BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Travis Townsend PRESIDENT
Travis Townsend is a Founding Partner of the law firm of Townsend & Lockett, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia, and he leads its business law, corporate and securities transactional practices, and he is a Managing Consultant with Torinity Consulting Company. Travis is also an Adjunct Professor on Faculty at the Emory School of Law where he teaches Deal Skills transactional law practicum. Before co-founding Townsend Lockett and providing services to Torinity Consulting Company, Travis was a Senior Associate in Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC’s corporate transactional group. Prior to joining Womble Carlyle, Travis practiced law with Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP where he was actively engaged in the Morris Manning Diversity and Legal Opinion Committees. Travis began his legal career with the law firm of Alston & Bird, LLP.
Outside of the professional arena, Travis is the President of the National Black MBA Association Atlanta Chapter, is a member of the 100 Black Men of South Metro (Atlanta) where he volunteers on the Education Committee, and serves as President of MAFDET, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate disparities in education and employment opportunities in underserved communities. Travis also serves on the Board of Directors of the Serenbe Institute of the Arts, Culture & Environment as its Treasurer, is a member of its Executive and Finance Committees, and its ACE Program f/k/a South Fulton Area Initiative Advisory Committee. Travis has served in numerous leadership positions with the National Urban League Young Professionals, including as its National Programs Chair, and has been a Big Brother volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta as well. Fully committed to making a difference in the lives of others, he is a frequent speaker at community events and conferences. Travis is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Travis is a well-respected business owner and community servant whose personal brand lends credibility to the mission of organizations he supports and serves. In 2017, he was a candidate for Mayor of the City of South Fulton, Georgia, and garnered votes and financial support from thousands of metropolitan Atlanta residents.
Travis attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After graduating, Travis remained in Ann Arbor to study law at the University of Michigan School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in May 2003. During his law school tenure, he served as executive notes editor of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.
Honors & Awards
Leadership Buckhead Class of 2020
Leadership Buckhead is a principle-based leadership program, focused on helping a select group of growth-oriented members of the Atlanta community become stronger, more authentic leaders each year.
Leadership Georgia Class of 2018
One of the nation’s oldest and most successful leadership training programs for young business, civic, and community leaders that have the desire and potential to work together for a better Georgia.
University of Michigan Black Alumni M.A.D. (Making A Difference in Your Community) Award 2018
The M.A.D. award was created to honor those who have made significant contributions to their community and/or career through their time, actions, talents and dedication. Selected for Making a Difference in Social Action for work in providing criminal law literacy to people of color and improving relations between police and the community.
National Black MBA Association, Inc. Award for Best Performing Chapter in Channel of Economic Development 2018
Recognized as best performing chapter across 30,000 professionals with MBAs, JDs, Ph.Ds or extensive executive or entrepreneurial experience, across 45 chapters across the United States in the area of Economic Development programming as the Atlanta Chapter's Director of Economic Development.
Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 Class of 2017
Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 Under 40 Awards honor young movers and shakers who are making a mark in their industries and leading in their communities.
Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 Class of 2017
For the last 21 years Georgia Trend has recognized the State of Georgia's best and brightest under age 40 in business, politics and government, nonprofit, science, healthcare and education.
Center for Civic Engagement, Small Business, Big Impact Finalist 2016
Center for Civic Impact Awards recognize individuals and organizations in Atlanta that are tackling inequality by empowering and fighting for people and communities in an exceptional way.
Georgia Trend's Legal Elite 2015
Each year Georgia Trend asks the attorneys of the State of Georgia to nominate their peers for recognition as one of Georgia’s Legal Elite. The list of lawyers come from all corners of the state in 10 different practice areas: Bankruptcy/Creditors’ Rights, Business Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, General Practice, Labor & Employment, Personal Injury, Public Finance/Bonds and Taxes/Estates/Trusts. To compile this listing, attorneys submit their nominations via Georgia Trend's website. Respondents are not allowed to vote for themselves. Attorneys with the most votes from their peers who have recognized their abilities, work ethic, and overall performance are selected as Georgia's Legal Elite.
