K-12 | Higher Education | Healthcare | Legends
Communities in Schools of Atlanta
As CEO of Communities in Schools of Atlanta, Frank Brown oversees the organization’s mission to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS of Atlanta has programs in 63 public schools in Atlanta and Fulton, Clayton, and DeKalb counties. Previously, Brown was the first executive director of the Butler Street Community Development Corporation (formerly the historic Butler Street YMCA) and director of civic engagement and activation at Points of Light.
Education: Johnson C. Smith University, University of South Carolina School of Law (JD)
Inspiring person: Thurgood Marshall
Toughest challenge: Restoring CIS of Atlanta back to prominence after the organization nearly closed in 2013
Few people know: I love practicing yoga.
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Life is more difficult if you’re not prepared to seize opportunities that present themselves.
Bucket list: To lead a national nonprofit that has impact across the country
Ed Chang, as the founding director of RedefinED Atlanta, strives to ensure a high-quality education for every student in the city. A longtime champion of public schools, Chang began his career as a physical therapist before entering the education profession as a seventh-grade science teacher. He spent five years teaching at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Southeast Atlanta before going on to found KIPP STRIVE Academy in 2009. Following that, Chang focused on coaching and strategy for school leaders and districts across the country
Education: Washington University, Mercer University (MA), National Louis University (CAS)
Toughest challenge: My first year of teaching was simultaneously the most challenging and most rewarding time of my life.
Hidden talent: I won a mechanical-bull-riding contest once upon a time.
Favorite travel destination: Machu Picchu
Favorite Atlanta podcast: Everyday Dope
Teacher and Author
The Ron Clark Academy
“America’s educator” Ron Clark is the cofounder of the Ron Clark Academy, an Atlanta middle school that serves as a demonstration school for educational best practices. Clark and his staff have provided professional development for more than 100,000 educators. Ninety percent of the school’s alumni attend college. Known for his innovative teaching methods and work with children from various educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, Clark is the author of The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator’s Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child.
Education: East Carolina University
Hometown: Chocowinity, North Carolina
Notable achievements: Andrew J. Young International Leadership Award (2017), NAACP President’s Award (2011)
Lesson learned: As long as I am helping others and seeking to be a good person, what others think isn’t worth a hill of beans.
Few people know: I won the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right.
CEO and Head of School
Global Village Project
Elizabeth Elango is CEO and Head of School of Global Village Project, a school established for refugee girls from age 11 to 18 years old in Decatur. Born and raised in Cameroon and educated in the United States, Elango has traveled to over 50 countries and has worked in over 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. Previously, she was the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa where she transformed the organization’s ability to impact youth programs, developed sustainable funding models, and expanded its reach into additional countries. As her father was a history professor at Kennesaw State University, she began attending the school at 16 years old. Elango was a Fulbright scholar in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and she began her career at the Carter Center.
Education: Kennesaw State University, Yale University (MA)
First job: Administrative support for the art department at Kennesaw State University
Hobbies Appreciating art, buying art, making art; all kinds of art.
Best advice received From my dad: “If you can’t make a situation better, don’t make it worse.” My dad is an old, wise African man. His advice is solid gold.
Brandon P. Fleming
Founder and CEO
Veritas School of Social Sciences
An at-risk youth and college dropout turned award-winning educator, Fleming is the founder and CEO of the Veritas School of Social Sciences formerly known as the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project. Since the program’s inception in 2017, Fleming, a former teacher at the Ron Clark Academy and debate coach at Harvard University, has raised over a million dollars to enroll over 150 students of color into the Ivy League’s international summer debate residency on full scholarships. He recruits underserved youth with no prior debate experience and trains them to compete against elite debaters from all over the world. In 2018, Fleming’s students became the first all-Black team to win Harvard’s summer debate tournament. His students have now matriculated to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the like. Fleming’s story, which begins with a failed suicide attempt, is told in Miseducated: A Memoir, published by Hachette Books.
Education: Liberty University, University of Georgia (MFA)
Notable achievements: Forbes 30 Under 30 (2020), The Root 100 (2020), Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2019)
First Job: Factory assembly line worker
F. Stuart Gulley
Stuart Gulley is the seventh president of Woodward Academy, among the largest college-preparatory schools in the continental U.S., with over 2,500 students. Previously he served as president of LaGrange College, and before that in several administrative capacities at Emory University, including associate vice president for university development and church relations. An ordained United Methodist minister, Gulley is the author of The Academic President as Moral Leader: James T. Laney at Emory University, 1977-1993, published by Mercer University Press.
Education: Vanderbilt University, Emory University Candler School of Theology (MDiv), Georgia State University (PhD)
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Why I chose this work: Education is crucial for the growth and development of individuals and communities. It is a privilege to be part of helping people and communities to become all they are meant to be.
