2024 Atlanta 500: Professionals

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2024 Atlanta 500: Professionals
CNN

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Accounting & Consulting | Law | Marketing & Public Relations | Media | Legends

ACCOUNTING & CONSULTING

Atlanta 500 Chloe Barzey

Chloe Barzey
Office Managing Director
Accenture Atlanta
Global Client Account Lead
Accenture

As office managing director, Chloe Barzey leads Accenture’s vision and operations across Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Additionally, Barzey works with clients to identify and target superior business value and to achieve and sustain that business value while increasing customer satisfaction and business agility. Leveraging digital capabilities, she leads programs focused on transformation and rapid earnings expansion and has worked with her clients through all phases of transformation, from strategy through implementation. Since 2008, clients served have realized over $5 billion in net bottom-line savings while building capabilities and fueling new growth and innovation. An active member of the Atlanta community, Barzey serves on numerous boards including the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Leadership Atlanta, and the Atlanta History Center.

EDUCATION Cornell University, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
Hometown Harlem, New York
HOBBIES Reading, Bible study, international travel, exercise, skiing, salsa, learning French, and enjoying good times with good people


Atlanta 500 Jeff CallJeff Call
Managing Partner
Bennett Thrasher LLP

Jeff Call, a veteran of more than 20 years at Bennett Thrasher LLP, serves as the managing partner, overseeing the firm’s strategic plan, growth, and the advancement of its culture. With a specialization in wealth transfer/estate planning, investment, tax, and financial planning, Call counsels high-net-worth individuals, family business owners, and executives. His extensive experience encompasses a wide range of financial matters, including income tax, estate and gift tax, investment, insurance, charitable and retirement planning. Call is well-versed in individual, partnership, S corporation, and fiduciary taxation. Before joining Bennett Thrasher in 2002 to establish its Personal Financial Services group, Call, a CPA, worked for Arthur Andersen as a tax manager in the Private Client Services practice. In 2023, Call was named an Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO. Additionally, Call is a frequent speaker and is quoted in national media.

EDUCATION Auburn University (MAcc)
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE The nearly overnight collapse of Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, at the time my first child, Jackson, was only one month old.


Atlanta 500: Ed Heys

Photograph by Daniel Henniger Photography

Ed Heys
Managing Partner
Deloitte & Touche

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

EDUCATION University of Georgia


Atlanta 500: Richard Kopelman

Photograph courtesy of individual

Richard Kopelman
CEO and Managing Partner
Aprio

Richard Kopelman is the CEO and managing partner of Aprio, a nationally recognized business advisory and CPA firm. He leads a team of over 1,500 professionals who serve clients in all 50 states and more than 50 countries and drives the firm’s strategic vision powered by Aprio’s people-first and client-focused culture. During his tenure, Aprio has experienced significant growth, including securing more than 16 strategic mergers and acquisitions, and increased its footprint to 16 U.S. offices and a team in the Philippines. Effective November 2023, Aprio merged with Antares Group, which has helped clients navigate obscure accounting and tax regulations for nearly four decades and is recognized as a nationwide leader in the restaurant franchise industry. The strategic combination will propel Aprio’s ranking even higher among national accounting firms, while more than doubling the size of its restaurant, franchise, and hospitality industry team.

EDUCATION University of South Florida
FIRST JOB Selling funeral services (age 12) with my mother
HOBBIES Traveling, skiing, sailing


Atlanta 500 F. David Leiter Jr.

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

F. David Leiter Jr. is the managing partner of
KPMG’s three Atlanta offices as well as the accounting firm’s mid-South hub, which includes Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis, Knoxville, and Jackson. In addition to leading the almost 2,000 people in these offices, Leiter is a partner in the firm’s business tax services practice. With over three decades of experience in the field, Leiter provides multinational tax services to a broad range of KPMG’s audit and nonaudit clients and has served as a lead partner for numerous Fortune 1000 and other publicly traded and private companies. Leiter was named an Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO in 2023.

EDUCATION University of Georgia (MAcc)
HOMETOWN Marietta
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Leadership Atlanta class of 2009
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK Accounting is the language of business.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Put people first.
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION Paris


Atlanta 500: Glenn Mitchell

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Glenn Mitchell
Atlanta Managing Partner
Ernst & Young

As Atlanta managing partner for Ernst & Young, a U.S. member firm of the global EY organization, Glenn Mitchell oversees nearly 2,400 professionals across EY’s service lines of tax, consulting, assurance, strategy, and transactions, and is strongly connected to the approximately 1,500 IT and advisory professionals in Alpharetta. Since returning to Atlanta with his family in 2015, Mitchell has joined the boards of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Woodruff Arts Center, among others.

EDUCATION Auburn University
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2018), Leadership Atlanta class of 2017
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE When I moved my family out of Atlanta to take a leadership position with EY
HIDDEN TALENT I’m a pretty good cook.


LAW

Atlanta 500 Theodore I. Blum

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

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

EDUCATION University of Michigan, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Champaign, Illinois
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Rotary Club of Atlanta Ivan Allen Club Service Award (2019), Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEOs (2016), The Best Lawyers in America (2007-2020), Georgia Super Lawyers (2006-2019)
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED The great Hank Aaron showed me that his success in business is important, but more important is his dedication to the community.


Atlanta 500: Althea Broughton

Althea Broughton
Partner
Arnall Golden Gregory

Althea Broughton is a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory. The Atlanta native, who is chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, has played a critical role in the creation or preservation of tens of thousands of units of affordable housing. Additionally, Broughton serves as chair of the board of trustees at Cascade United Methodist Church and is on the board of National Church Residences. Other board memberships include Drew Charter School, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Broughton has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers.

EDUCATION Emory University, University of Virginia (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Atlanta Women’s Affordable Housing Network Hyperion Award (2022), GlobeSt. Women of Influence (2021), HOPE Atlanta Heroes for HOPE Honoree (2021), Leadership Atlanta class of 2013
WHAT I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF Don’t let fear hold you back.


Atlanta 500: Janine Brown

Photograph courtesy of individual

Janine Brown
Partner in Charge, Atlanta Office
Alston & Bird

Janine Brown is the partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office, with experience handling multibillion-dollar domestic and international transactions focusing primarily on M&A, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Brown served eight years as chair of Alston & Bird’s corporate technology practice group and is currently cochair of the Atlanta office diversity committee. She’s also on the boards of Spelman College, Duke University School of Law, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

EDUCATION University of Michigan, Duke University School of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Featured in The Best Lawyers in America continuously since 2001
FIRST JOB Counter clerk during high school at the Fannie May candy shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan
FEW PEOPLE KNOW My husband, daughter, and I have traveled across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to see all of Shakespeare’s plays.


