2020 Atlanta 500: Professionals

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Atlanta 500 Professionals CNN
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Accounting | Law | Marketing & Public Relations | Media | Legends

ACCOUNTING

Atlanta 500: Jimmy Etheredge

Photograph courtesy of Accenture

Jimmy Etheredge
Chief Executive, North America
Accenture

Jimmy Etheredge is Accenture’s chief executive of North America and a member of Accenture’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, he 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, issue, or task at hand. Yoga helps too!
Favorite travel destination: Lake Glenville, North Carolina
Bucket list: Snowboarding in Japan


Atlanta 500: Ed Heys

Photograph by Daniel Henniger Photography

Ed Heys
Managing Partner
Deloitte & Touche

With more than 30 years of experience in professional services, Ed Heys is the Atlanta and Birmingham managing partner of Deloitte & Touche, responsible for strategy, operations, talent, and business development for the multistate practice. He oversees more than 2,500 Deloitte professionals based in Georgia and Alabama. As lead client service partner and advisory partner, Heys is responsible for managing relationships with some of Deloitte’s most significant clients in the region. Deloitte is one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

Education: University of Georgia


Atlanta 500: Kevin Kelly

Photograph courtesy of PwC

Kevin Kelly
Atlanta Managing Partner
PricewaterhouseCoopers

As Atlanta managing partner for professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kevin Kelly counts more than 25 years of experience working in a variety of sectors with large public and private consumer and industrial products, real estate, and higher education entities, both domestic and international. He has credentials in SEC accounting and reporting, initial and secondary equity offerings, and debt financings and refinancings. Prior to coming to Atlanta, he was a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham for 11 years.

Education: Auburn University


Atlanta 500: Richard Kopelman

Photograph courtesy of individual

Richard Kopelman
Managing Partner and CEO
Aprio

Richard Kopelman serves as CEO and managing partner of Aprio, a nationally recognized, CPA-led business advisory firm. With more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, Kopelman has earned a reputation for providing clients, from startups to billion-dollar enterprises, with the highest level of service. In 2017 the Florida native directed Aprio’s combination with Birmingham-based Yeager & Boyd, marking the firm’s first expansion outside the Atlanta market.

Education: University of South Florida
First job: Selling funeral services (age 12) with my mother
Hobbies: Traveling, skiing, sailing
Favorite movie: Smokey and the Bandit
Bucket list: Morocco


Atlanta 500 F. David Leiter Jr.F. David Leiter Jr.
Managing Partner, Atlanta Offices and Mid-South Hub
KPMG

F. David Leiter Jr. is the managing partner of KPMG’s three Atlanta offices as well as the accounting firm’s mid-South hub, which includes Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis, Knoxville, and Jackson. In addition to leading the almost 2,000 people in these offices, Leiter is a partner in the firm’s Business Tax Services practice. With nearly three decades of experience in the field, Leiter provides multinational tax services to a broad range of KPMG’s audit and nonaudit clients and has served as a lead partner for numerous Fortune 1000 and other publicly traded and private companies.

Education: University of Georgia (MAcc)
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Notable achievement: Leadership Atlanta class of 2009
Why I chose this work: Accounting is the language of business.
Best advice received: Put people first.
Favorite travel destination: Paris


Atlanta 500: Glenn Mitchell

Photograph courtesy of individual

Glenn Mitchell
Atlanta Managing Partner
Ernst & Young

As Atlanta managing partner for Ernst & Young, a U.S. member firm of the global EY organization, Glenn Mitchell oversees more than 1,800 professionals across EY’s service lines of tax, advisory, assurance, and transaction advisory, and is strongly connected to the approximately 1,100 IT and advisory professionals in Alpharetta. Since returning to Atlanta with his family in 2015, Mitchell has joined the boards of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and Woodruff Arts Center, among others.

Education: Auburn University
Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2018), Leadership Atlanta class of 2017
Toughest challenge: When I moved my family out of Atlanta to take a leadership position with EY
Hidden talent: I’m a pretty good cook.


Atlanta 500: J. Wade Weeks

Photograph courtesy of individual

J. Wade Weeks
Atlanta Office Managing Partner
Grant Thornton

With 35 years of public accounting experience, Wade Weeks now acts as office managing partner of the Grant Thornton firm’s Atlanta office, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the local marketplace. His experience includes serving clients in the retail, distribution, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications spaces, from companies preparing for IPOs to Fortune 100 titans. Weeks is a certified public accountant in Georgia and his native Alabama.

Education: University of Alabama
First job: My brother and I had a lawn- mowing service.
Why I chose this work: When choosing my major in college, I felt public accounting in particular would provide me an incredible opportunity to travel the world and be a part of something bigger. It has proven to be all of that and more.
Favorite book: Anything by Dean Koontz
Who’d play me in a biopic: Ben Affleck. He was The Accountant, after all.


LAW

Atlanta 500 Maria J. BatresMaria J. Batres
Associate Attorney
Kuck Baxter Immigration

Maria J. Batres has returned to immigration law after serving as an assistant district attorney in the Cobb Judicial Circuit and a four-year stint prosecuting misdemeanors as an assistant solicitor in Fulton County. Previously she had been an immigration attorney with a focus on removal/deportation defense, family-based petitions, and visa options for crime victims. Batres has served as president of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, and was recently appointed to the Georgia Commission on Interpreters.

Education: Trinity University (MA), Georgia State University College of Law (JD)
Why I chose this work: I decided to become an attorney after over a decade spent as a teacher because I’d always had a passion for learning about the law, teaching about justice, and trying to make a difference in my community. I felt that I could continue all of that on a larger scale with a law degree.
Favorite books: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Bucket list: Maybe culinary school . . . or traveling to the Maldives


Atlanta 500 Theodore I. BlumTheodore I. Blum
Managing Shareholder and Chair, Atlanta Corporate Practice
Greenberg Traurig

Ted Blum is the managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office, as well as chair of the Atlanta Corporate Practice. With expertise in corporate and business law, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and corporate finance, Blum leads and advises on complex business transactions and provides counsel on day-to-day operations. He’s also a member of the boards of the Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, general counsel to and a member of the board of advisers for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and the chair of a Rotary Club of Atlanta task force to fight human trafficking.