Lisa Nicole Herring
Atlanta Public Schools
Lisa Nicole Herring became superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools in 2020. By 2021, Herring, a member of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2023, had spearheaded the opening of the new Center for Equity and Social Justice, the district’s first office devoted solely to advancing equity in education. In that same year, Atlanta Public Schools recorded an all-time high graduation rate of 83.7 percent. She came to APS from Birmingham City Schools, which she led through a significant transformation by stabilizing leadership, improving system performance, and increasing student achievement. The Macon native also served as chief academic officer for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, a system with more than 100,000 students, where she successfully restructured the academic division and led the district’s strategic plan.
Education: Spelman College, University of South Carolina (EdM, EdS), Georgia Southern University (EdD)
Notable achivements: Helped launch the Birmingham Promise, which provides college tuition assistance and apprenticeship opportunities to local students.
Tori Jackson Hines
Founder and Executive Director
Resurgence Hall Inc.
Tori Jackson Hines founded Resurgence Hall Charter School in 2016. In her role as founder and executive director, Jackson Hines led Resurgence Hall to become the No. 1 ranked charter school in Georgia with a College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score of 93.4 within two years of founding the school. Most recently, Resurgence Hall has been recognized as a Title I Distinguished School by the Georgia Department of Education.
Education: University of Maryland, Loyola Marymount University (MA), Teachers College, Columbia University (MS)
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Few people know: I’m a novice gardener and a wannabe Lego master builder.
Lesson learned Failure is not a failure if it teaches.
Favorite Georgia pro sports team: Atlanta United FC
Fulton County Schools
Mike Looney became superintendent of Fulton County Schools in 2019, having served in similar positions in Williamson County, Tennessee, and Butler County, Alabama. Under his leadership in Butler County, the school district realized significant student achievement gains, improved the graduation rate, and established its first magnet school. A public educator since 1994, Looney has also been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. Prior to entering education, Looney was a finance manager and served for seven years in the U.S. Marines.
Education: Jacksonville State University (EdM), University of Alabama (EdS, EdD)
Notable achievements: Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) Superintendent of the Year (2016), Greenville, Alabama, Citizen of the Year (2008)
President and CEO
Georgia Charter Schools Association
As president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association since 2007, Tony Roberts is the leading advocate for Georgia’s public charter schools. Under his leadership, Georgia’s voters approved a 2012 amendment giving birth to the State Charter Schools Commission, making Georgia the first in the nation to pass such a ballot issue. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 60,039 students enrolled in Georgia’s 90 charter schools.
Education: Carson-Newman College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM, PhD)
First job: Working in a gas station in the days of full service to customers
Hidden talent: I can do plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work with the best of them. I own two power nailers, for instance.
Hobbies: Collecting and playing vinyl records and turntables, travel, home improvement
Favorite book: The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer
Alex Wan, who is a member of the Atlanta City Council, currently serves as the executive director of Horizons Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that provides tuition-free summer enrichment programs focused on literacy, mathematics, and swim skills to K-12 students in the metro Atlanta area. Prior to joining Horizons Atlanta, Wan served as director of development and alumni relations at Emory University, and before that as director of development at Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s largest HIV housing provider.
Education: Georgia Tech, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
hometown Stone Mountain
First job: Salesperson at Davison’s (now Macy’s) at Northlake Mall
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Piedmont Park
Notable achievements: Serving my third term as the District 6 representative on the Atlanta City Council; 2022 Georgia Stonewall Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022 Horizons National Leadership Award
Dean, College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair
Georgia Institute of Technology
Raheem Beyah is the dean of the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair at Georgia Tech. In this role, he works with the associate deans and chairs for each of the college’s eight schools while providing leadership to more than 500 faculty members and more than 17,000 students. Prior to this role, Beyah served as vice president for interdisciplinary research, executive director of the online masters of cybersecurity program, and as a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of cyber-physical systems security, network monitoring, and network security, Beyah is also cofounder of Fortiphyd Logic, an industrial cybersecurity company. A native Atlantan and a graduate of Atlanta Public Schools, Beyah is also a graduate of Leadership Atlanta.
Education: North Carolina A&T State University, Georgia Tech (MS, PhD)
Few people know: I’m a huge fan of mindfulness meditation.
Toughest challenge: The myth of meritocracy
Hobbies: Weight training
M. Brian Blake
Georgia State University
M. Brian Blake was named Georgia State University’s eighth president in June 2021. He came to Georgia State after serving over six years combined as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at George Washington University and Drexel University. His research has received more than $12 million in funding, and he is an author of more than 200 scholarly publications in the areas of software engineering and internet computing. The first Black president in the university’s 114-year history, Blake grew up in Savannah and attended Benedictine Military Academy. He and his wife, Bridget, have two sons, Brendan and Bryce.
Education: Georgia Tech, Mercer (MA), George Mason University (PhD)
First job: My first full-time role was a software engineer at Lockheed Martin.
Favorite movie: Inception
Favorite travel destination: Miami
Bucket list: Trip to Scotland to explore the wonders of single malt.