Atlanta 500 Amy B. ChengAmy B. Cheng
Partner
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

Amy B. Cheng specializes in labor and employment, business litigation, white collar defense, and government investigation matters. Cheng defends individuals or companies and conducts complex and high-stakes internal investigations on behalf of companies and higher education institutions into highly sensitive termination and related grievance procedures, issues related to alleged race and gender discrimination, and a myriad of other topics. In 2023, she became the first individual of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander descent to be elected president of the Atlanta Bar Association since its founding in 1888. Cheng was selected by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association as one of its 2023 Best Under 40 Award winners. She has been recognized in Georgia Super Lawyers every year since 2019.

EDUCATION Emory University, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health (MPH), Emory University School of Law (JD)
FAVORITE EVERYDAY RESTAURANT LanZhou Ramen
NONPROFITS Atlanta Bar Association, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Atlanta Community Food Bank


Atlanta 500 Mawuli Mel Davis

Mawuli Mel Davis
Founding Partner
Davis Bozeman Law Firm

Mawuli Mel Davis leads the civil rights division of Davis Bozeman and has represented and helped organize legal support for activists engaged in protests including the Occupy movement, Moral Mondays, and Black Lives Matter. He is a cofounder of Let Us Make Man and the Black Man Lab. In 2019 Davis received the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award, the highest honor given by Georgia State University College of Law. In 2022 Davis delivered the commencement address for the Georgia State University College of Law.

EDUCATION United States Naval Academy, Bowie State University (MPA), Georgia State University College of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Named humanitarian of the year by the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, the Kappa Alpha Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, and the Atlanta alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and an outstanding advocate of the year by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Urban League, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Gate City Bar Association. The DeKalb Lawyers Association named the Mawuli Davis Legal Warrior Award in his honor.


Atlanta 500 Jonathan E. Eady

Jonathan E. Eady
Managing Partner
Arnall Golden Gregory

Jonathan E. Eady is Arnall Golden Gregory’s managing partner and a partner in the real estate practice. Eady maintains a prolific practice counseling business and real estate clients as they make important financing, investment, acquisition, development, and operational decisions. Clients select Eady for his expansive knowledge of joint ventures, asset purchases and sales, mergers, entity governance, commercial agreements, leases, workouts, capital restructurings, and numerous types of debt and equity financing. Developers, owners, and investors count on Eady’s steady counsel through all phases of the real estate development process. Eady has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers.

EDUCATION Emory University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Oxford, Georgia
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK I like solving complex problems involving people and money.
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Worked on developing the legal and financial model that helped transform the face of public housing revitalization in Atlanta and across the U.S.


Atlanta 500: Sharon Gay

Photograph courtesy of individual

Sharon Gay
Senior Counsel
Dentons

As senior counsel of the Atlanta office of the world’s largest global law firm, Sharon Gay works at the intersection of government, business, and public policy. She helps governments and businesses do business with one another, especially in the areas of land use and zoning, tax allocation districts and other economic development incentives, transportation, public-private partnerships, and state and local government affairs. She’s worked with public- and private-sector clients to amend state and local laws to facilitate brownfield redevelopment, community improvement districts, and water and wastewater privatization projects. Additionally, Gay served as cochair of the transition team for Mayor Andre Dickens.

EDUCATION Vanderbilt University, Emory University School of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT Coordinated the successful effort to amend the Georgia Constitution to confirm that school systems could participate in tax allocation districts to support community redevelopment
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION Saint Barthélemy
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Atlanta Botanical Garden


Atlanta 500: Kevin A. Gooch

Kevin A. Gooch
Partner
Holland & Knight LLP

Kevin Gooch is a financial services partner at Holland & Knight LLP. With a diverse practice, he has the most experience serving as outside general counsel as well as negotiating and documenting large debt transactions on behalf of financial institutions or corporate borrowers. Over the course of his career, Gooch has closed loan transactions and restructurings worth over $20 billion. He worked previously for McKenna Long & Aldridge (now Dentons), Alston & Bird, and DLA Piper. A past board chair of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, he served as an adjunct professor at Emory Law and is a guest lecturer at University of Georgia School of Law. Gooch is a member of boards for the Carter Center and the University of Georgia Alumni Association.

EDUCATION Emory University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED Success is leased, not owned, and rent is due every darn day.
FAVORITE SONG ABOUT ATLANTA “Player’s Ball” by OutKast
FAVORITE EVERYDAY RESTAURANT Taqueria del Sol


Atlanta 500: Robert D. Hays

Photograph courtesy of individual

Robert D. Hays
Chairman
King & Spalding

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

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


Atlanta 500: Michael E. Hollingsworth

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

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

EDUCATION Tulane University, Samford University Cumberland School of Law (JD), University of Alabama School of Law (LLM)
FIRST JOB Sales clerk for my parents’ sporting-goods store
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION Gulf Coast beaches
NONPROFITS Empty Stocking Fund, Woodruff Arts Center, City of Refuge
BUCKET LIST Family trip to Africa
WHO’D PLAY ME IN A BIOPIC Jason Bateman


Atlanta 500: Candis Jones Smith

Candis Jones Smith
Partner
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

Candis Jones Smith is a partner in the Atlanta office of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith and a member of the firm’s general liability practice. Since 2011, Smith’s practice has focused on insurance defense, premises liability, personal injury, and medical malpractice; she has a strong track record in automobile liability and tort/premises liability trials with demands of $1 million or more. Her clients have included several Fortune 500 companies, numerous insurance carriers, and a major metropolitan transit authority. She has successfully tried and won federal and state jury and bench trials.

EDUCATION Spelman College, Georgia State College of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Atlanta, Georgia
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Super Lawyers Rising Star (2019-2024)
FIRST JOB Party City


Atlanta 500: Jen JordanJen Jordan
Founding Partner
Jordan & Woodward

Consistently recognized as one of the top lawyers in the state, Jen Jordan is an attorney who specializes in complex civil cases and stands up for those the system has failed. In 2015, Jordan brought suit against then Secretary of State Brian Kemp over a data breach that exposed the personal information of Georgia voters. She was elected to the Georgia legislature in a 2017 special election—breaking a Republican supermajority in the state Senate—and won reelection in 2018 and 2020. She ran to become Georgia’s Attorney General in 2022 but lost to incumbent Chris Carr.

EDUCATION Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT In 2019, with the legislature debating a bill that would strictly limit access to abortion, Jordan delivered a dissent that went viral, drawing more than 3 million views on a single platform.
FIRST JOB Historical extra at Mossy Creek Festival. I would put on period clothing and be a hostess for visitors to the arts and crafts festival in Middle Georgia.