40 Under 40 Leadership Award for Entrepreneurship, New Leaders Council, March 2013
Each year, New Leaders Council (NLC) presents the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards as a way to honor the work of young, professional leaders who have exemplified NLC's ideal of political entrepreneurship. First given in 2008 to outstanding leaders under the age of 40, the awards recognize achievements in four categories: Political Leadership, Media Leadership, Advocacy, and Entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurship Award honors a business, social enterprise or non-profit leader who has created, led, or reformed an organization significantly.
Outstanding Atlanta Inductee, Outstanding Atlanta, October 2012
Outstanding Atlanta is one of Atlanta’s premier organizations with respect to recognizing and connecting top Atlanta business and community leaders. Outstanding Atlanta is devoted to recognizing some of the most actively involved and dynamic young people in Atlanta who, in turn, have helped to promote the leadership qualities that have made Atlanta such an outstanding place in which to live and work.
Uptown Magazine's "H" List, Uptown Magazine, April 2012
Uptown Magazine's “H” list is a list of movers and shakers in the business community and entertainment industry. The list includes peoples who are hot and who Uptown believes should be on the radar of the community at large.
Atlanta Tribune the Magazine "Up Next", Atlanta Tribune the Magazine, May 2010
Through its "Up Next" feature, Atlanta Tribune the Magazine identifies and recognizes up and coming professionals and civic leaders who have displayed outstanding accomplishment in their industry and/or civic service and who show potential as the next leaders in their respective areas of activity.
Heineken Rising Start Award, Heineken USA, November 2009
Heineken USA recognizes and celebrates emerging leaders in the National Urban League movement through its Rising Star Program. Through this award program, Heineken identifies and honors young professionals (age 21-40) for their commitment to community and their leadership in economic empowerment.
Outstanding Five Under Ten Award, University of Michigan Alumni Association African American Council, October 2009
This award is bestowed annually to five young U-M graduates for their professional achievements and/or contributions to the community-at-large. Award recipients symbolize the hope the U-M community all hold for our future.
Sonya Stallings Ward IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Sonya Stallings-Ward is an experienced Senior Sales Executive with a proven track record of $900M+ IT solutions. She promotes Digital Transformation for Business Modernization and Cloud Initiatives. Before joining SAP, Sonya worked for multiple Fortune 100 companies, including Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Teradata, driving better business outcomes for large enterprise clients.
Active in the community, Sonya is the President of the National Black MBA Association, Atlanta Chapter (NBMBAA Atlanta), where she raised more than $1.8M for chapter programs. In this role, she works with top corporate leaders across North America. She has been recognized by Who’s Who and other organizations in the Atlanta community. Sonya is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kennesaw State University Advisory Board of Directors, Technical Association of Georgia Advisory, Women in Technology, and a host of additional community affiliations.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Sonya began her matriculation at Ohio State University, transferring after two years to Central State University to attain a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Mathematics and MBA from Portland State University.
Jennifer Christian VICE PRESIDENT OF ADMINISTRATION
Jennifer Christian is a Quality System Manager at Karna LLC, currently working at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC), where she creates systems and tools for laboratories. She has over 18 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. She utilizes her expertise in project management, change management, and process improvement to deliver support and solutions that enable organizations to become more effective and efficient. Jennifer Christian is a Biology major from Savannah State University and holds an Executive MBA from Mercer University.
Jennifer is an advocate for women and girls. She is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Mecca Chapter, where she has served as Co-chair for the Annual Scholarship Fundraising Committee, Co-chair for Public Policy Committee, and member of the Grants and Funds Development Committee. She was awarded Member of the Year and Committee of the Year as Co-chair for Public Policy. She is also a founding member of Golf Women Means Business.
Jennifer is the mother of two sons. She is an animal lover who enjoys traveling, sports, and who desires to inspire others by living a legacy of servant leadership.