Georgia Institute of Technology
In 2019 Ángel Cabrera became the 12th president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the leading and most research-intense public universities in the nation. During his first year as president, he steered the institution through the Covid-19 pandemic and produced a new strategic plan focused on impact, access, and inclusive innovation. Previously Cabrera served a seven-year stint as president of George Mason University. From 2004 to 2012 he was president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is now part of Arizona State University. Born in Madrid, Cabrera is the first native of Spain to serve as president of an American university.
Education: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Georgia Tech (MS, PhD)
Why I chose this work: Education is the best tool we have to shape the world for the better. I have always been an educator at heart and have always known I would be in education one way or another.
Notable achievements: Carnegie Corporation of New York Great Immigrant (2017), Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow (2008), Businessweek Star of Europe (2004)
Gregory L. Fenves
In 2020 Gregory L. Fenves became the 21st president of Emory University, joining the school from the University of Texas at Austin, where he had served as president for the previous five years. During Fenves’s 12 years in leadership at UT Austin, including a stint as dean of the engineering school, the university recruited world-class faculty while retaining an impressive network of current faculty, broadened cross-disciplinary research, and significantly increased extramural research funding. As president, Fenves strengthened graduate education and resources; 48 graduate programs at UT Austin are now ranked in the top 10 nationally.
Education: Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley (MS, PhD)
First job: My first real job was as a computer programmer in 1974, back when computers took up the entire room.
Favorite movie: Annie Hall
Favorite travel destination: Paris
Facorite Atlanta podcast: Buried Truths on WABE, hosted by Emory’s own Hank Klibanoff
George T. French Jr.
Clark Atlanta University
In 2019, George T. French Jr. became the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University, the largest United Negro College Fund institution in the country. Prior to his appointment, French served for 13 years as the president of Miles College. A nationally recognized leader in higher education and educational policy, French has served three secretaries of education under two presidents as a congressional appointee to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. He is a three-term board member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.
Education: University of Louisville, Miles Law School (JD), Jackson State University (PhD)
Notable achievements: Under French’s leadership Clark Atlanta University has exponentially exceeded all fundraising records in the history of the university; maintained stable enrollment in the midst of the global pandemic; and developed corporate and community relationships to position the university for unprecedented growth. His awards include Birmingham Spotlight Man of the Year, NAACP Man of the Year, and the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
Helene D. Gayle, MD
Helene D. Gayle was named Spelman College’s 11th president in July 2022. She previously served as president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. No stranger to Atlanta, for almost a decade, Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, an international humanitarian organization and began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she served for 20 years. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and the Council on Foreign Relations. A tenured professor in the department of environmental and health sciences at Spelman College, Gayle has received 18 honorary degrees.
Education: Barnard College, University of Pennsylvania (MD), Johns Hopkins University (MPH)
Notable Achievements: Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (2013), Chicago Mayor’s Medal of Honor for her work on Covid-19 relief and recovery for the city (2021), Peace Corps’ Franklin H. Williams Director’s Award (2021), Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award (2012)
Professor, Urban Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Dan Immergluck, a professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, is the author of five books, more than 120 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports. An expert on housing, neighborhood change, real estate, and community development, he’s been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Justice, testified several times before Congress, and served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His latest book is Red Hot City: Housing, Race, and Exclusion in Twenty-First Century Atlanta.
Education: Northwestern University, University of Michigan (MPP), University of Illinois at Chicago (PhD)
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Why I chose this work: I have a passion for making cities more just and equitable.
Toughest challenge: Raising teenagers
Few people know: I once wrote a press release for Illinois state senator Barack Obama.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Buford Highway
Morris Brown College
In 2020, Kevin James became president of Morris Brown College, a historically Black college founded in 1881, where he had been interim president since 2019. James, the college’s 19th president, is responsible for the leadership and management of all aspects of college operations and for the college’s strategic direction. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, James has served in various executive-level roles in higher education and within the nonprofit sector. Immediately prior to joining Morris Brown, he was interim CEO of 100 Black Men of America, whose mission is to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.
Education: South Carolina State University, Winthrop University, Troy University (MS), Nova Southeastern University (EdD)
First job: Cook at McDonald’s
Best advice received: If possible, find a way to say yes.
Linda A. McCauley
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University
A global leader in environmental health, Linda A. McCauley is the dean of Emory University’s Woodruff School of Nursing. For decades, McCauley has spearheaded innovative research on children’s environmental health, vulnerable workers and occupational health, environmental justice, and the impact of climate change on human health. In 2020, McCauley joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and was named an honorary fellow in the Royal Academy of Nursing. She was also elected to serve on the National Academy of Medicine’s Governing Council.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (MSN), University of Cincinnati (PhD)
Inspiring person: My mother was a nurse and I grew up seeing how her work was such a defining factor of who she was.
Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD
President and Dean
Morehouse School of Medicine
Valerie Montgomery Rice is the sixth president of Morehouse School of Medicine and the first woman to hold the position. Before joining Morehouse in 2011 as executive vice president, Montgomery Rice was founding director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately affect women of color. An infertility specialist and researcher, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. In 2022 Montgomery Rice was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.
Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School (MD)
Notable achievements: Atlanta Business League Visions of Excellence Award (2018), Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Horatio Alger Award (2017), Trumpet Awards Foundation Vanguard Award (2015)
Jere W. Morehead
University of Georgia
Jere W. Morehead became the University of Georgia’s 22nd president in 2013. Previously he held other key administrative roles, including senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Morehead has been a faculty member of the Terry College of Business since 1986, coauthored several books, and published scholarly articles on legal topics ranging from export controls to jury selection. He was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1986.
Education: Georgia State University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Lakeland, Florida
Notable achievements: University of Georgia Josiah Meigs Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1995), Terry College of Business Teacher of the Year Award (1988, 1998)
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Never compromise your integrity or trust.
CEO and Director
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
Loretta Parham is the CEO and library director at Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, shared by Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. Under Parham’s leadership, the library received the Association of College & Research Libraries’ 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, and in 2017 Parham was honored as ACRL’s Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. With more than 30 years of experience in the field, Parham has also been director of the library at Virginia’s Hampton University, deputy director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and district chief of the Chicago Public Library.
Education: Wittenberg University, Southern Illinois University, University of Michigan (MLIS)
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Kathy “Kat” Schwaig
Kennesaw State University
Kat Schwaig was named the sixth president of Kennesaw State University (KSU) in March 2022, following her tenure as interim president. Under Schwaig’s leadership as president, KSU has embarked on a comprehensive student success initiative, established new graduate degrees for in-demand fields such as financial technologies and computer science, formalized a targeted strategy for enrollment growth, created a dynamic campus communication plan, and impactfully invested in the university’s research infrastructure. Schwaig is also a professor of information systems where her research focused on the strategic and ethical implications of computer technology. Additionally, Schwaig is the proud mom of her middle school daughter, Emma Grace.
Education: Baylor University (MBA), Johns Hopkins University (MLA), University of South Carolina (PhD)
Hometown: Temple, Texas
Notable achievements: Oscar Burnett Award for Distinguished Achievement in Business from the Morris Brown College Foundation, the Cobb Executive Women’s Glass Ceiling Award, and Atlanta magazine’s Women Making a Mark Award
Atlanta Technical College
Victoria Seals became the sixth president of Atlanta Technical College in 2016. Under her leadership, the college has established effective industry partnerships and student success initiatives—boasting a 98 percent job placement rate. Her service and leadership were recognized in 2020 by the Association of Community College Trustees, who named her Southern Region CEO of the Year. The Atlanta Business Chronicle has twice recognized her as one of their Who’s Who in Education and as a Most Admired CEO in 2020. One of Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Women of Influence, she has received the South Fulton Chamber Educator of the Year and the Year Up Atlanta Urban Empowerment Awards. She has also been honored by the Urban League of Greater Atlanta.
Education: Spelman College, University of Georgia (MA, EdS, EdD)
Hometown: Norwood, Georgia
Hidden talent: I am a grill master.
Jagdish N. Sheth
Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Jagdish N. Sheth is the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Business at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The author or coauthor of numerous books and hundreds of scholarly papers, Sheth is known globally for his work in consumer behavior, relationship marketing, competitive strategy, and geopolitical analysis. He has over 50 years of combined experience in teaching and research, including at the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and MIT. Sheth and his wife, Madhu Sheth, established the Sheth Family Foundation to support charities in the U.S. and India. In 2020 Sheth received the Padma Bhushan award, one of the highest civilian honors bestowed by the Indian government.
Education: Loyola College, University of Pittsburgh (MBA, PhD)
Hometown: Chennai, India
Why I chose this work: I chose the field of marketing and consumer behavior because I was very interested in what motivated consumers to buy certain products and brands. I was also interested in globalization and the impact of geopolitical dynamics on markets, trade, and investments.
David A. Thomas
In 2018 David A. Thomas became the 12th president of Morehouse College. Since his arrival, Thomas has overseen a fundraising acceleration which has generated more than $200 million— more than any other president in the history of the college. Additionally, Morehouse has expanded its profile as a national center for thought leadership on civil rights. Thomas has used his platform as president of Morehouse to speak out against injustice as the nation faces two pandemics—Covid-19 and the persistence of systemic racism. With more than 30 years of experience in the business of higher education, Thomas has served as a professor and executive leader at mostly Ivy League institutions. In 2022 Georgia Trend included Thomas in its list of 100 Most Influential Georgians.
Education: Yale College, Columbia University (MA), Yale University (MPhil, PhD)
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Notable achievements: Nationally known for his research on managing diversity in the workplace, Thomas has written two books and numerous academic articles.
Paula S. Wallace
President and Founder
Savannah College of Art and Design
Paula Wallace founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978; and as president has led the university’s expansion to locations in Atlanta and Lacoste, France, and pioneered SCADnow, which provides virtual instruction. Wallace founded the university’s collaborative design studio, SCADpro, and leads one of the foremost community service studios, SCAD SERVE, which harnesses the university’s expertise to address the world’s most pressing social challenges. In 2021, with the opening of the Lofts of Pulaski in Savannah, SCAD SERVE provides affordable workforce housing for frontline workers in its community. Additionally, Wallace created the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, the world’s largest university-run film festival. Widely respected as an author, filmmaker, and podcast host, she is also the founder of four teaching museums including: the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta, and SCAD FASH Lacoste in France.