Atlanta 500: Wab Kadaba

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

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

EDUCATION Georgia Tech, Case Western Reserve University (MA), University of North Carolina School of Law (JD)
FIRST JOB Dunkin’ Donuts at age 14
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED My father told me to complete my education because it is that which no one can ever take away from me.
BUCKET LIST A bike-riding trip through Tuscany


Atlanta 500 Linda A. Klein

Linda A. Klein
Senior Managing Shareholder
Baker Donelson

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

EDUCATION Union College, Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD)
HIDDEN TALENT I collect Shirley Temple memorabilia and can even impersonate her.
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Center for Civil and Human Rights
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS Big city: Toronto; leisure: Hawaii; Old Europe: Zagreb, Croatia


Atlanta 500 Ernest LaMont Greer

Ernest LaMont Greer
Copresident
Greenberg Traurig

Ernest Greer is copresident of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm of over 2,650 attorneys in 47 locations. Greer also serves as chairman of the Washington, D.C. office. He was a vice president of the firm from 2013 to 2015 and Atlanta managing shareholder for nearly a decade. As managing shareholder, he directed the growth of the Atlanta office, which has more than 100 attorneys. Greer has also maintained an active legal practice, trying cases across the country, and is past chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce—the first lawyer to serve in that capacity in the chamber’s 100-year history.

EDUCATION Harvard University, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (JD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Georgia Trend 100 Most Influential Georgians (2023); Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region Lifetime Achievement Award (2022); 2022 inductee into the Junior Achievement of Atlanta Hall of Fame; a corporate recipient, National Bar Association, 40th Annual Mid-Year Conference Heman Marion Sweatt Award (2020); Women Works Media Group, Law and Justice Awards, Man of the Year; Georgia’s Most Powerful and Influential Attorneys (2019)


Atlanta 500: Simon R. Malko

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Simon R. Malko
Managing Partner
Morris, Manning & Martin

Simon R. Malko brings more than 20 years of courtroom and law firm experience to his leadership role at Morris, Manning & Martin, where he is the third and youngest managing partner in the firm’s 48-year history. His approach is to leverage technology and innovation to position the firm for new challenges and opportunities. Malko began his legal career in New York City, where he represented Fortune 50 companies and large investment banks.

EDUCATION Emory University, Fordham University School of Law (JD)
FIRST JOB Mowing lawns
HIDDEN TALENT I am a very good cook.
LESSON LEARNED Never let your ego get in the way of your success.
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Gu’s Dumplings at Krog Street Market
BUCKET LIST Learning to play the bagpipes
WHO’D PLAY ME IN A BIOPIC Edward Norton


Atlanta 500 Erica V. Mason

Erica V. Mason
Labor & Employment Partner
Akerman

Twenty years ago, Erica Mason left a successful career running a multimillion-dollar record label to attend law school. Today, she is a nationally recognized employment law partner whose business experience helps her defend clients in federal court litigation or advise executive leadership teams on how to protect their three biggest assets: employees, company culture, and brand reputation. In 2019, Mason joined Akerman’s newly minted Atlanta office, where she leads a diverse, multilingual team that assists clients with everything from employment law issues to routine HR advice to class actions. Clients range from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. She has received numerous awards recognizing her pro bono and community service and served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association from 2017 to 2018.

EDUCATION Georgia State University, University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD)
LESSON LEARNED Your toughest boss or those who seemingly give you the hardest time are often those who teach you the most.


Atlanta 500: Ceasar C. Mitchell Jr.

Ceasar C. Mitchell Jr.
Partner
Dentons

A partner at Dentons, Ceasar C. Mitchell Jr. is a member of the firm’s public policy team as well as the head of its interdisciplinary Local Government Solutions practice, which bridges the public and private sectors to meet the challenges facing local and state governments in the U.S. Mitchell is past president of the Atlanta City Council, where he served two four-year terms as an at-large member while maintaining a legal practice in which he brought his policy advocacy, regulatory compliance, and real estate experience and relationships to bear. An Atlanta native, Mitchell serves on the boards of Hands On Atlanta and the Midtown Alliance.

EDUCATION Morehouse College, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED What people are fussing about ain’t always what they are mad about.
LESSON LEARNED The best way to get your next initiative done is to tell people about your last initiative.
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I have to keep a box of tissues handy when watching romantic comedies.


Atlanta 500 Chuck PalmerChuck Palmer
Managing Partner, Atlanta
Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders

In three decades of practice, Chuck Palmer has advised clients in a range of industries, helping them navigate their interactions with government. His work on behalf of major corporations, including Delta Air Lines, Emory, Verizon, and others, has earned him a reputation as a skilled advocate and a positive leader in Atlanta’s business community. Palmer is grateful to have played a role in the revitalization of Atlanta’s famed East Lake Golf Club, which, through its East Lake Foundation, has revitalized the surrounding community. He is currently serving as chair of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation board and volunteers with a number of Atlanta civic and cultural organizations.

EDUCATION University of Georgia, Emory Law School (JD)
HOMETOWN Lindale, Georgia
FIRST JOB Central Maintenance Department at the West Point-Pepperell cotton mill
inspiring person Georgia Governor Carl Sanders, elected the same day as George Wallace in Alabama. He led Georgia in a completely different direction, making the state a magnet for business and professional sports.


Atlanta 500 Gerald L. Pouncey Jr.

Gerald L. Pouncey Jr.
Chairman
Morris Manning & Martin LLP

Gerald L. Pouncey Jr. is chairman of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP. A senior partner in the firm, he also heads the environmental and infrastructure practices. His primary focus is the acquisition, disposition, and/or the redevelopment of properties with significant environmental impact; mergers, investments, and financing related to such properties; and the development and implementation of green energy technologies and strategies. He lectures nationally on these topics. The Opelika, Alabama, native has led efforts in the permitting, financing, acquisition, redevelopment, and regulatory closure of numerous industrial properties, mines, and landfills throughout the United States. Pouncey is the past chairman of the board of directors for the Council for Quality Growth, the Georgia Brownfield Association, the Walker School, and Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society.

EDUCATION Auburn University, University of Georgia (JD)
HOBBIES Golf, fly fishing
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION London


Atlanta 500 Steven H. Sadow

Steven H. Sadow
Criminal Defense Attorney
Steven H. Sadow PC

The sole practitioner at the firm Steven H. Sadow PC, Steve Sadow is a nationally known criminal defense attorney who has practiced law for 42 years. He’s also special counsel for Schulten Ward Turner & Weiss, where he serves as head of the firm’s white collar and high-profile criminal defense section. Sadow’s criminal trial and appellate practice focuses on white collar crime, including healthcare, cyber, securities and tax fraud, RICO, drugs and firearms, murder, and forfeiture. Notable successful high-profile representations have included rappers/entertainers T.I., Rick Ross, Usher, and Ty Dolla Sign; Howard K. Stern (Anna Nicole’s attorney); and Steve Kaplan (owner of the former Gold Club).

EDUCATION Marietta College, Emory University School of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Trotwood, Ohio
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK It was a calling. I knew I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney at age 11.