Education: University of Michigan, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Champaign, Illinois
Notable achievements: Rotary Club of Atlanta Ivan Allen Club Service Award (2019), Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEOs (2016), The Best Lawyers in America (2007-2020), Georgia Super Lawyers (2006-2019)
Best advice received: The great Hank Aaron showed me that his success in business is important, but more important is his dedication to the community and his willingness to give back to others, especially children and young adults.


Atlanta 500 D. Barret BroussardD. Barret Broussard
Associate Attorney
Carlton Fields

Barret Broussard is a business litigator who represents clients fighting illegal business practices, such as theft of trade secrets, fraud, counterfeiting, trademark and copyright infringement, breach of contract, and tortious interference. He is the president of the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia and serves on the Atlanta Leadership Council for Lambda Legal. Broussard was a member of the LEAD Atlanta class of 2018 and remains active in the LEAD Atlanta Alumni Association. Prior to private practice and during law school, Broussard worked for various courts throughout the United States.

Eduaction: Brigham Young University, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana
First job: Counselor at Boy Scout camp teaching merit-badge classes in shotgun, rifle, and archery
Notable achievement: While a law student and copresident of Emory OUTLaw, I started a mentorship program that pairs first-year LGBTQ law students with advanced LGBTQ law students to assist in their transition to the study of law and to learn how to navigate the profession. The mentorship program continues today.


Atlanta 500: Janine Brown

Photograph courtesy of individual

Janine Brown
Partner in Charge, Atlanta Office
Alston & Bird

Janine Brown is the partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office, with experience handling multibillion-dollar domestic and international transactions focusing primarily on M&A, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Brown served eight years as chair of Alston & Bird’s Corporate Technology Practice Group and is currently cochair of the Atlanta Office Diversity Committee. She’s also on the boards of Spelman College, Georgia Justice Project, and the Woodruff Arts Center.

Education: University of Michigan, Duke University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Featured in The Best Lawyers in America continuously since 2001
First job: Counter clerk during high school at the Fannie May candy shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Few people know: My husband, daughter, and I have traveled across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to see all of Shakespeare’s plays.


Atlanta 500 Jonathan E. EadyJonathan E. Eady
Managing Partner
Arnall Golden Gregory

Jonathan E. Eady is managing partner at Arnall Golden Gregory, where his practice focuses on counseling business and real estate clients in connection with various types of financing, development, investment, acquisition, and operational matters. Eady represents clients in all aspects of the real estate development process, with an emphasis on mixed-use urban redevelopment transactions; he also represents clients in the long-term care and global suppy chain industries. Eady has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers.

Education: Emory University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Oxford, Georgia
Why I chose this work: I like solving complex problems involving people and money.
Notable achievements: Worked on developing the legal and financial model that helped transform the face of public housing revitalization in Atlanta and across the U.S.
First job: Cook at Burger King
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


Atlanta 500: Sharon Gay

Photograph courtesy of individual

Sharon Gay
Office Managing Partner
Dentons

As managing partner of the Atlanta office of the world’s largest global law firm, Sharon Gay concentrates her practice in state and local government law, particularly land use and zoning, economic development incentives, transportation, public- private partnerships, and political law. She’s worked with public- and private-sector clients to amend state and local laws to facilitate brownfield redevelopment, community improvement districts, and water and wastewater privatization projects, and is considered a trailblazer in the use of tax allocation district financing in Georgia.

Education: Vanderbilt University, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Coordinated the successful effort to amend the Georgia Constitution to confirm that school systems could participate in tax allocation districts to support community redevelopment
Favorite travel destination: Saint Barthélemy
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Atlanta Botanical Garden


Atlanta 500: Ernest LaMont Greer

Photograph by Woodie Williams

Ernest LaMont Greer
Copresident
Greenberg Traurig

Business litigation attorney Ernest LaMont Greer is a president of Greenberg Traurig. He served previously as a vice president of the firm from 2013 to 2015, and as Atlanta managing shareholder for nearly a decade. As managing shareholder, he was responsible for the growth and strategic direction of the Atlanta office, which has more than 100 attorneys. Greer has also maintained an active legal practice, trying cases across the country, and is past chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce—the first lawyer to serve in that capacity in the chamber’s 100-year history.

Education: Harvard University, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Corporate Diversity Champion (2018), Boy Scouts of America Atlanta Area Council Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award (2015)


Atlanta 500 Kirk HancockKirk Hancock
CEO
Taylor English Duma

Appointed CEO of the law firm Taylor English Duma in 2018, Kirk Hancock has more than 30 years of experience as a finance, accounting, and operations executive at publicly held, privately held, and start-up companies. He joined the firm from the global management consultancy North Highland, where Hancock served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer; during his tenure, Hancock helped increase North Highland’s revenues from $32 million to more than $350 million. Hancock also has experience in the broadband and telecom industries, the airline IT industry, and the automotive parts industry.

Education: Auburn University
Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia
Why I chose this work: I enjoy the challenge of professional services—working with very smart clients and colleagues. It makes me a better businessperson.
First job: Busboy at Yin’s Chinese Restaurant in Dunwoody
Favorite travel destination: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


Atlanta 500: Robert D. Hays

Photograph courtesy of individual

Robert D. Hays
Chairman
King & Spalding

Hays is the fifth chairman in King & Spalding’s 130-year history, currently serving his fifth term. During his tenure, the firm has opened 21 offices and created a global platform. It has launched offices in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brussels and marked a number of milestones, including $1 billion in revenue and 1,100 lawyers. A nationally recognized trial lawyer, Hays led the firm’s Tort and Environmental Practice Group for 12 years. He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead scholar. Hays earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was selected to the Vanderbilt Law Review and was a Patrick Wilson scholar.

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University Law School (JD)


Robert S. Highsmith Jr.
Partner
Holland & Knight

Robert S. Highsmith Jr. joined Holland & Knight in 1998 and represents diverse corporate and government clients in contested matters, large transactions, and government affairs before myriad state and local governmental agencies, including the Georgia Department of Community Health, the Georgia General Assembly, and the City of Atlanta. He also advocates before Georgia’s congressional delegation and the Trump administration.

Education: Yale University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Chattahoochee River, between Devil’s Race Course Shoals and the South Atlanta Road bridge
Who’d play me in a biopic: Robert Downey Jr. Obviously.