Leocadia I. Zak
Agnes Scott College
Leocadia I. Zak was appointed the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in 2018. Under her leadership, the school has achieved record enrollment and fundraising, launched graduate programs, established the Sophomore Class Atlanta Leadership Experience, and been recognized for five consecutive years as the most innovative liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Zak has an extensive background in international economic development and international project finance and served as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University School of Law. In 2010 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Education: Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: In 2021, Zak was named an Atlanta Business Chronicle Woman of Influence.
President and CEO
Saint Joseph’s Health System and Mercy Care
In 2003 Tom Andrews became president of Mercy Care, a healthcare provider that serves Atlanta’s homeless population, and in 2012 he was named president and CEO of Saint Joseph’s Health System, which comprises Mercy Care, Mercy Care Foundation, and Mercy Care Rome. Recognized for his leadership in combating tuberculosis, Andrews was previously president of the consulting firm Independent Physician Strategies.
Education: Ohio State University
Why I chose this work: I was drawn to healthcare at a very young age when I witnessed my mother die unnecessarily due to the nonmanagement of a chronic disease.
Few people know: I love dogs. I want to buy a farm and adopt 100 of them.
Best advice received: Always do the right thing.
Toughest challenge: Losing my mother at age 12
President and CEO
Kevin Brown joined Piedmont Healthcare as president and CEO in 2013. Through an operating model that places the patient at the center of decision-making, Piedmont has produced outcomes that rival some of the best in the country. Under Brown’s watch, Piedmont has frequently earned more A grades from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit industry watch dog that rates hospitals on quality, than any other system in Georgia. He has been an advocate of transparency. Piedmont was the second hospital system in the nation to publish unedited patient reviews on physician profiles. Since 2013, the Piedmont system has nearly quadrupled in size, now serving over 3.4 million Georgians in more than 1,400 locations across the state. During his tenure, net revenues have gone from $1.5 billion to an expected $6.5 billion in FY 2023. Piedmont has also provided $1.4 billion in uncompensated care and community benefit programming over the past five years. He serves as a director of the Buckhead Coalition, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, and the Holy Innocents Episcopal School.
Education: University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Arizona State University (MHSA)
Robert H. Bunch
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
Robert Bunch was named president of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia in 2022. He had joined Anthem, Inc. in 2001 and most recently served as chief operating officer and chief client officer for Anthem National Accounts. Previously, he was the regional vice president of sales and account management, where he was responsible for profitable membership growth for the individual and small group market and the state of Georgia health benefit plan. Throughout his career at Anthem, Bunch has held various leadership positions including sales, account management, and product development; government and regulatory compliance; systems integration; and business migration activity, along with responsibility for various systems and application programming teams. Before coming to Anthem, Bunch was a consultant in the government and public services sector, working with multiple state Medicaid agencies. He also previously worked as an application programmer in the banking and credit card industries.
Education: Columbus College, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (MBA)
Carol H. Burrell
President and CEO
Northeast Georgia Health System
Under Carol Burrell’s leadership, Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, the system’s flagship hospital, has garnered state and national acclaim, including recognition by Healthgrades as one of the country’s 50 Best Hospitals. Burrell also led the construction of NGMC Braselton, the state’s first new hospital in 20 years that wasn’t a replacement or a relocation, and helped the system acquire its third hospital, NGMC Barrow, in 2017. In 2018 she was an Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business honoree. Georgia Trend named her its Most Respected Business Leader in 2017 and, for six years in a row, has placed her on a list of 100 Most Influential Georgians.
Education: Georgia Southern University, Emory University, Central Michigan University (MHA)
Hometown: Carl, Georgia
First job: Teaching private piano lessons
Best advice recieved: Sometimes in life, you are going to have to choose between doing something that will make people like you or respect you. Always choose respect.
Nkem Chukwumerije, MD
President and Executive Medical Director
The Southeast Permanente Medical Group
Nkem Chukwumerije, MD, MPH, FACP, serves as president and executive medical director for the Southeast Permanente Medical Group (TSPMG). TSPMG is one of Georgia’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, with more than 900 clinicians caring for more than 300,000 Kaiser Permanente members. Services are delivered through a network of 26 medical offices and specialty centers and four contracted hospitals—Emory University Midtown, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Northside Hospital, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Chukwumerije also serves as national physician leader for equity, inclusion, and diversity for the Permanente Medical Groups. Dr. Chukwumerije has been active in leadership of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas and has also served as president of the University of Nigeria College of Medicine Alumni Association, North America.
