2023 Atlanta 500: Professionals
Accounting | Law | Marketing & Public Relations | Media | Legends
CEO, North America
Jimmy Etheredge is CEO of Accenture North America, the global company’s largest geographic market, which generated $29 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2022. A member of the company’s Global Management Committee, Etheredge leads nearly 80,000 people. Etheredge’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has helped the company earn numerous top rankings as a great place to work and a DEI leader. Prior to assuming his current role in September 2019, he was senior managing director, U.S. Southeast, responsible for 10 states. In that role, he extended Accenture’s innovation hub network, including creating a new hub at Georgia Tech.
Education: Georgia Tech
Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO (2018), led Accenture in championing the Safe Harbor Amendment in 2016
First job: Lifeguard
Best advice received: Be present, stay in the moment. Focus on the conversation, issue, or task at hand. Yoga helps too.
Favorite travel destination: Lake Glenville, North Carolina
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
Managing Partner and CEO
Richard Kopelman serves as CEO and managing partner of Aprio, a nationally recognized, CPA-led business advisory firm. With nearly 30 decades of experience in public accounting, Kopelman has earned a reputation for providing clients, from start-ups to billion-dollar enterprises, with the highest level of service. Kopelman directed several strategic combinations for Aprio, expanding the firm into the Charlotte, Nashville, and New York markets.
Education: University of South Florida
First job: Selling funeral services (age 12) with my mother
Hobbies: Traveling, skiing, sailing
Favorite movie: Smokey and the Bandit
Bucket list: Morocco
F. David Leiter Jr.
Managing Partner, Atlanta Offices and Mid-South Hub
F. David Leiter Jr. is the managing partner of KPMG’s three Atlanta offices as well as the accounting firm’s mid-South hub, which includes Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis, Knoxville, and Jackson. In addition to leading the almost 2,000 people in these offices, Leiter is a partner in the firm’s business tax services practice. With nearly three decades of experience in the field, Leiter provides multinational tax services to a broad range of KPMG’s audit and nonaudit clients and has served as a lead partner for numerous Fortune 1000 and other publicly traded and private companies.
Education: University of Georgia (MAcc)
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 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.
Theodore I. Blum
Managing Shareholder and Chair, Atlanta Corporate Practice
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 and advises on complex business transactions and provides counsel on day-to-day operations. He’s also a member of the boards of the Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, general counsel to and a member of the board of advisers for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and 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.
Arnall Golden Gregory
Althea Broughton is a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory. The Atlanta native, who is vice 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 present and past board memberships include Drew Charter School, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Literacy Action, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Education: Emory University, University of Virginia (JD)
Notable achievements: Atlanta Business Chronicle Women Who Mean Business (2019), Leadership Atlanta class of 2013
What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Don’t let fear hold you back.
Partner in Charge, Atlanta Office
Alston & Bird
Janine Brown is the partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office, with experience handling multibillion-dollar domestic and international transactions focusing primarily on M&A, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Brown served eight years as chair of Alston & Bird’s corporate technology practice group and is currently cochair of the Atlanta office diversity committee. She’s also on the boards of Spelman College, Georgia Justice Project, and the Woodruff Arts Center.
Education: University of Michigan, Duke University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Featured in The Best Lawyers in America continuously since 2001
First job: Counter clerk during high school at the Fannie May candy shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Few people know: My husband, daughter, and I have traveled across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to see all of Shakespeare’s plays.
Mawuli Mel Davis
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.
Jonathan E. Eady
Arnall Golden Gregory
Jonathan E. Eady is managing partner at Arnall Golden Gregory, where his practice focuses on counseling business and real estate clients in connection with various types of financing, development, investment, acquisition, and operational matters. Eady represents clients in all aspects of the real estate development process, with an emphasis on mixed-use urban redevelopment transactions; he also represents clients in the long-term care and global supply chain industries. Eady has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers.
Education: Emory University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Oxford, Georgia
Why I chose this work: I like solving complex problems involving people and money.
Notable achievements: Worked on developing the legal and financial model that helped transform the face of public housing revitalization in Atlanta and across the U.S.
First job: Cook at Burger King
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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
Kevin A. Gooch
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 & Aldrich (now Dentons), Alston & Bird, and DLA Piper. An immediate past board chair of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. He serves on the board of the Woodruff Arts Center and also on the Board of Visitors of the University of Georgia and is parliamentarian of the 100 Black Men of America (National) Board.
