2024 Atlanta 500: Arts, Sports, & Entertainment

2024 Atlanta 500: Arts, Sports, & Entertainment
National Black Arts Festival

Photograph by Kimberly Evans

Arts | Film, Music, & Entertainment | Sports | Legends


Atlanta 500: Susan Bridges

Photograph courtesy of Susan Bridges

Susan Bridges
Owner and Director
Whitespace Gallery

For 15 years, Atlanta native Susan Bridges curated pop-up shows around the city in churches, U-Haul facilities, shipping containers, and an underground parking garage. In 2006, she opened Whitespace Gallery in a former carriage house behind her Victorian home in Inman Park. Today, the gallery represents more than 40 local and national artists who鈥檝e shown work at the Smithsonian Institution, the Venice Biennale, and Art Basel Miami Beach.

EDUCATION University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
FIRST JOB Receptionist, ad agency
WHAT I鈥橠 TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF Everything鈥檚 going to be okay.
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I love to dance.

Atlanta 500 Yehimi Cambr贸n 脕lvarez

Yehimi Cambr贸n 脕lvarez
Artist, Activist, and Public Speaker

Yehimi Cambr贸n is a DACAmented artist, activist, and public speaker born in San Antonio Villalong铆n, Michoac谩n, M茅xico, and raised in Atlanta. Cambr贸n鈥檚 work centers on immigrants and predominantly reflects the experiences of undocumented Americans. Cambr贸n鈥檚 series Family Portrait was displayed at the High Museum in 2019 and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in 2020. In June 2020 she completed her tallest mural to date, We Give Each Other the World, a community-responsive piece cofunded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Hapeville. In August 2020, Cambr贸n completed Monuments: Atlanta鈥檚 Immigrants, a mural at the Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. She has had solo exhibitions at the USC Upstate Art Gallery and Oglethorpe University Museum of Art and has exhibited at Atlanta Contemporary and Agnes Scott College鈥檚 Dalton Gallery, among others.

EDUCATION Agnes Scott College
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow (2023), Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2020), Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia (2018-2020)

Atlanta 500: Monica Campana

Photograph by Brandon Barr

Monica Campana
Founder and Executive Director
Living Walls

A native of Peru, Monica Campana moved to the United States in 1998. As the founder and executive director of the mural program Living Walls, The City Speaks, she鈥檚 facilitated the creation of more than 100 public murals throughout the metro Atlanta area from a diverse array of national and international artists. Campana has also served as curator at WISH ATL and project manager for Philadelphia鈥檚 Open Source, and curated an exhibition at Moscow鈥檚 Artmossphere biennale.

Atlanta 500: Annette Cone-Skelton

Photograph by Kim Link

Annette Cone-Skelton
President, CEO, and Founding Director
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia

Annette Cone-Skelton founded the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in 2000 with a mission to support the state鈥檚 artists. MOCA GA is currently home to more than 1,300 pieces, as well as a library and a voluminous archive. A longtime educator, curator, and editor, Cone-Skelton is also a respected artist whose work is collected in the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the High Museum of Art, among other places. She received the Governor鈥檚 Award for the Arts & Humanities in 2012 and Atlanta Contemporary鈥檚 Nexus Award in 2019.

EDUCATION Atlanta College of Art
HOMETOWN LaGrange, Georgia
HIDDEN TALENT Played the French horn in high school
CHARITIES Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, Idea Capital, MOCA GA

Atlanta 500 Shanequa GayShanequa Gay

Artist Shanequa Gay exhibits her works and procures residencies within the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Africa. She is a Do-Good Fellow recipient and an Emory University Arts and Social Justice Fellow (2020). A visiting professor at Spelman College, Gay鈥檚 accomplishments include selection for Off the Wall, a city-wide civil rights and social justice mural initiative led by the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee (2019). Recent exhibitions include the European Cultural Centre Personal Structures-REFLECTION, 59th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, (2022); Atlanta Biennial, Atlanta Contemporary (2021); Le Monde Bossale, Montreal, Canada (2021); Adorned, McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Charlotte (2020); and Holding Space for Nobility: A Memorial for Breonna Taylor, Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill North Carolina (2020). In 2023, the Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts selected Gay as one of five women artists to exhibit their work as New Worlds: Georgia Women to Watch.

EDUCATION Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia State University (MFA)

Atlanta 500 Omari J. Henderson

Omari J. Henderson
Founder and Co-Owner
ZuCot Gallery

Omari J. Henderson has managed to fuse his educational background, business acumen, and love of art to strike a delicate balance between his passion, personal, and professional life as a partner and co-
owner of ZuCot Gallery. Through his leadership, ZuCot has become the largest African American art gallery in the Southeast, endeavoring to elevate the careers of artists while providing a unique customer experience for collectors, corporations, and private consultations. A Decatur native, Henderson is also the founder of Youth Challenge Foundation, a mentoring organization for young men ages 12 to 18. He also serves on the board of directors for several organizations including Kenny Leon鈥檚 True Colors Theatre, Park Pride, and Elevate Atlanta.

EDUCATION Tuskegee University
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK Since my youth, art has always been a real passion. I was not skilled in creating work, but really appreciated what I saw my father and other artists create (across many platforms). I鈥檝e always been an innovator with an entrepreneur mindset.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED聽You have a responsibility to build a legacy that can propel generations to come.

Omari J. Henderson

Onaje Henderson
Partner and Gallery Director
ZuCot Gallery

Onaje Henderson is a partner and gallery director of ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta. Under his leadership, ZuCot has advanced the careers of countless African American artists and currently stands as the largest African American fine arts gallery in the Southeast. A community educator, Henderson regularly collaborates with art enthusiasts, high-end collectors, and corporate executives to promote the necessity of owning one鈥檚 culture and has also advised countless clients on art selection. A member of the Hammonds House Museum board, the Decatur native is also a member of the Fulton County Arts Council and Arts Advisory Committee formed by Mayor Andre Dickens in 2023.

EDUCATION Tuskegee University
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Talk less, listen more.
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE Building a business that has the ability to adapt and pivot with the times or circumstances is paramount to staying viable and profitable.
FAVORITE MOVIE Coming to America
NONPROFITS Hammonds House, Art Papers, Youth Challenge Inc.

