduate school. Bucket list: Manila
Lara Smith Managing Director
Lara Smith moved to Atlanta in 2007 to become the development director of Dad’s Garage, moving to Actor’s Express for a couple of years in 2010 and then stepping into her current role in 2012. When the theater lost its home of 18 years, Smith helped secure a temporary space and led the purchase of a long-term home, which opened in 2015 in the Old Fourth Ward, through a nontraditional capital campaign. In 2015 she was one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, and she was part of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute class of 2017. President of the board of the Old Fourth Ward Business Association, she focuses on arts advocacy to ensure that the creative industry has the support it needs to flourish.
Education: Webster University Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri Toughest challenge: Facing the closure of Dad’s Garage, and rebuilding a new location Favorite TV show:Schitt’s Creek Travel destination: Thailand Bucket list: See the northern lights
Lauri Stallings Founding Artist
As the founder of the dance company glo, conceptual artist and choreographer Lauri Stallings has transformed the Atlanta dance scene, collaborating with artists including Robert Spano, Janelle Monáe, and Big Boi. Stallings’s work has been commissioned and presented by venues including the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the High Museum of Art, Art Basel Miami Beach, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art. In 2018 she received the Hudgens Prize from the Hudgens Center for Art & Learning. She is also a MOCA GA Fellow (2017) and Rome Prize nominee (2013). In 2019 Stallings was the first choreographer in residence at the High Museum of Art and shared her choreographies in the XII Florence Biennale, where she was one of 400 artists representing 55 countries.
Education: Point Park University First job: Mowing lawns Toughest challenge: We lost my oldest brother to AIDS. Favorite book:On Value by Ralph Lemon
Rand Suffolk Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. Director
High Museum of Art
Randall Suffolk became the High Museum’s director in November 2015. Since his arrival, he has championed a commitment to community engagement, placing particular emphasis on collaboration, inclusivity, and access. To support these objectives, the museum has reduced admission fees, focused programmatically on the demographics of its audience, reinstalled its entire collection, and added numerous important acquisitions.
Education: Connecticut College, Columbia University (MA), Bryn Mawr College (MA) Hometown: Tallmadge, Ohio First job: Waiter Best advice received: Always live within walking distance of the office. Hobbies: Cycling
Anna Walker Skillman
Jackson Fine Art
Anna Walker Skillman is the owner of Jackson Fine Art, a Buckhead gallery that emphasizes a mix of 20th-century and contemporary fine art photography. With a degree in art history, Walker Skillman began her career at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco, moving to Atlanta in 1993 to manage the studio of artist Todd Murphy. Joining Jackson Fine Art in 1998, she purchased the gallery in 2003 from Jane Jackson, who founded it in 1990. Jackson Fine Art’s clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Education: University of Georgia
Allan C. Vella President and CEO
Allan C. Vella has worked in the facility management field since 1986, managing theaters, arenas, amphitheaters, and exhibition facilities. His experience spans a wide range of events, including NCAA tournaments, MLB and NHL games, ballet, concerts, and presidential visits. As president and CEO of the Fox Theatre, Vella is responsible for all operations and programming. The Fox averages 200 performances and hosts more than 600,000 guests annually, with events ranging from rock concerts to Broadway, ballet, comedy, and movies.
Education: University of Iowa Toughest challenge: Assisting with recovery efforts for Southeast Texas after Hurricane Rita Hidden talent: I’m an amateur rock drummer. My realization that a future as a successful musician was highly unlikely led me to my career. Favorite travel destination: Saint George Island
John Welker Artistic and Executive Director
Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre
With four other veterans of the Atlanta Ballet, John Welker cofounded Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre in 2017 after a long career in dance. Debuting as a professional dancer at age 16, the Ohio native spent 22 years as a principal dancer for the Atlanta Ballet, where he performed lead roles in productions including Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Four Seasons, and Seven Sonatas. In 2010 he founded the contemporary dance company Wabi Sabi, which commissioned 35 new works over seven years.
Education: Kennesaw State University Why I chose this work: Dance combines athleticism, spirituality, science, and art into the human form, and when combined, dance becomes a powerful communicator—there is nothing else like it. First job: Newspaper route with the Columbus Dispatch Hidden talent: I can hit a high G-flat into an F-sharp with my voice. It’s extraordinarily terrible. Favorite movie:The Godfather: Part II
General and Artistic Director
The Atlanta Opera
Tomer Zvulun has been general and artistic director of the Atlanta Opera since 2013, directing more than 15 new productions including Dead Man Walking and The Flying Dutchman. uring Zvulun’s tenure the opera has tripled its fundraising and doubled its annual number of productions; his focus on innovation has led to a Harvard Business School case study, a TED Talk, and an International Opera Awards nomination. A celebrated director, Zvulun has staged work at the Washington National Opera, the Seattle Opera, and internationally; prior to coming to Atlanta, he spent seven seasons on the Metropolitan Opera’s directing staff.
Education: Open University of Tel Aviv Hometown: Ashqelon, Israel Why I chose this work: Opera’s combination of music, theater, and design is the most powerful artistic style I was ever exposed to. Few people know: I was a paramedic in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces. Favorite movie:The Godfather
FILM, MUSIC, & ENTERTAINMENT
Kris Bagwell Executive Vice President EUE/Screen Gems Studios
Kris Bagwell is executive vice president of EUE/Screen Gems Studios, which operates a 10-stage, 33-acre film and television studio complex in the Southside area. An Atlanta native and an early player in the city’s booming film industry, Bagwell launched the facility in 2010, and has managed production infrastructure for Lionsgate, Sony, 20th Century Fox, and others. In 2015 Bagwell helped form the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance, which provides legislative advocacy and education guidance for the film and TV industry statewide.
Education: Cornell University First job: Busboy Toughest challenge: Type 1 diabetes for 32 years. It’s an everyday battle, and another full-time job. Favorite movie:Lawrence of Arabia Favorite travel destination: Ireland Charities: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Who’d play me in a biopic: Brendan Fraser
Kenny Blank Executive Director
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Kenny Blank is executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival—the largest film festival in Atlanta and the world’s preeminent Jewish film fest. A communications and journalism veteran, Blank worked for Atlanta mayors Maynard Jackson and Bill Campbell in the early 1990s, and won an Associated Press award for special coverage of the 1996 Olympics as a producer at WSAV-TV in Savannah. Most recently Blank was an executive producer for WXIA-TV, where he received an Emmy for breaking-news coverage. A recipient of the IMAGE Film Award and Atlanta Contemporary’s Nexus Award, Blank previously chaired the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund.
Education: New York University Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Best advice received: Four things that can never be recovered: the stone after it’s thrown, the word after it’s spoken, the occasion after it’s missed, and the time after it’s gone. Favorite movie:Lawrence of Arabia Favorite vacation destination: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Who’d play me in a biopic: Jake Johnson
Christopher Bridges (Ludacris) Musician and Actor
Rapper and actor Ludacris was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois, and moved to Atlanta as a teenager. One of the first Dirty South rappers to achieve mainstream success, Ludacris rose to the number four slot on the U.S. Billboard 200 with his 2000 major-label debut, Back for the First Time. Forbes has included Ludacris more than once on its annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, citing his diversified income streams including album sales, Soul by Ludacris headphones, Conjure cognac, and acting roles in the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. He founded the Atlanta record label Disturbing tha Peace and has won Screen Actors Guild, MTV Video Music, and Grammy awards. In 2002 Ludacris started the Ludacris Foundation, which uses music and the arts to connect with urban youth.
Education: Georgia State University
Radric Davis (Gucci Mane) Musician
Born Radric Davis in Bessemer, Alabama, the rapper known as Gucci Mane moved to East Atlanta at the age of nine and is considered one of the architects, along with T.I. and Jeezy, of trap music. In a dozen studio albums, Gucci Mane has collaborated with artists as diverse as Marilyn Manson, Drake, Lil Wayne, and Selena Gomez, and is credited with boosting the careers of Nicki Minaj, Future, and Young Thug. He’s also the author of a 2017 memoir, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, that helped fuel his career reinvention following a three-year stint in prison.
Jermaine Dupri Musician and Producer
So So Def Recordings
A renowned producer, singer, and songwriter, Jermaine Dupri founded So So Def Recordings in 1993 as a joint venture with Columbia Records—and helped put Atlanta on the national hip-hop map. Dupri has produced and written hits for Kris Kross, Monica, Usher, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey, and released several albums of his own. In 2018 he joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the youngest songwriter ever inducted, at age 45—and only the second hip-hop artist following Jay-Z.
Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina
Festival Director and Executive Director
Out on Film
Jim Farmer has served as the festival director and executive director of Out on Film, Atlanta’s
LGBTQ film festival, since 2008. Under his leadership the festival has won ArtsATL’s Beacon Award for Community Engagement and the Center for Civic Innovation’s Civic Impact Award, and received an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant for its visiting-filmmaker series. It was also named an Oscar-qualifying festival in 2020, one of only six LGBTQ film festivals in the world. Farmer has been an Atlanta Pride grand marshal as well as a longtime arts writer for outlets including ArtsATL, Georgia Voice, and Project Q Atlanta.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Milledgeville, Georgia Notable achievement: Leading Out on Film’s growth from a seven-day film festival to its current incarnation as an 11-day festival and becoming one of the most respected LGBTQ film festivals in the country Few people know: I am incredibly shy. Who’d play me in a biopic: Dan Levy
Donald Glover Actor, Writer, Director, and Musician
Raised in Stone Mountain, Donald Glover is the creator, writer, producer, and director of the FX series Atlanta, which debuted in 2016 and has received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards. As an actor, he’s appeared in Magic Mike XXL, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Martian, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Glover joined the writing team of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock while he was a student at New York University, and his musical alter ego, Childish Gambino, has garnered seven Grammy nominations, winning an award for “Redbone.” In 2017 Glover was named among Time’s 100 Most Influential People.
Education: New York University
Jay Jenkins (Jeezy) Musician
Jay Wayne Jenkins, aka Jeezy and Young Jeezy, is an influential Southern rapper who, along with T.I. and Gucci Mane, helped popularize trap music and solidified Atlanta’s prominence in Southern-created hip-hop. Jeezy’s debut album, 2005’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, sold more than a million records, and he’s collaborated with artists including Rihanna, Usher, and Akon. Along with his solo work, Jeezy performs with United Streets Dopeboyz of America.
Kevin Lee (Coach K) Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer
Quality Control Music
Kevin Lee, aka Coach K, is the cofounder and chief operating officer of Quality Control Music and the manager of some of Atlanta’s biggest hip-hop stars.His roster of acts has included Migos, Lil Yachty, Jeezy, and Gucci Mane. With his Quality Control partner, CEO Pierre “Pee” Thomas, Coach K also runs the music and entertainment management firm Solid Foundation.
Education: Saint Augustine’s University
Janelle Monáe Musician
With albums including The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady, and Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe creates music that pushes the boundaries of rock, funk, hip-hop, R&B, and electronica. As a musical innovator, the eight-time Grammy nominee has been influenced by Prince, Stevie Wonder, and George Clinton, and is the founder of the Atlanta record label Wondaland. Monáe is also an actress (Moonlight, Hidden Figures), CoverGirl model, and activist who’s spoken up on behalf of LGBTQ rights and raised money for Flint, Michigan, following the contamination of its water.
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
Will Packer Film Producer
Will Packer Productions/Will Packer Media
Will Packer has produced and executive-produced a wide range of movies that have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office, including 10 films that have opened at number one. Packer’s most recent films include The Photograph, Little, and What Men Want. Girls Trip and Night School were the highest-grossing comedies for 2017 and 2018, respectively. Packer’s television, digital, and branded-content company, Will Packer Media, produces episodic scripted and unscripted series including the documentary series The Atlanta Child Murders on ID; The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins on Oxygen; Ready to Love and Put a Ring on It on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network; Central Ave, a newsmagazine on Fox stations; Bigger on BET+; Fight Night podcast on iHeartRadio; and Blackballed on Quibi.
Notable achievements: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture for Girls Trip (2018), BET Award for Best Movie for Think Like a Man (2013), Florida A&M University Meritorious Achievement Award (2007)
Frank Patterson President and CEO
Frank Patterson is the president and CEO of Trilith Studios, the second-largest purpose-built film studio in North America, where the films Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Passengers were produced, among others. Most recently, he led the transition of the studio from a facilities business to an ecosystem intentionally built for the creative industries. Prior to Trilith, Patterson co-founded and served as the CEO of Pulse Evolution Corporation, a technology company that produces hyper-realistic digital humans for live and virtual reality applications. While at Pulse, Patterson produced the immersive live production of Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm” at the Billboard Music Awards, which featured an original performance by Pulse’s digital human likeness of the late Michael Jackson.
Education: Baylor University (MA)
Antwan Patton (Big Boi) Musician
Antwan André Patton, aka Big Boi, is a songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actor. As the iconic Southern hip-hop duo OutKast, Big Boi and collaborator André 3000 created a string of platinum-selling albums, won six Grammys, and created the soundtrack for the 2006 film Idlewild—which the pair also starred in. Big Boi’s first solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release in 2010. He’s collaborated with Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z, and helped launch the careers of Janelle Monáe and Killer Mike. Born in Savannah, Big Boi is also the founder and CEO of the Big Kidz Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting leadership skills, fostering exposure to the humanities, and developing social consciousness in young people.
Tyler Perry Actor, Director, and Producer
Tyler Perry Studios
One of the most commercially successful African American filmmakers in history, Tyler Perry created his famous character Madea on the stage before bringing her to the screen in 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which grossed more than $50 million. In 2008 in Atlanta, he opened Tyler Perry Studios—the country’s first major African American-owned film studio. In 2019 Perry opened a new production facility, one of the nation’s largest, on the site of the former Fort McPherson. Perry has also created television shows including House of Payne, served as an executive producer of the Lee Daniels film Precious, and starred in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, among other acting projects.
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Usher Raymond Musician
Usher Raymond began singing as a child in church choirs in Chattanooga, later rising to worldwide fame with the release of his 1997 album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 single, “Nice & Slow.” The winner of two Grammys and a slew of other music awards, Usher is one of the bestselling musical artists of all time, and has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He’s also appeared in television shows including The Bold and the Beautiful, in films including The Faculty and In the Mix, and in the Broadway musical Chicago. A philanthropist, art collector, and part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Usher is also the founder of the New Look Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through education and mentorship.