Edzra Gibson VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
Eric Harrison VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE
Eric Harrison is an executive with 20 years of sales leadership experience. He most recently was a Vice President of Sales for the South Region at PepsiCo, a $65 billion consumer package goods company. Eric led a sales organization responsible for managing national foodservice customers within PepsiCo’s portfolio. Earlier in his career, Eric created the Center of Excellence for PepsiCo’s Foodservice Investment Strategy. He led the Foodservice Division’s investment planning with more than 135 national customers and $650 million in annual revenue, and multiple projects shaped the foodservice organization.
Eric was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University, where he obtained a BS in Economics and an MBA. In 2012, he completed the Leadership Development Program at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business and was a former president of NBMBAA, Atlanta Chapter. Additionally, he is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2016 and a member of the 100 Black Men of America Atlanta Chapter. Eric is a proud father of two children Kennedy and Eric Justin.
Chandra Gaines VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS
Chandra Gaines has served on the Foodservice South Region National Sales Team for PepsiCo for five years. In this role, she is responsible for supporting national accounts in the North and South regions. Her primary responsibilities are to cultivate strong relationships with customers, activate national marketplace initiatives, and maximize revenue and growth.
Chandra has 16 years of experience in the automotive industry, where she spent the majority of her career at Ford Motor Co. She has held various roles in finance, procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, and operations. Previously, Chandra was also a senior manager at Walmart Headquarters, where she was responsible for project management on the Innovation and Strategy Team. She is a flexible leader with an outstanding track record in producing cost savings, revenue growth, and driving efficiency results. Chandra earned her MBA (Strategy and International Business) from J. Mack Robinson College of Business – GSU in Atlanta, Georgia, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting) from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. Chandra is a native of Detroit currently residing in Atlanta with her family while pursuing acting and enjoys hiking, skiing, scuba diving, and traveling.
Dejoron Campbell VICE PRESIDENT OF RECORDS
Dejoron T. Campbell -currently serves as the Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at MiTek, a global off-site construction technology company. She is responsible for developing, implementing, promoting, and monitoring the success of the global DEI strategy. She also leads the DEI Council, Executive DEI Advisory Board as well as support the ongoing efforts of all Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to ensure MiTek underrepresented team members have a safe space and ability to share their community insights with allies. Additionally, Dee will work with Global Talent Management, Learning and Development, Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition, and Community Impact to help improve our process and programs in an equitable way. Dee previously served as Interim Director of People, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at New York City Center. She was the strategic advisor, influencer, thought leader, connector and champion across NY City Center’s core and extended community and provided expert insight, and related programming/ leadership recommendations to drive employee engagement and belonging.
Prior to her role at New York City Center, she served as a Program Manager, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Emory University’s School of Medicine. She was responsible for developing, implementing and managing DEI programs, communications and initiatives for 4,500+ faculty and staff members. She provided guidance to SOM DEI strategic planning steering committee, benchmarked external programs, tracked, and measured success of initiatives. She also assisted with university-wide DEI strategic planning, benchmarking, employee engagement and was a part of Emory University’s DEI Liaison Committee. Before this role, she served as an Associate Director of Strategic DEI Learning Initiatives for the National Diversity Council and was with the organization since 2015. As Associate Director of Strategic DEI Learning Initiatives, she is responsible for the development, implementation and administration of diversity and inclusion education programs, tools and services, which includes certifying over 700+ corporate professionals. She is also responsible for providing guidance and direction to National Diversity Council 250+ corporate partners and the public seeking d&I educational resources and tools.
At the start of her career with the council, she supported the Georgia and NDC Carolinas Diversity Councils. She partnered with board of directors representing local corporations to strategize council DEI goals and initiatives annually. She secured DEI event funding and corporate sponsorships, and was responsible for planning and executing diversity workshops, leadership conferences, and college diversity summits. She also oversaw the operations for the Strategy and Research department including the DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program, which prepares professionals in the D&I space, and the DiversityFIRST™ Toolkit, an online resource for D&I. In addition, she offered support to NDC Consulting, which provides corporate consulting in the areas of diversity and inclusion, leadership, and cultural competence.