Atlanta 500 Donovan JohnsonDonovan Johnson
Johnson Lowe Gallery

Donovan Johnson has a decade of experience in world-class contemporary art galleries, in both New York, having worked at Lisa Cooley Gallery, and in Atlanta, at Hathaway Contemporary and Bill Lowe Gallery, where he worked very closely with its founder as assistant director, directing exhibit operations and sales before becoming the gallery director in 2021. He has experience in art curation and collection; more notably, he has curated shows such as Michael David鈥檚 The Mirror Stage and Jimmy O鈥橬eal鈥檚 An Introspective. In 2023, Bill Lowe Gallery, announced a rebrand as Johnson Lowe Gallery under the new leadership of Johnson. The announcement coincides with the launch of a comprehensive exhibition schedule and potential off-site projects and programming in Atlanta, championing Atlanta-based and international artists.

FIRST JOB Intern, Bill Lowe Gallery
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK Art has always been and will be my first true language.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED From Bill Lowe: 鈥淜now who you is and who you ain鈥檛.鈥

Atlanta 500 Tinashe Kajese-BoldenTinashe Kajese-Bolden
Artistic Director
Alliance Theatre

Tinashe Kajese-Bolden was named artistic director of the Alliance Theatre in 2023. An award-winning director, actor, and producer, Kajese-Bolden鈥檚 directing credits include Toni Stone, The Many Wondrous Realities of Jasmine Starr-Kidd, Nick鈥檚 Flamingo鈥檚 Grill, School Girls, Or the African Mean Girls Play, Ghost, Native Gardens, Pipeline, and Eclipsed. She has also worked as a director and actor regionally and on and off Broadway. Her upcoming directing projects at the Alliance include Furlough鈥檚 Paradise and The Preachers Wife written by Tituss Burgess and inspired by the film starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. As the BOLD associate artistic director at Alliance Theatre, Kajese-Bolden stewarded the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, cultivating new works for Atlanta-based artists, and oversaw the Spelman Leadership Fellowship, the first paid mentorship program of its kind partnering a regional theatre with an HBCU.

EDUCATION University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
HOMETOWN Harare, Zimbabwe
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS 2020 MAP Fund Award grantee for the development of ALL SMILES for children on the autism spectrum, 2020 Princess Grace Award for directing

Atlanta 500 Hala ModdelmogHala Moddelmog
President and CEO
Woodruff Arts Center

Hala Moddelmog is president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center. She has spent nearly a decade serving in volunteer leadership at the Arts Center. She served on the Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees from 2011鈥2017 and has served on the Woodruff Governing Board since 2017. She also served on the Alliance Theatre Board of Directors from 2011鈥2020 and led the Alliance Theatre Board as co-chair from 2017鈥2019. Throughout her career, she has served in top executive roles and has served as a corporate director for four NYSE companies and a Carlyle Group private portfolio company board. In 2014, she became the first female president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Previously she was president of Arby鈥檚 Restaurant Group, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the first woman to lead an international restaurant company as president of Church鈥檚 Chicken.

EDUCATION Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia (MA)

Atlanta 500 Christopher MosesChristopher Moses
Artistic Director
Alliance Theatre

Christopher Moses was named artistic director of the Alliance Theatre in 2023. After working at Alliance for 10 years, in 2011, Moses took on the position of director of education at the Alliance Theatre, overseeing the Alliance Theatre Institute, Theatre for Youth & Families, and the Acting Program. Under his leadership, the Alliance launched the Kathy & Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young program, which provides fully interactive professional theater experiences for children of all abilities from ages newborn through five years old; and the Alliance Teen Ensemble, which performs world premier plays commissioned for and about teens. In 2014, Moses added the title associate artistic director and continued to expand the Alliance鈥檚 education offerings. Moses received the Governor鈥檚 Award for the Arts and Humanities in 2023.

EDUCATION Pennsylvania State University
HOMETOWN East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Noguchi鈥檚 Playscape in Piedmont Park. It鈥檚 as beautiful as it is dangerous. A perfect metaphor for life.
FAVORITE SPECIAL OCCASION RESTAURANT If we can get a reservation, my wife and I love BoccaLupo.

Atlanta 500 Gennadi Nedvigin

Gennadi Nedvigin
Artistic Director
Atlanta Ballet

In 2016, Gennadi Nedvigin became the fourth artistic director in the 87-year history of the Atlanta Ballet. Born in Russia, Nedvigin was accepted into the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 10 and joined the Moscow Renaissance Ballet upon graduation. He joined the San Francisco Ballet in 1997 and was promoted to principal dancer three years later. Nedvigin has performed as Albrecht in Giselle, Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Since joining Atlanta Ballet, Nedvigin, with choreographer Yuri Possokov, assembled a world-class design team and created a world premiere production of The Nutcracker for Atlanta Ballet in 2018, followed by the company鈥檚 debut performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2019. Under Nedvigin鈥檚 guidance, the company has grown to 40 dancers and has established the Academy training program and Atlanta Ballet 2, a top-tier performance ensemble.

EDUCATION Bolshoi Ballet Academy
FIRST JOB Soloist dancer at Moscow Renaissance Ballet
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (2001, 2010, and 2017), Erik Bruhn Prize (1999)

Atlanta 500 Stephanie OwensStephanie Owens
Executive Director
National Black Arts Festival

Stephanie Owens is the executive director of the National Black Arts Festival. Based in Atlanta, NBAF is recognized as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States focused exclusively on arts and artists of African descent. With experience in the entertainment, retail, and nonprofit industries,

Owens worked at Def Jam Japan and Island Def Jam in New York. Utilizing strong relationships established in the music industry, Owens created Oshare鈥 Inc., a fashion styling and image consulting company, which became Island Def Jam鈥檚 first in-house styling team. Owens then transitioned into corporate fashion, becoming a buyer and global merchandiser for several major retailers, thus developing her general management skills, while overseeing million-dollar budgets and prioritizing long-range financial planning.

EDUCATION Howard University
HOMETOWN Vallejo, California
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I had dreams of being a singer when I was younger, and I was featured on a couple of albums.

Atlanta 500 Carol Ann PenceAnn-Carol Pence
Cofounder and Producing Artistic
Aurora Theatre

Ann-Carol Pence is the producing artistic director of Lawrenceville鈥檚 Aurora Theatre, which she cofounded more than 20 years ago with Anthony Rodriguez. Under their leadership, the theater grew from 120 to 5,000 season subscribers; it produces 800 events annually for 80,000 visitors, and is the second-largest theater in Georgia by membership and budget. The company recently moved into its new $35 million, 59,500-square-foot Lawrenceville Arts Center. Pence continues her work as an advocate of radical inclusion, creating space where people of all backgrounds gather to celebrate the arts. She鈥檚 also been a pianist and/or musical director in productions nationally and in Atlanta.