Michael Render (Killer Mike)
Run the Jewels
Michael Render might be as famous for his activism as for his music: Raised in the Adamsville–Collier Heights neighborhood, the Grammy-winning rapper served on Keisha Lance Bottoms’s mayoral transition team and was a prominent supporter of Bernie Sanders. Render’s advocacy on behalf of the #BankBlack movement helped move an estimated $60 million to Black-owned banking institutions, and he was appointed to the board of the High Museum of Art. Render performs as Killer Mike in the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels.
First job: Chuck E. Cheese’s Best advice received: Alice Mary Johnson, an executive of the Atlanta Area Commission on Children and Youth, taught me how radical Martin Luther King was. She and James Orange, an organizer with King, raised me in terms of my politics. Hidden talent: I was a visual artist first. Hobbies: I collect and take photos of toy cars. Favorite book/film: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and the Godfather movies
Carlos Bocanegra Vice President and Technical Director
In 2015 Carlos Bocanegra joined Atlanta United as vice president and technical director following a 15-year professional career, which included stops in the MLS, English Premier League, Spain, France, and Scotland. In college, he played at UCLA, where he was a national champion. Bocanegra was twice a FIFA World Cup participant, captaining the United States in 2010 in South Africa. As an executive he has won three trophies with Atlanta United and oversees the day-to-day soccer operations of the club, including the scouting department, the USL team, and the Academy.
Education: University of California, Los Angeles First job: Pizza Royal Best advice received: Wherever you move, the weather will never be as perfect as it is in Southern California. Charities: Bert’s Big Adventure, Soccer in the Streets Bucket list: Aspen for New Year’s when travel opens back up again
Mary Brock Co-owner
Mary Brock is the co-owner, with Kelly Loeffler, of Dream Too, the only all-female ownership group in Atlanta professional sports. The group’s WNBA team, the Atlanta Dream, were 2010 and 2011 Eastern Conference champions. An active philanthropist and community leader, Brock serves on the boards of Usher’s New Look Foundation, Spelman College, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, as well as Horizons National, a program for underserved youth that focuses on narrowing the learning achievement gap.
Education: Miami University (MS) Hometown: Moss Point, Mississippi
Stephen Cannon CEO
In 2016, Stephen Cannon was named CEO of AMB Group, leading the for-profit arm of Home Depot cofounder Arthur M. Blank’s family of businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the PGA Tour Superstore. Previously Cannon served as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, which generated record sales under his leadership, with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion. Cannon also oversaw the relocation of MBUSA’s headquarters from New Jersey to metro Atlanta. An Army veteran who served as a first lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain, Cannon speaks fluent German and graduated with academic honors from West Point.
Education: United States Military Academy Hometown: Paterson, New Jersey First job: In high school, my brother and I owned a house-painting business that helped pay for college. Best advice received: Spend time outside your comfort zone. You’ll learn more about who you are, what you’re capable of, and what more you have to learn.
Dan Corso President
Atlanta Sports Council
Dan Corso is president of the Atlanta Sports Council, the arm of the Metro Atlanta Chamber that serves as a recruiter for major regional, national, and international sporting events. The ASC was instrumental in the selection of Atlanta as the site for the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four (ultimately canceled due to COVID-19). Corso is also president of the Atlanta Football Host Committee, which helped plan the CFP National Championship. He serves on the boards of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and College Football Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the ASC in 1999, Corso was vice chair of the festival division for the 1998 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Education: Florida State University
Darren Eales President
As the first president of the Atlanta United, Darren Eales led the soccer club in its record-breaking 2017 inaugural season. In addition to assembling the club’s front office and developing its brand identity, Eales led its on-field progression, hiring integral members to join the technical staff, including vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. Since joining the Atlanta United, Eales has twice been named Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year by Major League Soccer. The club won its first MLS Cup in 2018 in front of a record crowd of 73,019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium—the earliest expansion team to win an MLS Cup since 1998. In MLS play, Atlanta owns each of the top 13 most attended matches in league history.
Education: Brown University, University of Cambridge (MA) Hometown: Cambridge, England First job: Worked on a farm (I lasted for 3 days!) Favorite film:Clueless Charities: Soccer in the Streets
Allison Fillmore is executive director of the Tour Championship, the finale to the PGA Tour, which takes place each year at East Lake Golf Club. Fillmore leads the tournament’s efforts toward building an enhanced fan experience while further cementing the event’s status in Atlanta’s social and business landscape. With an extensive background in the sports and entertainment industry, Fillmore previously served as vice president of sales for Atlanta Motor Speedway, vice president of ticket sales and services for the Atlanta Dream, and ticket sales manager for the Atlanta Falcons.
Education: Ohio University Hometown: Westlake, Ohio Why I chose this work: I played on the U.S. Junior National Team for racquetball and trained at the U.S. Olympic training center and always wanted to get into the business of sports. I was always fascinated as to how an event was run. Charities: First Tee of Metro Atlanta, March of Dimes Favorite travel destination: Saint Simons Island
Steve Koonin CEO
As CEO since 2014, Steve Koonin oversees all business, financial, and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena and represents the owners as the head of the organization. Under Koonin’s leadership, State Farm became the new naming-rights partner for the team’s venue; following a $192.5 million renovation, the rechristened State Farm Arena was named Best New Concert Venue by Pollstar in 2020, and the Hawks ranked first in the NBA for Overall Game Experience. The team also built a state-of-the-art practice and training facility at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven. An Atlanta native and a veteran of the entertainment and marketing industries, Koonin previously served as president of Turner Entertainment Networks. He’s also on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Education: University of Georgia Notable achievement: Atlanta Sports Council Lifetime Achievement Award (2020) Board memberships: Georgia Aquarium, Rubicon Global, Fox Theatre
Terry McGuirk Chairman
As chairman of the Atlanta Braves since 2001, and the team’s CEO until 2018, Terry McGuirk oversees all aspects of the MLB franchise. Major changes during McGuirk’s tenure at the helm have included the team’s 2007 sale to Liberty Media and the construction of what is now Truist Park, the $672 million new home the Braves moved into in 2017. McGuirk began his career in 1972 as an intern at Ted Turner’s recently acquired television station in Atlanta, rising through the ranks to eventually become chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System.
Education: Middlebury College
Rich McKay President and CEO
Rich McKay became president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, having first been hired by owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank in 2004 to serve as the team’s general manager. During McKay’s tenure, the Falcons have made it to the playoffs seven times, attended three NFC Championship Games, and played in Super Bowl LI. In addition to his Falcons duties, McKay played a central role in the development, opening, and operation of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. McKay previously spent 10 years as general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Education: Princeton University, Stetson University College of Law (JD) Notable Achievement: Listed as one of the NFL’s 100 most influential businesspeople of all time by the Athletic in 2019
Vice President, Government Relations
Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena
Amy Phuong is vice president of government relations for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena—a position that signifies an expansion of the Hawks’ efforts to unite the broader Atlanta community through basketball while deepening the organization’s relationships with local and state leaders. Prior to joining the Hawks in 2019, Phuong spent nearly a decade in public service. As parks and recreation commissioner, she oversaw some of Atlanta’s most ambitious park projects, including Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, the Grant Park Gateway, and the largest strategic expansion to date of Piedmont Park. An Atlanta native, Phuong was also the city’s first chief service officer.
Education: Georgia Tech (MBA) Notable achievements:Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2017), Georgia Asian Times 25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia (2015) First job: Server at Baskin-Robbins Favorite travel destinations: Patagonia, South Africa Favorite Atlanta places to visit: Grant Park, Oakland Cemetery
President and CEO
As president and CEO of the Atlanta Braves, Derek Schiller manages all business functions of the front office and sets the strategic vision for the Braves business. Schiller joined the Braves in 2003 as senior vice president of sales and marketing and became executive vice president of sales and marketing in 2007. As part of the Braves’ executive leadership team, he was instrumental in securing plans for what is now Truist Park and the Battery Atlanta and played a pivotal role in the design and execution phases of the project.
Education: Vanderbilt University Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado First job: Selling ice cream sandwiches—Chipwiches, to be specific. I think I ate more than I sold! Favorite movies: Anything with Clint Eastwood, including the old spaghetti westerns Charities: Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation Bucket list: Heli-skiing in Canada or Alaska Who’d play me in a biopic: Clint Eastwood (the version from High Plains Drifter)
President of Basketball Operations and General Manager
A 21-year veteran of the NBA, Travis Schlenk joined the Atlanta Hawks in May 2017 after 13 seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the final six as assistant general manager. Schlenk hired Lloyd Pierce as head coach in 2018, and under his guidance the team has acquired Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish, adding veteran center Clint Capela at the 2020 NBA trade deadline. Schlenk oversees operations as the Hawks continue to build on their goals of adding young talent and preparing for the future in terms of salary cap and roster flexibility.
Education: Bethel College, Wichita State University (EdM) Hometown: Selden, Kansas First job: Working on my grandfather’s farm in western Kansas Favorite TV show:Billions
Kirby Smart Head Coach
In 2015, Kirby Smart was appointed head football coach at the University of Georgia, his alma mater. He has claimed three straight SEC Eastern Division championships, 44 wins, one SEC title, three bowl victories, and an appearance in one national championship game. Smart’s 2019 Bulldogs became the first team in Bulldogs history to win 11 or more games in three straight seasons. Previously Smart was a defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, and has coached at Valdosta State University, Florida State University, and Louisiana State University. The son of a high school football coach, Smart played defensive back during his college career.
Education: University of Georgia, Florida State University (MS)
Dominique Wilkins Vice President of Basketball and Special Adviser to the CEO
Represented by an 18,500-pound bronze statue at the entrance to State Farm Arena, Dominique Wilkins is one of Atlanta basketball’s most celebrated players. The 13th all-time leading scorer in league history, Wilkins played 12 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, leading the team to the playoffs in eight. Today he serves as Hawks VP of basketball and special adviser to the CEO, and offers team analysis during broadcasts on FOX Sports Southeast.
Education: University of Georgia Hometown: Washington, North Carolina Notable achievements: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame Inspiring person: My mom Toughest challenge: Growing up in Baltimore with a single parent Bucket list: Egypt
The former Atlanta Brave hit a career 755 home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth’s long-held record of 714 in 1974. The Hall of Famer became an executive with the Braves and then with Turner Broadcasting System. He has owned several businesses, including auto dealerships and restaurant franchises. With his wife, Billye, he also founded the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, which helps children with limited resources. In 2002 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. [Editor’s note: Aaron died on January 22, 2021]
Anthony founded the Center for Puppetry Arts in 1978. Under his leadership, the center received a record 12 Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, the U.S. division of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international organization for the art of puppetry. A native of Sarasota, Florida, Anthony has also received a personal Citation of Excellence from UNIMA-USA—puppetry’s most prestigious award.
Brown is the founder, front man, and lead vocalist for his eponymous, multiplatinum, Grammy Award–winning Southern rock group. He is a songwriter, producer, record label head, businessman, and philanthropist.
As president of Live Nation Atlanta, Conlon books the city’s top venues, from Chastain Park to State Farm Arena. He cofounded Music Midtown in 1994 with the late Alex Cooley, whom he befriended in the 1970s while arranging concerts for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. The longtime collaborators became the city’s most powerful music promoters.
A former pro infielder, Cox led major league teams for three decades, racking up more than 2,500 victories. In the 1990s, he led the Atlanta Braves to 14 straight division championships, five National League pennants, and a 1995 World Series title.
Lisa M. Cremin
During a quarter century with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Cremin oversaw an innovative suite of programs serving local arts organizations—including the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, which she helped found to support small to midsized groups.
Serving from 1963 to 1988, Dooley is the most successful football coach in the University of Georgia’s history. Under Dooley, the Bulldogs won one national championship and six SEC championships. He also served as director of athletics from 1979 to 2004 and was the only person ever to be president of both the American Football Coaches Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. His extensive community service work includes chairing the Georgia Easter Seals Society.
Gold pioneered contemporary art in Atlanta. She operated one of the nation’s top galleries here for nearly 30 years, staging groundbreaking exhibitions of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, Keith Haring, Irving Penn, Andres Serrano, and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Performing together since high school, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers released a self-titled record for Epic in 1989 that became the first of six consecutive gold- and/or platinum-certified albums. One of the most successful folk duos in history, they have enjoyed a 35-year career that began in clubs around their native Atlanta. Their most recent album, Look Long, was released in 2020.
Now retired from his longtime role as artistic director of the Theatrical Outfit, Key has appeared on many national stages as well as those of the Alliance Theatre, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, and the Atlanta Opera. He has received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities and the Georgia Arts and Entertainment Legacy Award.
A conservationist, sustainable-development advocate, tech entrepreneur, and the Rolling Stones’ musical director for more than 20 years, Leavell cofounded the Mother Nature Network, which he sold in 2020. He’s also a Grammy-winning keyboardist who has recorded with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and the Allman Brothers Band, and the author of four books, including an autobiography, a children’s book, and a history of American forests.
Leon is the former artistic director of Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre Company, which he cofounded with Jane Bishop in 2002 following 11 years as artistic director of the Alliance Theatre. Leon is a Tony Award–winning film and theater director whose Broadway credits include Fences, A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington, and The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.
In 2014 Moddelmog became the first female president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. At press time, the Woodruff Arts Center announced she would be joining their organization as president and CEO.
A lawyer and real estate developer, William Porter Payne is best known as CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games and then president and CEO of the games themselves. He chaired Augusta National Golf Club for more than 10 years, during which women were first admitted to membership.
When Alicia Philipp joined the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta in 1977, the philanthropic anchor institution had $7 million in assets. Before she retired as president in 2020, the organization had grown to more than $1 billion under management, providing grants to organizations in 23 counties.
Camille Russell Love
Former art gallery owner Camille Russell Love has served as executive director of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs since Bill Campbell was mayor. She oversees programs such as Chastain Arts Center, the city’s Public Art Program (including Elevate), and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
A Baltimore native, Schuerholz began his baseball career with the Orioles, helping build a Kansas City Royals team that won the World Series in 1985. In 1991, he teamed up with Bobby Cox to help the Braves go from “worst to first” and win the National League pennant. Then from 1991 to 2005, the Braves finished first in their division in every completed season. He was the first general manager whose teams captured World Series titles in both the American and National Leagues.