Dejoron has more than eight years of human resources experience with Pitney Bowes, a global fortune 500 company in the business services industry. Her first role was an HR specialist, supporting all personnel inquiries and requests for 20,000 U.S. employees. Shortly after, she was promoted to an HRIS specialist, administering personnel data changes
and ensuring data integrity. Lastly, she led a team of HR administrators and coordinators as an HR supervisor.
Dejoron currently serve on the board for the National Black MBA Association – Atlanta Chapter, a non- profit organization that supports African American business professionals and entrepreneurs by providing scholarship and career growth and development opportunities. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Alfred University in 2006 and a master of business administration degree with a concentration in human resources management from the University of New Haven in 2009. She received her designation as PHR (Professional in Human Resources) in 2009 and CDP (Certified Diversity Professional) in 2016.
Charmaine Ward Board Advisor
Charmaine Ward- Millner is Corporate Relations Director for Georgia Power. She is responsible for building and maintaining key state and national relationships with diverse opinion leaders, forming strategic alliances with diverse segments of the company’s 2.5 million customers, corporate partners, and civic organizations to promote advocacy for important industry and company initiatives.
She is a noted speaker, adjunct professor at Georgia State, serial entrepreneur, John Maxwell Leadership Coach, andICF Professional Certified Coach.
Charmaine’s service to the community is widespread. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Clark Atlanta University and Secretary for the National Black MBA national board. She also serves on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Board, Atlanta Technical College Foundation Board, Atlanta Business League Foundation Board, Operation HOPE Regional
Board, NBAF Advisory Council and Alliance Theatre Advisory Board. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc., Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., and National Council of Negro Women. She is also an alumna of United Way VIP, Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), Leadership Georgia, and Leadership Atlanta.
Charmaine graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Economics from Clark Atlanta University and earned an MBA with honors from Kennesaw State University.
A native of Chicago, she is an avid reader, loves the theatre, and enjoys international travel. She is married to Keith Millner.
Charmaine’s personal mission is “To be a CATALYST, creating positive change in individuals, organizations and communities by making connections, coaching and servant leadership”.
Board of Directors
Rhonda Holmes DIRECTOR OF CAREER NETWORK
Leslie Epsy DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS
TRACIE MOORE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
Tracie Moore is on a mission to help business owners and families reach their financial goals by maximizing their income and minimizing their taxes. Trained as an Accountant, she has a 20 year background in accounting/finance and currently holds a license as an insurance broker. She has worked for City of Atlanta government as a Sr. Pension Manager within the employee benefits department, managing a budget of $162 million.
She has helped several Fortune 500 companies develop and improve processes working as an Accounting Consultant on various projects. She is heavily involved in the community by serving on boards and as a member of several non-profit organizations who advocate and educate women and girls while raising funds to support them. She loves to travel, attending community events and meeting new people while building valuable relationships to make a difference in the community. She is dedicated to helping others succeed. She believes that when you help someone else reach their goals, you are also helping one’s self to make this a better world for everyone.
Melanie Cook-McCant DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Melanie Cook-McCant is the Chief Executive Officer of Veritas Management Group, Inc. (VMG). VMG is a professional services firm offering a full suite of public health, IT, staff augmentation, and management consulting services. Ms. Cook-McCant is VMG’s visionary and is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership while driving business development and company growth. Her industry knowledge comes from roles as a Sr. Consultant for a Wall Street investment bank, Sr. Advisor to the US Secretary of Commerce and the Under Secretary for Technology, Attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sr. Consultant supporting the CDC (managing 30 contracts) and Manager of Business Development at DB Consulting Group.
Melanie Cook-McCant is ITIL® Foundation Certified. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Law School. She is the Director of Legal Affairs for the NBMBAA, Atlanta Chapter, Former Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Fulton County Land Bank Authority. She is a member of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health Community Advisory Board. She is a former member of the Board of Directors for Community Health Charities of Georgia, Georgia College and State University, and Spelman College Board of Trustees.