Education: Emory University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Best advice recieved: 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
Robert D. Hays
King & Spalding
Robert D. Hays is the fifth chairman in King & Spalding’s 130-year history, currently serving his sixth term. 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)
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
Charities: Empty Stocking Fund, Woodruff Arts Center, City of Refuge
Bucket list: Family trip to Africa at some point
Who’d play me in a biopic: Jason Bateman
Candis Jones Smith
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 (2019-2021)
First job: Party City
2022 Democratic Nominee for Georgia Attorney General
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.
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
Linda A. Klein
Senior Managing Shareholder
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 is also cochair of the Committee for a United Atlanta, the group opposing 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
Ernest LaMont Greer
Ernest Greer is copresident of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm of over 2,500 attorneys in 43 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: 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); National Law Journal Equality Trailblazer (2019)
Simon R. Malko
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 47-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
Erica V. Mason
Labor & Employment Partner
AkermanTwenty 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 she is immediate past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Education: Georgia State University, University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD)
Lesson learned: Your toughest boss or those who seemingly give you the hardest time are often those who teach you the most.
Ceasar C. Mitchell Jr.
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 recieved: 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.
Gerald L. Pouncey Jr.
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
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.
Hidden talent: College pocket-billiards champion
Favorite movie: My Cousin Vinny
Partner-in-Charge, Southeast U.S. Region
Lizanne Thomas leads Jones Day’s corporate governance team and is partner-in-charge of the firm’s Southeast U.S. Region. Experienced in shareholder activism, public and private mergers and acquisitions, takeover preparedness, and executive compensation, Thomas participates in about 100 board meetings per year as counsel to a number of public companies. She represents special committees in control and conflict transactions, as well as in internal investigations. Thomas also lectures on governance to leading business organizations, companies, and universities.
Education: Furman University, Washington and Lee University School of Law (JD)
Board memberships: Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Georgia Research Alliance, Washington and Lee University, Woodruff Arts Center.
Travis Townsend Jr.
Townsend & Locket LLC
As cofounding partner of Townsend & Lockett and group leader of its business and transactional law practices, Townsend services businesses and supports their growth through the facilitation of financing, asset acquisition, and relationship management. Townsend led the corporate, securities, transactional, and banking practice groups at Townsend & Lockett, resulting in the firm closing over $17 billion in transactions for clients. Founded in 2010, the firm’s practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, commercial real estate, intellectual property and technology, private equity and venture capital, and commercial litigation and arbitration in four locations: Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Townsend is a member of Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2023.
Education: University of Michigan, University of Michigan Law School (JD)
Hometown: Muskegon Heights, Michigan
Notable achievements: As president of the National Black MBA Association Atlanta, he led the organization to national recognition of excellence in four categories for the 2021 year: best in Education, Career Network, Chapter of the Year, and President of the Year.
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 20 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.
Mark D. Wasserman
Managing Partner and Co-CEO
With more than three decades of experience in corporate law, Mark Wasserman has been the managing partner of Eversheds Sutherland (U.S.) LLP for 16 years and is the co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland Limited. He’s represented and advised private and public companies in the U.S. and internationally, and has counseled clients on a range of business matters, especially mergers and acquisitions and issues relating to federal and state securities laws. He also serves as chair of the Emory Law Dean’s advisory board and was named to the Best Lawyers in America in the area of corporate law for 2022-2023.
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
John C. Yates
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.
Education: Duke University, Duke University School of Law (JD)
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
First job: Library assistant in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ll never shelve another book!
Favorite travel destination: The beaches of South Carolina
Sally Q. Yates
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)
Notable achievements: A fellow and state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Yates has received the Luminary Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights.
MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS
Founder and CEO
Brave Public RelationsWith 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.
Catherine Ann Downey
CEO and Creative Director
In 1997 Catherine Downey founded the creative agency CATVIDEO, changing the business’s name in 2011 to CATMEDIA to reflect the ways Downey seeks out and embraces technological advances, and the evolving ways people use media. A Virginia native, Downey was previously a promotions manager for Team America and the director of marketing and broadcast promotions for a Memphis television station. In these and other positions, she honed her skills in media buying, staff and project management, and writing, directing, and producing.
