Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Georgia for 2023. The Peach State, the largest state east of the Mississippi River, is home to countless major corporations including Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, Delta, and AT&T. With continuous economic growth, it has provided a stable and thriving home for its residents. This year’s awardees are front runners in the organizations they serve. Their unwavering commitment and contributions play a part in their success and development within their areas.
Among this year’s awardees is Bridget Xue, Chief Operating Officer at Deloitte, who helms the organization’s Life Sciences Health Care sector and manages the operations of a $3Bn portfolio in annual revenue. Awardee Michelle A. Banks, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Kohl's, uses her more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry to lead the company’s enterprise-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Also awarded is Sue Kolloru Barger, Chief Strategy Officer at Pearson, a global education and learning company. Outside of her focus on the core strategic and cross-enterprise growth support areas for Pearson, she dedicates her spare time to the development of diversity, youth, and STEM.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Georgia for 2023.
1. Bridget Xue
Chief Operating Officer, Deloitte
Bridget Xue is the Chief Operating Officer of Deloitte's Life Sciences Health Care Industry and manages the operations of a ~$3Bn portfolio in annual revenue. She interacts with a large group of stakeholders, both internal and external, and is an integral part of the industry leadership team in formulating strategic growth priorities and allocating resources towards execution. Bridget oversees the practice's financial and business operations, leads the annual planning and monthly forecast processes and manages the industry's investment portfolio. She is also a highly sought-after team leader and mentor who has a track record of building diverse, inclusive and high performing teams in solving complex operational and strategic problems.
Bridget joined Deloitte Consulting over 15 years ago and had previously served as chief operating officer of the financial service industry and chief of staff for the banking sector. She also has deep expertise in management consulting, particularly in large-scale program/project management, business strategy development & execution, finance transformation, performance management, talent strategy and operational excellence. Bridget received her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
3. Michelle A. Banks
Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Kohl's
Michelle A. Banks, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, is responsible for leading Kohl’s enterprise-wide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, including training and development, strategic initiatives across the business, and leadership of both the company’s DEI Task Force and its DEI Council.
Kohl’s is a leading omnichannel retailer. With more than 1,100 stores in 49 states and the online convenience of Kohls.com and the Kohl's App, Kohl's offers amazing national and private brands at incredible savings for families nationwide. Kohl’s is committed to progress in its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and the company's environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) stewardship.
Banks joined Kohl’s in 2010 and has held a number of progressive leadership roles within the store’s organization, most recently having served as senior vice president, territory manager overseeing nearly 200 stores in the Southeast region. Prior to joining Kohl's, Banks served in store leadership roles with DSW Shoes, Gap, Marshall Fields, and Donna Karan. Banks has more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry.
4. Arati Chavan
Staff Vice President & Global Head of Identity and Access Management, Elevance Health
Arati Chavan is a Staff Vice President in the office of Global Chief Information Security Office at Elevance Health. As a Global Head of Identity and Access Management team, she leads a global team of over 250 people to drive security transformation initiatives. She is known for great ability and passion for leading people, improving processes and technologies with proven results.
Arati has been a change agent in the information security and leadership development spaces. She has over 18 years of experience, and an executive master’s degree in technology management from Columbia University. Arati has been instrumental in coaching and guiding young girls through the Girls Who Code initiative. Before joining Elevance Health, she played pivotal leadership roles with General Electric, Synchrony Financial and Citizens Bank.
5. Sue Kolloru Barger
Chief Strategy Officer, Pearson PLC
Sue Kolloru Barger is the Chief Strategy Officer at Pearson PLC, the world's leading education and learning company. Sue is responsible for the core strategic and cross-enterprise growth support areas globally. She leads the Corporate Strategy function, the Corporate Development & Corporate Finance group, the Venture Investment Fund, Pearson Innovation & Incubation Labs, and the Central Enterprise Data office.
Before joining Pearson, Sue was the VP of international at Delta Air Lines, focused on its international airline equity investment partnerships to identify and deliver synergies by leveraging the scale of all entities. Sue initially joined Delta as the VP of corporate strategy, where she focused on driving long-term corporate strategy and cross-enterprise strategic programs. Before Delta Air Lines, Sue was a partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group, a leading global management strategy consulting firm.
Sue has been a member of various nonprofit boards and councils focused on diversity, youth and STEM. She holds an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering with a minor in business from the University of Ottawa, Canada.
7. Cassie Ann Kiggen
Chief Communications Officer, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Cassie Ann Kiggen serves as the Chief Communications Officer for the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension. As member of the CAES executive leadership team, Cassie Ann is responsible for developing strategic communication plans for CAES as well as leading and overseeing the public relations and marketing strategies for CAES to promote and strengthen Georgia’s leading industry: agriculture. She manages an award-winning team of creative communications professionals who are responsible for translating brand strategy into creative storytelling opportunities to create optimized experiences for CAES global and diverse audiences.
Previously in Washington, DC, Cassie Ann was a director of communications at the National Venture Capital Association. She also previously served as an officer of communications at the United Nations Foundation. Prior to that, Cassie Ann was the senior manager of strategy and communications for the US Chamber of Commerce. She led multimedia campaigns for Fortune 100 and 500 companies, specializing in international affairs & trade, healthcare, immigration, and innovation. Cassie also managed the US Chamber’s digital platform and content covering small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurship.
Cassie Ann began her career in marketing and communications at EMPEA (Emerging Markets Private Equity Association), supporting the organization’s connectivity with its global membership community, investor network and ecosystem of financial and emerging markets stakeholders.
Cassie Ann graduated from the University of Georgia Honors College with an undergraduate degree in both international affairs and Spanish. While as an undergraduate student, Cassie studied international relations and politics at the University of Oxford. She also studied at the Real Academia de Historia y Arte de San Quirce in Segovia, Spain. She completed her master’s in international communications with specializations in strategic communications and intercultural leadership at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC.
10. Ania Caruso
Casualty Practice Leader & Managing Director, Gallagher
Ania Caruso has over 20 years of broker and carrier experience, working with Fortune 1000 clients on their insurance placement, program structure, strategy, and predictive analytics while focusing on their cost optimization and reducing their total casualty cost of risk. In her current role, Ania and her team help clients analyze and underwrite their casualty loss exposures, identify and prioritize cost reduction opportunities in order to optimize their casualty insurance and risk management program. She is responsible for developing complex casualty practice in the Southeast region while also coordinating and developing resources around solutions for complex casualty risk issues, such as loss sensitive or cash flow programs, captives, predictive data analytics, alternative risk financing, and reinsurance.As a leader, Ania works to train, mentor, and develop colleagues on the nationally and regionally. She creates and oversees growth goals for the Casualty Practice and identifies resources available within the organization.
Ania brings depth of experience in helping clients achieve strong financial results, while protecting their balance sheet via risk assessment, risk mitigation, alternative risk and risk transfer efforts. She has spent her career partnering with organizations to achieve risk optimization by using innovation, predictive analytics, critical thinking and strategic execution while leaning on her deep complex casualty risk finance programs and loss cost reduction expertise. Ania is passionate about providing white-glove service to her internal and external stakeholders while executing swiftly and successfully on business strategies and growth objectives.