EDUCATION James Madison University
HOMETOWN Harrisonburg, Virginia
FIRST JOB Church organist at age 12

Atlanta 500: Michael Rooks

Michael Rooks
Wieland Family Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art
High Museum of Art

Since joining the High Museum in 2010, Michael Rooks has curated or managed dozens of exhibitions and increased the museum鈥檚 collection by a quarter, including work by Julie Mehretu, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, and Kara Walker. He was also commissioner and cocurator of the U.S. pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2010 Venice Biennale. A 2015 Atlanta Contemporary Nexus Award winner, Rooks previously held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Honolulu鈥檚 Contemporary Museum, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

EDUCATION School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MA)
HOMETOWN Ottawa, Illinois
FIRST JOB Paper route
LESSON LEARNED The necessity of compromise to enjoy the pleasure of consensus-building

Atlanta 500: Lauri Stallings

Photograph by Jeoff Davis

Lauri Stallings
Founding Artist

As the founder of the dance company glo, conceptual artist and choreographer Lauri Stallings has transformed the Atlanta dance scene, collaborating with artists including Robert Spano, Janelle Mon谩e, and Big Boi. Stallings鈥檚 work has been commissioned and presented by venues including the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the High Museum of Art, Art Basel Miami Beach, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art. In 2018, she received the Hudgens Prize from the Hudgens Center for Art & Learning. She is also a MOCA GA Fellow (2017) and Rome Prize nominee (2013). In 2019, Stallings was the first choreographer in residence at the High Museum of Art and shared her choreographies in the XII Florence Biennale, where she was one of 400 artists representing 55 countries. In 2022 Georgia Trend included Stallings in its list of 100 Most Influential Georgians.

EDUCATION Point Park University
HOMETOWN Gainesville, Florida

Atlanta 500: Rand Suffolk

Photograph by KatMax Photography

Randall Suffolk
Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. Director
High Museum of Art

Randall Suffolk became the High Museum鈥檚 director in November 2015. Since his arrival, he has championed a commitment to community engagement, placing particular emphasis on collaboration, inclusivity, and access. To support these objectives, the museum has reduced admission fees, focused programmatically on the demographics of its audience, reinstalled its entire collection, and added numerous important acquisitions.

EDUCATION Connecticut College, Columbia University (MA), Bryn Mawr College (MA)
HOMETOWN Tallmadge, Ohio
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Always live within walking distance of the office.

Atlanta 500: Troy T. Taylor

Troy T. Taylor
Founding Partner and Owner
ZuCot Gallery

Troy T. Taylor is a founding partner and owner of ZuCot Gallery, the largest African American-owned fine art gallery in the Southeast. Its mission is to promote original works of art by living African American artists. Taylor has helped to develop a go-to-market strategy that was highly indexed at attracting the growing wealth of the city鈥檚 young African American professional population. He has amassed a client list of over 1,000 collectors and a social media following of over 10,000 followers. He has also developed an educational program with Atlanta Public Schools where over 2,500 students visit the gallery during the school year.

EDUCATION Penn State, University of Pennsylvania (MS)

Atlanta 500: Allan C. Vella

Allan C. Vella
President and CEO
Fox Theatre

Allan C. Vella has worked in the facility management field since 1986, managing theaters, arenas, amphitheaters, and exhibition facilities. His experience spans a wide range of events, including NCAA tournaments, MLB and NHL games, ballet, concerts, and presidential visits. As president and CEO of the Fox Theatre, Vella is responsible for all operations and programming. The Fox averages 300 performances and hosts more than 750,000 guests annually, with events ranging from rock concerts to Broadway, ballet, comedy, and movies.

EDUCATION University of Iowa
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE Assisting with recovery efforts for Southeast Texas after Hurricane Rita
HIDDEN TALENT I鈥檓 an amateur rock drummer. My realization that a future as a successful musician was highly unlikely led me to my career.

Atlanta 500 Anna Walker Skillman

Anna Walker Skillman
Jackson Fine Art

Anna Walker Skillman is the owner of Jackson Fine Art, a Buckhead gallery that emphasizes a mix of 20th-century and contemporary fine art photography. With a degree in art history, Walker Skillman began her career at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco, moving to Atlanta in 1993 to manage the studio of artist Todd Murphy. Joining Jackson Fine Art in 1998, she purchased the gallery in 2003 from Jane Jackson, who founded it in 1990. Jackson Fine Art鈥檚 clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

EDUCATION University of Georgia

Atlanta 500 John Welker

John Welker
Artistic and Executive Director
Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre

With four other veterans of the Atlanta Ballet, John Welker cofounded Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre in 2017 after a long career in dance. Debuting as a professional dancer at age 16, the Ohio native spent 22 years as a principal dancer for the Atlanta Ballet, where he performed lead roles in productions including Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Four Seasons, and Seven Sonatas. In 2010 he founded the contemporary dance company Wabi Sabi, which commissioned 35 new works over seven years.

EDUCATION Kennesaw State University
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK Dance combines athleticism, spirituality, science, and art into the human form, and when combined, dance becomes a powerful communicator鈥攖here is nothing else like it.
FIRST JOB Newspaper route with the Columbus Dispatch
HIDDEN TALENT I can hit a high G-flat into an F-sharp with my voice. It鈥檚 extraordinarily terrible.
FAVORITE MOVIE The Godfather: Part II

Atlanta 500 Tomer Zvulun

Tomer Zvulun
General and Artistic Director
The Atlanta Opera

Tomer Zvulun has been general and artistic director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, directing more than 15 new productions including Dead Man Walking and The Flying Dutchman. During Zvulun鈥檚 tenure the opera has tripled its fundraising and doubled its annual number of productions; his focus on innovation has led to a Harvard Business School case study, a TED Talk, and an International Opera Awards nomination. A celebrated director, Zvulun has staged work at the Washington National Opera, the Seattle Opera, and internationally; prior to coming to Atlanta, he spent seven seasons on the Metropolitan Opera鈥檚 directing staff.