Atlanta 500: Michael E. Hollingsworth

Photograph courtesy of individual

Michael E. Hollingsworth II
Managing Partner, Atlanta Office
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

When Michael E. Hollingsworth II was named managing partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough’s Atlanta office, he was 38—one of the youngest lawyers to hold such a position at a large Atlanta firm. In the decade since, Hollingsworth has led the growth of the office from 83 to 155 lawyers. He’s also cohead of the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group and its Investment Management Group, focusing on middle-market corporate transactions including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures.

Education: Tulane University, Samford University Cumberland School of Law (JD), University of Alabama School of Law (LLM)
First job: Sales clerk for my parents’ sporting-goods store
Favorite travel destination: Gulf Coast beaches
Charities: Empty Stocking Fund, Woodruff Arts Center, City of Refuge
Bucket list: Family trip to Africa at some point
Who’d play me in a biopic: Jason Bateman


Atlanta 500: Wab Kadaba

Photograph courtesy of individual

Wab Kadaba
Chair, Global Intellectual Property Department
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

As global chair of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s Intellectual Property Department, Wab Kadaba leads a team of more than 300 attorneys in offices across the U.S. and Asia. He concentrates his practice on litigation related to intellectual property as well as strategy and management of intellectual property and technology issues; his experience in patent, trade dress, and trade secret litigation matters has involved technologies as diverse as software, telecommunications, e-commerce, medical devices, footwear, and chemical compositions.

Education: Georgia Tech, Case Western Reserve University (MA), University of North Carolina School of Law (JD)
First job: Dunkin’ Donuts at age 14
Best advice received: My father told me to complete my education because it is that which no one can ever take away from me.
Bucket list: A bike-riding trip through Tuscany
Who’d play me in a biopic: John Cusack


Atlanta 500 Linda A. KleinLinda A. Klein
Senior Managing Shareholder
Baker Donelson

Linda A. Klein is senior managing shareholder at Baker Donelson and a past president of the American Bar Association, the world’s largest voluntary professional association. As the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia, she devised a proposal and advocated for the state to allocate funding for lawyers to help indigent victims of domestic violence. Klein served as managing partner of Gambrell & Stolz beginning in 2001, leading the firm’s 2007 merger with Baker Donelson.

Education: Union College, Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD)
Hidden talent: I collect Shirley Temple memorabilia and can even impersonate her.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Center for Civil and Human Rights
Favorite travel destinations: Big city: Toronto; leisure: Hawaii; Old Europe: Zagreb, Croatia


Atlanta 500: Steven Labovitz

Photograph courtesy of individual

Steven Labovitz
Senior Partner
Dentons

As senior partner at Dentons, Steven Labovitz focuses on government affairs at the local, state, and federal levels, with an emphasis on legislative action, economic development, public finance, privatization, and government efficiency. Labovitz joined Dentons in 1997 after serving as the City of Atlanta’s chief of staff and chief operating officer during the Olympics era. He was an architect of the tax allocation district and public financing utilized for Atlantic Station, the largest brownfield development project in the country.

Education: University of Pittsburgh, Emory University School of Law (JD)
First job: Working at a car wash
Notable achievement: Longtime chair of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Favorite travel destination: Africa


Atlanta 500 Ricardo A. LopezRicardo A. Lopez
Associate Attorney
Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs

Ricardo Lopez is a healthcare attorney at Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs, where he helps healthcare providers—including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and private practitioners—with compliance, reimbursement, and medical staff issues. During his recently completed term as president of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, Lopez increased member involvement and developed innovative programming. He remains involved with GHBA as immediate past president and serves on the advocacy committee of the Latin American Association.

Education: Villanova University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
First job: Self-employed—I bought and sold cars as soon as I learned to drive.
Hobbies: Experiencing different cultures, hiking, fitness
Favorite travel destination: Donostia/San Sebastián
Bucket list: Bluewater sailing
Who’d play me in a biopic: Harrison Ford


Atlanta 500: Simon R. Malko

Photograph courtesy of individual

Simon R. Malko
Managing Partner-Elect
Morris, Manning & Martin

Simon R. Malko brings more than 20 years of courtroom and law firm experience to his leadership role at Morris, Manning & Martin, where he was elected in July as the third and youngest managing partner in the firm’s 42-year history. His approach is to leverage technology and innovation to position the firm for new challenges and opportunities. Malko began his legal career in New York City, where he represented Fortune 50 companies and large investment banks.

Education: Emory University, Fordham University School of Law (JD)
First job: Mowing lawns
Hidden talent: I am a very good cook.
Lesson learned: Never let your ego get in the way of your success.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Gu’s Dumplings at Krog Street Market
Bucket list: Learning to play the bagpipes
Who’d play me in a biopic: Edward Norton


Atlanta 500 Erica V. MasonErica V. Mason
Partner
Akerman LLP

Twenty years ago, Erica Mason left a successful career running a multimillion-dollar record label to attend law school. Today, she is a nationally recognized employment law partner whose prior business experience helps her defend clients in federal court litigation or advise executive leadership teams on how to protect their three biggest assets: employees, company culture, and brand reputation. In 2019, Mason joined Akerman LLP’s newly minted Atlanta office, where she leads a diverse, multilingual team that assists clients with everything from labor and employment law issues to routine HR advice to class actions. Clients range from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Mason has also received numerous awards recognizing her pro bono and community service, including her tenure as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Education: Georgia State University, University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD)
Lesson learned: Your toughest boss or those who seemingly give you the hardest time are often those who teach you the most.
Hidden talent: Face painting and karaoke (purely on style, not for my singing acumen)
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Fellini’s on Ponce—I probably eat salads from there three times a week.
Role models: Top five inspiring females (no particular order): Oprah, Dolly Parton, Sonia Sotomayor, Mother Teresa, Susie Burson (my grandmother)


Atlanta 500: Gerald L. Pouncey Jr.

Photograph courtesy of individual

Gerald L. Pouncey Jr.
Senior Partner over Environmental, Infrastructure, and Land Use
Morris, Manning & Martin

Gerald L. Pouncey Jr. heads the Environmental, Infrastructure, and Land Use Practice at Morris, Manning & Martin, where his primary focus is the acquisition, disposition, and/or redevelopment of properties with significant environmental impact (including state and federal Superfund sites); mergers, investments, and financing related to such properties; and the development and implementation of green-energy technologies and strategies. These projects include Atlantic Station, recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the nation’s best brownfield redevelopment.