Ania is active in the local community as she serves on the board of directors for the JDRF Atlanta Chapter and United Way of Forsyth & Dawson Country Investment Committee Member. She speaks and moderates at various industry events on the topics of casualty, emerging risks, risk management and leadership. In 2021, she was named one of the Hot 100 by Insurance Business America. Ania was an advisory board member for the Advisen Casualty Conference in 2022. She volunteers her time as a national mentor for emerging leaders via Pathbuilders as well as Atlanta RIMS Mentorship Program. Ania served for 3 years as Atlanta City chair for the Dive In Diversity & Inclusion in Insurance Industry Festival. She sits on the Atlanta RIMS Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion Committee and IICF Inclusion Forum Committee.
12. Lori Lane
President and Managing Broker of the New Homes Division, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties
Lori Lane is President and Managing Broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties highly successful New Homes Division. Her many clients are some of the most respected builders and developers across Greater Atlanta.
Lori and her team have created award-winning strategies for the marketing and selling of new construction and have won hundreds of awards that celebrate outstanding achievement and excellence in home building and marketing. This past year the New Homes Division and their clients took home an unprecedented 62 OBIE awards presented by the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association.
Lori has established herself as a powerhouse in the new home construction industry. In addition, she also manages luxury marketing and under her leadership Luxury Collection sales have seen an increase of 395% in sales volume.
Lori has received numerous awards and accolades including Who’s Who in Residential Real Estate by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Power Players and Top Real Estate Professionals by The Atlantan, Women of Power and Influence by Modern Luxury and in addition she was named a RIS Media Newsmaker Achiever and Influencer. Lori defines new home and luxury real estate sales and marketing and continues to make a lasting impact on Atlanta’s real estate industry.
View the complete list of awardees.
13. Devynne Floyd
Regional Vice President of Sales, Toast
Devynne Floyd is a Regional Vice President of Sales for Toast, Inc, a leader in the restaurant technology space, where she is a people leader, coach and sales executive. Toast is a cloud-based restaurant management software company with the mission of empowering the restaurant industry to delight guests, do what they love, and thrive.
Devynne graduated college with both a culinary arts degree, as well as a hotel management degree both of which have supported her success in hospitality tech. Prior to joining Toast, Devynne served as a market manager for Expedia, overseeing markets all over the East Coast. Devynne joined Toast, Inc in 2018 and has served in several roles as an individual contributor as well as a people leader.
14. Tiffany Parr
President & CEO, Navana Health Agency
Dr. Tiffany Parr is the President and CEO of Navana Health Agency (NHA), a performance improvement and population health management consulting firm designed to support the needs of federal agencies, state and local public health departments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and employers. NHA focuses on four core areas: helping customers obtain new business and funding through grants, and RFPs, partnering with customers to identify effective interventions for sustainable change in health outcomes, executing customized professional development training sessions in quality improvement and population health management, and building the capacity of organizations to ensure sustainable health solutions.
Dr. Parr has almost two decades of experience in medical epidemiology, quality improvement, population health, teaching, and responding to grants, cooperative agreements and RFPs for federal and state agencies, and health management organizations such as The Georgia Department of Public Health, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, SciMetrika, CareSource, Kent State University, and The University of Georgia.
Dr. Parr is a nationally recognized epidemiologist and executive in population health who focuses on improving health outcomes through geospatial intelligence and mixed-methods research, which has improved women’s health, maternal and child health outcomes for at-risk populations. Previously, Dr. Parr was the associate vice president of quality improvement at CareSource, a managed care organization, and section chief of the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Unit at the Georgia Department of Public Health. In her spare time, Dr. Parr serves as an adjunct professor at Kent State University, teaching epidemiology and health promotion.
Dr. Parr earned an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, a master’s in public health and tropical medicine from Tulane University, and a Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology from The University of Georgia.
15. Sylvia Cintron
Vice President of Marketing, Forward Air
Sylvia Cintron is the Vice President of Marketing of Forward Air. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sylvia is a seasoned marketer experienced in growth, ROI, and innovation in fast-paced corporate and agency environments. With over 25 years of experience, she has navigated the sales and marketing space for B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations.
Sylvia has developed a career applying her marketing skills by commanding teams of many shapes and sizes while leading a myriad of equally diverse marketing strategies. She's always looking for ways to grow and mentor the teams she works with to help people advance their careers and expand their horizons.
As for her leadership style, Sylvia leads with a singular energy heard and felt throughout the halls of Forward. She inspires teammates to generate their best work by elevating her teams with heartfelt passion and dedication. Sylvia is uniquely committed to helping younger, next-generation employees connect to the industry and their role in advancing it. This passion has resulted in the significant expansion of her department, which has nearly doubled since 2021, with mostly millennial and generation Z employees. She stands firmly by "The Four M's," her personal breakdown of the definition of successful relationships: manage, mentor, motivate and measure/monitor.
Sylvia excels in developing and delivering results-driven strategic frameworks aligning the brand with segmentation, competitive analysis/market intelligence, prospecting, lead generation, and product and market development. She sees herself as a facilitator who encourages teamwork and developing partnerships. She is well-known for collaborating with cross-functioning teams, clients, and executives to provide leadership and direction for marketing functions/execution.
16. Alyson Wooten
Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group
Alyson Wooten is a Managing Director at Berkeley Research Group, a global consulting firm that helps leading organizations advance in three key areas: disputes and investigations, corporate finance, and performance improvement and advisory. Dr. Wooten leads BRG’s Pharmacy Operations and Advisory Consulting practice. She joined BRG after a career in medical services with a multibillion-dollar global pharmaceutical company and practicing for over a decade as a pharmaceutical and life sciences patent litigator with a top tier international law firm.
Dr. Wooten has provided expert testimony and support in a number of litigation matters involving, among other things, pharmacy practice and standards of care, pharmaceutical regulation, opioid prescribing and dispensing practices, pharmaceutical pre-clinical and clinical development, and pharmacy technology matters. Known as a trusted advisor, she also focuses on assisting pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device manufacturers, pharmacies, and pharmacy benefit managers facing compliance issues, investigations, and regulatory matters. Dr. Wooten graduated from Campbell University with a Doctor of Pharmacy and MBA and from Temple University with a JD. She also has served as an adjunct professor for Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy and is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Buckhead.
17. June Kim
Managing Director, UHY Consulting
June Kim is a Managing Director with UHY Consulting and leads the firm’s BlackLine Practice. Her delivery team has designed and implemented BlackLine, one of the top accounting automation platforms, for hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies. She focuses on identifying cost efficiencies, maximizing productivity, and implementing sustainable process improvements while maximizing use and adoption. June’s goal is to ensure clients are leveraging technology and finance automation solutions that strengthen and transform their companies. She has a master’s degree in science of accounting from Eastern Michigan University.
