BANKING & FINANCE
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) )
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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!
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
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
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 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
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 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 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
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.
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 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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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)
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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)
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 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
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.”
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 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 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)
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
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
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.
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.
Chairman and CEO
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 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 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 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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 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!
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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 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.