Education: University of Nigeria (MD), UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (MPH)
Nonprofits: Faith Alive USA and the Isuochi Progressive Union, organizations providing medical care and support to underserved areas of Nigeria
Carlos del Rio, MD
Executive Associate Dean, Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System
Carlos del Rio is a distinguished professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. He serves as the executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System and is the codirector and principal investigator at the Emory Center for AIDS Research. Del Rio is the international secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, chair of the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, and president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Education: Instituto Cumbres, Universidad La Salle (MD)
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Inspiring person: Dr. Bill Foege, whose advice throughout my public health career has been invaluable
Favorite movie: Casablanca
Favorite travel destination: Paris
Charities: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Douglas Graham, MD, PhD
Chief, Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Douglas Graham is chief of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. A physician scientist with clinical expertise in the treatment of children with leukemia, he has been actively involved in the Children’s Oncology Group, and currently serves on the Acute Myeloid Leukemia Disease Steering Committee. He is president of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and also leads an active research laboratory focusing on developing novel therapeutics for pediatric cancer. Graham’s team has developed a new cancer drug that is now in early phase clinical trials at Emory University. As leader of the Aflac Cancer Center, Graham is committed to developing a comprehensive program that will provide outstanding clinical care for children in Georgia and throughout the Southeast. He is helping lead the recruitment of cancer and hematology researchers who will be able to directly impact the development of new treatments for pediatric hematology/oncology patients.
Education: Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina (MD, PhD)
Hometown: Carthage, North Carolina
Gulshan Harjee, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Clarkston Community Health Center
Gulshan Harjee is the chief medical officer at Clarkston Community Health Center, a nonprofit free health clinic serving the immigrant, refugee, and uninsured populations of metro Atlanta. Following three decades in private practice, Harjee cofounded CCHC in 2013 and committed herself to it fully in 2016. The clinic has since served more than 10,000 patients, provided free mammograms, insulin, and dental care to asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants, and offered educational experiences to hundreds of area medical and nursing students. Harjee oversees clinical operations and quality of care while forging new collaborations with medical training programs and spearheading a capital campaign. With a recent $2.5 million pledge from a Texas philanthropist, the center now plans to build a larger facility just south of Clarkston. Additionally, Harjee is a 2023 AARP Purpose Prize fellow and received $10,000 and a year of support from AARP to help broaden the scope of her work.
Education: Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine (MD)
Hometown: I was raised on a sisal farm in a Karanga village of 500 about an hour from the town of Moshi, Tanzania.
John M. Haupert
Grady Health System
As CEO of Grady Health System since 2011, John Haupert leads the safety-net healthcare system that serves DeKalb and Fulton Counties and operates the primary Level I trauma center and burn center for metro Atlanta. Previously chief operating officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Haupert began his career in healthcare management at Dallas’s Methodist Health System, where he became president of one of the system’s hospitals and executive vice president for corporate services and business development. On the national level, Haupert served on the board of the American Hospital Association from 2018 to 2020 and became the chair-elect in 2022 to start his term this year. He also chairs the AHA’s Strategic Leadership Group for Urban Hospital Sustainability.
Education: Trinity University (MS)
Hometown: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Notable achievements: Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, recipient of the ACHE Regent’s Award, 2018-2019 board chair of the Georgia Hospital Association, former board chair of America’s Essential Hospitals
Monica A. Hum, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Piedmont Rockdale Hospital
Monica Hum is managing partner of ATL Colorectal Surgery, a specialized practice she started and expanded within 10 years to a partnership of five high-volume surgeons. She is the first female physician elected as president of the medical staff of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, a member of the Piedmont Healthcare board and the MD Anderson Cancer Network, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. A native of New York, Hum began practicing in Atlanta in 2003 after fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Florida and general surgery residency at Saint Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital.
Education: Boston University, Emory University Goizueta School of Business (MBA), State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine (MD)
Notable achievements: The first to perform several endoscopic surgeries at Piedmont
First job: Soda girl
Why I chose this work: During my freshman year in college, my mother quit smoking. One year later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She died during my senior year.
Donna W. Hyland
President and CEO
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Donna Hyland has overseen monumental growth and achievement at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, first as chief financial officer, then as chief operating officer, and now as president and CEO. She was instrumental in the 1998 merger of Egleston Children’s Health Care System and Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, and the later additions of Hughes Spalding and Marcus Autism Center, into what is now one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country.
Education: Western Kentucky University
First job: An intern for a judge
Favorite books: Patrick Lencioni’s leadership books
Favorite travel destination: Italy or the beach
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Try new experiences and push yourself to keep learning.
Kim H. Jones
As executive director, Kim Jones is responsible for the strategic management and financial operations of NAMI Georgia, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of mental health. Since taking the helm in 2015, Jones has built stronger relationships with affiliates, leaders, and members throughout the state to support NAMI Georgia’s efforts to help families and individuals seeking recovery from mental illness. She is also a cofounder of the Georgia Mental Health Policy Partnership. Previously Jones was part of the senior-level management team of Goodwill of North Georgia. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, education, training, marketing, and business development, and served for more than eight years as a mayoral appointee to Dacula’s Planning and Zoning Board. In 2019 she was appointed by Speaker of the House David Ralston to the state’s Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, where she sits on the Hospital and Short-Term Stay Subcommittee.