June is a Certified Public Accountant with both the Georgia State Board of Accountancy and the Michigan State Board of Accountancy. She is a certified BlackLine Implementation Professional and is frequently called upon to speak at BlackLine conferences and events, including a presentation on one of the largest BlackLine projects integrating different instances of BlackLine for two recently merged, global telecom giants. June has hands-on attest and taxation experience for complex entity structures serving a variety of industries as well as preparation, review, and tax projections for C corps, S corps, and consolidated corporate tax returns, including foreign reporting requirements.
18. Candice Scale
Vice President & Key Account Manager for the Federal Program, CHA Consulting
Candice Scale serves as Vice President and Key Account Manager for the Federal Program at CHA Consulting, Inc. For more than 70 years, CHA has provided innovative engineering, design, consulting, and construction management services, delivering sustainable, integrated solutions to the world’s most challenging infrastructure projects. In her role at CHA, Candice is responsible for leading collaboration with cross-functional teams to increase the company’s market share with federal agencies and design-build partners. She has more than 15 years of experience serving federal and defense clients in the architecture/engineering/construction industry.
Prior to joining CHA, Candice was an account director at Freese and Nichols. She earned an undergraduate degree in geography from Georgia Southern University. Candice is an active member of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and currently serves as the immediate past president and chair of the Leader Development Program at SAME Atlanta Post and director of recognitions and nominations at SAME Panama City Post.
19. Cherelle Cortez
Vice President of Trade Partner Supplier Diversity, Layton Construction
Cherelle Cortez has served as Layton Construction’s Vice President of Trade Partner Supplier Diversity for 2 years, with 19 years of experience in the construction industry and 12 years of experience focusing on diversity and inclusion in the marketplace, workplace, and workforce.
During her tenure at Layton, she has made great progress toward the company’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. She is responsible for the foundation of multiple employee resource groups and has grown Layton’s trade partner network substantially. Cherelle also founded Layton’s Trade Partner Equity Program, a training series designed to advance a competitive edge among minority, woman, veteran-owned, and other small/disadvantaged businesses.
Cherelle’s community involvement is just as extensive. She has trained over 400 business owners in educational sessions and served as a mentor on the board of directors for the National Minority Contractors Association and the Nashville Business Incubation Center for Minority Contractors. She continues to be recognized both internally and externally as a leader in the supplier diversity space, having received numerous awards and accolades in the community, including Atlanta’s Most Influential 100 Black Women, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council's George Lottier Rising Star Award, and the Georgia Mentor Protege Connection's Magnificent Mentor Award.
View the complete list of awardees.
20. Missy Herbert
Audit Partner, Warren Averett
Missy Herbert is a member in the firm’s Audit Division and has more than 26 years of employee benefit plan audit and consulting experience. Missy offers public and private companies plan audit knowledge combined with a strong ERISA and plan operations background. During her career, Missy has performed plan audits and consulting for over 850 different plans with plan bases ranging from 120 - 50,000 participants and assets from $500 thousand to $15 billion. She has extensive experience auditing plans that are required to file an annual 11-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Missy is a thought leader and speaker including engagements at the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Annual Conference, Georgia Society Employee Benefit Plan Annual Conference, and several regional state society employee benefit plan conferences. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans.
21. Kyla Thompson
Regional Vice President of Sales, Stream Companies
Kyla Thompson is an accomplished sales, marketing, and advertising leader, with 19 years of expertise in the automotive industry. She is the Regional Vice President of Sales with Stream Companies, a fully integrated advertising agency of thought leaders, innovators, and creators. The Stream Team is dedicated to driving results and exceeding clients’ expectations while doing the ordinary extraordinarily well.
In her role, Kyla has the opportunity to use her unique skills and experience to work collaboratively with multiple departments, assisting clientele nationwide. Aligning with Stream Companies was a natural fit, as Kyla is passionate about providing clients with the best recommendations for success and finding the most efficient ways to stretch their marketing dollars for maximum return on investment. She enjoys embracing company health and wellness initiatives and loves utilizing her positive energy to motivate and encourage others. Kyla believes in following the golden rule, and that honoring the core values of honesty, transparency, inclusion, optimism, and pursuing excellence are the keys to building trust and maintaining valuable relationships.
Beginning as an editor and graphic designer with Atlanta Cars Magazine in 2004, her career quickly evolved to sales, consulting, and marketing through multiple facets of the automotive industry. She has been honored with several awards while working with top industry leaders, such as AutoTrader Publishing, AutoTrader.com, vAuto, and CarNow prior to joining Stream Companies. However, her greatest accomplishment is raising her two beautiful, independent, and proficient children. Kyla resides in Flowery Branch, Georgia with her two children.
22. Patty Fritz
Head of US Corporate Affairs, UCB
Patty Fritz is Head of US Corporate Affairs at UCB, leading public policy, government affairs, advocacy, communications, and public affairs, as well as UCB’s office and strategic priorities in Washington, DC. Patty leads efforts to create value for patients and their families through strategic engagement and positively influencing the healthcare environment and policy landscape. In her role, she finds opportunities to better understand the unique needs of people living with and impacted by severe disease, so UCB can focus on helping them live their best lives. She champions innovative approaches to spotlight and improve access to care for people living with severe diseases. Patty also leads UCB’s sustainability efforts in the US, amplifying UCB’s commitment to the health of the planet, health and well-being of employees, innovation, sustainable access, diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as ethical business practices.
Prior to leading US Corporate Affairs, Patty made an impact through additional leadership roles including regulatory affairs, operational excellence, government affairs, health policy, and UCBCares®. Patty led the regulatory efforts for UCB’s first product filing in the US - Keppra® (levetiracetam) - and oversaw the FDA approval process for many of UCB’s other products. Prior to joining UCB, Patty held positions with the government and industry in regulatory affairs, clinical development, and research.
Patty also championed and was a driving force behind the establishment of UCB’s Women in Leadership initiative. She was recognized by PharmaVOICE magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential and Inspirational Leaders in the Life Sciences Industry in 2019. And in 2020, was awarded the Industry Growth Award by Georgia Bio, for extraordinary contributions to the growth of the life science industry in Georgia. Outside of UCB, Patty serves on the board of directors of the Center for Global Health Innovation, the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI), and the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) and is also a member of The Carter Center Board of Councilors.
Patty holds a master’s degree in health care policy and administration from Mercer University and an undergraduate degree in management and technology from the University of Maryland. Patty is also a graduate of Summers County School of Nursing.
23. Anita Ward
Chief Growth Officer, Care Solace
Anita Ward is the Chief Growth Officer for Care Solace, the nation's premier provider of mental health coordination through Care Companions. She is an applied anthropologist devoted to building inclusive business and community ecosystems, and a global executive aligning strategy in support of growth, sustainability and change. Often described as an organizational sherpa, she has served as chief transformation officer and trusted advisor to courageous and admired companies in many industries.