Spano has served as the music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 2001, retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 season. He has led performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, and won four Grammys. He’s one of only two classical musicians in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. A dedicated mentor, Spano is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors, and performers.
Stanley founded her eponymous studio in 2004, and has long been a vibrant presence on the Atlanta art scene—as a private art consultant, artist representative, and curator who’s organized shows at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Hathaway Contemporary Gallery, and Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.
Lucinda Weil Bunnen
Photographer Lucinda Bunnen has published seven books, including Gathered in 2018. Her images have appeared in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. A photography collection at the High Museum bears her name.
Hugh Acheson Chef and Restaurant Owner
Empire State South
Hugh Acheson is the chef-owner of Five & Ten and the National, located in Athens, as well as Empire State South, Spiller Park Coffee, and his newest venture, By George, in Atlanta. The latter is a French restaurant in the historic Candler Hotel. Acheson is also the founder of Seed Life Skills, a classroom curriculum that teaches real-life skills through hands-on culinary instruction, conscious consumer economics, and DIY design principles. In 2012 the James Beard Foundation recognized Acheson with its Best Chef: Southeast award and a cookbook award for A New Turn in the South.
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario Why I chose this work: Hospitality, food, and beverage are the endless topics I could learn about every day. First job: Dishwasher at Bank Street Cafe in Ottawa Best advice received: From my father: “Try empathy.” Hidden talent: Sewing Favorite book:The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Karen Bremer CEO
Georgia Restaurant Association
With more than 46 years in the hospitality industry, Karen Bremer is the CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association. GRA serves as the unified voice of one of the largest industries in the state, representing more than 19,000 food-service and drinking places in Georgia, with total sales over $25 billion and more than 500,000 jobs. Bremer is the former owner of Dailey’s and City Grill restaurants and was the president of Peasant Restaurant Group.
Education: Hillsborough Community College Toughest challenge: Closing a business Hobbies: Cooking, decorating, travel Charities: The Giving Kitchen, Atlanta Community Food Bank, No Kid Hungry Bucket list: Paris with my husband
Alton Brown Chef and TV Host
Alton Brown began his television career in college as a cameraman, then spent eight years directing TV commercials. He enrolled in culinary school in the early 1990s with the goal of making food shows. Today Brown has been on the Food Network nearly 20 years, most prominently as the writer, host, and showrunner of Good Eats, which is airing new episodes again for the first time in seven years. He’s hosted Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen, written eight books on food and cooking, and toured two live culinary variety shows. A Marietta resident, Brown has won two James Beard Awards and a Peabody.
Education: New England Culinary Institute, University of Georgia Hidden talent: Fronts the Alton Brown Trio Hobbies: Flying, scuba diving, motorcycles
Federico “Fred” Castellucci III
Founders and Owners
Castellucci Hospitality Group
Federico “Fred” Castellucci III is the president and CEO of Castellucci Hospitality Group. He has been working in the restaurant business his entire life, holding his first job as an 11-year-old in a bakery in Rhode Island. As a teenager, he began working in the family business, holding various roles in the kitchen including cook and kitchen manager before going on to study hospitality at Cornell University. Following graduation in 2007, he relocated back to Atlanta to rejoin the family business, taking over Sugo in Johns Creek. After turning that business around, he focused on expansion and developing more CHG concepts. Castellucci went on to open the Iberian Pig in Decatur (2009), Double Zero in Sandy Springs (2011; it relocated to its current location in Emory Village in 2016), and Cooks & Soldiers on the Westside (2014). Bar Mercado, Recess, and the Iberian Pig Buckhead followed. Castellucci serves on the board of the Georgia Restaurant Association and is actively involved as a mentor, adviser, and investor in various early-stage hospitality technology companies. In 2018 he was honored as Restaurateur of the Year at the GRACE Awards.
Founder and CEO
SJAC Food Groups
Sterling Coleman is CEO of SJAC Food Groups. An experienced concession operator, he founded the company in 2001 and built it into the largest African American Zaxby’s licensee group, with 13 stores in 12 cities. Since 2014, SJAC has owned and operated the top-grossing location in the entire Zaxby’s system. SJAC is also a joint-venture partner with SSP America in the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, managing several fast-casual concepts and international brands. Under Coleman’s leadership, SJAC is a committed community partner, extending companywide support to nonprofit and faith-based organizations, schools, youth groups, and law enforcement.
Education: Tennessee State University Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri First job: My first real paycheck came when I worked at Brightside Saint Louis. Brightside focuses on improving the Saint Louis community’s quality of life by creating a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable neighborhood. Toughest challenge: Starting a business while working through the dissolution of my previous marriage
Ford Fry Chef and Owner
Ford Fry Restaurants
Ford Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country, from training at Vermont’s New England Culinary Institute to work as a fine-dining chef in Florida, Colorado, and California. A Texas native, Fry has a long list of Atlanta restaurants to his name—including BeetleCat, JCT Kitchen, King + Duke, Marcel, no. 246, Little Rey, the Optimist, St. Cecilia, and Superica—and has been featured in Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, and other publications.
Education: New England Culinary Institute Hobbies: Playing and collecting guitar gear Favorite travel destinations: I love the combo of pre- or post-Christmas skiing (current favorite is in Jackson Hole) and beaches of Mexico (Tulum). Charities: Georgia Organics
Kevin Gillespie Owner, Chef, Cookbook Author, and Speaker
Red Beard Restaurants
Chef and restaurateur Kevin Gillespie signed up to compete on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2009 to save Woodfire Grill, his acclaimed but financially struggling Atlanta restaurant. Today Gillespie’s brand continues to grow. His 2013 cookbook debut, Fire in My Belly, earned a James Beard Award nomination; Gillespie has since launched Gunshow in Glenwood Park, Revival in Decatur, and Gamechanger in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Most recently, he opened Cold Beer along the Atlanta BeltLine and Ole Reliable in the Georgia-Pacific Center.
Education: Art Institute of Atlanta Notable achievements: Gillespie was one of three finalists and a “fan favorite” on Top Chef. He was named a 2015 and 2017 semifinalist and 2016 finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award. Best advice received: Join a gym and go three times a week. This came from my first culinary instructor. This is a very physically demanding job. I wish I had listened to him! Hidden talent: Voted best dancer in eighth grade.
Eddie Hernandez Chief R&D and Executive Chef
Taqueria del Sol
Born in Monterey, Mexico, Eddie Hernandez learned to cook in his grandmother’s restaurants. At 16, he came to the U.S. with dreams of being a drummer; when that didn’t pan out, he found work in an Atlanta-area Mexican restaurant. There Hernandez quickly made his mark, laying the groundwork for his business partnership with Taqueria del Sol CEO Mike Klank. The pair opened the first Taqueria del Sol on Atlanta’s Westside in 2000. In 2018 Hernandez released his first cookbook, Turnip Greens & Tortillas.
Why I chose this work: It chose me. One of the things about knowing how to cook is that you can feed yourself anything you want anytime. Hidden talent: I like to paint. It’s a stress relief for me. When I paint, I forget about everything. Charities: Hogs for the Cause, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta Botanical Garden
Linton Hopkins Chef and Owner
Hopkins and Co.
Linton Hopkins is the internationally acclaimed chef and owner of Hopkins and Co., the Atlanta-based restaurant group that includes Holeman and Finch Public House, Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop, H&F Burger, Hop’s Chicken, and C. Ellet’s, as well as the soon-to-open Eugene & Elizabeth’s. The Atlanta native is known for his deceptively simple cooking style that celebrates local produce and community-driven cuisine, with restaurants that embody his Southern heritage.
Education: Emory University, Culinary Institute of America First job: Dishwasher at the Easy Way Out, right near Peachtree Battle Toughest challenge: Remaining relevant and connected in the everyday individual lives of all our team members—in a company that’s always growing Favorite travel destination: Saint George Island with my wife and two kids
Robby Kukler Founding Partner
Fifth Group Restaurants
Founding partner Robby Kukler leads Fifth Group Restaurants’ operations, marketing, and people and culture teams while focusing on vision-based company growth and concept-development opportunities. Over nearly three decades, Fifth Group Restaurants’ chefs, initiatives, and businesses—which include South City Kitchen, Ecco, Lure, and La Tavola—have been featured in the New York Times, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, and elsewhere. A native of Flint, Michigan, Kukler is a longtime member of and advocate for Atlanta Community Food Bank, as well as a frequent industry speaker and adviser.
Education: Michigan State University Hidden talent: Avid swimmer and cyclist Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2018), board chair of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (2019) Bucket list: I’d love to participate in the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim in Istanbul—a four-mile open-water challenge that is the world’s only transcontinental swim, connecting the Asian and European continents.
Michael Lennox Owner
Electric Hospitality Co. and ATLFamilyMeal
Atlanta native Michael Lennox owns and operates Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall, Golden Eagle, and Muchacho. Lennox opened Ladybird in 2014 along the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail; in 2016 he added a 250-seat outdoor space called the Grove, which features a beer garden and retro camper bar. In 2017, in a former rail depot on the Eastside Trail, he opened the cocktail bar Golden Eagle and the coffee and taco shop Muchacho, which nods to 1970s Venice Beach.
Education: Hampden-Sydney College, Wake Forest University School of Law (JD) First job: Bulldog Movers, age 16 Inspiring person: My grandmother Charities: The Giving Kitchen, Open Hand Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Bucket list: A good night’s sleep
Owner and Head Chef
Rui Liu is the head chef at Masterpiece, a Sichuan restaurant in Duluth that he opened in 2014. A celebrated chef in his native China, Liu came to the United States in 2008 on an O-1 visa—granted to “individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement”—to work at Tasty China in Marietta; from 2010 to 2014 he was head chef at Fung Mei in Duluth. In 2018 Liu was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award, and Masterpiece has been widely lauded, including by Zagat, Eater Atlanta, Condé Nast Traveler, and Creative Loafing. Liu is the author of three books on food carving: Food Carving Flowers, Food Engraving Bird Worm Fish, and Agar Engraving.
Education: Harbin University of Commerce, Travel Culinary Institute Why I chose this work: I love to eat lots of foods and preparing authentic food has always been my passion. Inspiring person: My mother Toughest challenge: Learning English Bucket list: Open another restaurant
Harold L. Martin Jr.
Harold L. Martin Jr. is the CEO of Taco Mac, an Atlanta-based restaurant company with 27 locations in Georgia and Tennessee. Prior to investing in and leading the acquisition of Taco Mac in 2018, Martin served as interim president of Morehouse College, his alma mater. He started his career as a management consultant in the Atlanta office of McKinsey & Co. before leaving to become a principal investor in the food and hospitality sectors. In 2019 the Georgia Restaurant Association awarded Taco Mac its GRACE Award for Restaurateur of the Year in the Large/Corporate category.
Education: Morehouse College, Yale Law School (JD), Harvard Business School (MBA) First job: Busboy at Kerner House, a diner in my hometown of Kernersville, North Carolina Best advice received: From Benjamin Elijah Mays: “Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead and no man yet to be born could do it any better.” Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Mary Mac’s Tea Room Charities: Morehouse College, Camp Twin Lakes
K. Rashid Nuri
Founder and CEO
The Nuri Group
K. Rashid Nuri founded and leads the Nuri Group as the continuation of a 50-year career dedicated to building communities on the foundation of agriculture. The Nuri Group advocates for urban agriculture at the local, regional, and national levels, working not just with urban farmers and farming organizations but also educators, legislators, urban planners, and others. In 2006 Nuri founded the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, which has grown into Atlanta’s premier urban agricultural organization, growing food, providing jobs, and educating communities on nutrition and self-sufficiency. Previously, Nuri oversaw 2,200 employees as deputy administrator in the Department of Agriculture for the Clinton administration.
Education: Harvard College, University of Massachusetts Amherst (MS) Why I chose this work: My work chose me, through what I experienced as a calling from God. The call answered my quest to contribute to the full liberation and prosperity of Black people in America. Toughest challenges: White supremacy and capitalism
Todd Richards is known for his contemporary cooking style rooted in soul and Southern cuisine. A self-taught Chicago native, he’s twice been a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award. Richards is co-owner of Lake & Oak BBQ and the culinary director of Jackmont Hospitality, overseeing award-winning restaurants One Flew South and Chicken + Beer at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He’s previously helmed the kitchens of prestigious Atlanta hotels and restaurants including the Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton, and Villa Christina.
Education: University of Illinois at Chicago Hidden talent: I’m a musician and a DJ. Charities: Wholesome Wave Georgia, Edna Lewis Foundation Bucket list: Buying a boat Who’d play me in a biopic: Forest Whitaker
Alice Rolls President and CEO
Alice Rolls has devoted her entire career to the environment. Since eating is an environmental act, Rolls has focused much of her work on supporting organic farmers and the growth of regenerative agriculture. Rolls has led the nonprofit Georgia Organics through a surge of public interest in healthy, local foods and farms over the past 16 years. Previously, the Virginia native led EarthShare of Georgia, which supports 70 environmental organizations, and established the Nature Conservancy’s Georgia chapter in its early years.
Education: University of Virginia Inspiring person: Rachel Carson is my shero. Lesson learned: Black Lives Matter has simultaneously challenged me and taught me incalculable lessons in the past year. Hidden talent: Former Division I athlete Bucket list: Visiting the Canadian Rockies
Steven Satterfield Chef and Co-owner
Steven Satterfield is the executive chef and co-owner of Miller Union, located in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood. Since opening in 2009, the restaurant has been recognized by national publications such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Esquire. Deeply committed to Atlanta’s progressive culinary community, Satterfield holds leadership positions with Chefs Collaborative and Slow Food Atlanta. In 2017, he won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award, and the website Eater included Miller Union on its annual list of the country’s Most Essential Restaurants.
Education: Georgia Tech Notable achievement: In 2015, Satterfield released his first cookbook, Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks through the Seasons, to broad acclaim. Hidden talent: Singer, songwriter, guitarist with indie rock band Seely Charities: Southern Foodways Alliance, Georgia Organics
HOSPITALITY & TOURISM
Founder and Chairman
Frederick W. Cerrone is founder and chairman of Hotel Equities, a development and management company with more than 100 hotels in its present portfolio. Cerrone began his five-decade hospitality career as a desk clerk at Boston’s largest hotel; a general manager by the age of 21, and twice recognized as general manager of the year by national hotel franchises, he launched Hotel Equities in 1989. Cerrone is chairman of Marriott’s Fairfield Inn franchise advisory board. Before embarking on a hospitality career, Cerrone served in the United States Marine Corps.