EDUCATION Open University of Tel Aviv
HOMETOWN Ashqelon, Israel
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK Opera鈥檚 combination of music, theater, and design is the most powerful artistic style I was ever exposed to.
FIRST JOB Worked in the Israeli opera in every entry position imaginable: usher, stagehand, prop operator


Atlanta 500: Kenny Blank

Photograph courtesy of individual

Kenny Blank
Executive Director
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Kenny Blank is executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival鈥攖he largest film festival in Atlanta and the world鈥檚 preeminent Jewish film fest. A communications and journalism veteran, Blank worked for Atlanta mayors Maynard Jackson and Bill Campbell in the early 1990s, and won an Associated Press award for special coverage of the 1996 Olympics as a producer at WSAV-TV in Savannah. Most recently, Blank was an executive producer for WXIA-TV, where he received an Emmy for breaking-news coverage. A recipient of the IMAGE Film Award and Atlanta Contemporary鈥檚 Nexus Award, Blank previously chaired the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund.

EDUCATION New York University
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Four things that can never be recovered: the stone after it鈥檚 thrown, the word after it鈥檚 spoken, the occasion after it鈥檚 missed, and the time after it鈥檚 gone.
FAVORITE MOVIE Lawrence of Arabia

Atlanta 500 Jim Farmer

Jim Farmer
Festival Director and Executive Director
Out on Film

Jim Farmer has served as the festival director and executive director of Out on Film, Atlanta鈥檚 LGBTQ film festival, since 2008. Under his leadership the festival has won ArtsATL鈥檚 Beacon Award for Community Engagement and the Center for Civic Innovation鈥檚 Civic Impact Award, and received an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant for its visiting-filmmaker series. It was also named an Oscar-qualifying festival in 2020, one of only six such LGBTQ+ film festivals in the world. MovieMaker magazine listed the festival in its 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee list in 2022. Farmer has been an Atlanta Pride grand marshal as well as a longtime arts writer for outlets including ArtsATL, Georgia Voice, and Project Q Atlanta.

EDUCATION University of Georgia
HOMETOWN Milledgeville, Georgia
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Leading Out on Film鈥檚 growth from a seven-day film festival to its current incarnation as an 11-day festival and becoming one of the most respected LGBTQ+ film festivals in the country
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I am incredibly shy.

Atlanta 500: Donald Glover

Photograph by Getty/Cindy Ord

Donald Glover
Actor, Writer, Director, and Musician

Raised in Stone Mountain, Donald Glover is the creator, writer, producer, and director of the FX series Atlanta, which debuted in 2016 and has received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards. The final season of the series aired in 2022. As an actor, he鈥檚 appeared in several films including Magic Mike XXL, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Martian, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Glover joined the writing team of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock while he was a student at New York University, and his musical alter ego, Childish Gambino, has garnered seven Grammy nominations for his albums. His single 鈥淭his is America鈥 won four Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and Best Music Video.

EDUCATION New York University

Atlanta 500 London Holmes (London on da Track)London Holmes (London on da Track)

As a teenager London joined a rap crew called Dem Guyz and developed his musical skills by playing piano at his local church. In 2011, he released his first track, 鈥淐urtains,鈥 with Young Thug. In the next few years he collaborated with Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane, and Rich Homie Quan before signing with Cash Money Records. He鈥檚 become known for breaking new artists and has produced hits for artists such as 21 Savage, Summer Walker, Saweetie, G-Eazy, and more.

Atlanta 500: Janelle Monae

Photograph by Getty/Dia Dipasupil

Janelle Mon谩e

With albums including The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady, and Dirty Computer, Janelle Mon谩e creates music that pushes the boundaries of rock, funk, hip-hop, R&B, and electronica. As a musical innovator, the 10-time Grammy nominee has been influenced by Prince, Stevie Wonder, and George Clinton, and is the founder of the Atlanta record label Wondaland Arts Society. Mon谩e is also an actress (Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Harriet, The Glorias, and Antebellum), CoverGirl model, author (The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer), and activist who鈥檚 spoken up on behalf of LGBTQ+ rights and raised money for Flint, Michigan, following the contamination of its water. Her latest project The Age of Pleasure has been nominated for Album of the Year and Best Progressive R&B Album in the 2024 Grammy Awards, which will be announced in February.

Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas

Atlanta 500 Paula D. MurphyPaula D. Murphy

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Soul Circus Inc.

Paula D. Murphy is the executive vice president, chief operating officer, and co-owner of Soul Circus Inc., producer of UniverSoul Circus, one of the top family-focused entertainment touring shows in the world. Founded in Atlanta, UniverSoul Circus will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Murphy has played a key role in navigating the growth of Soul Circus Inc. from under 30 shows in one market to over 500 performances annually. Murphy has over three decades of proven business experience in dozens of countries around the world. One of her career highlights includes helping create a training program for roadies of color to get experience in the live entertainment industry. A dedicated advocate for education, Murphy is chair of the board of directors of Resurgence Hall Charter School in metro Atlanta.

EDUCATION Georgia State University
HOMETOWN Fairfield, Alabama
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Listen to be heard.
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I speak sign language.
WHO鈥橠 PLAY ME IN A BIOPIC Tracee Ellis Ross

Atlanta 500: Will Packer

Will Packer
Will Packer Productions/Will Packer Media

Will Packer has produced and executive-produced a wide range of movies that have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office, including 10 films that have opened at number one. Packer鈥檚 films Girls Trip and Night School were the highest-grossing comedies for 2017 and 2018, respectively. Packer鈥檚 television, digital, and branded-content company, Will Packer Media, produces episodic scripted and unscripted series including Queens Court, a reality dating series which debuted in 2023 on Peacock; That Girl Lay Lay on Nickelodeon; Ready to Love and Put a Ring on It on Oprah Winfrey鈥檚 OWN network; and Fight Night and Lower Bottoms podcasts on iHeartRadio. Packer produced the 2022 Academy Awards 94th Oscars Ceremony鈥攔eceiving an Emmy Award nomination as Producer, Outstanding Variety Special Live, for the 2022 Oscars. In 2023, Packer鈥檚 latest film Praise This premiered on Peacock and marked Packer鈥檚 first streaming platform feature film. Also, in 2023, Packer launched Collective Edge, a boutique management firm.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS National Black Arts Festival Trailblazer in the Arts Award (2023), NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture for Girls Trip (2018)

Atlanta 500: Frank Patterson

Frank Patterson
President and CEO
Trilith Studios

Frank Patterson is the president and CEO of Trilith Studios, where the films Avengers Endgame, Spider-Man Homecoming, and Passengers were produced, among others. He led the transition of the studio from a facilities business to an ecosystem intentionally built for the creative industries. Prior to Trilith, Patterson co-founded and served as the CEO of Pulse Evolution Corporation, a technology company that produces hyper-realistic digital humans for live and virtual reality applications. While at Pulse, Patterson produced the immersive live production of Michael Jackson鈥檚 鈥淪lave to the Rhythm鈥 at the Billboard Music Awards, which featured an original performance by Pulse鈥檚 digital human likeness of the late Michael Jackson.