Atlanta 500 Lizanne Thomas

Lizanne Thomas
Of Counsel
Jones Day

Lizanne Thomas practices, teaches, and lives corporate governance as the head of the corporate governance team of Jones Day. A fellow of the American College of Governance Lawyers, Thomas participates in about 100 board meetings per year as counsel to a number of public companies. Additionally, she represents special committees in control and conflict transactions, as well as in internal investigations. Thomas is experienced in shareholder activism, public and private mergers and acquisitions, and executive compensation. She served as partner-in-charge of the Southeast U.S. Region of Jones Day from 2014 through 2022. In 2023, Thomas was elected to Southern Company’s board of directors.

EDUCATION Furman University, Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD)


Atlanta 500 J. Henry Walker IV

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

Henry Walker is the chair and CEO of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, an international law firm with more than 600 lawyers in 22 offices. Walker oversees the strategic direction and growth of the firm; as leader of its executive committee, he works closely with members to define and execute the firm’s strategic objectives. Walker is a recognized leader in the legal and business communities, including, serving as an active member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber executive committee, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the State Bar of Georgia board of governors. In 2019, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named him one of the city’s Most Admired CEOs.

EDUCATION University of Virginia, Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Griffin, Georgia
FIRST JOB The summer after I turned 16, I worked in the maintenance department of Dundee Mills, a textile mill in Griffin.


Atlanta 500: Mark D. Wasserman

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

With more than three decades of experience in corporate law, Mark Wasserman has been the managing partner of Eversheds Sutherland (U.S.) LLP for 18 years and is the co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland Limited. He’s represented and advised private and public companies in the U.S. and internationally and has counseled clients on a range of business matters, especially mergers and acquisitions and issues relating to federal and state securities laws. He has served as chair of the Emory Law Dean’s advisory board and was named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of corporate law for 2022-2024.

EDUCATION Clemson University (MA), Emory University School of Law (JD)
FIRST JOB Owned and operated my own lawn service
HIDDEN TALENT I was an all-American fencer in college.
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT The BeltLine


Atlanta 500 John C. Yates

John C. Yates
Partner
Morris, Manning & Martin

A pioneer in technology law, John C. Yates launched Morris, Manning & Martin’s technology practice more than three decades ago and has practiced exclusively in that area ever since. Under his leadership, the firm’s technology practice has represented more than 1,000 tech companies and offers comprehensive legal and corporate services to start-ups, growing tech companies, and investors. A prolific author and leading voice in technology law, Yates has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and quoted in publications including the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. In 2023, Yates received the Atlanta Business Chronicle Ann Cramer Lifetime Achievement Award.

EDUCATION Duke University, Duke University School of Law (JD)
HOMETOWN Cincinnati, Ohio
FIRST JOB Library assistant in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ll never shelve another book!


Atlanta 500: Sally Q. Yates

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Sally Q. Yates
Partner
King & Spalding

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

EDUCATION University of Georgia, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)


MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS

Atlanta 500: Kristin Cowart

Kristin Cowart
Founder and CEO
Brave Public Relations

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

EDUCATION Boston College
HOMETOWN Tampa, Florida
FIRST JOB Waitress. I was horrible!
INSPIRING PERSON My grandfather. He started as a busboy at Morrison’s Cafeteria and worked his way up to CEO of the company—with only an eighth-grade education.


Atlanta 500 Gina Espinosa-Meltzer

Gina Espinosa-Meltzer
CEO
Hope Beckham Espinosa Inc.

In 2023, Gina Espinosa-Meltzer became CEO and majority owner of the marketing and communications company formerly known as Hope-Beckham Inc., which added her name to become Hope Beckham Espinosa. She teamed with cofounder Bob Hope two years ago, merging her company with Hope-Beckham and adding her expertise and connections with the fast-growing Hispanic market to Hope’s long experience in public relations. Originally from Mexico City, she serves on the board of the International Women’s Forum and is an active mentor and community advocate. She has advised such organizations as the Latin American Association, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, and Ser Familia.

EDUCATION Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, Mexico (BA and MA)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Women of Influence, Atlanta Business Chronicle 2023; Top Women in Communications, PRNews 2022; Top Women in Communications, PR Daily/Ragan Communications 2022; 50 Most Influential Hispanics in Georgia, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2022


Atlanta 500 Atlanta 500: Genna Keller

Genna Keller
Principal
Trevelino/Keller Communications Group

Genna Keller served in executive leadership positions with global public relations firms for 16 years before launching her own agency with longtime colleague Dean Trevelino. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, they have created a digital public relations and marketing firm that is nationally ranked in all of their practice areas. Passionate about emerging companies and projects in the Atlanta area, Keller serves in advisory roles with many groups that offer critical support to the start-up ecosystem including Tech Alpharetta, RAISE Forum, and Atlanta Technology Angels. Additionally, she is a member of the Buckhead Coalition.

EDUCATION Wake Forest University
WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE Do not be afraid of hard work, follow-up, and nondigital interactions.


Atlanta 500 Liz Lapidus

Liz Lapidus
Owner
Liz Lapidus PR

A longtime leader in Atlanta’s public relations community, Liz Lapidus started her eponymous firm in 1997. Lapidus has promoted the city’s top restaurants, retailers, developers, nonprofits, arts organizations, and health and beauty experts, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, and Food & Wine. Still, after 25 years of promoting some of the city’s most compelling brands, Lapidus made a “pandemic pivot” to work with nonprofit and purpose-driven organizations. While she had always given back to the community, inspired by Covid-19, she went all-in. On Earth Day 2022, Lapidus even cofounded a sustainability-focused nonprofit called Root Local. Though she has a long history of aligning her for-profit clients in the hospitality, retail, and real estate industries with charities, Lapidus’ shifted focus has proved rewarding.

EDUCATION University of Alabama
HOMETOWN Miami, Florida
FIRST JOB Pushing a cookie cart around Coconut Grove during a blazing Miami summer. So not as glam as it sounds.


Atlanta 500: Carolyn Sloss

Carolyn Sloss
Vice President
Allied Integrated Marketing

As vice president of Allied Global Marketing, Sloss has expertise in marketing, communications, digital initiatives, and business development. Her client list includes the Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV+, Cirque du Soleil, and GPS Hospitality. A Florida native, Sloss creates and manages integrated campaigns and brand strategy with an entrepreneurial spirit. She was honored recently with the Synergy Award given by the African American Film Critics Association for her impactful commitment in the arts and entertainment community.

EDUCATION Auburn University
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I start every morning with a Coke Zero.
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION Greece
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACES TO VISIT Atlanta BeltLine, Fox Theatre, and Truist Park
NONPROFITS Atlanta Film Festival, VOX ATL, and Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta


Atlanta 500: Vince Thompson

Photograph courtesy of individual

Vince Thompson
Founder, Chairman, and CEO
MELT

Vince Thompson founded MELT in 2000 and built the company into one of the nation’s leading events and sports marketing agencies. Thompson also built MELT University into one of the industry’s most successful internship and career development programs; his book Build Brand You: Insights for Pursuing Your Dreams, a guide to building personal brands, was published in 2020. In 2018, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Thompson one of its Most Admired CEOs.