Education: Miami Dade College, Georgia State University Robinson College of Business (MBA) Hometown: Westwood, Massachusetts Notable achievement: HotelWorld Network Hotelier of the Year (2009) Why I chose this work: Hospitality is a people-centered business and people are my passion.
Tony Conway Founder and CEO
In 1997, after 20 years in the luxury-hotel industry, Houston native Tony Conway formed Legendary Events, an award-winning company whose clients include Tyler Perry, Elton John, and Oprah Winfrey; the company has planned complex high-profile events honoring the likes of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Legendary Events also owns and operates the Buckhead special-events venues the Estate and Flourish.
Education: University of Houston Notable achievement: My first book, Tony Conway | Legendary Events, was published in May. What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Do it all again and continue to take calculated risks! Charities: Meals on Wheels, Shepherd Center, Andee’s Army, LifeLine, nsoro Foundation Bucket list: Producing more international events
Mary Beth Cutshall Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer
Hospitality Venture Management Group
With nearly 30 years of hospitality experience, Mary Beth Cutshall is executive vice president and chief development officer for Hospitality Venture Management Group, an ownership, operator, and development platform of both independent lifestyle and branded hotels throughout the United States. The New Hampshire native oversees the deal team’s efforts with originations, underwriting and structuring new joint-venture partnerships, and investments; she’s also responsible for deal sourcing, financial and market analysis, transaction due diligence, and investments. Additionally, Cutshall is the managing partner of Amara Capital, founded as a vehicle for women investors to gain access into hospitality real estate and ownership.
Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas Favorite book:A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Favorite travel destination: Patagonia What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Relax, the best is yet to come! Favorite Atlanta places to visit: O4W and Virginia-Highland
Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Frank Poe was named executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in 2010. He’s led negotiations for new public-private partnerships on the state-owned campus, including the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, Junior Achievement Discovery Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the new hotel Signia Hilton. Poe was also instrumental in securing more than $25 million in private-sector financial support for the most recent renovations of Centennial Olympic Park. Currently, Poe serves on the board of advisers for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for Central Atlanta Progress.
Mit Shah Senior Managing Principal and CEO
Noble Investment Group
In 1993, Mit Shah founded Noble Investment Group, which has made $4 billion of income and value-add investments in upscale hotels throughout the United States, including numerous investments throughout Atlanta and the region. As CEO, he provides overall strategic guidance for the Noble organization and heads its investment committee. Shah presently serves as nonexecutive chairman of the board of CorePoint Lodging and serves on owner boards for Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels.
Education: Wake Forest University Notable achievements: Youngest trustee and youngest officer of the board of trustees for Wake Forest University Family: Married 24 years to Dr. Reshma Shah, a family practitioner; they’re parents to Arjun and Roshni.
Cofounder and CEO
The Gathering Spot
As CEO of the Gathering Spot, which he cofounded with T.K. Petersen, Ryan Wilson oversees a private membership club that serves as a home for Atlanta’s creative class, business professionals, and entrepreneurs. In 2020 the club opened a new location in Washington, D.C., and announced plans for future expansion to Los Angeles. The company also operates a digital platform, TGS Connect. With venture capitalist Paul Judge, Wilson is part owner of the annual A3C hip-hop festival.
Education: Georgetown University, Georgetown University Law Center (JD) First job: Working at my parents’ first company, Ryla Teleservices, at the age of 14. I was responsible for updating the business records for one of their largest clients. Best advice received: Overwhelm the problem. Work aggressively to find solutions.
Few people know I’ve been known to wait in line a time or two for new releases of tech products or sneakers. Favorite TV show:The Wire Favorite travel destination: South Africa
Allan C. Vella President and CEO
Allan C. Vella has worked in the facility management field since 1986, managing theaters, arenas, amphitheaters, and exhibition facilities. His experience spans a wide range of events, including NCAA tournaments, MLB and NHL games, ballet, concerts, and presidential visits. As president and CEO of the Fox Theatre, Vella is responsible for all operations and programming. The Fox averages 200 performances and hosts more than 600,000 guests annually, with events ranging from rock concerts to Broadway, ballet, comedy, and movies.
Education: University of Iowa Toughest challenge: Assisting with recovery efforts for Southeast Texas after Hurricane Rita Hidden talent: I’m an amateur rock drummer. My realization that a future as successful musician was highly unlikely led me to my career. Favorite travel destination: Saint George Island Bucket list: Travel to Malta to find my grandfather’s home
As a partner in Peasant Restaurants, Amick grew the company to dozens of locations nationally before selling. He helped create concepts such as Mick’s and City Grill. Next came Killer Creek Chophouse, which he also sold. Finally, Amick launched Concentrics restaurants, which have been nominated for several James Beard Awards including Outstanding Restaurateur and Best Restaurant.
When Karatassos opened Pano’s and Paul’s in 1979,he revolutionized Atlanta’s dining scene. As founder and CEO of the Buckhead Life group, he has gone on to open more than a dozen eateries in Atlanta, as well as in South Florida. He earned the National Restaurant Association’s Legend Fine Dining Award in 2008 and has been named to Nation’s Restaurant News’s Fine Dining Hall of Fame. For some three decades, Karatassos has chaired Atlanta’s Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation fundraiser.
Klaskala came to Atlanta after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1976. When George McKerrow, founder of LongHorn Steakhouse, approached him about collaborating, he suggested the old riverfront Robinson’s Tropical Gardens on Paces Ferry, which he had noticed while paddling down the Chattahoochee. Canoe opened in 1995 and is still thriving. He opened Aria, which has been awarded the highest cumulative Zagat score of all Atlanta restaurants, in 2000. As a consultant, Klaskala helped launch Buckhead Diner, Horseradish Grill, Atlas, and Murphy’s. He has supported the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Georgia Organics, the High Museum of Art, Southface, and others.
McKerrow opened his first LongHorn Steakhouse in 1981 and grew it into RARE Hospitality International, which owns LongHorn Steakhouse and the Capital Grille. He sold the company to Darden Restaurants in 2007. Cofounder and CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill with Ted Turner, he is also cofounder of Aria and Canoe with chef Gerry Klaskala and Ron San Martin. McKerrow has served on the board of the National Restaurant Association and the Culinary Institute of America. His many honors include the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Restaurant Association.
Longtime Virginia-Highland restaurateur Murphy got his start at age 11, when his father gave him and his brother a New York–style hot dog cart. The boys sold hot dogs at Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, at Woodruff Arts Center, and at Georgia Tech on game days. Next, he ran a cheese shop in what became Sweet Auburn Market. Then, while he was at Georgia State University, he did a feasibility study on opening a neighborhood deli. He ended up getting financing for the project, which over four decades has grown into the iconic Murphy’s Restaurant on Virginia Avenue.
Nygren opened the Pleasant Peasant in 1972 and grew the company to 34 restaurants in eight states before selling. In 1994, he, his wife Marie, and their three daughters relocated to Chattahoochee Hills, where they helped design a novel land-use plan that preserves the countryside while building a new wellness- and art-centered community. Serenbe’s many awards include the Urban Land Institute’s inaugural Sustainability Award, the Atlanta Regional Commission Development of Excellence, and EarthCraft’s Development of the Year.
Quatrano has helped steer the trajectory of Atlanta’s dining scene for more than two decades by pioneering a simple principle: She was one of the city’s first chefs to showcase local ingredients prepared with precision and presented artfully. Much of what she serves at her restaurants—Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Cafe, and W.H. Stiles Fish Camp—comes from her Summerland Farm in Cartersville. In 2003 Quatrano received the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award.
Georgia-born, French-trained chef Virginia Willis is the author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South and Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome, which won a 2016 James Beard Award in the category Focus on Health. Willis has appeared on Chopped, Martha Stewart Living, and other shows.
After serving 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, including seven as minority leader, Stacey Abrams became the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia in 2018. The first Black woman to receive a major-party nomination in a gubernatorial race in the U.S., Abrams got more votes than any Democrat in the state’s history. Following the election, Abrams launched the organization Fair Fight to mobilize voters, advocate for electoral reform, and fight voter suppression. In January 2019 she was tapped to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union address.
Education: Spelman College, University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs (MPAff), Yale Law School (JD) Notable achievement: Founded the New Georgia Project, which submitted more than 200,000 registrations from voters of color between 2014 and 2016 First job: Speechwriter for a congressional candidate Inspiring person: Johnnetta Cole of Spelman College
Director, Organizer, and Strategist
Racial Justice Action Center
Xochitl Bervera is the director of the Racial Justice Action Center, whose mission is to engage in transformative organizing to build the grassroots leadership, power, and capacity of marginalized communities in metro Atlanta; the organization’s current work includes a campaign to replace the Atlanta City Detention Center with a facility dedicated to wellness and freedom. Bervera has more than 20 years’ experience building community power and waging campaigns to dismantle the criminal legal system. She has incubated and founded six social justice organizations in Louisiana and Georgia led by those most affected by criminalization, policing, and incarceration, including Women on the Rise and the Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative.
Education: Sarah Lawrence College, New York University School of Law (JD) Why I chose this work: I chose organizing to end criminalization in particular because our criminal legal system, as a vestige of slavery, remains one of the primary pillars of American racial injustice and because I have witnessed the devastation it causes to individuals, families, and communities. Favorite book: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Atlanta
Stephanie Cho is the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Atlanta, which advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans in Georgia and the Southeast. Bringing more than 20 years of experience in labor and community organizing, strategy planning, and fundraising at the local and national levels, Cho was previously the Los Angeles director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, where she worked to raise industry standards and wages for LA’s restaurant workers. She has been a community organizer, program director for LGBTQ youth programming, director of training for a national fellowship program, labor organizer, and organizational consultant.
Education: Portland State University Hometown: Pyeongtaek, South Korea First job: Restaurant Bon Ton Toughest challenge: Being on my own at 17 Few people know: I was a welder in college.
Liz Coyle Executive Director
Liz Coyle oversees the operations, programs, and staff of Georgia Watch, the state’s leading nonprofit consumer-advocacy organization. Georgia Watch advocates for policies that improve individual and family financial security, increase access to affordable healthcare, and lower the energy burden on struggling families. In addition to her role with Georgia Watch, in 2018 Coyle accepted an appointment to the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She is also vice chair of the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative board of directors and is board chair of the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy and the BeltLine Network.
Education: University of Virginia Why I chose this work: I’ve been standing up for people I think are being wronged my whole life. Hidden talent: I love to cook, especially on Sundays listening to TED Talks! Favorite TV show: I’m a huge fan of Rachel Maddow. Favorite place to visit: Rural Georgia, especially driving on country roads
Mawuli Mel Davis Founding Partner
Davis Bozeman Law Firm
Mawuli Mel Davis leads the Civil Rights Division of Davis Bozeman and has represented and helped organize legal support for activists engaged in protests including the Occupy movement, Moral Mondays, and Black Lives Matter. He is a cofounder of Let Us Make Man and the Black Man Lab. In 2019 Davis received the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award, the highest honor given by Georgia State University College of Law..
Education: United States Naval Academy, Bowie State University (MPA), Georgia State University College of Law (JD) Notable achievements: Named humanitarian of the year by the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, the Kappa Alpha Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, and the Atlanta alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and an outstanding advocate of the year by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Urban League, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Gate City Bar Association. The DeKalb Lawyers Association named the Mawuli Davis Legal Warrior Award in his honor.
Dázon Dixon Diallo
Founder and President
Dázon Dixon Diallo is the president of SisterLove, the first women’s HIV and sexual and reproductive justice organization in the southeastern U.S., which she founded in 1989. A widely celebrated advocate, Diallo is also a member of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, a cochair of the Act Now: End AIDS coalition, and a founding member of the SisterSong reproductive justice collective. She has served on the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Health and on the board of the National Women’s Health Network. Diallo has an honorary doctorate from Spelman College and was among 30 Atlantans featured on murals installed citywide ahead of the 2019 Super Bowl.
Education: Spelman College, University of Alabama at Birmingham (MPH) Hometown: Fort Valley, Georgia Lesson learned: Not everyone is who they say they are, and almost everyone will show themselves. So keep your eyes open and believe what they show you, not what you hear and feel. Best advice received: From Miss Johnnie Mae, 75-year-old receptionist, circa 2001: “Baby, you gon’ just have to be happy despite the bullshit!”
Jeff Graham Executive Director
Jeff Graham is the executive director of Georgia Equality, which works to advance fairness, safety, and opportunity for LGBTQ communities throughout Georgia. Graham began advocating on LGBTQ- and AIDS-related issues as a college student in the mid-1980s, and has been involved in a wide variety of grassroots and legislative advocacy campaigns since. Over the past 25 years he’s served as either executive director or board member for a number of local and national organizations working on issues related to gay and transgender rights, access to healthcare, community empowerment, and HIV/AIDS.
Education: Trinity University Hometown: Loveland, Colorado Notable achievements: Linda Smith Lowe Health Advocacy Award (2017), League of Women Voters of Georgia Health Advocate Award (2016), Health Initiative Healing Angel Award (2014), National Center for Human Rights Education Human Rights Guardian Award (2004) First job: Costume designer
Billy Michael Honor
Director of Faith and Civic Engagement Organizing
New Georgia Project
Billy Michael Honor is a progressive public scholar, faith leader, and organizer involved with the New Georgia Project, whose Loose the Chains campaign partners with religious organizations to promote voter turnout. Honor regularly speaks at churches, conferences, colleges, and community events and is a media commentator on issues related to contemporary faith and culture. His work on voter mobilization earned him recognition from the Center for American Progress, which named him one of 15 faith leaders in the nation to watch in 2020. Honor also facilitates an independent public scholarship brand called Truth on the Loose, which promotes social commentary and criticism on faith, culture, and politics.