EDUCATION Baylor University (MA)

Atlanta 500: Big Boi

Photograph by Getty/Kevin C. Cox

Antwan Patton (Big Boi)

Antwan Andr茅 Patton, aka Big Boi, is a songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actor. As the iconic Southern hip-hop duo OutKast, Big Boi and collaborator Andr茅 3000 created a string of platinum-selling albums, won six Grammys, and created the soundtrack for the 2006 film Idlewild鈥攚hich the pair also starred in. Big Boi鈥檚 first solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son of Chico Dusty, debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release in 2010. He鈥檚 collaborated with Missy Elliott, Beyonc茅, and Jay-Z, and helped launch the careers of Janelle Mon谩e and Killer Mike. On Aug. 11, 2023, 50 years to the day that hip hop was born, the date was declared 鈥淏ig Boi Day鈥 in Fulton County with Patton receiving numerous honors and proclamations from city, county, and state officials. Additionally, as of 2023, OutKast鈥檚 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the bestselling album of all time as it has sold 13 million units according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Born in Savannah, Big Boi is also the founder and CEO of the Big Kidz Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting leadership skills, fostering exposure to the humanities, and developing social consciousness in young people.

Atlanta 500: Tyler Perry

Photograph by Getty/Jamie McCarthy

Tyler Perry
Actor, Director, and Producer
Tyler Perry Studios

One of the most commercially successful African American filmmakers in history, Tyler Perry created his famous character Madea on the stage before bringing her to the screen in 2005鈥檚 Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which grossed more than $50 million. In 2008 in Atlanta, he opened Tyler Perry Studios鈥攖he country鈥檚 first major African American-owned film studio. In 2019 Perry opened a new production facility, one of the nation鈥檚 largest, on the site of the former Fort McPherson. Perry has also created television shows including Sistas, served as an executive producer of the Lee Daniels film Precious, and starred in David Fincher鈥檚 Gone Girl, among other acting projects. Included in the 2023 The Hollywood Reporter鈥s 50 Forces of Change, which highlights creative and business change makers who are pushing for inclusivity onscreen and off, Perry鈥檚 documentary for Amazon Studios Maxine鈥檚 Baby: The Tyler Perry Story also debuted in 2023. The connections to Perry鈥檚 roots begin with the title, which is a nod to Perry鈥檚 late mother Willie Maxine Perry.

HOMETOWN New Orleans

Atlanta 500: Killer Mike

Photograph courtesy of individual

Michael Render (Killer Mike)
Run the Jewels

Michael Render might be as famous for his activism as he is for his music. Raised in the Adamsville鈥揅ollier Heights neighborhood, the Grammy-winning rapper served on Keisha Lance Bottoms鈥檚 mayoral transition team and was a prominent supporter of Bernie Sanders. Render鈥檚 advocacy on behalf of the #BankBlack movement helped move an estimated $60 million to Black-owned banking institutions, and he was appointed to the board of the High Museum of Art. In 2020, he partnered with Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover and former Atlanta Mayor and civil rights activist Andrew Young to create Greenwood Bank, a Black-owned online bank that caters to economically underserved Black and Latino communities across the United States. Render performs as Killer Mike in the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels. In 2023, he was nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his song 鈥淪cientists & Engineers鈥 featuring Andr茅 3000, Future, and Eryn Allen Kane and Best Rap Album for his latest album Michael at the Grammy Awards, which will be announced in February.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Alice Mary Johnson, an executive of the Atlanta Area Commission on Children and Youth, taught me how radical Martin Luther King Jr. was.

Atlanta 500 Alyssa Michelle Stephens (Latto)Alyssa Michelle Stephens (Latto)


Latto won the first season of the reality television series, The Rap Game, in 2016, when she was going by Miss Mulatto. She notoriously did not sign with Jermaine Dupri, breaking through as an independent artist with her 2019 single, 鈥淏itch From Da Souf.鈥 She released her debut album, Queen of Da Souf, through RCA in 2020. That same year, she was nominated for Best New Hip Hop Artist at the BET Hip Hop Awards. In 2023, she was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Melodic Rap Performance at the Grammy Awards. Also, the HALLS brand recently partnered with Latto to bring some 鈥淏ig Energy鈥 to this year鈥檚 cold, cough, and flu season through its 鈥淩apper Wrote This Wrapper鈥 campaign. The limited-edition cough drop wrappers feature a variety of pep talks inspired by Latto鈥檚 hit songs such as 鈥淏ig Energy鈥 and offer words of encouragement like 鈥渒eep your crown on鈥 and 鈥渂elief in relief.鈥

NONPROFIT Win Some Give Some Foundation

Atlanta 500 Michael Williams, II (Mike WILL Made-It)Michael Williams, II (Mike WILL Made-It)


Michael Williams grew up in Marietta surrounded by music. His mother was a recording artist, his father DJed in clubs, and one of his sisters was a drum major. As a high school student, he started supplying tracks for Gucci Mane. He attended Georgia State but soon had his first hit with Meek Mill and Rick Ross. The multiple Grammy winner鈥檚 many hits include 鈥淣o Lie鈥 by 2 Chainz, 鈥淏andz a Make Her Dance鈥 by Juicy J, 鈥淧our It Up鈥 by Rihanna, 鈥淏ody Party鈥 by Ciara, 鈥淲e Can鈥檛 Stop鈥 by Miley Cyrus, 鈥淔ormation鈥 by Beyonc茅, and 鈥淗umble鈥 by Kendrick Lamar. Williams has been named the lead music producer to curate music throughout the 2023-2024 NBA season in a partnership with ESPN鈥檚 custom NBA music strategy.