EDUCATION Auburn University
HIDDEN TALENT I played the saxophone in high school.
HOBBIES Exercising, fishing, fine wine, cigars
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Chops Lobster Bar
WHO’D PLAY ME IN A BIOPIC Jeremy Piven


Atlanta 500: Dean Trevelino

Dean Trevelino
Principal
Trevelino/Keller Communications Group

Dean Trevelino had 16 years of experience in executive leadership positions at global public relations firms before he and longtime colleague Genna Keller launched Trevelino/Keller Communications Group in the early 2000s. Together they created a digital public relations and marketing firm that has been ranked as high as the fourth fastest-growing firm in the U.S. by O’Dwyer’s, and recognized as one of the best North American firms to work for by PRovoke (formerly Holmes Report). Trevelino is a member of the Forbes Agency Council; he’s also a competitive ultrarunner and former Division I college athlete.

EDUCATION Pennsylvania State University, University of Alabama (MA)
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE Rebounding from the loss of a parent as a college student
HIDDEN TALENT Closet modern architect
BUCKET LIST Run 100 miles in 24 hours


Atlanta 500: Forrest Tuff

Forrest Tuff
Founder and CEO
One Vision Productions

Forrest Tuff is the founder and CEO of One Vision Productions, a multimedia production and branding agency with clients ranging from small businesses and government agencies to Fortune 100 companies. Every year since 2015, One Vision Productions has been listed as one of Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the National Association for Business Resources. Only the 89th speaker globally to receive Toastmasters International’s Accredited Speaker credential, Tuff is also an author and business mentor, working to educate aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start successful businesses and attract clients. The Atlanta native has received credits on more than 200 films.

EDUCATION Western Carolina University
TOUGHEST CHALLENGE A career-ending injury as a Division I college basketball player. I had to refocus my efforts from becoming a professional basketball player to becoming a professional businessman.


Atlanta 500 Caroline WilbertCaroline Wilbert
President
The Wilbert Group

Caroline Wilbert is president of the Wilbert Group, which she founded in 2009 and has since become one of the largest five PR firms in metro Atlanta. As president, she provides leadership and sets strategy for the firm, while developing programs that drive measurable business results for clients. Passionate about defining clients’ stories, she consistently tells those stories in the marketplace through a variety of channels, including traditional news and social media. Wilbert is particularly proud of the firm’s Wilbert Cares program as more than $100,000 in pro bono work has been donated to the community in 2021 alone. Wilbert began her career in journalism, including seven years as a business reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and two years at the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Having won awards both for breaking news and feature writing, Wilbert’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlanta magazine, and many other publications nationwide.

EDUCATION University of Georgia


MEDIA

Atlanta 500: Donald AlbrightDonald Albright
President and Cofounder
Tenderfoot TV

Donald Albright is an entrepreneur, producer, and CEO of the content creation company Tenderfoot TV, which he cofounded in 2016 with Payne Lindsey, and which produces an array of entertainment media including podcasts, live shows, and television. Since its launch, Tenderfoot TV has released multiple successful podcast franchises including Up and Vanished, Atlanta Monster, Radio Rental, and To Live and Die in LA, amassing over 700 million downloads. Through Tenderfoot TV, Albright has forged partnerships with media companies including iHeartRadio, Spotify, NBCUniversal, HBO, Netflix, Cadence13, Crooked Media, and Issa Rae’s label Raedio.

HOMETOWN San Jose, California
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS iHeartRadio Audible Audio Pioneer Award (2020), Webby Crime & Justice Podcast Award (2020), iHeart Best True Crime Podcast (2019)


Atlanta 500: Brandon Butler

Brandon Butler
Partner and Chief Content Officer
Majority

Brandon Butler is a partner and chief content officer for Majority, a marketing and advertising agency built upon a diversity-led talent model and founded in 2021 in partnership with Shaquille O’Neal and other marketers. Butler was formerly vice president of the advertising agency Dagger and executive director of its in-house media company, Butter.ATL. However, Butler’s recent move to Majority has secured his majority ownership and control of Butter.ATL. Since its launch in 2019, Butter—a 2020 Webby Award nominee—has developed original programming featuring Atlanta figures such as Killer Mike, Goodie Mob, and DJ Scream, and gained more than 70,000 followers including Chrissy Teigen, Big Boi, and Tim McGraw. Butler, a seasoned marketing and creative leader, has previously led successful creative and digital teams at Accenture, Edelman, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, and NBA Digital.

EDUCATION Georgia Southern University, Georgia Tech (MBA)


Atlanta 500 Ryan Cameron

Ryan Cameron
Radio Host
Majic 107.5/97.5

Cameron hosts the #1 afternoon show on WAMJ Majic 107.5/97.5 and recently became nationally syndicated by Urban One Inc.’s Reach Media. A two-time Emmy winner and a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, he was also the first African American announcer in the history of the Atlanta Hawks. He is a founding partner of the Threaded Agency, a global sports branding corporation, produces and directs several shows on TV One, and is a franchisee of Dough Boy Pizza. In 2023, he was named the new “voice” of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

EDUCATION University of West Georgia
NONPROFIT Ryan Cameron Foundation


Atlanta 500 Leroy Chapman Jr.Leroy Chapman Jr.
Editor-In-Chief
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A journalist for nearly 30 years, Leroy Chapman is the editor-in-chief of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. He began working at the newspaper in 2011, originally as a story editor. Through a series of promotions, he went from managing a single local news reporting team to managing several reporting teams to being named managing editor in 2020, where he oversaw the daily news production in print and on ajc.com. Chapman has been a key leader in the AJC’s embrace of digital media and its development into a multiplatform news organization. Named editor-in-chief in March 2023, he is the first African American to hold this position since the paper was founded in 1868. Prior to his work in Atlanta, Chapman, who is a U.S. Navy veteran, worked at several newspapers in South Carolina primarily covering politics in early voting as an editor and editorial columnist. He and his wife, Dawn Ford Chapman, have three children.

EDUCATION The University of South Carolina
HOMETOWN Greenville, South Carolina
FIRST JOB Sold blue jeans


Atlanta 500 Jennifer Dorian

Jennifer Dorian
President and CEO
WABE 90.1FM and WABE.org

As president and CEO of WABE, Jennifer Dorian oversees Atlanta’s original, independent, nonprofit source for national NPR/PBS news and content and impactful local stories and programming. Since taking over the media outlet’s helm in January 2021, Dorian has led the consolidation of NPR station WABE-90.1, PBS station ATL-PBA, and digital-content hub WABE.org under one umbrella WABE brand and made significant, strategic investments in the station’s newsroom and digital transformation to better serve Atlanta audiences. Dorian came to WABE after a 20-year career at Turner Broadcasting, where her last post was general manager of Turner Classic Movies. She was named Working Mother Magazine’s “Working Mother of the Year” in 2017 and has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Marketing Association Atlanta chapter.