Education: Beulah Heights University, Emory University (ThM), Interdenominational Theological Center (MDiv) Hometown: Orlando, Florida Why I chose this work: I organize people of faith because I believe they are important to the work of building a more inclusive democracy and providing moral imagination to help society envision more just ways of being a nation. First job: Child actor on Nickelodeon
Feminist Women’s Health Center
Kwajelyn Jackson is the executive director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, overseeing the organization’s operations, abortion clinic, civic engagement, and education and outreach teams. First hired in 2013 as community engagement coordinator, Jackson has led the expansion of FWHC’s statewide and national programming, deepened community partnerships, and worked to prevent new abortion restrictions proposed in the Georgia legislature. Prior to joining FWHC, Jackson was the program manager for WonderRoot Community Arts Center. A respected voice on reproductive justice at the national level, Jackson is on the boards of All-Options, Abortion Care Network, and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.
Education: Spelman College, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (MS) Notable achievement: First black woman to lead Feminist Women’s Health Center in the organization’s 43-year history Inspiring person: Gloria Washington (maternal grandmother) Best advice received: You do not have to set yourself on fire to warm up the room for everyone else.
National Policy Adviser
New American Leaders
Representative, District 89
Georgia House of Representatives
Bee Nguyen serves in the Georgia General Assembly as a representative of House District 89, which includes parts of Atlanta and DeKalb County. She’s also the national policy adviser for New American Leaders, which promotes the political participation of first- and second-generation Americans. Prior to being elected in 2017, Nguyen served as chief of staff for Georgia Representative Sam Park; she’s also worked for the resettlement agency Boat People SOS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. Nguyen is the founder of Athena’s Warehouse, which supports high school girls in Atlanta.
Education: Georgia State University (MA, MPA) Why I chose this work: As the daughter of refugees, I have spent my life trying to honor the courageous legacy of my parents. While I know this is an impossible feat, the work I do is rooted in my family story. First job: Grocery worker at Winn-Dixie in Augusta Hobbies: I got a skateboard for my 39th birthday, but I’m still pretty wobbly.
Tiffany Roberts Community Engagement and Movement-Building Counsel
Southern Center for Human Rights
Tiffany Williams Roberts, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, joined the Southern Center for Human Rights in 2018 as community engagement and movement-building counsel. A founding member of the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matter, she chairs the Ebenezer Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry, cochairs Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s Progressive Agenda Working Group Criminal Justice Commission, and has served on the City’s task force to reimagine the Atlanta City Detention Center. Roberts cofounded Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety, a police accountability organization, and Lawyers United for a New Atlanta, which supports criminal justice reforms, and is an instructor at Georgia State University College of Law.
Education: Emory University, Georgia State University College of Law (JD) Notable achievements: Southern Center for Human Rights Gideon’s Promise Award (2018), NAACP Atlanta Jubilee Day Award (2018) Inspiring person: Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist and activist Few people know: I sang in Emory’s all-female a cappella group, the Gathering.
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
Rebecca Serna is the executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, a group founded in 1991 to improve biking conditions in the city. Since Serna took the helm in 2007, the coalition has launched the open-streets project Atlanta Streets Alive, created bike valets at Atlanta festivals, and organized successful campaigns for an Atlanta Department of Transportation and a Vision Zero policy, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities. A native Atlantan, Serna was previously an intern with the Georgia Department of Transportation and a Fulbright scholar in Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied participatory planning practices and innovative public transportation projects.
Education: University of Georgia, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (MS) Hobbies: Wading in creeks, growing food, reading novels, watching great TV, and my new hobby, porch drinking Charities: ACLU, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, the Bail Project
Azadeh Shahshahani Legal and Advocacy Director
Azadeh Shahshahani works to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities throughout the Southeast. She helped produce a widely read 2017 report, Imprisoned Justice, exposing conditions in two of Georgia’s largest immigration detention centers; her recent work includes documenting violations at the Irwin County Detention Center, including invasive gynecological procedures without consent. She also played a key role in convincing the City of Atlanta to stop detaining immigrants in the city jail. A past president of the National Lawyers Guild, Shahshahani previously worked as the national security and immigrant-rights project director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
Education: University of Michigan (MA), University of Michigan Law School (JD)
Nathaniel Q. Smith Founder and Chief Equity Officer
Partnership for Southern Equity
Nathaniel Smith founded and serves as chief equity officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity, which promotes racial equity and shared prosperity for all. PSE focuses on energy equity, economic inclusion, and equitable development, and created the South’s first equity-mapping tool, the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas. PSE led a coalition of diverse stakeholders to support a $13 million transit referendum that expanded MARTA into a new county for the first time in 45 years. PSE continues to support the equity ecosystem through the Covid-19 pandemic through its Covid-19 Rapid Relief Fund. The fund distributed $100,000 to more than 20 organizations through an initial investment from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta and has now grown to more than $400,000
Education: Morehouse College, New School (MS)
Sara J. Totonchi Executive Director
Southern Center for Human Rights
As executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, Sara Totonchi leads a team with a mission of dramatically transforming the criminal justice system: SCHR seeks to end capital punishment, mass incarceration, and other practices that deprive poor and marginalized people of equality, dignity, and justice. Totonchi and SCHR worked in partnership with Governor Nathan Deal’s Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform to promote commonsense criminal justice reforms.
Education: Berry College Hometown: Glenview, Illinois Notable achievements: Led successful campaign to end cash bail in Atlanta Municipal Court (2018), named a Strengthening Democracy Fellow with the Rockwood Leadership Institute (2017), led successful advocacy to create a statewide public defender system in Georgia (2003)
New Georgia Project
Nse Ufot is the executive director of the New Georgia Project, a statewide effort to register all eligible, unregistered Georgians of color. By 2019, the group had registered almost half a million Georgians in all 159 of the state’s counties. Previously Ufot worked as assistant executive director for the Canadian Association of University Teachers—Canada’s largest faculty union—and for the American Association of University Professors, where she was a senior lobbyist and government relations officer. A naturalized citizen, Ufot was born in Nigeria and raised in southwest Atlanta.
Education: Georgia Tech, University of Dayton School of Law (JD)
Rev. James “Major” Woodall
Rev. James “Major” Woodall is the president of the Georgia NAACP and an associate minister at Marietta’s Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. A Silver Life member of the NAACP, Woodall has served as state president of the Georgia NAACP’s Youth & College Division, state chairman of its Young Adults Committee, and vice president of the Bulloch County Branch. He ran for state representative in 2016, has served as a legislative aide in the Georgia General Assembly, and is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, where he was an intelligence analyst.
Education: Georgia Southern University, Morehouse School of Religion (MDiv) Hometown: Riverdale, Georgia Best advice recieved: From Marion Christopher Pugh: “Your job is not to save the world. You’re only here to give it a choice.” Toughest challenge: Going to seminary in a pandemic while leading the Georgia NAACP during a summer of uprisings Favorite Georiga sports team: Atlanta Falcons Causes: #BlackLivesMatter
Andrea I. Young
American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
Andrea Young joined the ACLU of Georgia as executive director in 2017. Under her leadership, the organization has grown in influence, impact, donor support, and membership, battling injustice and inequality through the courts, legislative advocacy, and community engagement. Young has taught leadership and social policy at Georgia State University, was the founding executive director of the Andrew J. Young Foundation, and created the Making of Modern Atlanta project, which included an archive, documentary film, and book. She is the author of Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me and the coauthor, with Andrew Young and Harvey Newman, of Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta.
Education: Swarthmore College, Georgetown University Law Center (JD) Notable achievements: Worked as a U.S. House and Senate aide and nonprofit leader to end apartheid in South Africa, establish the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, and expand support for working families, reproductive healthcare, and early childhood education Favorite TV show:Lovecraft Country, made in Atlanta by Misha Green, Jordan Peele, and J.J. Abrams
Leonard L. Adams Jr.
Founder and CEO
Quest Community Development Organization
Leonard L. Adams Jr. is the founder and CEO of Quest Community Development Organization, which invests in affordable housing and provides services to underserved people. Adams has increased the grassroots organization’s annual operating budget to $4.5 million, with $39 million in current assets, and secured over $100 million in government grants and subsidy support for affordable housing. A native of Detroit and an Army veteran, Adams has years of experience in developing affordable and supportive housing communities in challenged neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside and in Knoxville, Tennessee. Adams serves on Knoxville College’s board of trustees and on the Enterprise Community Leadership Council.
Education: Knoxville College, Kennesaw State University (MBA) First job: Snow-shoveling specialist and newspaper deliverer Toughest challenge: To say no Hobbies: Running, biking Favorite travel destination: Africa Bucket list: To raise a healthy baby boy, expected March 2021, with my wife, Symphony
President and CEO
Westside Future Fund
John Ahmann is president and CEO of the Westside Future Fund, a nonprofit formed by public, private, and philanthropic partners to promote the development of Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood. Ahmann has been driven for more than 25 years to improve the way communities and institutions function in Atlanta. Following a stint as a U.S. House of Representatives staffer, he worked for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and later for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In 2004 Ahmann became executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress. He also has his own public affairs consulting firm and served two terms on the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education.
Education: Emory University, Yale School of Management Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Notable achievement: Helping raise nearly $200 million in charitable/below-market/public funds for high-quality affordable housing
Terri L. Badour Regional Executive
American Red Cross of Georgia
Now at the helm of the American Red Cross of Metropolitan Atlanta, Terri Badour became the first female executive of the Red Cross of Georgia in 2011, leading the organization as it responded to disasters from home fires to hurricanes, offered services to members of the armed forces and their families, organized blood collection, engaged volunteers, and provided health and safety training.
Education: Western Michigan University, Florida State University (MS) Hometown: Saline, Michigan Notable achievements:Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business (2019), Junior League of Atlanta Isolene Campbell Founder’s Circle Award, YWCA Academy of Women Achievers (2012), president of the Junior League of Atlanta (2001-2002), founder and first president of the Atlanta chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (1992) Why I chose this work: I’ve always been drawn to service and giving back to my community. It’s a privilege to represent this iconic, worldwide emblem and to help others during the worst of times.
James “Jay” Bailey
President and CEO
Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
James “Jay” Bailey is president and CEO of the Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, an incubator, accelerator, and innovation lab launched in 2019 to empower African American entrepreneurs and small-business owners. An Atlanta native, Bailey is also the founder of the private equity firm Greenwood Archer, which seeks to build wealth in underserved communities, and the former CEO of Operation HOPE’s Southeast region. Widely lauded for his leadership, James was recognized at the White House in 2012 as one of eight Champions of Change: In the Footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. honorees.
Education: University of Georgia Why I chose this work: To change lives, change my community, and plant seeds that will grow trees whose shade I may never sit under Hidden talent: I’m a cattle farmer. I drive a tractor and can call the cows with the best of them. Favorite book:Building Atlanta: How I Broke through Segregation to Launch a Business Empire by Herman J. Russell with Bob Andelman Bucket list: A trip to Egypt
Manager, Community Relations
Georgia Natural Gas
Saint Louis native Maurice “Moe” Baker is manager of community relations for Georgia Natural Gas, which serves nearly half a million customers as part of Southern Company, one of the largest energy companies in the U.S. At GNG since 2002, Baker supervises community relations, philanthropy, and volunteer programs, and has been responsible for millions of dollars in charitable giving for the company. He began his career as manager of WSB-TV/Radio’s Consumer Action Center.
Education: Boston University Best advice received: Yolanda King advised me to always bring a tape recorder to an interview. I was working for my high school newspaper at the time. Favorite travel destination: South Africa Hidden talent: I’m actually a pretty good painter. Favorite TV shows:Blackish, 60 Minutes
Mark Banta President and CEO
Piedmont Park Conservancy
Mark Banta is president and CEO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, a donor-funded organization that enhances and preserves the park as a cultural and recreational resource for Atlanta. Prior to the Conservancy, Banta served as president of Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, the construction of which he oversaw, and general manager of Centennial Olympic Park for 16 years, beginning with its opening in 1996.
Education: Berry College Hometown: Unincorporated DeKalb County (now Brookhaven, Georgia) Inspiring person: His mother encouraged a love of the outdoors: “With five children, Mom’s rule was, ‘If the sun is out, kids are out.’”
Rodney D. Bullard VP, Corporate Social Responsibility
Rodney Bullard leads community-engagement, philanthropic and sustainability strategy as vice president of community affairs for Chick-fil-A and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. Bullard previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting complex criminal cases, for which he received the Department of Justice Director’s Award. Bullard released his first book, Heroes Wanted: Why the World Needs You to Live Your Heart Out, in 2018.
Education: U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Georgia Terry College of Business (MBA), Duke University School of Law (JD) Notable achievements: White House fellow working at NASA, congressional legislative liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force Best advice received: Don’t ever let the expectations of others limit your expectations for yourself. Few people know: I love to sing. (Whether I can sing or not is a matter of debate.) Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Cyclorama at the Atlanta History Center
Julio C. Carrillo
Chief Operating Officer
In 2020 Julio Carrillo became chief operating officer at Families First, one of Atlanta’s oldest family service organizations, where he is launching a new strategic plan and managing a major virtual shift in operations and program delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic. Carrillo joined Families First from TechBridge, a nonprofit that provides technology tools and resources to other organizations fighting poverty, where he served most recently as interim CEO. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Carrillo gained years of experience in corporate supply chain and inventory management before shifting to the nonprofit sector, joining Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta in 2006.
Education: Universidad Autónoma Notable achievement: Created the first mentoring program for Hispanics/Latinos in Atlanta, which was later introduced in other locations in Georgia and eventually to more than 120 agencies in the U.S. through Big Brothers Big Sisters Inspiring people: Bill Bolling and Ann Cramer Hidden talent: I make a delicious paella.
Juliet Cohen Executive Director
Juliet Cohen joined Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in 2008 as general counsel and has served as executive director since January 2015. She previously worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, as a program manager for the South Carolina More Than a Port project of the Coastal Conservation League in Charleston, and for the environmental-education organization Earth Force in Washington, D.C.
Education: University of Miami, American University Washington College of Law (JD) Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico Why I chose this work: I grew up surrounded by and immersed in pristine tropical waters and rain forests and developed a love and respect for the natural world. Lesson learned: Learn to understand how other people think and work. Bucket list: I want to visit all of the national parks. Who’d play me in a biopic: Jessica Biel
President and CEO
A licensed marriage and family therapist with 40 years of experience, Kathy Colbenson has been the CEO of CHRIS 180 since 1987. Under her leadership, CHRIS 180 has grown to include foster homes and counseling centers across metro Atlanta, a permanent supportive housing program, a comprehensive community program designed to strengthen families, a drop-in center and integrated health clinic for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, an adoption program, and much more—all focusing on behavioral health, recovering from the impact of childhood trauma, and helping people develop the skills necessary for self-sufficiency. CHRIS 180 also opened the Southeast’s first outreach program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and created the first supportive housing program in the state for homeless youth and youth aging out of foster care.