Education: Auburn University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: The Best Lawyers in America Environmental Lawyer of the Year (2017-2018), National Law Journal Environmental Trailblazer (2016)
First job: At 16, working the end of an assembly line at Diversified Products
Best advice received: Character is what you do when no one is watching.


Atlanta 500: Pete Robinson

Photograph courtesy of individual

Pete Robinson
Partner, Government Advocacy and Public Policy
King & Spalding

Pete Robinson specializes in issue management, comprehensive government relations coordination, and state legislative and procurement matters. Before joining King & Spalding, Robinson cofounded Troutman Sanders Strategies in 2002; under his leadership, the firm grew from a single office into a national firm with more than 20 federal and state lobbyists. Previously he served 10 years in the Georgia General Assembly as a member of both the House and the Senate.

Education: Emory University, Mercer University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Robinson is the only Senate president pro tem ever to be nominated for that role by both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Georgia Senate.


Atlanta 500 Steven H. SadowSteven H. Sadow
Criminal Defense Attorney
Steven H. Sadow PC

The sole practitioner at the firm Steven H. Sadow PC, Steve Sadow is a nationally known criminal defense attorney who has practiced law for 35 years. He’s also special counsel for Schulten Ward Turner & Weiss, where he serves as head of the firm’s white collar and high-profile criminal defense section. Sadow’s criminal trial and appellate practice focuses on white collar, cyber/computer, fraud, tax, RICO, drugs, firearms, murder, and forfeiture; notable successful representations have included Joseph Sweeting, T.I., Howard K. Stern, and Rick Ross.

Education: Marietta College, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Trotwood, Ohio
Why I chose this work: It was a calling. I knew I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney at age 11.
Hidden talent: College pocket-billiards champion
Favorite movie: My Cousin Vinny
Who’d play me in a biopic: Richard Dreyfuss


Atlanta 500: Stephen Scriber

Photograph courtesy of individual

Stephen Scriber
Owner
Scriber Law Group

Stephen Scriber is an experienced wills, trusts, and estate-planning practitioner who founded Scriber Law Group, a full-service estate-planning and probate law firm with offices in Atlanta and Marietta, in 2012. He’s a member of the Atlanta Leadership Committee of Lambda Legal, the Atlanta Bar Association, the Gate City Bar Association, Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, and the Duke Law Club of Atlanta.

Education: Amherst College, University of Mississippi (MA), Duke University School of Law (JD)
Toughest challenge: Getting out of my own way
Inspiring person: Barack Obama
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Atlanta United games


Atlanta 500 Lizanne ThomasLizanne Thomas
Partner-in-Charge, Southeast U.S. Region
Jones Day

Lizanne Thomas leads Jones Day’s corporate governance team and is partner-in-charge of the firm’s Southeast U.S. Region. Experienced in shareholder activism, public and private mergers and acquisitions, takeover preparedness, and executive compensation, Thomas participates in about 100 board meetings per year as counsel to a number of public companies. She represents special committees in control and conflict transactions, as well as in internal investigations. Thomas also lectures on governance to leading business organizations, companies, and universities.

Education: Furman University, Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD)
Board memberships: Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Georgia Research Alliance, Washington and Lee University, Woodruff Arts Center. Thomas is also a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, a former trustee of Furman University, and a former director of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Notable achievements: Thomas has received OnBoard’s Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award, and is among the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Most Admired CEOs.


Atlanta 500 J. Henry Walker IVJ. Henry Walker IV
Chair and CEO
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Henry Walker is the chair and CEO of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, an international law firm with more than 600 lawyers in 20 officers. Walker oversees the strategic direction and growth of the firm; as leader of its executive committee, he works closely with members to define and execute the firm’s strategic objectives. Prior to his election as chair, Walker was the firm’s managing partner. In 2019, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named him one of the city’s Most Admired CEOs.

Education: University of Virginia, Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
First job: The summer after I turned 16, I worked in the maintenance department of Dundee Mills, a textile mill in Griffin.
Best advice received: Two things I remember my dad telling me: “You never know what a person can do until you give them a chance” and one of the last things he told me, “You just be you.”
Who’d play me in a biopic: Kevin Costner


Atlanta 500: Mark D. Wasserman

Photograph courtesy of individual

Mark D. Wasserman
Managing Partner and Co-CEO
Eversheds Sutherland

With more than three decades of experience in corporate law, Mark Wasserman has been the managing partner of Eversheds Sutherland (U.S.) LLP for 14 years and is the co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland Limited. He’s represented and advised private and public companies in the U.S. and internationally, and has counseled clients on a range of business matters, especially mergers and acquisitions and issues relating to federal and state securities laws. He also serves as chair of the Emory Law Dean’s Advisory Board.

Education: Clemson University (MA), Emory University School of Law (JD)
First job: Owned and operated my own lawn service
Hidden talent: I was an all-American fencer in college.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The BeltLine
Charities: Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Equal Justice Works, TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation, Atlanta Police Foundation, Atlanta Legal Aid


Atlanta 500 John C. YatesJohn C. Yates
Partner
Morris, Manning & Martin

A pioneer in technology law, John C. Yates launched Morris, Manning & Martin’s technology practice more than 38 years ago and has practiced exclusively in that area ever since. Under his leadership, the firm’s technology practice has represented more than 1,000 tech companies and offers comprehensive legal and corporate services to start-ups, growing tech companies, and investors. A prolific author and leading voice in technology law, Yates has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and quoted in publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.

Education: Duke University, Duke University School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
First job: Library assistant in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ll never shelve another book!
Favorite book: Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle
Favorite travel destination: The beaches of South Carolina
Bucket list: Bicycle trip to Normandy, France


Atlanta 500: Sally Q. Yates

Photograph courtesy of individual

Sally Q. Yates
Partner
King & Spalding

With the Department of Justice for 27 years, Yates rose through the ranks of assistant United States attorneys to become U.S. attorney in Atlanta, deputy attorney general, and acting attorney general. As deputy AG from January 2015 through 2017, she was the second-highest-ranking official in the department. She directed all U.S. attorneys’ offices and DOJ law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Prisons. A lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, she has specialized in white-collar crime and tried high-profile public cases such as the ones against former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph.

Education: University of Georgia, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: A fellow and state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Yates has received the Luminary Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights, a lifetime achievement award from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Lawyer of the Year from the Bar Association of Washington, D.C., and many other awards and distinctions.


MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS

Atlanta 500 Kristin CowartKristin Cowart
Founder and CEO
Brave Public Relations

With expertise in media relations, reputation management, crisis communications, new product launches, and partnership marketing, Kristin Cowart founded the boutique firm Brave Public Relations in 1999. The company has worked with notable Atlanta brands including mall developer Simon, Pike Nurseries, PGA Tour/Tour Championship, Fox Theatre, and Legoland Discovery Center. Before founding Brave, Cowart worked in London for the global public relations firm Edelman, directing campaigns for clients including Ericsson and IMAX. Prior to that she was an account supervisor at Golin in Atlanta.

Education: Boston College
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
First job: Waitress. I was horrible!
Inspiring person: My grandfather. He started as a busboy at Morrison’s Cafeteria and worked his way up to CEO of the company—with only an eighth-grade education.
Few people know: My father was a professional race car driver, and I spent my childhood at the racetrack!
Favorite travel destination: Vietnam


Atlanta 500: Catherine Ann Downey

Photograph courtesy of individual

Catherine Ann Downey
CEO and Creative Director
CATMEDIA

In 1997 Catherine Ann Downey founded the creative agency CATVIDEO, changing the business’s name in 2011 to CATMEDIA to reflect the ways Downey seeks out and embraces technological advances, and the evolving ways people use media. A Virginia native, Downey was previously a promotions manager for Team America and the director of marketing and broadcast promotions for a Memphis television station. In these and other positions, she honed her skills in media buying, staff and project management, and writing, directing, and producing.

Education: George Mason University
Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 2019, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast finalist (2016)
Toughest challenge: Raising and supporting four kids as a single parent and educating them all through the parochial school system, Saint Pius, and college
Best advice received: Always pay your employees and vendors before you pay yourself.


Atlanta 500 Robin FitzgeraldRobin Fitzgerald
Chief Creative Officer
BBDO Atlanta

Robin Fitzgerald is the chief creative officer for the ad agency BBDO Atlanta, and the first female chief creative officer at any BBDO agency in the U.S. Prior to joining BBDO Atlanta in 2016, Fitzgerald spent 15 years in Los Angeles at Crispin Porter + Bogusky—working with brands including Netflix, Old Navy, and PayPal—and TBWA\Chiat\Day, where clients included Gatorade and Nissan. Fitzgerald’s work has been featured on NBC Nightly News and NPR, nominated for an Emmy, and parodied on Saturday Night Live. She began her career in Nebraska as a copywriter for Bozell.

Education: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hometown: Fort Hood, Texas; Panama; Hilo, Hawaii; Omaha, Nebraska
Why I chose this work: From a young age, I always loved storytelling and creative writing. To me, advertising for a brand is just another way to tell someone a story. Doesn’t matter if it’s a TV commercial or an outdoor board or an Instagram post. It’s a story.
First job: Cashier at Runza Restaurant in Omaha


Atlanta 500: Glen Jackson

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Glen Jackson
Cofounder
Jackson Spalding

In 1995, Atlanta native Glen Jackson cofounded the marketing communications agency Jackson Spalding with Bo Spalding, and he continues to provide leadership for many of its clients. He was honored by the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for his campaign for Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. He’s also the author of the new book Preeminence: What It Means and How to Sustain It.

Education: Washington and Lee University
First job: Usher for the Atlanta Braves
Inspiring person: My wife, Claire, a two-time cancer survivor
Few people know: I like to read poetry.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The BeltLine
Favorite movie: The King’s Speech
Bucket list: Golf at Saint Andrews
Anything else? I am very bullish about our city and the trajectory it’s on. The sky’s the limit for Atlanta!


Atlanta 500 Genna Keller

Genna Keller
Principal
Trevelino/Keller Communications Group

Genna Keller served in executive leadership positions with global public relations firms for 16 years before launching her own agency with longtime colleague Dean Trevelino in the early 2000s. Together they created a digital public relations and marketing firm that is nationally ranked in all of their practice areas. Passionate about emerging companies and projects in the Atlanta area, Keller serves in advisory roles with Tech Alpharetta, Keiretsu Forum, Hub404, and others and recently played a significant role in helping Atlanta land the 2021 HHS SBIR/STTR Conference—a national conference designed to educate health and bio oriented small businesses about America’s Largest Seed Fund.

Education: Wake Forest University
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Learn to communicate in person, on the phone, and in writing. In the digital age, do not lose the art of longer-form writing—a real written letter goes a long way.
Charities: Agape, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Be the Match. Quarterly, the firm identifies and gives to a charity or group that supports children or the environment.
Bucket list: Mastering the pottery wheel (started in 2019) and Machu Picchu


Atlanta 500 Liz LapidusLiz Lapidus
Owner
Liz Lapidus PR

A longtime leader in Atlanta’s public relations community, Liz Lapidus started her eponymous firm in 1997. Lapidus has promoted the city’s top restaurants, retailers, developers, nonprofits, arts organizations, and health and beauty experts, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, and Food & Wine. She’s on the advisory boards of Dad’s Garage and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and has previously held board positions with the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and the Hambidge Center.

Education: University of Alabama
Hometown: Miami, Florida
First job: Pushing a cookie cart around Coconut Grove during a blazing Miami summer. So not as glam as it sounds.
Few people know: As a creative outlet, I have an under-the-radar food blog called Sustenance and Ceremony. Clearly, it needs PR help!
Hobbies: Riding my horse, Benjamin
Favorite travel destination: Martha’s Vineyard
Who’d play me in a biopic: Zooey Deschanel


Atlanta 500 William Mills

William Mills III
CEO
William Mills Agency

William Mills III is CEO of the William Mills Agency—founded by his parents, Bill and Eloise Mills, in 1977—and a recognized leader in financial and technology marketing. A 35-year veteran of the agency, Mills serves as lead consultant for its clients, and has personally advised more than 300 chief executives on marketing strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions, company branding, and public relations. Other responsibilities include financial management, client consulting, and business development.