Education: George Mason University
Notable achievements: CATMEDIA won eight statuettes at the 2022 Telly Awards for its work with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), AmeriCorps NCCC, and several divisions within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trevelino/Keller Communications Group
Genna Keller served in executive leadership positions with global public relations firms for 16 years before launching her own agency with longtime colleague Dean Trevelino in the early 2000s. Together they created a digital public relations and marketing firm that is nationally ranked in all of their practice areas. Passionate about emerging companies and projects in the Atlanta area, Keller serves in advisory roles with Tech Alpharetta, Keiretsu Forum, Hub404, and others and recently played a significant role in helping Atlanta land the 2021 HHS SBIR/STTR Conference—a national conference designed to educate health and bio-oriented small businesses about America’s largest seed fund.
Education: Wake Forest University
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Do not be afraid of hard work, follow-up, and nondigital interactions.
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 co-founded 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.
Allied Integrated Marketing
As vice president of Allied Global Marketing, an international agency with 22 offices, Sloss’s client list contains multiple entertainment and lifestyle brands including Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Fox Searchlight, Netflix, Cirque du Soleil, MotorTrend Auto Shows, and Van Michael Salon. A Florida native, Sloss serves as a lead adviser from account planning to brand strategy and activation. She was honored with the 2019 Synergy Award given by the African American Film Critics Association for her impactful commitment in the arts and entertainment community.
Education: Auburn University
Few people know: I am a great ping-pong player!
Favorite travel destination: Greece
Favorite Atlanta places to visit: Truist Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Charities: LifeLine Animal Project, Atlanta Film Festival, Girl Scouts
Founder, Chairman, and CEO
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
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
Founder and CEO
One Vision Productions
Forrest Tuff is the founder and CEO of One Vision Productions, a multimedia production company 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 hosts the Tuff Talk Show and has received credits on more than 200 films.
Education: Western Carolina University
First job: Chick-fil-A
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.
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
Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Who’d play me in a biopic: Jodie Foster
President and Cofounder
Donald Albright is an entrepreneur, producer, and the president 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), iHeartRadio Best True Crime Podcast (2019)
Senior Vice President, Talent Services and Special Projects
Tara August is senior vice president of talent services and special projects for Turner Sports and Bleacher Report, overseeing Turner Sports’ roster of on-air announcers across digital and linear platforms. August facilitates on-air production, sales, marketing, and promotional activities, with an emphasis on serving as the primary liaison to all sport teams, leagues, agents, and celebrities to facilitate contract negotiations and special guest bookings. She also manages the production development of features and special projects for TNT, TBS, and NBA TV networks for Turner Sports’ linear properties and digital platforms.
Education: San Diego State University, University of San Francisco (MA)
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Partner and Chief Content Officer
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)
Turner Classic Movies
Pola Changnon is the general manager of Turner Classic Movies, which is part of WarnerMedia; she oversees daily operations including strategy, business development, marketing, branding, digital initiatives, programming, and on-air campaigns. Taking the helm in 2020, Changnon has overseen the successful launches of the first virtual TCM Classic Film Festival, the first TCM podcast, and the three-month programming series Women Make Film. Previously Changnon, an Atlanta native, was TCM’s senior vice president of marketing, studio production, and talent; she has also been a vice president at the Cartoon Network and a producer at Colossal Pictures, and has consulted on projects for Nickelodeon, CBS, Viacom, and Hanna-Barbera.
Education: Duke University, Northwestern University (MA)
Who’d play me in a biopic: Holly Hunter
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.
Host, The Erick Erickson Show
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 called Erickson the most influential conservative in America. He’s currently working on his master of divinity degree at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Education: Mercer University, Mercer University School of Law (JD)
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Notable achievements: Blocked by Kasim Reed on Twitter. Attacked by President Trump.
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Bally Sports South
Jeff Genthner is the senior vice president and general manager of the Sinclair-owned regional networks Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast. A 43-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 recieved: From Cablevision founder Charles Dolan: “You never learn when speaking, only when listening.”
Sanjay Gupta, MD
Chief Medical Correspondent
Emmy-winning chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for all of the network’s domestic and international shows, and he contributes to CNN.com. His medical training and public health policy experience inform his reporting from war zones and natural disasters. Gupta is also a member of the staff and faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and an associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. An Atlanta resident, he regularly performs surgery at Emory University and Grady hospitals.
Education: University of Michigan, University of Michigan Medical School (MD)
Notable achievements: Author of three New York Times bestselling books: Chasing Life, Cheating Death, and Monday Mornings. Named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2003.
Jenn Hobby is a content creator, as 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 become an advocate for childhood cancer research, raising over $333,000 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
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
CEO and Cofounder
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
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.
Darian Morgan (Big Tigger)
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
Capital Investment Advisors
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 four 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.