Education: Georgia State University, University of West Georgia (MA) Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2019), Turknett Leadership Character Award (2013)
Thomas W. Dortch Jr. National Chairman
100 Black Men of America
Thomas W. Dortch Jr. is a founding member and the national chairman of 100 Black Men of America, which seeks to positively influence the lives of inner-city youth and improve at-risk communities. Dortch led an expansion of its mentoring program to more than 125,000 young people and grew the organization from 43 to 102 chapters. An entrepreneur, he holds other positions including chairman and CEO of Atlanta Transportation Systems and the consulting firm TWD, and chairman of Lancor Parking.
Education: Fort Valley State University, Clark Atlanta University (MA) Notable achievements: Trustee for Florida A&M University and Clark Atlanta University, chairman of the boards of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation Inspiring person: My father, Thomas W. Dortch Sr. Toughest challenge: Defeating one of the deadliest cancers documented Hidden talent: I blend wines. What I’d tell a recent graduate: True leaders don’t seek followers, they inspire them.
Curley Dossman Jr. President
The president of the Georgia-Pacific Foundation since 1994, Curley Dossman Jr. leads the organization’s charitable-giving program, which focuses on four areas: education, environment, enrichment, and entrepreneurship. He also oversees Georgia-Pacific’s community-affairs efforts, including national disaster relief. Previously, Dossman spent a decade as the state vice president of government affairs for AT&T.
Education: Morehouse College, Washington University School of Law (JD) Hometown: Ville Platte, Louisiana Notable achievements: Supported Georgia-Pacific’s leadership role in securing funding for the restoration of Ebenezer Baptist Church, past board chair of 100 Black Men of America Few people know: I have a law degree. Hobbies: Travel, golf Favorite book:The Firm by John Grisham
George A. Dusenbury IV State Director, Georgia and Alabama
The Trust for Public Land
As Georgia state director for the Trust for Public Land, George Dusenbury oversees the organization’s work on urban parks, green infrastructure, and the Chattahoochee River. TPL is partnering with the City of Atlanta to build the 16-acre Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City, and working with the Atlanta Regional Commission, Cobb County, and the City of Atlanta to create a master plan for a 100-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River from Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park. In November, Dusenbury was elected to Decatur’s City Commission.
Education: Cornell University, Emory University School of Law (JD) Previous positions: Commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, executive director of Park Pride, legislative director and district director for Congressman John Lewis Best advice received: Get in the way. Inspiring person: Congressman John Lewis Hidden talent: I enjoy freestyle rapping in front of my family (though only my wife seems to enjoy it).
David Eidson President and CEO
Coxe Curry & Associates
David Eidson is president and CEO of Coxe Curry & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm that works with major local institutions including the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady Health Foundation, Trees Atlanta, and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. He joined the organization in 2012 after 27 years in the financial sector; previously Eidson was chairman and CEO of the SunTrust subsidiary RidgeWorth Capital Management, where he worked with nonprofit boards and finance committees to oversee the management of their organizations’ investable assets.
Education: Auburn University Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama Why I chose this work: The first 27 years of my professional career I worked in various parts of the SunTrust organization and I was introduced very early in my career to the nonprofit community. SunTrust encouraged me to be involved in leadership roles—on various boards and on committees of nonprofits. That exposure to those organizations created a desire to be more involved, and I decided I wanted to turn my avocation for the nonprofit world into my vocation.
Frank Fernandez Senior Vice President
Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
FFrank Fernandez joined the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta in 2020. Formerly with the Blank Foundation, he led the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, a program designed to contribute to the revitalization of Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill, and adjacent neighborhoods. He also supported the foundation’s efforts in global giving, health access, and community development. An expert on housing, transportation, and economic development, Fernandez served for eight years as executive director of Green Doors, a nonprofit group devoted to transforming lives and neighborhoods for people in need in the Austin, Texas, metro area. He has worked extensively to help create housing solutions across the income spectrum.
Education: Harvard University, University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs (MPA) First job: Landscaper for my high school to pay for tuition Hobbies: Reading, watching sports, hiking Favorite travel destination: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Nancy A. Flake Johnson
President and CEO
Urban League of Greater Atlanta
Nancy Flake Johnson returned to Atlanta from Detroit in 2008 to become president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and engage her passion for promoting economic development and equity by empowering African American youth, adults, and families. By building partnerships, Johnson increased the League’s impact on housing, education, business development, and employment in underrepresented communities. She started her career as an accountant and was the first woman to lead the Howard University Small Business Development Center.
Education: Howard University, DePaul University (MS) Hometown: Detroit, Michigan Notable achievement:Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business (2020) Inspiring person: Congressman John Lewis for his courage, unwavering strength, and commitment to breaking down systems of oppression and institutional racism, fighting for justice and voting rights, and making life better for Black people in this country, and for his unbiased love for all people
Lisa Y. Gordon President and CEO
Atlanta Habitat for Humanity
Shortly after joining Atlanta Habitat for Humanity in July 2015, Lisa Gordon set a new course for the nonprofit homebuilder to become a catalyst for holistic neighborhood revitalization. Atlanta Habitat is focused on increasing homeownership, investing in targeted neighborhoods, and building capacity to preserve quality affordable housing options in Atlanta. Previously Gordon was vice president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta BeltLine and a cabinet member in the administration of former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.
Education: Georgetown University, Syracuse University (MPA), Nova Southeastern University (MAcc) Notable achievements: YWCA of Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers (2017), National Academy of Public Administration fellow (2016) Best advice received: From Mayor Shirley Franklin: “Self-preservation is the first rule. If you don’t save yourself, you cannot help others.” Few people know: I self-published a book on marriage and relationships.
F. Sheffield Hale President and CEO
Atlanta History CenterF. Sheffield Hale became president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center in 2012. Previously he was chief counsel of the American Cancer Society and a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, where he practiced corporate law. An Atlanta native, Hale is a trustee of the Partners for Sacred Places, the Buckhead Coalition, and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and trustee emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is past chair of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Atlanta History Center, and the Judicial Nominating Commission of Georgia.
Education: University of Georgia, University of Virginia School of Law (JD) Notable achievements: Buckhead Business Association Sam Massell Bullish on Buckhead Award (2015), Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Mary Gregory Jewett Award for Lifetime Preservation Service (2014), State Bar of Georgia Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service (2001) First job: Clerk at Brookwood Hardware Best advice received: It’s the last 5 percent that counts.
Michael Halicki Executive Director
Since 2013, Michael Halicki has served as the executive director of Park Pride, the Atlanta-based nonprofit that engages communities to activate the power of parks. Under his leadership, Park Pride works with government, philanthropic partners, and more than 150 Friends of the Park groups toward a vision of an Atlanta strengthened by and united through great parks, trails, and green spaces. His guidance in fundraising, public relations, advocacy, and program development has earned Park Pride national recognition, as well as four-star designation by Charity Navigator and GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency for several years running.
Education: Indiana University, Georgia State University (MPA) Notable achievements: Graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (2013) and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute (2009) Why I chose this work: I care deeply for our city and the role parks can play in strengthening neighborhoods and communities. Neighborhoods without parks aren’t neighborhoods—they are just housing. First job: Newspaper delivery boy
Paul Russell Hardin President
Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
Russ Hardin directs a broad range of charitable giving as president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, and Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation. With combined assets of more than $13.08 billion at the end of 2019, the foundations primarily support organizations in metro Atlanta. They were created by Robert W. Woodruff, a philanthropist and former president of the Coca-Cola Co., and the family of Joseph B. Whitehead, one of the original Coca-Cola bottlers.
Education: University of Virginia, Duke University School of Law (JD) Board memberships: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Genuine Parts Co., SunTrust Bank Atlanta Advisory Council, Commerce Club Why I chose this work: Opportunity for impact First job: Newspaper delivery boy What I’d tell a recent graduate: Work at something you love. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: SunTrust Park
Jennifer Hidinger-Kendrick Spokesperson and Community Engagement Director
Jen Hidinger-Kendrick cofounded Giving Kitchen with her late husband, Ryan Hidinger, to provide emergency assistance to food service workers though financial support and community resources. Today Hidinger-Kendrick advises the organization on brand awareness and community involvement while providing a personal account to both local and national audiences. As a Giving Kitchen spokesperson, the Indianapolis native has appeared on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine, and in 2017 the Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South presented her with a Community Heroes award. In 2019 Giving Kitchen received the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award.
Education: Indiana University Toughest challenge: The death of my husband when I was just 31 Hobbies: Turning my house into a haunted house for Halloween Favorite Georgia pro sports teams: Falcons and Braves Bucket list: Planning a big extended family vacation to the Caribbean (2022 or after, due to Covid-19)
Clyde A. Higgs
President and CEO
As president and CEO of the Atlanta BeltLine since 2019, Clyde A. Higgs leads the executive team in overseeing the design and construction of transit, trails, and parks, plus affordable housing, economic development, real estate, external affairs, and procurement. Higgs joined the BeltLine organization in 2015 as chief operating officer; previously he served as executive vice president of a collaborative, multibillion-dollar revitalization and economic development effort led by the state of North Carolina and real estate developer Castle & Cooke. He has 20 years’ experience in economic development, real estate, intellectual property, technology, strategic planning, design, real estate development, grant and donor funding, government relations, and urban innovation.
Education: University of South Alabama, East Carolina University (MPA) First job: Shrimp boat laborer Hidden talent: Ping-pong champion! Notable achievement: Appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Emerging Technology Venture Fund for early-stage companies working on innovations in the fields of biotechnology, healthcare, energy, and information technology.
Raphael Holloway is CEO of the Gateway Center, which provides services and stable housing for people experiencing homelessness. Holloway has more than 25 years of experience in the social services arena, specializing in the behavioral health, correction, homelessness, and public health sectors. Before joining the Gateway Center in 2016, he was chief operations officer for Families First and, prior to that, director of the HIV unit of the Georgia Department of Public Health. He serves on the advisory council for Agape Youth and Family Center and on the board of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association, and is a member of Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2020.
Education: Bowling Green State University (MA) Hometown: Toledo, Ohio Inspiring person: Muhammad Ali Toughest challenge: Being temporarily homeless at 15 Favorite book:Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Favorite song about Georgia: “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles Bucket list: Skydiving
Historic District Development Corporation
Cheneé Joseph is the executive director of the Historic District Development Corporation, Atlanta’s oldest surviving community development corporation, which has spearheaded nearly four decades of urban revitalization work in Sweet Auburn. Previously Joseph served as a project consultant at Draper & Associates, where she managed budgets and schedules for various capital improvement and demolition projects totaling $17 million in the Atlanta Housing Authority portfolio. She was also AHA’s senior manager of neighborhood revitalization, planning and implementing neighborhood stabilization and development projects to meet the goals and strategies outlined in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program for Ashview Heights, Vine City, and the Atlanta University Center. Joseph is chair of the Atlanta BeltLine Affordable Housing Advisory Board.
Eduation: Georgia State University, Georgia Tech (MA) Favorite travel destination: Havana, Cuba Favorite Atlanta podcast: Archive Atlanta
Jay Kaiman President
The Marcus Foundation
As president of the Marcus Foundation, Jay Kaiman’s role is to facilitate the philanthropic vision of Bernie Marcus, cofounder of the Home Depot. The foundation focuses its giving on children, medical research, free enterprise, Israel, and Jewish causes. Kaiman joined the foundation in 2002. He moved to Atlanta in 1996 to become Southeast director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Education: University of Florida Hometown: Pensacola, Florida Notable achievement: Anti-Defamation League Milton A. Senn Award for Professional Excellence (1999) Why I chose this work: Inspired by the opportunity to have impact on making a difference in people’s lives, fulfilling the entrepreneurial agenda set forth by Bernie Marcus. Serving in this capacity is an honor and true adventure—approaching problems with creative ideas and solutions. Few people know: I collect hourglasses. Time is our most precious treasure. Toughest challenge: Life balance
Dena Kimball Executive Director
The Kendeda Fund
As executive director of the Kendeda Fund, Dena Kimball leads a philanthropic organization that seeks to empower communities to solve their problems, particularly by supporting underrepresented voices and leaders willing to challenge conventional thinking. She also oversees the fund’s Girls’ Rights program, which aims to empower girls worldwide. Kimball previously served as vice president of network support for Teach for All and vice president of alumni affairs and deputy vice president of admissions for Teach for America.
Education: Emory University, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (MPP)
Bernice A. King
Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
A global thought leader, orator, and peace advocate, Bernice A. King advances her parents’ legacy as CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Since taking the helm in 2012, she’s guided an expansion of the center’s Nonviolence365 education and training initiative, engaged young people around the country in interactive virtual talks, launched a series of Beloved Community conversations on difficult racial issues, and updated the King Center campus. In 2020 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gave King its Phoenix Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to society.
Education: Spelman College, Emory University (MDiv, JD) Notable achievements: Spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17, spearheaded the global event Let Freedom Ring and Call to Action to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, authored Hard Questions, Heart Answers First job: Summer camp counselor Best advice received: Don’t make a decision in anger.
Raymond B. King President and CEO
In 2010, Raymond King became president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta, the city’s oldest cultural institution and one of its largest. During his tenure, King has grown attendance from 675,000 to 1 million annually, and led the institution in raising more than $63 million in philanthropic support to modernize the facilities—more than was raised cumulatively in the past 25 years. King previously spent 22 years with SunTrust Banks, most recently as senior vice president for community affairs in Atlanta, and has chaired and served on numerous boards.