Atlanta 500 Kavi VuKavi Vu

Digital Storyteller

Kavi Vu is a Vietnamese American storyteller and community organizer who was raised in South Georgia. As a daughter of refugees, she strives to tell stories that foster more empathetic and inclusive communities. Vu co-founded Wake Up Atlanta, a web series designed to increase Asian American Pacific Islander civic engagement in Georgia and co-created the ABC鈥檚 of AAPIs coloring book and Atlanta BeltLine exhibit. She was a 2019 Civic Innovation Fellow for the Center for Civic Innovation. And, also in 2019, for her digital organizing, Vu received the Rising Star Award from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. Vu is committed to being a part of the movement that brings more Asian Americans to screens, to the stage, and her favorite鈥攖o the polls.

EDUCATION University of Georgia
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED It doesn鈥檛 have to be forever.


Atlanta 500 Carlos BocanegraCarlos Bocanegra
Vice President and Technical Director
Atlanta United

In 2015, Carlos Bocanegra joined Atlanta United as vice president and technical director following a 15-year professional career, which included stops in the MLS, English Premier League, Spain, France, and Scotland. In college, he played at UCLA, where he was a national champion. Bocanegra was twice a FIFA World Cup participant, captaining the United States in 2010 in South Africa. As an executive, he has won four trophies with Atlanta United and oversees the day-to-day soccer operations of the club, including the scouting department, the USL team, and the Academy. In 2021, he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

EDUCATION University of California, Los Angeles
FIRST JOB Pizza Royal
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Wherever you move, the weather will never be as perfect as it is in Southern California.
NONPROFITS Bert鈥檚 Big Adventure, Soccer in the Streets
BUCKET LIST Aspen for New Year鈥檚

Atlanta 500: Stephen Cannon

Photograph courtesy of individual

Stephen Cannon
Vice Chairman
AMB Sports and Entertainment

In 2023, Cannon was named vice chairman of AMB Sports and Entertainment, assuming the day-to-day leadership of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Falcons Football Club, United Soccer Properties, and PGA TOUR Superstore. AMBSE serves as the for-profit arm of Home Depot cofounder Arthur M. Blank鈥檚 family of businesses. Prior to joining AMBSE in 2016, Cannon served as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA MBUSA and was responsible for leading operations that generated record sales with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion. An Army veteran who served as a first lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain, Cannon speaks fluent German and graduated with academic honors from West Point.

EDUCATION United States Military Academy
HOMETOWN Paterson, New Jersey
FIRST JOB In high school, my brother and I owned a house-painting business that helped pay for college.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Spend time outside your comfort zone. You鈥檒l learn more about who you are, what you鈥檙e capable of, and what more you have to learn.

Atlanta 500 Dawn ChuriDawn Churi
Executive Director
BlazeSports America

Dawn Churi is the executive director of BlazeSports America, formed as the legacy organization of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta. Churi joined BlazeSports America in 2020 with a background in executive leadership in both the nonprofit and sports industries. Since then, Churi has helped the organization expand the programs it offers to both youth and veteran athletes. Most notably, Churi expanded veteran programs to include those veterans who suffer from PTSD rather than focusing solely on those with physical disabilities. Additionally, she helped create the organization鈥檚 first female-only wheelchair basketball team. Before her time at BlazeSports, Churi was the vice president of marketing, communication, and fundraising for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

EDUCATION University of Florida (MS)
HOMETOWN Mount Dora, Florida
FIRST JOB Disney鈥檚 Wide World of Sports
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Currently, I am obsessed with Chattahoochee Food Works.

Atlanta 500: Dan Corso

Photograph courtesy of individual

Dan Corso
Atlanta Sports Council

Dan Corso is president of the Atlanta Sports Council, the arm of the Metro Atlanta Chamber that serves as a recruiter for major regional, national, and international sporting events. The ASC was instrumental in the selection of Atlanta as the site for the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and the 2020 NCAA Men鈥檚 Final Four (ultimately canceled due to Covid-19). Atlanta will be the first city to host the College Football Playoff National Championship again in 2025, and in 2026, the FIFA World Cup will be held in the city, one of 16 host cities across North America. Additionally, Corso is president of the Atlanta World Cup Host Committee, the local organizing committee for the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup. He serves on the boards of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and College Football Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the ASC in 1999, Corso was vice chair of the festival division for the 1998 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

EDUCATION Florida State University

Atlanta 500: Steve Koonin

Steve Koonin
Atlanta Hawks

As CEO since 2014, Steve Koonin oversees all business, financial, and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena and represents the owners as the head of the organization. Under Koonin鈥檚 leadership, State Farm became the new naming-rights partner for the team鈥檚 venue; following a $192.5 million renovation, the rechristened State Farm Arena was named Best New Concert Venue by Pollstar in 2020, and the Hawks ranked first in the NBA for Overall Game Experience. The team also built a state-of-the-art practice and training facility at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven. An Atlanta native and a veteran of the entertainment and marketing industries, Koonin previously served as president of Turner Entertainment Networks.

EDUCATION University of Georgia
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Atlanta Sports Council Lifetime Achievement Award (2020)
BOARD MEMBERSHIPS Koonin is chairman of the board of the Georgia Aquarium, and he is on the board of the Atlanta Police Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Atlanta 500 Garth LagerweyGarth Lagerwey
President and CEO
Atlanta United

Garth Lagerwey was named president and CEO of Atlanta United on Nov. 22, 2022. In this role, Lagerwey oversees the leadership of Atlanta United, Atlanta United 2, and the Atlanta United Academy. Lagerwey brings more than 15 years of experience as an executive in Major League Soccer, most recently coming off a successful eight-year run in Seattle where he served as general manager and president of soccer. After his hiring in 2015, the club won two MLS Cup championships in 2019 and 2016, while making MLS Cup final on two other occasions. Seattle became the first MLS club to win the Concacaf Champions League in 2022 and subsequently the first to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup. After graduating from Duke University in 1994, Lagerwey played five seasons as a goalkeeper in MLS with the Kansas City Wizards, the Dallas Burn, and Miami Fusion FC. Following his playing career, Lagerwey went on to earn his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004. Lagerwey joined Real Salt Lake from the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP, where he served as an associate in the corporate department of the firm鈥檚 Washington, D.C. office.