EDUCATION Emory University, University of Texas at Austin (MBA)
FIRST JOB Driving new cars from the dealerships to a radio installation shop. It would have been better if I knew how to drive a stick shift. I did learn a lot about Atlanta roads before GPS existed, though.


Atlanta 500: Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson
Host, The Erick Erickson Show
WSB Radio

Author and nationally syndicated columnist Erick Erickson is one of the most popular local hosts in the country and was the voice of evening drive time on WSB for 10 years. His show airs live noon to 3 p.m. each weekday. He has been a guest host for Rush Limbaugh and a frequent panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and other programs. The Atlantic once called Erickson the most influential conservative in America.

EDUCATION Mercer University, Mercer University School of Law (JD)
FAVORITE BOOK To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Blocked by Kasim Reed on Twitter. Attacked by former President Trump.


Atlanta 500: Jeff Genthner

Jeff Genthner
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Bally Sports South

Jeff Genthner is the senior vice president and general manager of the Diamond Sports Group-owned regional networks Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast. A 44-year industry veteran, Genthner played a pivotal role in developing Bally Sports South/Southeast (formerly FOX Sports South/Southeast) into the nation’s largest regional sports network. Under his leadership, the networks were named 2022 RSN (Regional Sports Network) of the Year by the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards and have garnered over 100 Emmy Awards and numerous other national awards for production and marketing excellence. A native of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, Genthner began his career in 1980 at SportsChannel New York and has launched or managed eight regional sports networks.

EDUCATION Michigan State University
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED From Cablevision founder Charles Dolan: “You never learn when speaking, only when listening.”


Atlanta 500: Sanjay Gupta

Photograph by Getty/Jonathan Leibson

Sanjay Gupta, MD
Neurosurgeon
Chief Medical Correspondent
CNN

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

EDUCATION University of Michigan, University of Michigan Medical School (MD)
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Author of four New York Times bestselling books: Chasing Life, Cheating Death, Monday Mornings, and Keep Sharp: Building a Better Brain at Any Age. Named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2003.


Atlanta 500 Jenn Hobby

Jenn Hobby
Radio Host
Star 94.1

Jenn Hobby is a content creator, a radio host on Atlanta’s Star 94, television host of The Daily 2 on WSB-TV, TEDx speaker, and podcaster. A well-known Atlanta personality for more than 20 years, her radio career has included WBTS-FM (95.5 The Beat),
WWWQ-FM (Q100), and WKHX-FM (Kicks 101.5), and her television work has included HLN, CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Fox 5 Atlanta. Hobby earned two Gracie Awards for her work in radio and an Emmy for her TV work at GPB. In 2010 she was a guest host on Live! with Regis and Kelly. After her younger daughter beat cancer, Hobby became an advocate for childhood cancer research, raising over $420,000 through Reese’s MaGIC Fund at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

EDUCATION Florida State University
HOMETOWN Saint Petersburg, Florida


Atlanta 500 Hilton Howell Jr.Hilton Howell Jr.
Chairman and CEO
Gray Television, Assembly Atlanta, and Atlantic American Corporation

Hilton Howell Jr. has over 30 years of experience in both the broadcast and insurance industries. Under his leadership, Gray Television has developed from a small, regional broadcaster based in Albany, Georgia, to an owner of top-rated local television stations and digital assets throughout the United States. Its television stations now serve 114 television markets that collectively reach approximately 36 percent of U.S. television households. Now headquartered in Atlanta, Gray Television has been a trailblazer in the broadcasting space, owning video program and production companies Raycom Sports, Tupelo Media Group, PowerNation Studios, studio production facility Third Rail Studios, and a majority interest in Atlanta-based Swirl Films. In 2021, Hilton’s visionary leadership led Gray to begin construction on a state-of-the-art studio production development known as Assembly Atlanta, which opened in 2023.

EDUCATION Baylor University (JD), University of Texas at Austin (MBA)


Atlanta 500 Bert Wesley HuffmanBert Wesley Huffman
President and CEO
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Bert Wesley Huffman was named CEO of Georgia Public Broadcasting in 2023. Huffman joined GPB in 2014 as the company’s first vice president for development and marketing. In 2016, he was promoted to serve as the senior vice president of external affairs, and in 2021 was named president of GPB. Prior to joining GPB in 2014, Huffman held top roles in development operations for arts and educational institutions including, most recently, the Atlanta Opera and Emory University. He has used his experience in the arts and educational worlds to create a culture of philanthropy at GPB and elevated the organization’s foremost role to being a partner in the community that serves its viewers and listeners in ways that commercial broadcasting does not. In 2016, Huffman was awarded the Public Radio Association of Development Officers’ Development Professional of the Year award. In 2017, under his leadership, GPB was honored with the PBS Development Special Achievement Award.

EDUCATION Tennessee Wesleyan University, Kennesaw State University (MPA)



Atlanta 500 Tharon JohnsonTharon Johnson

Founder and CEO
Paramount Consulting Group LLC

Tharon Johnson is the founder and CEO of Paramount Consulting Group, a bipartisan government affairs and communications firm based in Atlanta. A nationally recognized political strategist, Johnson appears each week on Fox 5 Atlanta’s longest-running public affairs program, The Georgia Gang, and on WABE 90.1FM’s popular Political Breakfast podcast. Most recently, he served as a senior advisor to the Biden-Harris campaign in the battleground state of Georgia. Additionally, he has served on campaigns for President Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. He appears regularly as a contributor on CNN, MSNBC, and WSB-TV and is frequently quoted in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Johnson is married to Dr. Chynna Johnson and the father of Tyeson Johnson.

EDUCATION Clark Atlanta University
HOMETOWN Athens, Georgia


Atlanta 500: Payne Lindsey

Payne Lindsey
CEO and Cofounder
Tenderfoot TV

Payne Lindsey is a director and documentary filmmaker who cofounded the content-creation company Tenderfoot TV with his friend and business partner Donald Albright. The company has launched several hit podcast series including Up and Vanished, Atlanta Monster, and Radio Rental, all of which Lindsey hosts; he’s also an executive producer of Monster The Zodiac Killer, Insomniac, and others. In 2020 he brought Up and Vanished to the small screen as a docuseries for Oxygen. Most recently Lindsey partnered with Disgraceland host Jake Brennan on the podcast Dead and Gone, which investigates the cases of Grateful Dead fans who have died or gone missing.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT iHeartRadio Best True Crime Podcast for Up and Vanished (2019)
FAVORITE TV SHOW Breaking Bad
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION Maine
BUCKET LIST Direct a film or TV series


Atlanta 500: Mike Luckovich

Photograph courtesy of individual

Mike Luckovich
Editorial Cartoonist
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Following stints at South Carolina’s Greenville News and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Seattle native Mike Luckovich became an editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1989. His work has garnered him two Pulitzer Prizes as well as a Reuben Award, the highest honor bestowed by the National Cartoonists Society. Luckovich’s cartoons are syndicated in 150 newspapers, and his latest collection, The Twisted History of the GOP, was published in 2022.