Education: Georgia Tech Notable achievements: United Way Chairman’s Award (2009), Woodruff Arts Center Charles R. Yates Award for Outstanding Service (2003)
President and CEO
YMCA of Metro Atlanta
The first woman president and CEO in the history of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Lauren Koontz leads the organization’s efforts to ensure that all people—especially children—experience an equal opportunity to fully reach their potential. She works to make the YMCA a best-in-class provider of education, wellness, and youth development programs designed to strengthen Atlanta communities. Koontz joined the organization in 2012 as its chief development officer and became executive vice president in 2016. Previously she served in leadership roles at Coxe Curry & Associates, Emory University School of Medicine, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Education: University of Georgia, Georgia State University Robinson College of Business (MBA) Hometown: Saint Simons Island, Georgia Notable achievement: 2016 recipient of the YMCA’s highest honor: the “Sully” Award, named for Thomas Sullivan, YMCA’s founder in the U.S. Koontz was one of Atlanta magazine’s Women Making a Mark in 2020.
Founder and Executive Director
Love Beyond Walls
Terence Lester is a minister, speaker, community activist, and the founder of Love Beyond Walls, a nonprofit focused on poverty awareness and community mobilization; among other things, the organization offers temporary shelter to people experiencing homelessness, a grocery program that supports hundreds of families, and clothes, laundry, handwashing, and grooming services to people in need. A native of Atlanta, Lester has been featured in USA Today and on Good Morning America, and he’s the author of a number of books, including I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People.
Education: American InterContinental University, Atlanta Bible College, Liberty University (MA, EdM)
First job: A shoe store in Greenbriar Mall
Best advice recieved: Never be a public success and a private failure.
Favorite movie: Coming to America
Favorite Atlanta podcast: The Diversity Gap
Bucket list: Have a film made about my life!
Who’d play me in a biopic: Michael B. Jordan
Milton James Little Jr. President
United Way of Greater Atlanta
Milton J. Little Jr. became the first African American president of United Way of Greater Atlanta in 2007. In that role, he’s helped raise more than half a billion dollars for local community needs and redirected the organization’s focus to increasing the well-being of the region’s children. Before joining United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way in the U.S., Little served as chief operating officer and interim president of the National Urban League. He serves on many boards and advisory groups, including the Southern Education Foundation and the J.W. Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia.
Education: Morehouse College, Columbia University (MA) Hometown: Roosevelt, New York First job: Busboy at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, New York Why I chose this work: To live a life of service in honor of my parents, who taught me the value of making a difference in the lives of others. Few people know: I’ve studied Eagle Claw kung fu and the Israeli fighting style Krav Maga for many years and I meditate.
Founder and Executive Director
Center for Civic Innovation
Rohit Malhotra is the founder and executive director of the Center for Civic Innovation, which seeks to eliminate inequality by empowering people to design public policy from the ground up. With a background in social entrepreneurship, digital communication, open data, and community organizing, Malhotra was an Ash Innovation Fellow in the Obama White House’s Office of Management and Budget, working on social impact bonds and pay for performance, and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Echoing Green Global Fellowship. In 2020 Malhotra was named to the Emory Alumni Association’s annual class of 40 Under 40.
Education: Emory University, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (MA) Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Why I chose this work: I chose to work at the intersection of public policy and finance because I believe that our city needs more effective solutions to address widening inequality in Atlanta. Inequality disproportionately impacts people who share skin color and a story with my family, and like my family, I love my city too much not to fight for it. Best advice received: Call your mom.
Eduardo Martinez President
The UPS Foundation
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
United Parcel Service
As president of the UPS Foundation and UPS’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Ed Martinez is responsible for the operations and management of UPS’s global philanthropic, employee engagement, corporate relations, and diversity and inclusion programs. Martinez also represents UPS on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Response and serves as UPS executive liaison to the Council of Independent Colleges. He is a member of the corporate advisory board of UnidosUS, corporate liaison to the Points of Light’s Corporate Service Council, and a member of the board of directors of the International Association for Volunteer Effort and chair of its Global Corporate Volunteer Council. He is also cochair of the National Academy of Sciences Resilient America program. Martinez is a member of the American Bar Association, Florida Bar, and Hispanic National Bar Association.
Education: University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University (JD)
Mary Pat Matheson President and CEO
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Its leader since 2002, Mary Pat Matheson has built the membership of the Atlanta Botanical Garden to more than 40,000. She spearheaded a $55 million capital campaign, completed in 2012, that doubled the garden to 30 acres and added a visitor center, parking facility, canopy walk, and edible garden. A more recent $50 million campaign provided other enhancements, including a new restaurant and renovated children’s garden. Matheson was also responsible for the development of a 185-acre satellite garden in Gainesville.
Education: University of Utah (EMPA) Why I chose this work: The job really chose me when a colleague of my husband’s called one day to say there was a position for a horticulturist at a new botanical garden. I got the job and was hooked forever. Notable achievements: American Horticultural Society Professional of the Year (2005), Public Broadcasting Atlanta Lexus Leader of the Arts. Past president of the American Public Gardens Association. Responsible for introducing Atlanta to the work of internationally acclaimed artists such as Dale Chihuly, Henry Moore, and Niki de Saint Phalle through garden exhibitions.
Carol R. Naughton President
Purpose Built Communities
Carol Naughton is president of Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in urban neighborhoods nationwide. She previously served as executive director of the East Lake Foundation and general counsel for the Atlanta Housing Authority, where she played an instrumental role in revitalizing traditional public housing communities into economically viable, self-sustaining, mixed-income communities. Naughton was a key member of the leadership team that transformed AHA into a national leader in community development.
Education: Colgate University, Emory University School of Law (JD) First job: Camp counselor at Tawasentha Park in New York Best advice received: When someone offers to help, let them. Favorite book:To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Bucket list: Alaska
Michelle Nunn President and CEO
Michelle Nunn joined CARE USA as president and CEO in 2015, introducing an ambitious strategy to reach 200 million people by 2020. Nunn has devoted her career to public service, cofounding the volunteer-mobilization organization Hands On Atlanta, growing it into a national network, and overseeing its merger with the Points of Light Foundation. She served as CEO of the resultant organization, Points of Light—the world’s largest dedicated to volunteer service—from 2007 to 2013.
Education: University of Virginia, Harvard University (MPA) First job: Park ranger. I operated the elevator of the Washington Monument one summer! Toughest challenge: Entering into the political arena in my run for U.S. Senate in 2014 was the hardest thing I have ever done. And it was awfully tough to lose. Fortunately, I had family and friends to lift me up and put things in perspective. Hidden talent: I am still pretty good at basketball and can sometimes beat my teenager in H-O-R-S-E!
Keith T. Parker President and CEO
Goodwill of North Georgia
Keith T. Parker is president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Southeast. It spans a 45-county territory, 67 stores, 53 attended donation centers, and 13 career centers. Goodwill employs over 3,000 team members, each of whom plays a direct or supporting role in the organization’s donated goods retail operations and its career services. Store revenue enables Goodwill to connect tens of thousands of North Georgians to jobs every year. Before joining Goodwill in 2017, Parker served as CEO of transit systems in several cities, including San Antonio, Charlotte, and, most recently, Atlanta.
Education: Virginia Commonwealth University (MURP), University of Richmond (MBA) Notable achievements: Member of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council since 2016, American Public Transportation Association Outstanding Public Transportation Manager (2015), Texas CEO of the Year (2011 and 2012) Why I chose this work: I love the purity of Goodwill’s mission to put people to work. Nothing changes a person’s life more than finding sustainable employment.
Founder and Executive Director
Latino Community Fund
Gigi Pedraza is the founding executive director of the Latino Community Fund in Georgia, a grantmaking public charity dedicated to catalyzing investment and promoting collaborative work in the Latinx/Hispanic community. LCF Georgia amplifies the diverse voices within the community through advocacy, research, and leadership development, builds capacity in community-based organizations, and directly invests in families and Latinx-led member organizations through scholarships and grants. Playing an active role in Georgia’s Latinx community, Pedraza is a social entrepreneur and experienced professional in the areas of general management, strategy, operations, marketing, and development.
Education: College of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (MA) Hometown: Lima, Peru Notable achievements: Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame (2020), National Football League Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award (2018) First job: I made clay figurines with my mom to make money in Peru when I was 12-14 years old.
As president, Andrea Pinabell is responsible for the strategy, management, and growth of the Southface Institute, a nonprofit leader in promoting an equitable and healthy built environment for all through scalable resource efficiency and clean-energy solutions for homes, workplaces, and communities across the U.S. Before joining Southface in 2017 she served as a vice president of global citizenship at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. With 25 years of experience in sustainable business and operations, Pinabell has also worked in consulting and for the Home Depot Foundation as director of its Sustainable Cities Institute and program manager of sustainable community development.
Education: Iowa State University Board memberships: 2030 Districts, Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, Center for Responsible Travel
CEO, Georgia Region
American Red Cross
As CEO of the American Red Cross in Georgia, Jennifer Pipa oversees the execution of the humanitarian organization’s mission across the state. In fiscal year 2019, under Pipa’s leadership, the Georgia Red Cross helped 14,000 people following home fires and other disasters, installed more than 11,000 free smoke alarms, and collected more than 200,000 units of blood. Pipa began her Red Cross career in 2004 as a volunteer; she became a paid staffer shortly after leading a service center that aided Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Raleigh. Before coming to Georgia in 2019, Pipa was regional executive of the Red Cross of Central Florida.
Education: North Carolina State University Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina Notable achievements: Raising an incredibly smart and kind daughter, Madison. Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee in 2018. First job: Waitress at Outback Steakhouse Toughest challenge: Supporting a Red Cross shelter with no water, no power, and no communications
Jonathan T.M. Reckford CEO
Habitat for Humanity International
Under the leadership of CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International has greatly expanded its impact, serving 125,000 individuals annually when he arrived in 2005 and more than 7 million in 2019. Before coming to Habitat, Reckford was executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church near Minneapolis. He spent much of his earlier career in executive and managerial positions at for-profit companies including Goldman Sachs, Marriott, Walt Disney, and Best Buy.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA) Notable achievements: Member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the World Economic Forum’s Urban Steering Committee; author of the book Creating a Habitat for Humanity: No Hands but Yours Why I chose this work: I believe that a safe, decent, affordable home is the foundation for a better life for a family. First job: Delivering the Chapel Hill newspaper beginning in fifth grade
James H. Reese President and CEO
Atlanta Mission president and CEO James Reese considers it a privilege to see lives altered every day, and witness people coming off the streets, asking for help, and finding their way out of homelessness and into a new life. Prior to Atlanta Mission, he was CEO of Randstad North America, chief operating officer of the Honey Baked Ham Co. and CCCi, and division vice president of Frito-Lay. He also managed General Foods’ Maxwell House Coffee plant and cofounded First Coast Manufacturing Association, which today includes more than 300 Florida manufacturers. Reese is a board member of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and D&W Fine Pack, and past chair of Citygate Network.
Education: Western Michigan University Notable achievements: Rebranding of 70-year-old organization to Atlanta Mission, capital expansion at Atlanta Mission’s facility (Potter’s House), acquisition of Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children, execution of a new client-focused services model First job: Collection Agency
Eric M. Robbins
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
Eric Robbins came to the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta in 2016 with a vision to increase its relevance in the community and share its inspirational story. For the previous 12 years he led Camp Twin Lakes, a network of camps for children with serious illnesses and other life challenges. Since joining the federation, Robbins’s transformational mindset has enabled the organization to articulate a modern vision of its role, which has led to a growth in overall philanthropic giving, new program and partnership opportunities, and a renewed spirit of collective community among the organizations that serve Jewish Atlanta.
Education: Georgia State University, Yeshiva University (MSW) Notable achievements: Georgia State University Alumni of the Year (2017), Atlanta Business Chronicle Who’s Who in Nonprofits (2014, 2015, 2016), Leadership Atlanta class of 2009 Toughest challenge: Cancer Few people know: I was in a Subaru commercial.
President and CEO
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
In January 2019, Jill Savitt was named CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. A longtime human rights advocate with special expertise in genocide prevention, she was formerly acting director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She also curated the exhibit on global human rights at the CCHR, while consulting with other organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Freedom House, and Physicians for Human Rights. In 2007, Savitt founded and directed Dream for Darfur, which successfully pressed the Chinese government to change its policies on Sudan in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
First job: Radio reporter Inspiring person: Eleanor Roosevelt Lesson learned: Change is the only constant.
Laura Turner Seydel Chairperson
Captain Planet Foundation
Laura Turner Seydel, an environmental advocate and eco-living expert, is chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, which seeks to inspire and empower generations of environmentally aware children. She cofounded and is board chair of Mothers and Others for Clean Air and cofounded Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Laura serves on the boards of the Turner Foundation, United Nations Foundation, Nuclear Threat Initiative, Waterkeeper Alliance, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, and Children & Nature Network.
Education: Oglethorpe University Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Why I chose this work: I believe it is our moral responsibility to protect the natural systems that support all life—our water, air, biodiversity, and land. We must create a sustainable and healthy future for our children and future generations. Hobbies: Horseback riding, travel Favorite books:Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken, and Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Corporate Citizenship Director
As Mailchimp’s director of corporate citizenship, Lain Shakespeare leads a program that now invests $2 million a year in the Atlanta community. Another of Shakespeare’s initiatives, Mailchimp Community College, is a partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta that connects employees with civic leaders with the aim of fostering greater equity. A native of Decatur, Shakespeare was formerly executive director of the Wren’s Nest, dedicated to the legacy of his great-great-great-grandfather, the folklorist Joel Chandler Harris.
Hometown: Kenyon College First job: Summer-league swim coach at Cherokee Town Club Favorite book:Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner Favorite travel destination: Taking Amtrak to New Orleans Who’d play me in a biopic: Robert Redford 40 years ago, or present-day Tilda Swinton
Helen Smith Price
The Coca-Cola Foundation
Vice President, Global Community Affairs
The Coca-Cola Co.
Helen Smith Price is vice president of global community affairs for the Coca-Cola Co. and president of the Coca-Cola Foundation, which has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world since its inception in 1984. Price was previously the foundation’s executive director; she came to the Coca-Cola Co. in 1993 as corporate external affairs director. She’s licensed as a certified public accountant in Georgia.
Education: Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University (MBA) Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Cofounder and CEO
LEAD, LEAD Center for Youth
A former Chicago Cubs outfielder, C.J. Stewart founded the nonprofit organization LEAD—which stands for Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct—with his wife, Kelli, to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city. For young men who have completed LEAD’s Ambassador program, 100 percent have graduated from high school and 93 percent have enrolled in college. As founder and CEO of the player development firm Diamond Directors, Stewart has worked with clients including Jason Heyward (Chicago Cubs), Andruw Jones (former Atlanta Brave), and Kyle Lewis (Seattle Mariners).