Anita is the recipient of the Rosa Parks Courage Award and was recognized in the Top 100 Fintech for Sustainable Development Goals Influencers in 2019. She is a founding member of the Conscious Capitalism Senior Leader Network, has been featured in Real Change Leaders, Teams at the Top; Forbes ASAP; Fast Company, CIO Magazine, ComputerWorld, and has been a guest on many podcasts where she shares her story and journey. She hosts the Working on Wellbeing and People on Purpose podcast, and is most passionate about working with business and government leaders to close systemic gaps in access to resources across all social determinants of health.
24. Blythe Keeler Robinson
President & CEO, Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers
Blythe Keeler Robinson is an innovative and passionate leader with nearly 25 years of nonprofit management experience. She is an equity advocate and a nationally recognized leader in early education and two-generation approaches to educational success and economic security.
Robinson is the President and CEO of Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1888, Sheltering Arms is one of Georgia’s largest and most respected nonprofit organizations serving nearly 2,300 children daily, ages six weeks to five years old, and their families in 13 early care and education centers across metro Atlanta. Sheltering Arms is a National Head Start Center of Excellence, as well as a member of the Educare Learning Network, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Economic Success – Early Childhood Initiative Action Learning Network, and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. Robinson has increased the organization’s national impact and visibility through partnerships, panel discussions, presentations, and consultancy projects.
Prior to joining Sheltering Arms, Robinson served as the SVP & chief programs officer of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami‐Dade/Monroe, Florida. As a dedicated servant leader, Robinson believes in giving back to the community. She volunteers with local organizations focused on children and mentors girls and women. Robinson serves on the International Women’s Forum - Georgia Chapter board, the National Black Child Development Institute board, the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast Governing board, the Atlanta Speech School advisory board, and the Promising All Atlanta Children Thrive founding advisory board. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Robinson holds an undergraduate degree in government and politics with a certificate in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a JD from The Georgetown University Law Center.
25. Jane Vaden Thacher
President & Dealer Operator for Vaden Automotive
Jane Vaden Thacher is the President & Dealer Operator for the Vaden Automotive which includes four General Motors dealerships, four Nissan dealerships, an INFINITI dealership, Vaden Powertrain and a medium duty truck center. Their dealerships excel in all aspects of the business ranging from vehicle sales & service to customer satisfaction. They are home to one of the largest wholesale parts operations in the Southeast region. They employ over 600 people in Southeast Georgia, Coastal South Carolina and have expanded into several non-dealership related enterprises.
Prior to returning to Savannah, Jane managed the food marketing division of Ketchum Public Relations in Atlanta. She served on the board of directors for the Savannah Bank from 2000-2013, and the credit review committee for eight of those years. She served two terms on the Savannah Country Day School board of trustees and the chair of the marketing committee. Jane was also a member of the Hospice Savannah board of directors and the Isle of Hope United Methodist Preschool board. In addition, she served on the United Way Women’s Legacy Council’s executive board.
26. Taylor Ramsey
Executive Director, OneGoal Metro Atlanta
Taylor Ramsey serves as the Executive Director of OneGoal Metro Atlanta, where they serve 800 students across the metro area in partnership with Achieve Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools and South Fulton. Taylor brings nearly two decades of leadership experience in educational equity. Prior to stepping into her role at OneGoal, Taylor served in a number of executive positions, leading teams to set and hold a bold vision for student achievement and translating that to strategy, execution and impact.
Taylor served as VP of training and support at Teach For America, leading their national summer teacher training institute in Atlanta, overseeing a team of 100 staff members, working in close concert with APS to serve summer school students, and training over 1,500 teachers. Taylor then continued to lead local efforts with Teach For America, overseeing the ongoing training and support of its teachers and working with school districts and students in every corner of Metro Atlanta. As a first-generation college student, Taylor knows first-hand the power of a post-secondary opportunity and is honored to lead OneGoal as part of the broader postsecondary access efforts across the state. When she’s not working, Taylor is spending time with her husband and seven-year-old son, and is a proud Dunwoody and DeKalb county public school parent.
View the complete list of awardees.
27. Kristalyn Mumaw
Vice President of Marketing, Insight Sourcing Group
Kristalyn Mumaw is a Vice President at Insight Sourcing Group and leads the firm's marketing function, including marketing strategy, brand management, demand generation, and oversight of intangible assets. Mumaw has over 26 years of multidiscipline experience in marketing, business process management and new market development. Early in her career, she focused on venture capital funding for high growth tech companies, securing over $300 million of collective funding for early- and mid-stage organizations. This fast-paced market development experience solidified her business acumen for structuring revenue-focused market and brand development programs.
In recent years, she has turned her focus to multi-brand, multinational management, M&A brand integration, and the implementation of leading marketing technologies to personalize customer engagement.
Prior to joining Insights Sourcing Group, Kristalyn served as a trusted new markets strategy leader for Dell Technologies, Dell EMC, VMWare, Lenovo, SAP, Tableau, Citrix, Cisco, IHG, Wells Fargo Advisors, eBay, Staples, The North Face, RSA Security, National Grid, Hitachi, ABB, WestRock, Mitsubishi, LG Solar, Saint-Gobain and more.
28. Nikkia Adolphe
Vice President of Communications, Outcast
An enthusiastic and creative storyteller, Nikkia Adolphe has spent over a decade strategizing and driving brand storytelling for various companies across retail, ecommerce, enterprise tech, consumer, and finance. She has experience leading teams specializing in media relations, thought leadership, and strategy, working with a range of high-growth and legacy brands including Amazon, Ryder, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Facebook.
A believer in cultivating an inclusive, forward-thinking culture, Nikkia has led DEI efforts throughout her career tenure to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment for all in the workplace - especially for communication professionals in often overlooked groups. She is a board member for the Atlanta Chapter of the National Black Public Relations Society and has contributed her thoughts to industry-led publications such as PR News and O’Dwyer’s. Also named PRSA GA's 2020 Forty Under 40, Nikkia continually shares her insights and depth of experience through speaking across industry events. Most recently, she was a featured speaker at the National Diversity Council’s Georgia Leadership Conference as well as PRSA's 2020 ICON International Conference.
An Atlanta native and avid yogi, Nikkia obtained her undergraduate degree at Georgia State University where she studied journalism with a concentration in public relations.
29. Joi Blume
Second Vice President & Underwriting Executive, GenStar Insurance Services
Joi Blume is a skilled commercial insurance professional specializing in commercial business with strong knowledge of excess and surplus lines. She combines significant underwriting experience to deliver comprehensive specialty property coverage to clients. Her involvement in the insurance industry has helped her build a powerful network of industry professionals, resulting in long-term business associations, and helping her organization report record profits.
She is currently a Second Vice President, Underwriting Executive for GenStar Insurance’s Property Brokerage Division a Member of the Berkshire Hathaway Family of Companies. Blume, who holds an undergraduate degree in communications and an MBA, is a licensed property and casualty agent for the State of Georgia. She also serves as a subject matter expert for The Institutes, in addition to other consulting roles.