EDUCATION University of Washington
NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (1994), Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning (1995, 2006)
HIDDEN TALENT I’m a pretty good dancer.
FAVORITE BOOK Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
LESSON LEARNED Some people you can’t change.


Atlanta 500 Darian Morgan (Big Tigger)Darian Morgan (Big Tigger)
Television/radio producer, Host
Big Tigger Morning Show

Currently host of The Big Tigger Morning Show on V-103 (WVEE-FM), Tigger is well known as host of the longest running, nationally televised hip-hop show on BET, Rap City. In 2003, he created Live in the Den with Big Tigger, a three-hour, syndicated show that aired for more than 10 years in 67 markets and three countries. His television show, Direct Access with Big Tigger, won an Emmy Award in 2013. He’s also hosted BET Awards and Soul Train Awards and has appeared on the Dave Chappelle Show. He’s worked with both the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Dream.

EDUCATION University of Maryland
NONPROFIT Big Tigger Foundation, which targets HIV/AIDS and illiteracy


Atlanta 500 Andrew MorseAndrew Morse
President and Publisher
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Andrew Morse became the president and publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owned by Cox Enterprises, in January 2023. He was formerly executive vice president and chief digital officer for CNN Worldwide, managing CNN’s digital operation. He also led CNN+, the cable network’s subscriber-based streaming service, which was shut down in 2022 when the network’s new parent company, now called Warner Bros. Discovery, completed its merger. Prior to his nine years at CNN, Morse directed Bloomberg’s U.S. television division. A trained journalist, Morse started his career at ABC News in 1996. There, his roles included executive producer for the weekend editions of Good Morning America and World News and eight years overseas as a producer and editor in London and as Asia bureau chief.

EDUCATION Cornell University


Atlanta 500: Wes Moss

Wes Moss
Managing Partner
Capital Investment Advisors
Host
Money Matters

Wes Moss is the managing partner of Capital Investment Advisors, a $4 billion registered investment adviser in Sandy Springs. He’s also the host of the podcast Retire Sooner, the host of the weekly call-in show Money Matters on 95.5 WSB, the editor of WesMoss.com, and the author of two books, including What the Happiest Retirees Know: 10 Habits for a Healthy, Secure, and Joyful Life. Barron’s has named him one of its top 1,200 independent financial advisers every year since 2014, and in 2021 the magazine listed him as one of the country’s top 100 advisers.

EDUCATION University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
HOMETOWN Coatesville, Pennsylvania
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK When I was growing up, my dad was a large-animal vet. After going with him on a 5 a.m. farm call, I decided there was no way I wanted to do that for a living. So I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal, and I was hooked.


Atlanta 500 Bill NigutBill Nigut
Co-host AJC’s Politically Georgia podcast on WABE 90.1
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bill Nigut joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August 2023 and is a co-host of the AJC podcast Politically Georgia, which became a daily radio program on WABE 90.1. He has covered local, state, and national politics in Georgia for over five decades, including coverage of five presidential elections, 19 sessions of the Georgia General Assembly, and more for WSB-TV. He was the creator and host of Political Rewind, the highly praised political discussion program on GPB Radio. He was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2021. As a part of the Southeast Emmy Awards, Nigut became a member of the NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) Silver Circle, recognizing those who have spent 25 years and more in the Georgia television industry.

HOMETOWN Skokie, Illinois
FIRST JOB Writing about Little League baseball for the weekly Skokie News


Atlanta 500: Tom O’Brien

Tom O’Brien
President
Weather Group

Tom O’Brien is president of Weather Group, the parent company of both the Weather Channel and the over-the-top streaming service Local Now, Pattrn (TWC’s brand dedicated to climate and the environment), and The Weather Channel en Español (the nation’s first 24/7 Spanish-language free-streaming weather news network). As network president, O’Brien works to ensure that the Weather Channel remains the top-rated and most widely distributed weather network in the U.S. A longtime television and digital business executive, O’Brien was previously a corporate officer for Nexstar Media Group, where he led digital and revenue growth efforts. Prior to that he spent 14 years at NBCUniversal, including stints as president and general manager of NBC’s flagship station, WNBC, and executive vice president and chief revenue officer of CNBC.

EDUCATION Syracuse University


Atlanta 500 Susan Sim OhSusan Sim Oh
Vice President of Strategy and Operations
GrayTV Telemundo Station Group

Susan Sim Oh is the vice president of Strategy and Operations for GrayTV Telemundo Station Group. In this role, she strategizes, develops, and promotes overall strategy and best practices for news, programming, digital, OTT (over-the-top), marketing, and sales for GrayTV Telemundo Station Group, which is comprised of 34 markets across the United States. In 2022, Gray Television Inc. acquired Telemundo Atlanta. Oh, who established Telemundo Atlanta with her brother Coline Sim in 2009 after realizing one million Hispanic people in metro Atlanta had no credible source of news information, continues to oversee the strategic direction of the station. The acquisition also included Surge Digital Media, a digital marketing agency which Oh founded in 2018. Under Oh’s leadership, Telemundo Atlanta has garnered 65 Southeast Emmy Awards since 2012. A journalist by training, Oh worked at CNN in Atlanta in various news production and media relations capacities


Atlanta 500: Michael Ouweleen

Michael Ouweleen
President
Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Discovery Family, and Boomerang

Michael Ouweleen is president of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Discovery Family, and Boomerang. He is responsible for all aspects of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Discovery Family, and the premium video subscription service Boomerang, including content development and production and franchise management, alongside operational management of TCM. His oversight includes programming, creative, digital, and live events related to these brands and its properties globally across all company-owned platforms and third-party partners. He also works collaboratively with the US Networks Group, a new consolidated organization comprising Warner Bros. Discovery’s close to 30 US networks. Ouweleen was a key member of the small team that championed and launched Adult Swim. While serving as creative director for the block, he also co-created, co-executive produced and co-wrote one of the first Adult Swim shows, Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law, starring Gary Cole and Stephen Colbert. He is currently co-executive producing a follow-up series, Birdgirl, starring Paget Brewster, Nagin Farsad, Rob Delaney, and Tony Hale. He and his wife have three grown sons.