Education: Florida State University
Lesson learned: Your failures teach you more than your successes.
Few people know: In high school I was in jazz band and ranked seventh in the state for guitar.
Who’d play me in a biopic: Tim Robbins


Atlanta 500: Joey Reiman

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Joey Reiman
Cofounder and Chair
Brand New World Studios

For 25 years Joey Reiman, known as the “king of corporate purpose,” has helped Fortune 500 companies discover and articulate their brands’ purposes. He was founder and chairman of the global consultancy BrightHouse, whose client list includes American Express, Delta Air Lines, SunTrust Banks, and McDonald’s. In 2018 Reiman cofounded Brand New World Studios, which produces “purpose-inspired movies” to connect businesses to consumers. He also teaches creative and critical thinking at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Education: Brandeis University
Notable achievements: Keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum, author of five books
Toughest challenge: Recovering from a near-fatal car accident while working in Rome
Few people know: I performed on Broadway in the musical Oliver!
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Duck Pond in Buckhead
Bucket list: Winning an Oscar


Atlanta 500: Carolyn Sloss

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Carolyn Sloss
Vice President
Allied Integrated Marketing

As vice president of Allied Global Marketing, an international agency with 22 offices, Sloss’s client list contains multiple entertainment and lifestyle brands including Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Fox Searchlight, Netflix, Cirque du Soleil, MotorTrend Auto Shows, and Van Michael Salon. A Florida native, Sloss serves as a lead adviser from account planning to brand strategy and activation. She was recently honored with the 2019 Synergy Award given by the African American Film Critics Association for her impactful commitment in the arts and entertainment community.

Education: Auburn University
Few people know: I am a great ping-pong player!
Favorite travel destination: Greece
Favorite Atlanta places to visit: SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Charities: LifeLine Animal Project, Atlanta Film Festival, Girl Scouts
Bucket list: Bathe an elephant in Thailand


Atlanta 500: Vince Thompson

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Vince Thompson
Founder, Chairman, and CEO
MELT

Vince Thompson founded MELT in 2000 and built the company into one of the nation’s largest sports, culinary, and entertainment marketing agencies. In addition to its 18-year representation of the Coca-Cola Co., MELT’s roster of clients has included Powerade, Cam Newton, Holiday Inn Express, and Kia. In 2018, Atlanta Business Chronicle named Thompson one of its Most Admired CEOs.

Education: Auburn University
Hidden talent: I played the saxophone in high school.
Hobbies: Exercising, fishing, fine wine, cigars
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chops Lobster Bar
Who’d play me in a biopic: Jeremy Piven


Atlanta 500: Dean Trevelino

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Dean Trevelino
Principal
Trevelino/Keller Communications Group

Dean Trevelino had 16 years of experience in executive leadership positions at global public relations firms before he and longtime colleague Genna Keller launched Trevelino/Keller Communications Group in the early 2000s. Together they created a digital public relations and marketing firm that recently ranked as the 10th fastest-growing in the U.S., and second in the Southeast. Trevelino is a member of the Forbes Agency Council; he’s also a competitive ultrarunner and former Division I college athlete.

Education: Pennsylvania State University, University of Alabama (MA)
Toughest challenge: Rebounding from the loss of a parent as a college student
Hidden talent: Closet modern architect
Bucket list: Run 100 miles in 24 hours


MEDIA

Atlanta 500: Meredith Artley

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Meredith Artley
Editor in Chief and Senior Vice President
CNN Digital Worldwide

Meredith Artley is the editor in chief and a senior vice president of CNN Digital Worldwide, where she oversees the creation, programming, and publishing of CNN’s journalism on CNN.com, CNNi.com, and CNN Business across mobile, social, desktop, and a variety of emerging platforms and products. A former president of the board of directors of the Online News Association, she leads a global team of hundreds of reporters, producers, and editors.

Education: University of Missouri
Favorite book: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Favorite travel destination: Greece
Hobbies: Wine. That’s a hobby, right?
Bucket list: More time eating my way through Buford Highway


Atlanta 500: Joel Babbit

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Joel Babbit
Cofounder and CEO
Narrative Content Group

Joel Babbit is CEO of Narrative Content Group, which he founded in 2009 with Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and which launched the sustainability website Mother Nature Network. Narrative creates and distributes content not only for its own sites but for many of the world’s leading brands, including Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Subway. After beginning his career in the private sector, Babbit was hired as Atlanta’s first chief marketing and communications officer following the city’s selection to host the 1996 Olympics.

Education: University of Georgia
Why I chose this work: I wanted a career that was focused on creativity—specifically writing and graphic design—but also one that offered the opportunity for financial success.
Hidden talent: Black belt in karate
Favorite travel destination: Italy


Atlanta 500: Ryan Cameron

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Ryan Cameron
Public Address Announcer
Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons

A two-time Emmy winner and a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, Ryan Cameron was the longtime host of Atlanta’s top morning radio show on V103. He’s the afternoon-drive host on WAMJ Majic 107.5/97.5 and a partner at the branding firm Rakanter. Cameron was the first African American announcer in the history of the Atlanta Hawks. In 2002, he launched the Ryan Cameron Foundation Leadership Academy, which provides opportunities for rising high school students.

Education: University of West Georgia
Best advice received: From Deion Sanders: “If you have more than one skill, get more than one check.”
Hidden talent: Karaoke ninja
Favorite movies: Men in Black and Trading Places
Favorite travel destination: Costa Rica
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Phipps Plaza theater


Atlanta 500 Lenny DanielsLenny Daniels
President
Turner Sports

As president, Lenny Daniels is responsible for all aspects of Turner Sports’ day-to-day management including production, programming, scheduling, league relations, business development, ad sales, marketing, digital, talent, events, and operations. Appointed to the position in 2014, Daniels also leads the development of Turner’s data infrastructure and business capabilities to grow revenue and consumer insights across all of the brands within the sports portfolio. In 2015, he added oversight of Turner Studios to his responsibilities. Previously Daniels served as Turner Sports’ executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Education: Florida International University
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Why I chose this work: It was either this or NASA. I was always intrigued by graphics, pushing buttons, and technical directing.
First job: Hardware store
Hidden talent: Flying airplanes
Hobbies: Coaching youth sports
Favorite travel destination: Australia
Who’d play me in a biopic: Nick Offerman


Atlanta 500: Erick Erickson

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Erick Erickson
Host, Atlanta’s Evening News
WSB Radio

Author and nationally syndicated columnist Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio, editor of the conservative political blog the Resurgent, and a frequent panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and other programs. The Atlantic called Erickson the most influential conservative in America. He’s currently working on his master of divinity degree at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Education: Mercer University, Mercer University School of Law (JD)
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Notable achievements: Blocked by Kasim Reed on Twitter. Attacked by President Trump.
Bucket list: It’s time for a national radio show.