Joi is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., The National Black MBA Association, and has been named as Who’s Who in Black Atlanta in both 2018 and 2020. She has been recognized by Insurance Business America as an insurance Young Gun, an insurance professional who is deemed a rising star in the industry. In 2020, Joi was named in the Alabama State University’s Class of 50 Under 50 – a notable alumni excelling both personally and professionally.
She has been featured as a guest speaker at numerous insurance conferences across the US and is well-respected in the insurance community. She was recently selected as the vice president of the Atlanta Association of Insurance Professionals, the local chapter of the National African- American Insurance Association. Joi is passionate about DEI and women succeeding in male-dominated industries.
30. Julie Ann Crommett
Founder & CEO, Collective Moxie
Julie Ann Crommett has been working in the DEI space for over thirteen years leading disruptive, systemic change across media and tech. As Founder and CEO of Collective Moxie, Julie Ann works with organizations large and small on revolutionizing their DEI strategies through inclusive storytelling practices, accountability, and internal/external community partnership.
Previously, she was VP of multicultural audience engagement at The Walt Disney Studios, spearheading efforts to diversify talent in front of and behind the camera, connect creative projects more closely to the communities they touch, and build a more inclusive culture within the Studios. Her team contributed to many projects, including Encanto, Soul, Coco, Black Panther, Raya and the Last Dragon and West Side Story as well as launching the critically acclaimed Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator, an industry-leading program guaranteeing up to six directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to produce a short film for Disney+. Julie Ann was also instrumental in Disney's library review process leading to a revised content advisory and proactive resources for families to discuss negative stereotypes in media. She launched and co-chaired the company's first-ever Creative Inclusion Council dedicated to increasing inclusion and accountability in Disney's creative endeavors.
Before Disney, she was Google’s entertainment industry educator in chief leading their efforts to shift and diversify on-screen perceptions of computer science through storytelling (a position she created), as well as having led Google’s DEI efforts in Latin America. She started her DEI career at NBCUniversal managing behind-the-camera diversity programs including Writers on the Verge and the Directing Fellowship.
Julie Ann was on the advisory council for the re-launch of Barbie, is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and serves on the boards for the Hispanic Federation, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Woodruff Arts Center (ATL), and Women in Animation. She also served as an adjunct assistant professor for Columbia University’s MFA film program and co-created a new course with her producing partner on inclusive storytelling.
A proud Puerto Rican and Cuban American, Julie Ann was raised in Atlanta, GA and earned her undergraduate degree in English at Harvard University. A true trivia nerd, she also competed on Jeopardy!
31. Carolyn Oppenheimer
Executive Vice President, Halpern Enterprises
Carolyn is the Executive Vice President of Halpern Enterprises, a privately held commercial real estate firm specializing in retail leasing, management, acquisitions and development. Headquartered in Atlanta, Halpern owns and operates more than 50 properties, totaling more than 3.7 million square feet, in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Carolyn oversees office operations, maintenance, construction, capital expenditures and marketing for the company where she has worked for the past 40 years. She has served on the boards of the Jewish Family and Career Services, Jewish Educational Loan Fund, The Weber School, The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, The Trust for Public Land and The Epstein School, where she served as president of the board of trustees.
She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Carolyn loves the outdoors and is an avid hiker and walker. She cares deeply about the environment and is an active member of the organizations that help to strengthen the thriving Atlanta Jewish Community. Her greatest love is for her family and her grandchildren, who are her greatest source of pride and joy.
32. Tami McQueen
Vice President of Marketing, Panoramic Ventures
As a builder, founder, and operator, Tami McQueen has sat on both sides of the table at hyper-growth organizations. Her expertise is deeply rooted in B2B software and tech-enabled services businesses, from go-to-market initiatives to building process-driven, scalable, and repeatable marketing models. Whether at the startup stages, accelerating scale following a fundraising round, or delivering world-class strategies for an enterprise behemoth, Tami has an insatiable desire to drive an innovative approach that fuels disruption.
As the Vice President of Marketing for Panoramic Ventures, Tami leads the firm’s internal and external brand, content, and growth efforts. She also supports the portfolio of 65+ companies across sales and marketing initiatives. Additionally, Tami leads Startup Showdown, the startup competition open to early-stage entrepreneurs across North America. The competition has been hosted 13 times in key innovation hubs and has invested $1.8M+ in early-stage startups.
Prior to joining Panoramic Ventures, Tami helped build the community for digital events at SaaStr, the world’s largest community of SaaS executives, founders, and entrepreneurs. Prior to her leap into entrepreneurship as co-founder of 31south, Tami joined one of the fastest-growing B2B SaaS startups in the US as the first marketing hire at Salesloft. She helped lead the company through Series A to B fundraising rounds and pioneered the Rainmaker conference. She has also led Global Social Strategy for Women Who Code, the largest and most active community of engineers dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.
Over a decade, she has worked with some of the world’s most innovative brands, including ActionIQ, Agility Recovery, Boeing, Cognism, Digital Hands, ilos, Keyfactor, Major League Rugby, SaaStr, Sendoso, Tricentis, and Women Who Code. Tami graduated from Murray State University, earning her undergraduate and master’s degrees. She was a four-year NCAA D1 tennis athlete, scholarship recipient, and a McNair Scholar. Tami is an advisor for the Atlanta Tech Village, a mentor for Techstars, the co-host of two podcasts, and a speaker at SXSW, Techstars, and a moderator for SaaStr digital events.
33. Anita Douglas Murphy
Founder and CEO, Crown Innovative Business Solutions
Anita Douglas Murphy is a visionary, implementer, and believer in the impact of philanthropy and connection. Her professional and personal life has been steeped in efforts that demonstrate her talents and values of faith, efficiency, growth, and relationships. She is the Founder and CEO of Crown Innovative Business Solutions, a remote staffing agency that provides specialized, expert-level virtual staff to small businesses and nonprofits nationwide. In addition, Anita is the Vice President of Development at Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent supportive housing for homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Anita has obtained an undergraduate degree in human services and an MPA from Kennesaw State University. Out of her passion for being an advocate for children, she also obtained a certificate in child advocacy studies and was certified as a court-appointed special advocate, which includes advocating for children and families with the Division of Family and Children Services. Anita also earned an associate degree in biblical studies through the Family of Christ Theological Seminary.
Anita has always taken pride in serving and making an impact in her community through nonprofit involvement and philanthropic endeavors. She received credentialing as a Certified Nonprofit Professional and uses her time, knowledge, and treasures to help in moving forward the mission of the organizations where she serves. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has served as the immediate past chair of Ambassadors of Cobb County CASA’s board as well as the sponsorship chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Atlanta Chapter and has also served as the sponsorship chair for Atlanta’s National Philanthropy Day.
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34. Catherine Downey
Founder and CEO, CATMEDIA
CATMEDIA Founder and CEO Catherine Downey began her career in media as a promotions manager for Team America, then progressed to director of marketing & broadcast promotions for a Memphis-based television station. Through these early experiences, and later executive-level positions, Catherine honed her skills in media buying, budget development, and staff and project management, as well as creative processes such as writing, directing, and producing. Ingrained in her business acumen along the way was the value of building and maintaining solid customer relationships.