EDUCATION Georgetown University


Atlanta 500: Lisa Respers France

Lisa Respers France
Senior Writer, Entertainment
CNN

Lisa Respers France is a senior entertainment writer for CNN Digital in Atlanta. A 15-year veteran of CNN’s entertainment team, France has covered everything from the deaths of Michael Jackson and Prince to how race factors into criticism of Meghan Markle; her writing looks past the guilty pleasure of pop culture to reveal the deeply serious stories at the intersection of national politics and justice. France previously served as an editor of the alumni magazine for Saint John’s University and, before that, as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun. She got her start in journalism in 1994 at the Los Angeles Times. Her short stories have appeared in two anthologies.

EDUCATION University of Maryland, Baltimore County
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I once appeared on an episode of America’s Most Wanted. Not as a criminal, though—as a journalist.


Atlanta 500: Rashad Richey

Rashad Richey
Radio and Television Personality
Rolling Out, TYT Network, News & Talk 1380 WAOK, V-103

Not just the host of the Rashad Richey Morning Show on News & Talk 1380 WAOK—and the youngest inductee into the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as of 2022—Rashad Richey is also an Emmy-nominated political analyst for CBS46 News, a political commentator on V-103, and a professor at Morris Brown College. He’s also the host of Indisputable with Dr. Rashad Richey on the TYT Network and a regular commentator on MSNBC and Fox News. Additionally, he is president of Rolling Out and serves on Piedmont Atlanta Hospital’s board of directors. Previously Richey was the political director and chief strategist for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

EDUCATION Beulah Heights University (MBA), Clark Atlanta University (EdD), Scofield Graduate School & Theological Seminary (PhD)
WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK I had a tough life growing up. Despair, poverty, and a general lack of access surrounded the communities I lived in. Today I seek to transform the narrative of those same communities through education, mentorship, civic engagement, and economic empowerment.


Atlanta 500: Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta
Founder
SaportaReport.com

An Atlanta native who began her full-time journalism career in 1980 with the Macon Telegraph, Maria Saporta is a former Atlanta Business Chronicle columnist and reporter and the founder of SaportaReport.com, where a stable of veteran contributors provide updates on business, urban, and civic issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. In 2008 she wrapped up a 27-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, during which she was a business and civic columnist for more than 17 years. As part of a team, she also helped to launch a new journalism nonprofit, as a sister outlet to SaportaReport.com, called Atlanta Civic Circle.

EDUCATION Boston University, Georgia State University (MA)
FEW PEOPLE KNOW My first language was French, and I didn’t know English when I entered kindergarten.


Atlanta 500 Rose ScottRose Scott
Journalist and Executive Producer
WABE 90.1FM

Rose Scott is a journalist, host, and executive producer of midday news program Closer Look heard on WABE 90.1 FM. She has interviewed foreign heads of states, cabinet members, U.S. ambassadors, numerous consul generals, state and local elected officials, as well as civic and social leaders. Scott leads the Closer Look team in presenting discussions mostly centered around quality-of-life topics, which include affordable housing, education, mobility and transit, health and wellness, and workforce development. Domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, immigration, and criminal justice reform are also covered topics. Scott has been honored with several awards including a Southeast Emmy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, an Atlanta Association of Black Journalists award, and numerous awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. She has also received awards from the Georgia Associated Press and a Telly Award for an interview with former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

EDUCATION Indiana State University


Atlanta 500: Kim Severson

Photograph courtesy of individual

Kim Severson
National Food Correspondent
New York Times

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

EDUCATION Michigan State University
FIRST JOB Cleaning cages in a vet’s office
HOBBIES Softball—playing and coaching my kid’s team
FEW PEOPLE KNOW I secretly want to be a stand-up comedian.
FAVORITE ATLANTA PLACE TO VISIT Any farmers market


Atlanta 500: Ivan Shammas

Ivan Shammas
President and General Manager
Univision Atlanta

Ivan Shammas is president and general manager of Univision Atlanta, a Spanish-language television station that provides award-winning local news and programming to the area’s expansive Latinx population. Univision Atlanta is owned by TelevisaUnivision, the world’s leading Spanish-language media company. In his role, Shammas oversees all station activities including local and national advertising sales, local news, marketing, and community affairs initiatives. With 25 years of experience in Spanish-language media and working within the Hispanic community, Shammas currently serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Caribbean American Cultural Arts and Foundation, and Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. Additionally, Shammas is on the board of directors of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, and the Fox Theatre.

EDUCATION Georgia State University
HOMETOWN Toronto, Canada


LEGENDS

Joel Babbit
Babbit is CEO of Narrative Content Group, which he founded in 2009 with Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and which launched the sustainability website Mother Nature Network (sold in 2020). Narrative has created and distributed content for many of the world’s leading brands, including Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Subway.

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

Amanda Brown Olmstead
Olmstead founded her eponymous agency in 1972, making it one of the longest-serving full-service public relations firms not only in metro Atlanta but also in the Southeast. Her firm has won more than 70 awards.

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

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

Clark Howard
A leading consumer advocate for more than 30 years, Clark’s podcast boasts around 2 million downloads per month. Previously, he hosted a nationally syndicated radio show. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2015 but retired from radio in 2020.

Glen Jackson
In 1995, Atlanta native Jackson cofounded the marketing communications agency Jackson Spalding with Bo Spalding, and he continues to provide leadership for many of its clients. He’s also the author of the book Preeminence: What It Means and How to Sustain It.

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

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

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

Stephen E. Lewis
Lewis is chair of Troutman Pepper and has been a partner in the firm’s corporate law practice group since 1999. He serves as outside general counsel to several closely held companies and is particularly experienced in advising family-owned businesses. He served as firmwide chair of the corporate practice prior to becoming the managing partner of predecessor firm Troutman Sanders in 2011.

Monica Pearson
Pearson was the first woman and first minority to anchor the daily evening news in Atlanta, where she worked for 37 years at WSB-TV. She has won more than 33 Southern Regional and local Emmy Awards.

Joey Reiman
Reiman was founder and chairman of the global consultancy BrightHouse. In 2018 he cofounded Brand New World Studios, which produces “purpose-inspired movies” to connect businesses to consumers.

Lois Reitzes
Reitzes began working at WABE-FM 90.1, the National Public Radio affiliate in Atlanta, in 1979 as a music programmer and announcer, becoming program director in 1992. Now, she hosts City Lights, Second Cup, and other series.

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

Frank Ski
Described as a rainmaker of urban radio, Ski began his career as a disc jockey and recording artist and has evolved into a radio, film, and TV personality, motivational speaker, journalist, and philanthropist. Twenty years ago he launched the Frank Ski Kids Foundation, which exposes young people to science, technology, athletics, and the arts.

Georgianne Thomas
Dr. Thomas has worked with the City of Atlanta Municipal Court as a program manager assisting victims of domestic violence, as a trainer with the City of Atlanta, as a trainer with Delta Air Lines, and as an instructor in Atlanta Public Schools. Executive producer of the award-winning documentary, Footsoldiers: Class of 1964, she was recently honored at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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

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