Education: University of Georgia
Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia
Best advice received: What gets measured gets done.
Jonathan S. Lewin, MD
Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, Neurosurgery, and Health Policy and Management
Jonathan Lewin, a radiologist and pioneer in interventional and intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging, came to Emory University in 2016 and recently stepped down from his position as executive vice president for health affairs and president, CEO, and board chair of Emory Healthcare. An inventor on more than 35 patents related to MR technology, he has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. Previously, he was senior vice president of integrated healthcare delivery for Johns Hopkins Medicine and radiology chair at Johns Hopkins University.
Education: Brown University, Yale School of Medicine (MD)
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Why I chose this work: There is no privilege greater than the opportunity to improve human health and well-being.
First job: Movie theater usher
Hidden talent: Playing jazz saxophone
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Never waste the opportunity to make someone feel valued and respected.
Sarah A. Morrison
President and CEO
Sarah A. Morrison is CEO of Shepherd Center, which she joined in 1984. Since then she’s held a variety of leadership roles, including vice president of clinical services, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program, director of the medical/surgical and ICU programs, manager of the Spinal Cord Injury Day Program, physical therapist, and physical therapy supervisor. Last year, Shepherd Center launched Pursuing Possible: The Campaign for Shepherd Center, a $350 million campaign that will fund capital and programmatic projects to benefit patients and families experiencing spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological illnesses and injuries. The campaign is slated to continue through 2025, the same year as Shepherd Center’s 50th anniversary.
Education: University of Miami, Georgia State University (MBA, MHA)
Hometown: Fredonia, New York
Why I chose this work: While on the University of Miami diving team, I injured my back severely enough to be in a body cast for nine months. During my recovery, I underwent physical therapy and realized what I wanted to do with my life—help others recover.
Myron Keith Phillips
Director of Operations
As director of operations for Centene Corporation, a healthcare enterprise, Myron Keith Phillips manages a team of 10 managers and 25 supervisors to support Marketplace, Medicaid, and Medicare lines of business. Additionally, Phillips oversees five facilities in Atlanta; Little Rock, Arkansas; San Antonio, Texas; Tucson/Tempe, Arizona; and Orlando, Florida. He established the company’s first bilingual, 120-seat affordable care call center in Orlando.
Education: Florida A&M University
Few people know: I was a professional roller skater.
Favorite movie: The Color Purple
Favorite Georgia pro sports team: Atlanta Hawks
Bucket list: Almost ready to retire! Once that happens, hopefully I’ll get more involved with my fraternity and get hired by the Atlanta Hawks to welcome fans to the game. That would be my dream come true after-retirement activity.
President and CEO
Robert Quattrocchi is president and CEO of the Northside Hospital health system, which provides care to nearly 5 million patients annually; Quattrocchi oversees a system reaching across 25 counties with five acute-care hospitals, over 250 outpatient facilities, 4,100 providers, and 25,500 employees. In 2017 the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Quattrocchi one of the area’s Most Admired CEOs, and he was included in a list of the country’s top 100 CEOs in the 2019 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards. He was also one of the best CEOs for diversity in 2022, ranked by employees of color across large companies, on the career website Comparably. Quattrocchi has been part of Northside Hospital’s senior management team since 1987; prior to assuming the top job in 2004, he served as chief operating officer and executive vice president of finance and administration, chief financial officer, and director of fiscal services.
Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Dr. Suresh Ramalingam serves as executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Ramalingam is past president of the Georgia Society of Oncology and a member of the board of Georgia CORE. He is a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. The Chennai, India, native’s present research involves developing immune checkpoint inhibitors and improving outcomes for patients with EGFR mutation. He has authored more than 350 scientific publications. He serves as editor-in-chief of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
Education: Kilpauk Medical College, India (MBBS)
Notable accomplishments: Developed new treatment options for lung cancer
Most inspiring person: Mahatma Gandhi
Lesson learned: No success is everlasting, and no setback is permanent.
Favorite travel destination: Alaska
Nonprofit: India Literacy Project
Candice L. Saunders
President and CEO
WellStar Health System
Candice L. Saunders is president and CEO of Marietta-based Wellstar Health System. Saunders has led the nonprofit health system to reinvest strategically in the communities it serves by providing charity care; developing a pipeline of nurses and physicians; cultivating and retaining local talent to serve local communities; and developing state-of-the-art facilities. Under her leadership, Wellstar acquired six additional hospitals in 2016 and expanded its clinically integrated network, Wellstar Clinical Partners. With its 2022 closure of Atlanta Medical Center, Wellstar is partnering with Southside Medical Center. Wellstar will invest $5 million in Southside’s East Point clinic to expand its size and capacity and provide greater access to primary and preventive care, among other services.