In 1987, Catherine’s best strengths culminated in the creation of her own firm, known today as CATMEDIA. CATMEDIA, which supports clients’ needs in the fields of marketing & advertising, media & analytics, research & strategy, branding & creative, and training & development, is a national leader that works with highly regulated clients, breaks down complex issues, and effectively communicates to a wide array of audiences.
Catherine’s unique abilities have enabled her to match a company’s or organization’s message to precise creative services and provide the most effective communication strategies possible. Innovative to her core, she is named on three patent pending applications for communication and training technologies, and CATMEDIA continuously offers cutting-edge production services, interactive media, and learning opportunities to exceed her clients’ needs.
Catherine’s exceptional background, experience, and continued commitment have all been recognized through numerous awards, including as SBA’s Georgia Small Business Person of the Year, as a Forbes Magazine’s Women Business Leader honoree, and as one of Atlanta magazine’s 500 most powerful leaders for each of the past five years.
35. Pamela F. Lopez
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Customer Focused Strategies
Pam Lopez is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Customer Focused Strategies (CFS), a women-owned management consulting firm headquartered in Alpharetta, GA. Pam is an award-winning consultant sought for her powerhouse cross-functional leadership, relentless customer focus, and unique ability to lead diverse teams to deliver breakthrough performance on behalf of her clients. Pam is a strategic force known for her holistic business vision, analytical horsepower, and entrepreneurial style and has successfully co-led CFS for 23 years.
In 1999, as a young mother, Pam left corporate leadership to build a different kind of consulting experience, one determined to drive growth by making the voice of the customer the foundation of every client engagement. CFS, which remains 100% women-led, has distinguished itself in sales, marketing, product management, customer service, and training resulting in long-standing partnerships with clients in the technology, telecommunications, energy, and healthcare sectors. CFS also has a track record of working with corporate strategy and functional teams to vet potential market disruptors, identify and capture growth opportunities, develop and execute successful go-to-market programs, and scale and transform businesses through optimized organizational design.
Previously, Pam held customer service and marketing leadership roles at GTE Mobilnet, Contel Cellular, and Xerox, managing teams of 2500+. She earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary and executive management credentials from Smith College.
36. Kelly Heilpern
Chief Strategy Officer, Ammunition
Kelly Heilpern leads Ammunition’s strategy team, focused on delivering digital transformation through the development of mission-critical insights, leading-edge digital programs, and execution of CRM, media, social, and digital strategies for agency clients. Her job is to ensure that clients are constantly on the forefront of marketing innovation, working to deploy the best of what technology has to offer brands.
Kelly’s background includes being both in agency account leadership positions, as well as a brand-side marketing leader before she joined the dark-side that is the advertising business. Her expertise with client relationships, strategic thinking, and the critical digital infrastructure brands need to compete, make her an invaluable asset to both internal and external teams. Kelly holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Clemson University.
37. Kyle Rivera
Vice President of Sales, Southeast & Mid-Atlantic, Branca USA
Kyle Rivera started her professional career in finance but quickly found her way back to her family’s roots in the food and beverage industry, starting her own “booze-infused” catering company in 2009. This led her to a demonstrated history of superior results in the wine and spirits industry on both the supplier and distributor side. After working for Breakthru Beverage and then Brown Forman, Kyle joined Branca USA in 2020 and is now the VP of sales for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. She is constantly working to be a creative leader driven by a passion for inclusion and community.
Launched in 2019, Branca USA is the US importer of the Fratelli Branca portfolio. Since 1845, the Fratelli Branca Distillerie has produced world-class liqueurs that have enriched cocktails and conversations alike. With a secret recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, the importance of tradition and an ethical code are the founding principles that drive the company to innovate the industry while honoring timeless tradition.
38. Tonya Lanthier
Founder and President, DentalPost
Tonya Lanthier is founder and President of DentalPost. A registered dental hygienist, Tonya built DentalPost from a passion to improve lives and help dental professionals build teams that excel through metric-based career matching tools, including personality tests and values, skills and work culture assessments.
Among her involvement in dental organizations nationwide, Tonya is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a supporter of AACD’s Give Back a Smile program and a volunteer at several charitable organizations including Georgia Mission of Mercy and Ben Mansell Clinic. She is also a board member of the Oral Cancer Cause and Dental Entrepreneur Women.
39. Slma Shelbayah
Chief Communications Officer, Yardstick Management I Diversified Search Group
Slma Shelbayah is a former award-winning CNN journalist, adjunct professor, and marketing and communications executive. In 2015, she won the CNN Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. Her background includes more than 15 years of experience as a journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media, management, DEI, human resources, and search industries. Her news career includes breaking news coverage with CNN International, spanning the regions of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa and varying across national and international topics including stories covering Arab and Muslim Diasporas.
Shelbayah serves as the Chief Communications Officer at Yardstick Management I Diversified Search Group, overseeing the internal and external communications strategy, marketing, public relations, and branding of all four lines of business which include Management Consulting, Executive Search, DEI Consulting, and the Leadership Institute. She also leads project management consulting solutions for their global clients. Previously, she was the Corporate Director of Public Relations for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), developing and executing effective public relations initiatives to elevate the university’s corporate identity both regionally and nationally by securing media coverage of SCAD students, signature events and the university president while fostering external relationships with partners and media across the globe. Prior to this role, Shelbayah spent most of her career in journalism across a variety of departments at CNN as a Producer, Assignment Editor, and Digital Writer.
Additionally, as the CEO of Shelbayah Consulting, LLC, a communication consultancy firm that was started in August 2015, Shelbayah assists clients in branding and communication strategy development, DEI communication, crisis communication, public and media relations, content development, storytelling, digital marketing, writing, and public speaking training. The firm has helped individuals and organizations build their brands and supporting platforms, as well as narrate their stories of impact. Some of her previous clients include The Carter Center, Google, American Express, Flatiron Health, and Southern Company Gas.
She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism with a minor in sociology and a master's in linguistics with a focus on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She has also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, UK, during which students were selected from 30 countries across the world to pursue a seminar on Global Media Policy: Technology and New Themes in Media Regulations. Shelbayah is a graduate of the prestigious leadership program, LEAD Atlanta, class of 2018, and is currently a fellow of the New Leaders Council class of 2023.
40. Tameka L. Williamson
VP of Operational Excellence, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council
Tameka L. Williamson is a true visionary, a motivational speaker, coach, and accomplished senior executive leader with a passion for operational excellence and empowering others. With her extensive career in process improvement, manufacturing, and business services, Tameka has built a reputation as a trailblazer in her field.
Currently serving as the Vice President of Operational Excellence for the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), Tameka leads a team of dedicated professionals who facilitate over $36 billion in economic output and support more than 1200 minority-owned businesses and 300 corporate members. Her initiatives are designed to foster economic growth and parity for minority business enterprises and their communities.