EDUCATION Duke University, Georgetown University Law Center (JD)

Atlanta 500: Terry McGuirk

Photograph by Getty/Daniel Shirey

Terry McGuirk
Atlanta Braves

As chairman of the 2021 World Series Champions Atlanta Braves since 2001, and the team鈥檚 CEO until 2018, Terry McGuirk oversees all aspects of the MLB franchise. Major changes during McGuirk鈥檚 tenure at the helm have included the team鈥檚 2007 sale to Liberty Media and the construction of what is now Truist Park, the $672 million home the Braves moved into in 2017. In 2023, it was announced that Atlanta Braves and Liberty Media split, and Atlanta Braves became a publicly traded company known as Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc., the only publicly traded franchise in MLB. McGuirk began his career in 1972 as an intern at Ted Turner鈥檚 recently acquired television station in Atlanta, rising through the ranks to eventually become chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System.

EDUCATION Middlebury College

Atlanta 500: Rich McKay

Rich McKay
AMB Sports and Entertainment
Atlanta Falcons

Rich McKay has been a fixture in the National Football League for more than 30 years. One of the league鈥檚 most influential executives, McKay joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2004. During McKay鈥檚 tenure, the Falcons have been to the playoffs seven times, been to three NFC Championship games and participated in Super Bowl LI. McKay was hired by owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank in 2004 and served his first four years as the team鈥檚 general manager. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 2011. McKay was promoted to his latest role in January 2023. In addition to his Falcons duties, McKay played a central role in the development, opening, and operation of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. McKay previously spent 10 years as general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

EDUCATION Princeton University, Stetson University College of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEOs (2022)

Atlanta 500 Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery
Co-owner and Vice President
Atlanta Dream

Renee Montgomery is part owner and vice president of the WNBA Atlanta Dream. Montgomery has won three Girls State Basketball Championships and graduated from the University of Connecticut as a two-time All-American in 2009. She was drafted fourth in the WNBA and won two WNBA championships while also being named an All-Star and Sixth Woman of the Year in her 11-year professional career. She retired in 2021 after sitting out the 2020 season to focus on social reform and justice. That same year, she became co-owner and vice president of the Atlanta Dream, making her the first WNBA player to become an owner and executive of an WNBA team. Montgomery also serves as a sports analyst and a celebrity host to numerous media outlets and host of her weekly podcast Montgomery & Company.

EDUCATION University of Connecticut
FIRST JOB My first 鈥渞eal job鈥 was being a broadcaster for NBA TV.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Control your controllables.
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE Opting out of the 2020 WNBA season

Atlanta 500 Amy Phuong

Amy Phuong
Vice President, Government Relations
Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena

Amy Phuong is vice president of government relations for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena鈥攁 position that signifies an expansion of the Hawks鈥 efforts to unite the broader Atlanta community through basketball while deepening the organization鈥檚 relationships with local and state leaders. Prior to joining the Hawks in 2019, Phuong spent nearly a decade in public service. As parks and recreation commissioner, she oversaw some of Atlanta鈥檚 most ambitious park projects, including Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, the Grant Park Gateway, and the largest strategic expansion to date of Piedmont Park. An Atlanta native, Phuong was also the city鈥檚 first chief service officer. Phuong is a member of the board of Propel ATL.

EDUCATION Georgia Tech (MBA)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 (2017), Georgia Asian Times 25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia (2015)
FIRST JOB Server at Baskin-Robbins

Atlanta 500 Derek Schiller

Derek Schiller
President and CEO
Atlanta Braves

As president and CEO of the Atlanta Braves, Derek Schiller manages all business functions of the front office and sets the strategic vision for the Braves business. Schiller joined the Braves in 2003 as senior vice president of sales and marketing and became executive vice president of sales and marketing in 2007. As part of the Braves鈥 executive leadership team, he was instrumental in securing plans for what is now Truist Park and the Battery Atlanta and played a pivotal role in the design and execution phases of the project. In 2023, with the name Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc., the Atlanta Braves became the only publicly traded franchise in Major League Baseball.

EDUCATION Vanderbilt University
HOMETOWN Colorado Springs, Colorado
FIRST JOB Selling ice cream sandwiches鈥擟hipwiches, to be specific. I think I ate more than I sold.
FAVORITE MOVIES Anything with Clint Eastwood, including the old spaghetti westerns
NONPROFITS Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation
BUCKET LIST Heli-skiing in Canada or Alaska

Atlanta 500: Kirby Smart

Kirby Smart
Head Coach
Georgia Bulldogs

In 2015, Kirby Smart was appointed head football coach at the University of Georgia, his alma mater. At press time, he had claimed six SEC Eastern Division championships, two SEC titles, and eight bowl victories, and had led the Bulldogs to back-to-back National Championship victories in 2021 and 2022. Smart鈥檚 2019 Bulldogs became the first team in Bulldogs history to win 11 or more games in three straight seasons. Previously, Smart was a defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, and has coached at Valdosta State University, Florida State University, and Louisiana State University. The son of a high school football coach, Smart played defensive back during his college career.

EDUCATION University of Georgia, Florida State University (MS)

Atlanta 500: Alex UrbanAlex Urban

Executive Director
Tour Championship
PGA Tour

Alex Urban became the executive director of the PGA鈥檚 Tour Championship in 2022. Formerly, he had served as general manager and executive director of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, and was instrumental in Sentry Insurance鈥檚 onboarding as the event鈥檚 new title sponsor and subsequent extension. A Tour employee since 2013, Urban previously held roles in the Corporate Partnerships and Communications departments.

HOMETOWN Powell, Ohio (outside Columbus)
EDUCATION Clemson University, University of Georgia (MA)
BEST ADVICE My dad had a very successful career in business, but I鈥檒l always remember him telling me that pursuing passions in life is more important than chasing a paycheck. If you have passion for what you do, the rest will fall into line.
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I have been in several bands in my life and can play myriad instruments.
NONPROFITS The First Tee of Metro Atlanta, East Lake Foundation, Purpose Built Communities, and more

Atlanta 500: Dominique Wilkins

Photograph courtesy of individual

Dominique Wilkins
Vice President of Basketball and Special Adviser to the CEO
Atlanta Hawks

Represented by an 18,500-pound bronze statue at the entrance to State Farm Arena, Dominique Wilkins is one of Atlanta basketball鈥檚 most celebrated players. The 14th all-time leading scorer in league history, Wilkins played 12 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, leading the team to the playoffs in eight. Today he serves as Hawks VP of basketball and special advisor to the CEO, and offers team analysis during broadcasts on Bally Sports Southeast.