Why I chose this work: Baseball can provide valuable life lessons and access to educational and civic engagement opportunities. Kelli and I committed our lives in 2007 to using baseball as a vehicle to help Black boys in the inner city of Atlanta overcome three curveballs that threaten their success: crime, poverty, and racism. First job: Cutting grass in my neighborhood in Northwest Atlanta Best advice recieved: Greatness can’t be imposed. It has to come from within. But it does live within all of us.
Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer
LEAD, LEAD Center for Youth
Kelli Stewart is the chief operating officer of the nonprofit organization LEAD, which she cofounded with her husband, C.J. Standing for Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct, LEAD aims to create positive outcomes for at-risk youth through a combination of athletics, education, and service. Born in Atlanta and raised in rural Oglethorpe County, Stewart also oversees the baseball player development firm Diamond Directors with her husband. LEAD provides inner-city boys with the same opportunities to excel in life through baseball as the Stewarts’ clients receive through Diamond Directors.
Education: Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business Why I chose this work: I had to navigate a lot of trauma as a child. Living with addiction in my household, surviving abuse, etc., got me acquainted with oppressive systems at an early age. Although I didn’t understand what they were at the time, as I’ve grown in knowledge I understand more about systemic racism and how it keeps Black communities in despair and disarray. I’ve always wanted to be a part of dismantling it.
Steve Stirling President and CEO
As president and CEO of MAP International since 2014, Steve Stirling helps provide life-saving medicine to 14 million people around the world each year. His passion is personal: As an infant in South Korea, he contracted polio, which could have been prevented by a vaccine. He previously worked for pharmaceutical firms including Johnson & Johnson and American Home Products, and for nonprofits World Vision, Heifer International, and ChildFund International. Stirling’s autobiography, The Crutch of Success: From Polio to Purpose, Bringing Health & Hope to the World, was published in 2019.
Education: Cornell University, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management (MBA) Why I chose this work: I transitioned from the corporate world to nonprofits in order to be a voice for voiceless children who need help in life. Best advice received: All things are possible. Toughest challenge: Overcoming obstacles related to having polio Few people know: I took a dog-mushing class at the University of Alaska.
The Kendeda Fund
As a fund adviser at the Kendeda Fund, Tené Traylor oversees the organization’s Atlanta portfolio, leading major investments that drive equitable access to high-quality K-12 education and economic justice, with an emphasis on long-term affordability, community wealth building, and accessible quality transit. She also manages a national portfolio dedicated to restoring and reclaiming dignity for formerly incarcerated people. Before joining Kendeda in 2016, Traylor was a senior program officer for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, leading its community development and neighborhood transformation grantmaking for nearly a decade. She’s the cofounder and current board chair of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative.
Education: Georgia State University, University of Georgia (MPA) Best advice recieved: My mother reminds me often to rest. She says, “Rest your body before your body rest you.” Few people know: I am a Marvel and DC Comics fan! Favorite movie: Imitation of Life
Jason Ulseth Riverkeeper
A Georgia native who grew up fishing and boating on the Chattahoochee River, Jason Ulseth developed an early love for the waterway and the natural environment. In 2015 he took on the role of riverkeeper for the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization, serving as spokesperson and lead advocate for river protection. Previously he was CRK’s technical programs director. Ulseth also serves as the group’s patrol boat captain and is licensed as a merchant marine officer by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Education: University of Georgia Hidden talent: I can juggle swords. What I’d tell a recent graduate: Public speaking is not as hard as you think it is. Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Bucket list: Catching a record brown trout
DePriest Waddy is CEO of Families First, a 130-year-old organization that seeks to build resilience in underserved communities. Under Waddy’s leadership, Families First is improving outcomes for more than 17,000 individuals and families annually by providing them with mental health support, coaching, foster care, adoption, early education, parenting skills, and supportive housing. A longtime executive with experience across a range of nonprofits, Waddy joined Families First in 2019 after serving as executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, one of the largest community action agencies in Alabama.
Education: University of Alabama, Kennesaw State University (MBA) Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 2021, Leadership Birmingham class of 2019, Leadership Gwinnett class of 2016 First job: Dishwasher in high school Best advice recieved: Use the good silver and drink Champagne for no reason. Favorite movie:The Long Kiss Goodnight
Peter S. Berg Senior Rabbi
Peter Berg became senior rabbi of the Temple, a Reform synagogue in Atlanta, in 2008—the fifth such leader since 1895. An advocate for social change, he is committed to teaching, building community, and addressing the needs of his congregants. Berg is president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association and serves as a chaplain for the Georgia State Patrol. He serves on numerous boards and works with advocacy groups on issues including civil rights, the death penalty, gun safety, and hate crimes.
Education: George Washington University, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (MA and rabbinic ordination) Hometown: Ocean Township, New Jersey First job: Cashier at a thrift store Hobbies: Skiing Favorite travel destination: Jerusalem Who’d play me in a biopic: Actor and filmmaker Peter Berg
Olu Brown is lead pastor of Impact Church, launched in 2007. The Lufkin, Texas, native has grown the church from a core founding group of 25 to an average weekly attendance of 1,800. He also led the congregation to purchase and develop a 76,000-square-foot warehouse on a 10-acre site in East Point, where the church moved in 2014. Brown is the author of 4D Impact: Smash Barriers Like a Smart Church and, with other Impact leaders, Zero to 80: Innovative Ideas for Planting and Accelerating Church Growth.
Education: Jarvis Christian College, Gammon Theological Seminary (MDiv) Notable achievement: In 2016, Impact was named one of the fastest-growing UMC churches in the country. First job: Landscaping as a teenager with my brother inspiring person: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Favorite movie: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Favorite travel destination: Africa
John Foster Senior Pastor
Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
A former academic who taught electrical engineering and computer science at institutions including Tuskegee University and Morehouse College, John Foster brought technological advances like live video and audio streaming to Big Bethel AME Church, where he serves as senior pastor. He’s also focused on enhancing youth and young-adult ministries. Foster previously served as pastor for AME churches in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, and has held administrative positions including vice provost, dean, and department head at various academic institutions.
Education: Tuskegee University, Interdenominational Theological Center (MDiv), Stanford University (MS, PhD) Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Louie Giglio Pastor
Passion City Church
Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church and the original visionary of the Passion movement, which exists “to call a generation to leverage their lives for the fame of Jesus.” Since 1997, Passion has gathered college-aged young people in events across the U.S. and around the world. Passion 2020 will start the new year in Mercedes-Benz Stadium with more than 60,000 college students. Giglio is the bestselling author of Not Forsaken, Goliath Must Fall, Indescribable: 100 Devotions about God & Science, The Comeback, The Air I Breathe, and I Am Not but I Know I Am.
Michael R. Griffin
Public Affairs Representative
Georgia Baptist Mission Board Public Affairs Ministry
In 2014 Mike Griffin became the public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Convention, representing 1.4 million Georgia Baptists at the Capitol and speaking on religious issues around the state. In April 2010, an AJC article on “Georgia Influencers” ranked Griffin at 11th among Republicans with the most influence at the Capitol. A Southern Baptist pastor for 35 years, Griffin is also a former president of the board of Ten Commandments Georgia and a past vice president of Georgia Right to Life, where he also served as a lobbyist and state field director. He is the former senior pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell.
Education: Baptist College of Florida Why I chose this work: The very unique work of being a pastor and a lobbyist goes back to when God called me to preach when I was 16. I preached my first sermon at Dawson Street Baptist Church in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1977. First job: Working in sheet metal for the purpose of installing heating and air-conditioning duct work Best advice received: From my father: Never leave a job undone. Always complete your work. Always do your best.
Richard Kannwischer Senior Pastor
Peachtree Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Dr. Richard Kannwischer has served as senior pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church since January 2017. Before he arrived at Peachtree, Richard was lead pastor at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California, for seven years. He has served as a trustee of all undergraduate and graduate schools he attended, and currently serves on the board of the Fox Theatre.
Education: Trinity University, Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), Fuller Theological Seminary (DMin) Hometown: Waco, Texas Why I chose this work: To help reveal the delight and impact of a life with God Best advice received: From former professor Dallas Willard: “God’s primary aim is not getting us into heaven as much as getting heaven into us.”
Andy Stanley Senior Pastor
North Point Ministries
Andy Stanley cofounded the nondenominational North Point Community Church in Alpharetta in 1995 with a vision of creating churches that “unchurched people love to attend.” It’s now the second-largest church in the nation. North Point Ministries encompasses six churches in the metro Atlanta area and a global network of more than 70 churches. Stanley’s online messages and sermons are accessed over a million times a month, and he’s the author of more than 20 books.
Education: Georgia State University, Dallas Theological Seminary (MA) Notable achievement: Named one of the 12 “most effective preachers in the English-speaking world” in a national survey by the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University
Raphael G. Warnock Senior Pastor
Ebenezer Baptist Church
The Reverend Raphael G. Warnock became senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr., in 2005. At age 35, he was the youngest person ever to assume the position at the historic congregation, which was founded in 1886. His outreach and activism have addressed such issues as voting rights, poverty, access to affordable healthcare, HIV/AIDS, and disparities in the criminal justice system. A sought-after preacher and scholar, Warnock is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and various other academic, civic, and social organizations.
Education: Morehouse College, Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, MPhil, PhD) Notable achievements: Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2021. Delivered the closing prayer at the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service and the sermon for the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast in 2016; author of The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety, and Public Witness
Robert C. Wright Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
Robert C. Wright is the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which encompasses 116 worshipping communities in North and Middle Georgia. He has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty and an advocate for Medicaid expansion, and he addressed the Georgia legislature on gun control. Wright helped establish the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. Before his election as bishop in 2012, he served as rector of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta.
Education: Howard University, Virginia Theological Seminary (MDiv) Lesson learned: The best evidence of strength is the combination of perseverance wrapped in genuine kindness. Hidden talent: I am a certified aircraft mechanic with an FAA license. Hobbies: Rebuilding old cars Favorite book:The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin What I’d tell a recent graduate: Reach out! Ask questions! Relax and stay positive. Bucket list: A trip to Ethiopia
Michael Youssef President
Leading the Way
In 1988, Michael Youssef created Leading the Way ministry “for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ.” What began as a small, Atlanta-based radio ministry now transmits across the globe in 25 languages on television as well as the radio. Youssef also founded the evangelical congregation Church of the Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adult members; today it has a congregation of 3,000. He is the author of more than 30 books.
Education: Moore Theological College, Fuller Theological Seminary (ThM), Emory University (PhD)
Originally an English teacher, Aaron launched her TV career in 1968 as a cohost for WSB’s Today in Georgia, which made her the region’s first African American woman to cohost a daily, hourlong talk show. She also held many leadership positions with the Atlanta branch of the United Negro College Fund, helping launch the Mayor’s Masked Ball. After retiring in 1994, she and her husband, baseball icon Hank Aaron, started the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation to help low-income children pursue their educations.
Bethea was the founding director and riverkeeper of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for two decades—helping downstream communities sue the City of Atlanta and forcing it to clean up the river. She has served on the national boards of WaterkeeperAlliance and River Network, the Georgia Board of Natural Resources, and EarthShare of Georgia.
Bolling founded the Atlanta Community Food Bank in 1979 and directed the organization until 2015. During his tenure, the Food Bank distributed more than half a billion pounds of groceries across 29 Georgia counties. As a charter member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks, he also helped launch food banks across the country.
The 39th president of the United States, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. A longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity, he and his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Carter Center in 1982 to promote human rights and ease suffering around the world. He is the author of more than 30 books.
Carter is a longtime advocate for mental health, caregiving, early childhood immunization, human rights, and conflict resolution. A cofounder of the Carter Center with her husband, former president Jimmy Carter, she created and leads the Center’s Mental Health Task Force. She also heads up the board of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving at her alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, in Americus, Georgia.
Ann Q. Curry
Curry purchased Coxe Curry & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm, from prior owner Frankie Coxe in 1993, and helmed it until 2015. She has also held leadership positions with the League of Women Voters, the board of Research Atlanta, and Atlanta-Fulton Public Library. Still actively advising many clients, her major campaigns have included the $325 million Greater Grady campaign for the Grady Health Foundation, Spelman College’s $150 million campaign, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s $41.2 million expansion.
Plemon T. El-Amin
Plemon El-Amin became imam (now emeritus) of Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam in 1985, growing its membership from 200 to more than 2,000; it’s now one of the largest and most progressive mosques in the country. A leader in Atlanta’s interfaith community and a close aide to the late W. Deen Mohammed, El-Amin is former director of Sister Clara Mohammed Elementary School and W. Deen Mohammed High School. He converted from Christianity to Islam in the wake of the Vietnam War.
A cofounder of the Home Depot, Marcus retired in 2002 and has devoted himself to many philanthropic causes. He founded the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Israel, as well as the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. In 2002 Marcus gave $3.9 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create an emergency anthrax response center. He also spearheaded the Georgia Aquarium.
Charles H. “Pete” McTier
For many decades, McTier led the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and several other Atlanta foundations funded by the corporate and bottling arms of Coca-Cola. He played a role in the creation of Centennial Olympic Park and the Chattahoochee River Greenway, as well as supporting the Woodruff Arts Center, Central Atlanta Progress, Emory University, and more.
Ingrid Saunders Jones
A past national chair of the National Council of Negro Women, Jones was formerly a senior vice president of the Coca-Cola Co. and directed many of the company’s philanthropic efforts, including overseeing contributions of more than $460 million for community initiatives.
Jimmy Etheredge Chief Executive, North America
Jimmy Etheredge is Accenture’s CEO of North America and a member of the company’s Global Management Committee. Prior to assuming his current role in September 2019, he was senior managing director, U.S. Southeast, responsible for 10 states. In that role, he extended Accenture’s innovation hub network, including creating a new hub at Georgia Tech. An advocate of inclusive innovation, Etheredge expanded Accenture’s professional apprenticeship program to Atlanta and metro D.C., creating new pathways for workers of all skill levels to thrive in the digital economy.
Education: Georgia Tech Notable achievements:Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2018), led Accenture in championing the Safe Harbor Amendment in 2016 First job: Lifeguard Best advice received: Be present, stay in the moment. Focus on the conversation, i