Education: University of South Florida, University of Alabama at Birmingham (MBA, MHA)
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale
First job: Administrative assistant
Why I chose this work: I have always had a passion to help others, and it was this purpose that called me to nursing and healthcare.
Notable achievements: Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women Leaders (2019), Georgia Hospital Association W. Daniel Barker Leadership Award (2017), National Association of Female Executives Healthcare Champion (2015)
Bassam Tomeh, MD
First Medical Care
Bassam Tomeh became the CEO of First Medical Care after acquiring the practice from his mentor, Dr. Gulshan Harjee. Tomeh, whose practice serves refugees and immigrants from Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries with cultural sensitivity and care, has a special interest in disease prevention and primary care for ages 15 and up. An Atlanta native, Tomeh serves as an active voting member on the Emory Healthcare Board of Managers and Dekalb Physicians Hospital Organization board and is an active member and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the National Arab American Medical Association. He was an assistant professor at Mercer University School of Medicine.
Education: Emory University, Medical College of Georgia (MD)
Inspiring people: My father, Dr. Mohammed Tomeh, and Dr. Gulshan Harjee. These two invaluable public servants taught me that it is vitally important to be an active part of our patients’ lives and that compassion and commitment should be foremost in our daily work.
Charities: Al Farooq Masid of Atlanta and RAKSHA, which advocates for the South Asian community
Kathleen E. Toomey, MD
Commissioner and State Health Officer
Georgia Department of Public Health
As commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Kathleen E. Toomey oversees 159 county health departments in 18 health districts and has helped lead the response to the coronavirus pandemic in Georgia, fostering critical partnerships with hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare organizations, business leaders, the agricultural community, and statewide public health and community organizations. Formerly, she was director of Fulton County’s Department of Health and Wellness. She is an epidemiologist and board-certified family practitioner with a long career in national and global public health, including a stint as Botswana country director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Education: Smith College, Harvard Medical School (MD), Harvard School of Public Health (MPH)
Rochelle P. Walensky, MD
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Rochelle Walensky is the 19th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ninth administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Her pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS, and she is an expert on the testing and treatment of deadly viruses, including Covid-19. Formerly, she was the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital (2017-2020) and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (2012-2020). She has been recognized internationally for her work to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa and nationally for motivating health policy and informing clinical trial design and evaluation
Education: Washington University, Harvard School of Public Health (MPH), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (MD)
Regional President CTCA Hospitals & Clinics
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Atlanta, Part of City of Hope
Watkins joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Atlanta, in 2019. Since then, he has been instrumental in expanding patient access through in-network contract acquisition and development; and launching CTCA Atlanta’s telehealth program, which was key in ensuring patients could continue their cancer treatment plan during the Covid-19 pandemic travel moratorium. Under Watkins’s leadership, CTCA Atlanta received the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award and earned American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet recognition for nursing excellence in 2021. Beginning in 2022, Watkins now plays a pivotal role as CTCA and City of Hope joined forces to build a national, integrated cancer research and treatment system with a focus on democratizing cancer care. Serving on the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, Watkins responded to its call through its ATL Action for Racial Equity.
Education: Tennessee State University (MPA)
James Curran, MD
Curran was formerly dean of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. Previously, he spent 25 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reaching the rank of assistant surgeon general. In 1981, he was tapped to lead the investigation into the first cases of AIDS. The author of nearly 300 scientific publications, Curran led the CDC’s research and
public health activities in response to the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2009, the Rollins School’s dean of public health position was named in his honor.
Walter J. Curran Jr., MD
Curran is the former executive director of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute, the first and only cancer center in Georgia designated by the National Cancer Institute; Curran was also the first radiation oncologist to serve as director of an NCI-designated cancer center.
William Foege, MD, MPH
Considered a titan of epidemiology, Foege was instrumental in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. At Emory University, he holds the title of Presidential Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Health, in addition to being a Gates Fellow and former Carter Center leader.
David Satcher, MD, PhD
A renowned physician, public health leader, and scholar, Dr. David Satcher is best known for serving as the 16th U.S. Surgeon General. Prior to that, he was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is the founding director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Shepherd and her husband Harold cofounded Atlanta’s Shepherd Center in 1975. The facility has grown from a six-bed unit to a world-renowned hospital specializing in research, medical treatment, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries and other neurological conditions.
Louis W. Sullivan, MD
With the exception of his four-year tenure as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which ended in 1993, Sullivan was president of Morehouse School of Medicine for more than 20 years. He also founded the Sullivan Alliance (now part of the Association of American Medical Colleges), which aims to increase the numbers of ethnic and racial minorities in health care, and is chairman of the Georgia Global Health Alliance.
A noted scholar, teacher, author, administrator, and race relations expert, Tatum was the ninth president of Spelman College. Tatum is a licensed clinical psychologist with an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan, as well as an MA in religious studies from Hartford Seminary, and is the author of the acclaimed 1997 book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race.
A champion of education and literacy, Emory Law graduate and former high school teacher Yates has served since 1998 as executive director of the Atlanta Speech School.