EDUCATION University of Georgia
HOMETOWN Washington, North Carolina
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE Growing up in Baltimore with a single parent
WHO鈥橠 PLAY ME IN A BIOPIC Denzel Washington

Atlanta 500 Rayford Trae YoungRayford Trae Young

Atlanta Hawks

Acquired by the Atlanta Hawks from the Dallas Mavericks, Trae Young officially signed a contract with the Hawks in 2018. Young was a unanimous NBA All-Rookie First Team selection as he averaged 19.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 30.9 minutes in 81 contests during the 2018-2019 season. In the 2020-2021 season, Young led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals, the team鈥檚 first appearance since 2015. In November 2023, Young returned to his hometown in Norman, Oklahoma where the new Trae Young Drive was dedicated by the City of Norman. The new street is in front of the Young Family Athletic Center. Additionally, the Young Family Athletic Center Multisport and Swimming Complex will open in early 2024. The two-time NBA All-Star debuted his third signature basketball shoe, the Adidas Trae 3, in 2023.

MOST INSPIRING PERSON My grandfather who passed away when I was 10.


Vincent Anthony
Now retired, Anthony founded the Center for Puppetry Arts in 1978. Under his leadership, the center received a record 12 Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, the U.S. division of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international organization for the art of puppetry. A native of Sarasota, Florida, Anthony has also received a personal Citation of Excellence from UNIMA-USA鈥攑uppetry鈥檚 most prestigious award.

Christopher Bridges (Ludacris)
One of the first Dirty South rappers to achieve mainstream success, Ludacris rose to the number four slot on the U.S. Billboard 200 with his 2000 major-label debut, Back for the First Time. He founded the Atlanta record label Disturbing tha Peace and has won Screen Actors Guild, MTV Video Music, and Grammy awards.

Zac Brown
Brown is the founder, front man, and lead vocalist for his eponymous, multiplatinum, Grammy Award鈥搘inning Southern rock group. He is a songwriter, producer, record label head, businessman, and philanthropist.

Pearl Cleage
Cleage is the author of 15 plays, eight novels, two books of poetry, two books of essays, a book of short stories, and a memoir. She worked in politics as speechwriter/press secretary to Mayor Maynard Jackson and as a consultant in many local political races. She is currently an Artist in Residence at the Alliance Theatre.

Peter Conlon
As president of Live Nation Atlanta, Conlon books the city鈥檚 top venues, from Chastain Park to State Farm Arena. He cofounded Music Midtown in 1994 with the late Alex Cooley, whom he befriended in the 1970s while arranging concerts for Jimmy Carter鈥檚 presidential campaign. The longtime collaborators became the city鈥檚 most powerful music promoters.

Bobby Cox
A former pro infielder, Cox led major league teams for three decades, racking up more than 2,500 victories. In the 1990s, he led the Atlanta Braves to 14 straight division championships, five National League pennants, and a 1995 World Series title.

Radric Davis (Gucci Mane)
Born Radric Davis in Bessemer, Alabama, the rapper known as Gucci Mane moved to East Atlanta at the age of nine and is considered one of the architects, along with T.I. and Jeezy, of trap music.

Jermaine Dupri
A renowned producer, singer, and songwriter, Jermaine Dupri founded So So Def Recordings in 1993 as a joint venture with Columbia Records鈥攁nd helped put Atlanta on the national hip-hop map. Dupri has produced and written hits for Kris Kross, Monica, Usher, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey, and released several albums of his own. In 2018 he joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the youngest songwriter ever inducted, at age 45鈥攁nd only the second hip-hop artist following Jay-Z.

Fay Gold
Gold pioneered contemporary art in Atlanta. For more than 30 years, she has staged groundbreaking exhibitions of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, Keith Haring, Irving Penn, Andres Serrano, and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Indigo Girls
Performing together since high school, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers released a self-titled record for Epic in 1989 that became the first of six consecutive gold- and/or platinum-certified albums. One of the most successful folk duos in history, they have enjoyed a 35-year career that began in clubs around their native Atlanta.

Tom Key
Now retired from his longtime role as artistic director of the Theatrical Outfit, Key has appeared on many national stages as well as those of the Alliance Theatre, Kenny Leon鈥檚 True Colors Theatre, and the Atlanta Opera. He has received the Governor鈥檚 Award in the Humanities and the Georgia Arts and Entertainment Legacy Award.

Chuck Leavell
A conservationist, sustainable-development advocate, tech entrepreneur, and the Rolling Stones鈥 musical director for more than 20 years, Leavell cofounded the Mother Nature Network, which he sold in 2020. He鈥檚 also a Grammy-winning keyboardist who has recorded with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and the Allman Brothers Band.

Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee, aka Coach K, is the cofounder and chief operating officer of Quality Control Music and the manager of some of Atlanta鈥檚 biggest hip-hop stars. His roster of acts has included Migos, Lil Yachty, Jeezy, and Gucci Mane. With his Quality Control partner, CEO Pierre 鈥淧ee鈥 Thomas, Coach K also runs the music and entertainment management firm Solid Foundation.

Kenny Leon
Leon is the former artistic director of Atlanta鈥檚 True Colors Theatre Company, which he cofounded with Jane Bishop in 2002 following 11 years as artistic director of the Alliance Theatre. Leon is a Tony Award鈥搘inning film and theater director whose Broadway credits include Fences, A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington, and The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.

Billy Payne
A lawyer, real estate developer, and former UGA football star, Payne is best known as CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games and then president and CEO of the games themselves. He chaired Augusta National Golf Club for more than 10 years, during which women were first admitted to membership.

Camille Russell Love
A former art gallery owner, Love has served as executive director of Atlanta鈥檚 Office of Cultural Affairs since Bill Campbell was mayor. She has overseen programs such as Chastain Arts Center, the city鈥檚 public art program (including Elevate), and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

John Schuerholz
A Baltimore native, Schuerholz began his baseball career with the Orioles, helping build a Kansas City Royals team that won the World Series in 1985. In 1991, he teamed up with Bobby Cox to help the Braves go from 鈥渨orst to first鈥 and win the National League pennant. Then from 1991 to 2005, the Braves finished first in their division in every completed season. He was the first general manager whose teams captured World Series titles in both the American and National Leagues.

Mary Stanley
Stanley founded her eponymous studio in 2004 and has long been a vibrant presence on the Atlanta art scene鈥攁s a private art consultant, artist representative, and curator who鈥檚 organized shows at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Hathaway Contemporary Gallery, and Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.