As an Adjunct Professor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Tameka shares her wealth of knowledge and expertise with aspiring young minds. For over a decade, she has trained more than 2,500 students and helped them secure over $75 million in scholarships, earning her the title of The College Prep Boss™.
Tameka is also a bestselling author, having penned several books on topics such as getting a full ride to college and avoiding student loan debt. She is a contributor to two influential faith-based and educational collaborations and has been featured in many respected publications, including Forbes, Black Enterprise, and Huffington Post.
A graduate of Southern University with a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Webster University, Tameka is a STEM advocate who is committed to reaching people and helping them realize their true potential. Once a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and part of the John Maxwell Team, she has trained over 1,000 international leaders in leadership, efficiency, and project management. She coaches foster care youth through Orange Duffel Bag, sits on nonprofit boards, and educates families on how to avoid student loan debt in her own business, which she founded 16 years ago. Tameka is a true inspiration, empowering and elevating others so they can live life to the fullest.
With her infectious energy and dynamic approach to leadership, Tameka has been featured on major TV networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, where she shares her expertise with a global audience.
41. Sydney Peck
Chief Operating Officer, Michael Carr & Associates
When Sydney Peck first began her real estate career, she was just 17 years old. She quickly rose through the ranks from high school intern to managing two company divisions within three years, as well as selling $4 million in her first full year of practicing real estate. She says her secret was paying careful attention to the suggestions of her broker, Michael Carr, and executing without second guessing. That advice included the importance of personal branding, so she worked with sister company, BrandFace, to build her own unique brand as the American Dream Agent®. That was when her business really skyrocketed, and she not only kept the sales flowing and added more management responsibilities to her plate, but she became the company’s top recruiter.
Today, Sydney is the Chief Operations Officer of Michael Carr & Associates, Anything Real Estate® and Global Training Specialist for BrandFace®. She focuses on connecting agents to the right people and organizations that help them thrive so they can achieve the American dream of building wealth through real estate. She is connected with the top professionals in real estate coaching, branding, training, and recruiting. She excels at connecting ambitious agents to the people and organizations that bring them maximum growth and is recognized for her commitment to helping both clients and peers locate and live the American Dream.
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42. Nikki Barjon
Founder and Managing Principal, The Brandshoppe
Nikki Barjon, Founder and Principal of The Brandshoppe, is world-renowned for her work transforming elite champions, iconic figures, Hall of Famers, leading corporate brands, city governments and municipalities, best-in-class products and hundreds of stars and professional athletes. She is the preeminent authority on the science and art of branding at the intersection of corporate, community, culture, and crisis to drive trust, dominance and achieve excellence.
As a leading branding, communications and crisis specialist, Barjon is credited with shaping some of the biggest voices, campaigns, and brands in the world. She is a trusted advisor to global corporations, nonprofits, and celebrity clients all with one goal in mind – to help them use their brands for good. Ms. Barjon has worked with leading brands including Humana, Nike, Pfizer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., CBS, Bentley Motors, Lifetime Television, Ford Motors, KingWorld Television, Publix, and The Olympics, to name a few. She has also served as an advisor for a host of high-profile corporate, celebrity and nonprofit clients, providing strategic counsel and helping individuals and organizations navigate their brand through some of the best and most difficult times. With more than 20 years in branding, PR, public affairs, and crisis communications, she has led the transformation of clients’ brands, driving strategy and communications for some of the biggest names in the business.
Ms. Barjon has most recently been recognized for launching one of the leading agencies for next-gen talent, BRXND (pronounced Brand X), which develops and prepares student-athletes for leadership through sport and beyond. BRXND already represents some of the nation’s leading young, elite athletes.
43. Candice St. Pierre
VP of Sales, Nutrition, Nirvana Water Sciences Corp.
Candice St. Pierre is an accomplished sales leader with a passion for leadership identity development and advancing women’s careers. Candice completed her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology in August of 2021. Her research focused on women’s leadership identity development and the use of executive coaches to overcome bias and challenges to help women advance in their careers. Candice excels as a leader, developing team cohesiveness in a time of dramatic changes.
Candice started her career with a grocery retailer, BI-LO, which was based in Greenville, SC. While at BI-LO, she discovered a passion for natural health, using products, foods, or ingredients to improve well-being. She currently serves as the Vice President of Sales, Nutrition for Nirvana Water Science Corp., a startup based in Forestport, NY. She is tasked with the expansion of Nirvana Water Science’s HMB (B-hydroxy B-methylbutyrate) infused functional recovery beverages and supplements into the nutrition aisle with traditional retailers. She has also worked with several other great brands including Atkins, Skinnygirl, Performix, AbCuts, Twinlab, Reserveage, Alvita Tea and Metabolife.
In addition to the PhD, Candice holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from Valparaiso University and an international MBA from the University of South Carolina, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Candice serves as a volunteer and board member for NextUp Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women in the workplace. She is also actively involved with CHIEF as a member. Candice is a champion for women’s leadership and encourages everyone to step into their strengths.
44. Kiki Ramsey
Chief Executive Officer, The Positive Psychology Coaching and Diversity Institute
Dr. Kiki Ramsey is the Founder and CEO of The Positive Psychology Coaching and Diversity Institute (PPCaDI), a leadership development firm that specializes in diversity coaching and leadership development. As a positive psychologist and executive coach, Dr. Kiki’s work focuses on the promotion of happiness and human flourishing. Along with her dynamic team of coaches and through her work at PPCaDI she is known for her innovative approach to coaching and DEI called Positively Diverse Leadership, which is an evidence-based approach rooted in positive psychology that fosters the intentional use of strengths to relate and communicate as an inclusive leader.
As an executive coach, Dr. Kiki has worked with a diverse range of clients, including top-level executives and business owners. Her expertise in leadership development, happiness, and resilience has helped her clients achieve significant results in their organizations and personal lives. She has a talent for identifying and nurturing the unique strengths of her clients, enabling them to achieve their goals and unlock their full potential.
Dr. Kiki is an international keynote speaker and has delivered keynote addresses for corporations, conferences, and events around the world. Her energy is contagious and the moment she enters the room you will know why. She is also the author of Get Courageous Now: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Passions and Purpose in Life, a book offering women a step-by-step guide to radically break through the mindset of fear and find true meaning doing what they love.
Dr. Kiki holds a master’s in social work and positive psychology coaching and a PhD in business psychology. When she is not working, she loves working out (her Peloton name is KikiDoYouLoveMe), dancing and spending time with her three children, Tomazye, Mackenzie, and Tre, and her wonderful husband Jamil.
45. Ashley Touchton
Partner & Innovation Strategist, Orange Sparkle Ball
Ashley Touchton is a Partner and Innovation Strategist at Orange Sparkle Ball in Atlanta, GA. She is passionate about accelerating initiatives both public and private to drive change. Her background in industrial design from Georgia Tech provides a multi-faceted approach to solving problems and the ability to rapidly pilot solutions for organizational fit and refinement.
Ashley is dedicated to moving quickly and efficiently to find the best solution within tight time frames, as well as building and maintaining momentum for new initiatives. As an innovation strategist, she focuses on the testing and evaluation of new solutions, designing and implementing organizational open innovation programs and bridging the gap between the two.