Atlanta 500: Jim Galloway

Photograph by Kent D. Johnson

Jim Galloway
Political Columnist
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The longest-tenured journalist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jim Galloway joined his hometown newspaper in 1979 and is considered one of the country’s top statehouse reporters. Known to colleagues as “Chief,” Galloway got his start in journalism at the University of Georgia student newspaper, gaining subsequent experience via internships at the Atlanta Constitution and in the office of Senator Sam Nunn. Today Galloway’s columns and his daily politics blog are read at all levels of government.

Education: University of Georgia, University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellowship
First job: Buggy boy at Richway No. 3 on Old National Highway
Lesson learned: You can’t always expect your friends, colleagues, even relatives to back your moral stands. It’s unfair to them, and ultimately you.


Atlanta 500: Sanjay Gupta

Photograph by Getty/Jonathan Leibson

Sanjay Gupta, MD
Neurosurgeon
Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN

Emmy-winning chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for all of the network’s domestic and international shows, and he contributes to CNN.com. His medical training and public health policy experience inform his reporting from war zones and natural disasters. Gupta is also a member of the staff and faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and an associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. An Atlanta resident, he regularly performs surgery at Emory University and Grady hospitals.

Education: University of Michigan, University of Michigan Medical School (MD)
Notable achievements: Author of three New York Times bestselling books: Chasing Life, Cheating Death, and Monday Mornings. Named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2003.


Atlanta 500 Jenn HobbyJenn Hobby
Radio Host
Star 94.1

An Atlanta radio and television personality for more than 18 years, Jenn Hobby is the host of Star 94.1’s Jenn & Friends morning-drive radio show, the first and only woman-anchored morning radio show with male cohosts in Atlanta. Her radio career has included WBTS-FM (95.5 The Beat), WWWQ-FM (Q100), and WKHX-FM (Kicks 101.5), and her television work includes HLN, CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Fox 5 Atlanta. Hobby earned a Gracie Award for her work in radio and an Emmy for her TV work at GPB. In 2010 she was a guest host on Live! with Regis and Kelly.

Education: Florida State University
Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Florida
Toughest challenge: Daughter Reese’s cancer battle
Hidden talent: I am a kayaker and have kayaked the rapids in the Ocoee River.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The top of Kennesaw Mountain


Atlanta 500 Jeremy LeggJeremy Legg
Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
WarnerMedia

Jeremy Legg oversees linear and digital technology for HBO and Turner Broadcasting, leading 4,000 employees in support of linear television and digital properties for CNN, Turner Sports, HBO, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, and other WarnerMedia brands. Legg also leads technology development of the new streaming service HBO Max, slated to launch in the spring. He was previously Turner Broadcasting’s head of technology strategy and product monetization, and has worked at AOL, Oracle, and Accenture.

Education: Brown University
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
Notable achievements: We’ve delivered some of the largest streaming events in internet history, including March Madness and Game of Thrones.
Hidden talent: I have some weird kind of facial recognition. I’m able to recognize the faces of secondary actors in movies or TV shows and name their body of work.


Atlanta 500: Wonya Lucas

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Wonya Lucas
President and CEO
Public Broadcasting Atlanta

Wonya Lucas has served as president and CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta since 2015, overseeing Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (PBA) stations. Previously she held marketing and communications positions with CNN, the Weather Channel, and Discovery Communications, and was president and CEO of TV One—the second African American woman to lead a cable television company. She takes pride in the fact that her father, Bill Lucas, was the first African American general manager in professional baseball with the Atlanta Braves.

Education: Georgia Tech, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
First job: Working at Six Flags Over Georgia
Inspiring person: My mom, Rubye Lucas
Toughest challenge: Going to job sites as a construction engineer at 23. Because I grew up in a sports family and finished Tech, I knew how to navigate a male-dominated environment.
Favorite travel destination: South Africa
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chastain Park


Atlanta 500: Mike Luckovich

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Mike Luckovich
Editorial Cartoonist
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Following stints at South Carolina’s Greenville News and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Seattle native Mike Luckovich became an editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1989. His work has garnered him two Pulitzer Prizes as well as a Reuben Award, the highest honor bestowed by the National Cartoonists Society. Luckovich’s cartoons are syndicated in 150 newspapers, and his latest collection, A Very Stable Genius, was published in 2018.

Education: University of Washington
Notable achievements: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (1994), Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning (1995, 2006)
Hidden talent: I’m a pretty good dancer.
Favorite book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Lesson learned: Some people you can’t change.


Atlanta 500: Lois Reitzes

Photograph by Billy Howard

Lois Reitzes
Director of Arts and Cultural Programming
WABE-FM 90.1

Lois Reitzes began working at WABE-FM 90.1, the National Public Radio affiliate in Atlanta, in 1979 as a music programmer and announcer, becoming program director in 1992. Now, as director of arts and cultural programming, she hosts City Lights and Spivey Soirée and presents morning music on the station’s classical stream. Before coming to Atlanta she worked at WFIU in Bloomington, the NPR affiliate licensed to Indiana University, where she pursued graduate study in musicology.

Education: Roosevelt University Chicago Musical College, Indiana University
Notable achievement: Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities (2017)
Favorite movies: Babe, A Room with a View
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: My house. Alon’s, too, which is near my house.
Bucket list: (1) Meeting Mel Brooks and telling him of his profound impact on me and (2) Receiving a MacArthur award. Not for being a genius, just for being a reasonably intelligent, very curious, and nice person
Who’d play me in a biopic: Tina Fey! I wouldn’t complain if it were Bernadette Peters. Catherine Zeta-Jones might be a stretch.


Atlanta 500: Kevin Riley

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kevin Riley
Editor
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kevin Riley, a longtime employee of Cox Enterprises, was named editor of the Atlanta Journal- Constitution in January 2011. He started his career in 1983 at Cox’s original newspaper, the Dayton Daily News in Ohio, while a student at the University of Dayton; since taking the helm at the AJC he’s led a rejuvenation of the newsroom with an emphasis on investigative journalism. He also writes a column in Sunday editions of the paper.

Education: University of Dayton
Favorite book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Best advice received: He who knows not, and knows he knows not, is better than he who knows not and knows not he knows not.
First job: Washing dishes in a bar
Notable achievement: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist in National Reporting.