Tom O’Brien is president of the Weather Group, the parent company of both the Weather Channel and the over-the-top streaming service Local Now, and executive vice president of Allen Media Group. 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
Why I chose this work: I’ve been fascinated with television and the outdoors my entire life. I can’t think of a better place to combine these two passions than the Weather Channel.
Susan 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.
Michael Ouweleen is the president of Adult Swim, which is part of WarnerMedia. Ouweleen is responsible for all aspects of content planning, development, windowing, marketing, and creative for Adult Swim and its properties globally across all company-owned platforms and third-party partners. As a primary driver of Cartoon Network’s global brand and a principal force behind its strategy for more than 20 years, Ouweleen has held senior content and brand positions including chief marketing officer for Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and Adult Swim, and senior vice president of programming and development at Cartoon Network. He was a key member of the team that championed and launched Adult Swim.
Education: Georgetown University
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Lisa Respers France
Senior Writer, Entertainment
Lisa Respers France is a senior entertainment writer for CNN Digital in Atlanta. A 14-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.
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.
Kevin Riley, a longtime employee of Cox Enterprises, was named editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January 2011. He started his career in 1983 at Cox’s original newspaper, the Dayton Daily News in Ohio, while a student at the University of Dayton; since taking the helm at the AJC he’s led a rejuvenation of the newsroom with an emphasis on investigative journalism. He also writes a column in Sunday editions of the paper.
Education: University of Dayton
Favorite book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Best advice received: He who knows not, and knows he knows not, is better than he who knows not and knows not he knows not.
First job: Washing dishes in a bar
Notable achievement: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist in National Reporting.
Senior I-Team Reporter
Senior investigative reporter Dale Russell is the FOX 5 I-Team’s government watchdog. An Atlanta native, he began media work as a freelance newspaper and magazine writer. His 40 years of investigative stories have helped shape Georgia’s political history, toppling people in power, exposing waste and corruption, sparking criminal investigations, and changing laws. He’s broken important stories while covering some of the nation’s biggest events, including the Atlanta child murders of 1979-1981, the Olympic Park bombing, and the 9/11 attacks.
Education: Georgia State University
Notable achievements: More than 50 journalism awards, including broadcasting’s highest honor: the George Foster Peabody Award
Few people know: I once won a stand-up comedy contest at the Great Southeast Music Hall.
Toughest challenge: I hate confrontations. It was kind of a problem for this job.
Georgia Public Broadcasting
Los Angeles native Teya Ryan was named CEO of GPB Media—the fourth-largest public broadcasting system in the country, counting nine television stations and 18 radio stations—in 2009. Her experience includes roles in broadcast management, production, and content creation. Previously, she was executive vice president for three CNN networks: CNN, CNN Headline News, and CNN U.S. Ryan is cochair of the Georgia Literacy Commission and a member of the board of councilors of the Carter Center.
Education: University of California, Berkeley
Notable achievement: Created the first live interactive TV talk show, CNN’s Talkback Live
First job: One that paid me: working on the Vancouver Sun
Hobbies: Travel. Travel. Travel. Sheer adventure.
Who’d play me in a biopic: A young Candice Bergen
An Atlanta native who began her full-time journalism career in 1980 with the Macon Telegraph, Maria Saporta is an Atlanta Business Chronicle columnist and reporter and the founder of SaportaReport.com, where a stable of veteran contributors provide updates on business, urban, and civic issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. In 2008 she wrapped up a 27-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, during which she was a business and civic columnist for more than 17 years. 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.
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
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. Counting more than 20 years of experience in Spanish-language media and working within the Hispanic community, Shammas currently serves as board chair for the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Education: Georgia State University
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Notable achievements: Georgia Trend 100 Most Influential Georgians (2020), Leadership Atlanta class of 2015
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.
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.
A two-time Emmy winner and a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, Cameron was the longtime host of Atlanta’s top morning radio show on V103. He was the first African American announcer in the history of the Atlanta Hawks.
Media pioneer Clayton worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and launched the Trumpet Awards in 1993.
President and cofounder of Hope-Beckham communications firm, Hope was public relations director for the Atlanta Braves in the Hank Aaron era.
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.
Jackson-Ransom is the president and CEO of firstClass, a public relations and marketing firm founded in 1975.
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.
The WABE radio host was the wife of Mayor Maynard Jackson and helped prepare the city for the 1988 Democratic National Convention and the 1996 Olympic Games.
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.
The Pulitzer-winning author is now a professor in Emory’s Creative Writing Program. He coauthored The Race Beat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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