46. Chasidy Privett
Chief Executive Officer, Laine Federal
Chasidy Privett is the CEO of Laine Federal and is responsible for the strategic direction, vision, and growth of Laine’s flagship brand. Ms. Privett is a seasoned professional with over 20 years advising clients in identifying, leveraging and obtaining top talent. Laine Federal is a national specialized project placement firm that provides a highly selection of qualified temporary and permanent employees to clients nationwide. Privett leads a workforce of 400+ employees in developing and delivering transformational and innovative staffing solutions in security, education, food service, technology, and medtech. Laine Federal has 9 support centers including Alabama, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Maine, and Georgia, where the company is headquartered.
As a believer in the power of technology to accelerate progress in the staffing industry, Ms. Privett is leading Laine Federal to harness intelligent automation for insight generation so that teams work as a united front, with expertise and purpose, to solve the world’s toughest staffing challenges. She holds an undergraduate degree in accounting, a master’s in organizational management and is a certified business coach. Privett lives in Atlanta with her husband and 5 children.
47. Cat DaCosta McAfee
Executive Director, LaAmistad
Cat DaCosta McAfee was born and raised in Attleboro, MA. After completing high school, she moved to Atlanta and attended Kennesaw State University. After a year, she transferred to Dekalb College where she received an associate degree in business administration. She then transferred to Georgia State University to continue her undergraduate in finance. After college, she started her own corporation, 13 Stories, LLC and toured all over the US for over a decade as the lead guitarist for 13 Stories.
McAfee also worked for Fundraising and Management Counsel as a program director in charge of management and execution of capital campaigns for nonprofit organizations for nearly ten years. In 2000, she began working at The Gym at Peachtree as the director of skating and roller hockey and created one of the most successful hockey programs in Atlanta. Until 2005, McAfee taught skating to the LaAmistad children and helped find scholarships for the most advanced participants to attend camps or play in competitive leagues. In 2005, she became the director of athletics for LaAmistad.
In August 2007, McAfee became the director of LaAmistad. She continued to study Spanish and has completed more than 300 hours of study at an accredited Spanish School, Instituto Chac-Mool in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In July 2012, McAfee was promoted to Executive Director of LaAmistad, Inc. Her responsibilities now include future growth planning, program replication, team leadership, fundraising, and management of volunteers and classrooms. Using what she has learned from her certification in Developing Capable Young People, her studies of Teach for America applications, and her experiences in fundraising, McAfee continues to take LaAmistad to even higher levels.
Her passion for the students, the families, and service to the community fuel her continued study and research of effective avenues of communication and learning between different cultures. McAfee is also a founding board member for Atlanta Classical Academy, a tuition-free, open enrollment, K-12 public charter school opened in 2014 with a mission to develop students in mind and character through a classical, content-rich curriculum that emphasizes the principles of virtuous living, traditional learning, and civic responsibility. When McAfee is not at LaAmistad, she loves playing guitar, salsa dancing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and ice hockey.
48. Estacy Colon Porter
President and Founder, Jewel in His Eyes
Dr. Estacy Colon Porter is a Garifuna-American, born in Bronx, New York. She is a multi-vision creative, leader, scholar, mentor, coach, highly sought out speaker, consultant and advocate who exemplifies care and compassion to those she encounters. She is a doctoral prepared, board certified family nurse practitioner, community health primary care NP, and board certified as an advanced public health nurse. She earned her associate degree in general studies from Central Texas College, an undergraduate degree in nursing from Old Dominion University, a master’s degree in nursing education from Liberty University, post-master’s in community health primary nursing and Doctor of Nursing practice from Binghamton University.
She is President and CEO of White House recognized non-for-profit Jewel in His Eyes Inc. and owner/principal consultant of Dr. Estacy Porter-Wholistic Wellness & Concierge Services, LLC. She is an Army Veteran with over 22 years of leadership experience culminating her career as chief of preventive medicine and chief public health nursing. She is a former adjunct professor for Binghamton University School of Nursing online RN-BSN program, where she created and taught the leadership and management capstone course.
Her experience spans from a career in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear operations (CBRNE) and army medicine that includes background in public health, epidemiology, nursing, emergency management, operations, consulting, program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Throughout her career she has trained and equipped individuals, groups and organizations with strategic tools that resulted in gaining traction in their career and/or organization.
Dr. Porter spends her time volunteering as an NP at a Free Clinic in Georgia. As part of her backpack to health and education initiative, she travels annually to Honduras to provide medical and educational support to the local health center and school. Dr. Porter serves in her city as an appointed member for the Board of Zoning Appeals. Her research interests include evidence -based Leadership and professional development, holistic health, public health, immigrant health, veterans’ health, women’s health, mental health, self-care for professionals, global health, health and educational equity, indigenous health, and neuroscience.
Dr. Porter is a member of several committees and advisory boards. Her scholarly work has been presented at several conferences nationally and abroad. She has published several books and blogs. Her latest book It’s not the Same: Self-Care Strategies to Step into Your Healing with Grit, Grace and Resilience has been featured on the Veterans Affair Center for Women Veterans Book Corner Author page. The book speaks on the impact of grief and healing. Dr. Porter enjoys reading, writing, pilates, traveling and spending time with her family. Her life-long motto is “I serve where I am planted”.
49. Shanita Williams
Associate Vice President, People Experience , Southern New Hampshire University
Dr. Shanita Williams serves as an Adjunct Faculty member and the Associate Vice President of People Experience for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). She offers over 16 years of progressive experience in higher education administration with a special focus on talent development and talent management. As a leader in HR, Dr. Williams is responsible for the development and oversight of employee centric programs and initiatives that drive the recruitment, engagement, and retention of the most important part of the organization, the people.
Dr. Williams has had the honor to participate on many enterprise-wide projects alongside leaders and employees across the institution. She co-led the Distributed Workforce Taskforce that helped SNHU move from a primarily Northeast employer to a national employer. The outcome of the Taskforce efforts enabled SNHU to expand their employment footprint, unlocking access to diverse talent across the nation. In addition, this program has become a key attraction and retention driver within the institution due to increased workplace flexibility with 88% of the workforce now working hybrid or fully remote.
Dr. Williams is a dynamic conference keynote,TEDx Speaker, and author of Feedback Mentality: The Key to Unlocking and Unleashing Your Full Potential. She has spent much of her career coaching, mentoring and training countless individuals to reach their highest authentic potential. Dr. Williams believes that everyone has potential and that we are simply on the road to unlocking and unleashing it.
Dr. Williams enjoys volunteering in the community. She serves on the board for Girls at Work, a nonprofit committed to ensuring every girl feels confident and capable, serves on the Scholarship Committee for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Stone Mountain-Lithonia Alumnae Chapter, and serves as a volunteer partner with American Red Cross. A proud mother of three and California State University, Sacramento alumni, Dr. Williams now resides in Loganville, Georgia.
View the complete list of awardees.