Atlanta 500: Dale Russell

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Dale Russell
Senior I-Team Reporter
FOX 5

Senior investigative reporter Dale Russell is the FOX 5 I-Team’s government watchdog. An Atlanta native, he began media work as a freelance newspaper and magazine writer. His 35 years of investigative stories have helped shape Georgia’s political history, toppling people in power, exposing waste and corruption, sparking criminal investigations, and changing laws. He’s broken important stories while covering some of the nation’s biggest events, including the Atlanta child murders of 1979-1981, the Olympic Park bombing, and the 9/11 attacks.

Education: Georgia State University
Notable achievements: More than 50 journalism awards, including broadcasting’s highest honor: the George Foster Peabody Award
Few people know: I once won a stand-up comedy contest at the Great Southeast Music Hall.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: I love driving down Peachtree Street, taking in the seemingly daily changes.
Toughest challenge: I hate confrontations. It was kind of a problem for this job.


Atlanta 500: Teya Ryan

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Teya Ryan
President and CEO
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Los Angeles native Teya Ryan was named president and CEO of GPB Media—the fourth-largest public broadcasting system in the country, counting nine television stations and 18 radio stations—in 2009. Her experience includes roles in broadcast management, production, and content creation. Previously she was executive vice president for three CNN networks: CNN, CNN Headline News, and CNN U.S. Ryan is cochair of the Georgia Literacy Commission and a member of the board of councilors of the Carter Center.

Education: University of California, Berkeley
Notable achievement: Created the first live interactive TV talk show, CNN’s Talkback Live
First job: One that paid me: working on the Vancouver Sun
Hobbies: Travel. Travel. Travel. Sheer adventure.
Who’d play me in a biopic: A young Candice Bergen


Atlanta 500: Maria Saporta

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Maria Saporta
Founder
SaportaReport.com

An Atlanta native who began her full-time journalism career in 1980 with the Macon Telegraph, Maria Saporta is an Atlanta Business Chronicle columnist and reporter and the founder of SaportaReport.com, where a stable of veteran contributors provide updates on business, urban, and civic issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. In 2008 she wrapped up a 27-year career with the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, during which she was a business and civic columnist for more than 17 years.

Education: Boston University, Georgia State University (MA)
Few people know: My first language was French, and I didn’t know English when I entered kindergarten.
Toughest challenge: Getting divorced when my kids were one and three—and raising them while trying to be a decent journalist. Tough balancing act.
First job: Worked as a clown pushing Solo cups in grocery stores when I was 15


Atlanta 500: Kim Severson

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Kim Severson
National Food Correspondent
New York Times

Kim Severson is a national food correspondent for the New York Times, and previously the paper’s Southern bureau chief and a staff writer in the Dining section. Severson has won several awards for news and feature writing, including the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for her contributions to the team that investigated workplace sexual harassment and abuse against women, four James Beard Foundation awards, and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for her work on childhood obesity in 2002.

Education: Michigan State University
First job: Cleaning cages in a vet’s office
Hobbies: Softball—playing and coaching my kid’s team
Few people know: I secretly want to be a stand-up comedian.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Any farmers market


Atlanta 500 Frank SkiFrank Ski
Radio and Television Personality, Motivational Speaker, Disc Jockey
Entercom Communications, V-103

Described as a rainmaker of urban radio, Frank Ski began his career as a disc jockey and recording artist and has evolved into a radio, film, and TV personality, motivational speaker, journalist, and philanthropist. Over the last three decades, his up-tempo lifestyle program, balancing music with celebrity guests and discussions of news and culture, has found a home on Atlanta’s V-103 and on stations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Ski has received the Black Enterprise Community Champion Award and been honored by the National Association of Broadcasters; 20 years ago he launched the Frank Ski Kids Foundation, which exposes young people to science, technology, athletics, and the arts.

Education: University of the District of Columbia
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Notable achievement: Conducted Coretta Scott King’s final interview
Lesson learned: When negotiating a deal, allow the other side to feel they received more.
Hidden talent: Animal whisperer


Atlanta 500 Rich WarrenRich Warren
President
WarnerMedia Distribution

As president of WarnerMedia Distribution, the domestic distribution and marketing arm of WarnerMedia, Rich Warren oversees all distribution efforts for WarnerMedia brands including CNN, TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, HBO, Cinemax, and the new streaming service HBO Max. Before assuming his current role in 2019, Warren was president of Turner Content Distribution, responsible for the multiplatform distribution of linear networks, digital brands, and on-demand content for the portfolio of 10 Turner networks. Warren joined Turner Content Distribution as senior counsel in 2000 and held a variety of roles in the business; previously he was an attorney for an Atlanta law firm.

Education: University of Michigan, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Born in New York, raised in New Jersey
Notable achievements: Cablefax 100 (2018, 2019)
First job: At a record store unloading trucks
Hobbies: Avid cyclist
Board memberships: Anti-Defamation League Southeast, Metro Atlanta Chamber


LEGENDS

Emmet Bondurant
A partner at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore, Bondurant has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the United States.

Anne Cox Chambers
A former ambassador, Chambers was the longtime primary owner of Cox Enterprises. [Editor’s note: Chambers died on January 31, 2020.]

Xernona Clayton
Media pioneer Clayton worked with Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., and launched the Trumpet Awards in 1993.

Bob Hope
President and cofounder of Hope-Beckham communications firm, Hope was formerly public relations director for the Atlanta Braves in the Hank Aaron era.

Valerie Jackson
The WABE radio host was the wife of Mayor Maynard Jackson and helped prepare the city for the 1988 Democratic National Convention and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Bunnie Jackson-Ransom
Jackson-Ransom is the president and CEO of firstClass, a public relations and marketing firm founded in 1975.

Tom Johnson
Under Johnson’s leadership, the Los Angeles Times received six Pulitzer Prizes. As president of CNN, he worked closely with founder Ted Turner to pioneer the 24-hour news cycle.

Hank Klibanoff
The Pulitzer-winning author is now a professor in Emory’s Creative Writing Program. He coauthored The Race Beat.

Monica Pearson
For 37 years Pearson was a news anchor with WSB-TV.

Alexis Scott
Retired as publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, founded by her grandfather in 1928, Scott is a member of FOX 5’s Georgia Gang.

Ted Turner
Founder of CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, and Turner Classic Movies, the avid environmentalist donated $1 billion to fund the United Nations Foundation.

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