Otis Threatt DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
JANET SCOTT DIRECTOR OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
Janet C. Scott, Esq. has been practicing law since 2007. Janet is cum laude graduate of Spelman College, and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from Mercer University. A graduate of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, she has practiced law in several areas, including criminal law, education law, employment, entertainment, and personal injury law. Presently, Janet practices personal injury law.
Janet is passionate about serving in the community. In addition to her service as Director of Legal Affairs for the National Black MBA Association-Atlanta Chapter, Janet is a Past President (2016) of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (“GABWA”). Presently, she serves as President of the GABWA Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3). Janet also served as Co-Chair of the Aspiring Youth Program Committee; Director of the American Bar Association Awards for the Georgia Young Lawyers’ Division (“YLD”); United States Selective Service Board for DeKalb County, Georgia; and Chair of the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Southern Evening of Hope. Janet is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb, and she is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Janet has been recognized by the Georgia Young Lawyers’ Division, twice, for her outstanding service to the YLD and by the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers as a Scholarship Recipient and an Outstanding Law Student.
In 2015, Janet was named one of Rolling Out Magazine and the Steed Society’s Top 25 Women of Atlanta. Janet was also named in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Who’s Who in the Legal community and the Atlanta Business League’s 2016 100 Women of Influence.
She is also a 2016 and 2017 Georgia Superlawyer Rising Star.
Chantelle White DIRECTOR OF LEADERS OF TOMORROW
Chantelle White is the Principal Account Manager – Large Market Gov-Con Americas for Deltek. In her role, she is responsible for supporting Large Market national accounts primarily focusing on Deltek’s Costpoint ERP solutions to project-based businesses, in the Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Construction, Accounting, Engineering and Government Contracting sectors, through Software License, Cloud Subscription, On-Premise Maintenance, and Add-Ons to net new and existing clients.
Chantelle’s role requires cultivating strong relationships internally and externally with key stakeholders. With over 20 years of experience in brand development, experiential marketing, telecommunications, and the tech space, she has successfully been a change agent for her clients in various verticals. She consistently meets and exceeds her goals and is recognized as a leader in her field.
Chantelle earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from AIU, Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Small Business Management from the University of Phoenix in Arizona.
A native of Atlanta, Chantelle is an active member of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, Women’s Leadership Association – The Global Association of Women Leaders and Executives, UPWARD Women, Inducted Member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Committee Member for Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry, and has served as a mentor for the City of Hope Mentoring program in Gwinnett County at Hopewell Baptist Church…just to name a few.
Chantelle’s passion for leadership, philanthropy, and volunteering is extremely important to her, and she feels that it is our responsibility to engage and give back to our community…simply be the change we want to see.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, creative outlets, sports…specifically cheering on her favorite football team the Tennessee Titans, and spending quality time with her friends and family…her husband, bonus daughter Makayla and her Shorkie Emmie.
Shermika Dunner DIRECTOR OF Marketing and Merchandising
Shermika Dunner is a strategic marketer with an interest in connecting with customers
and driving innovation. She has worked for several Fortune 500 Companies spanning multiple industries driving global marketing strategy, lead generation campaigns, digital marketing, and more.
Her personal values are to pay it forward and always be of service. She earned her Bachelor’s
Degree in English from University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007 and her Master of
Business Administration in Marketing from Clark Atlanta University in 2014. She is a recipient of Brand Innovators 40 under 40 Marketers and Top 50 Marketers by African-American Marketing Association.
She is a graduate of the United Way VIP Program and is an avid traveler and lifelong learner. Her professional and community affiliations include Board Member and Director of Marketing National Black MBA Association – Atlanta Chapter, Board Member United Way African-American Partnership Program, Junior League of Atlanta, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
NINETTE MARTIN DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
Ninette Martin, born in Chicago, IL, is a Human Resources professional with 20+ years of experience. She received her BA in Psychology, her MBA and Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management, and her MA in Industrial Organizational Psychology. She also received the PHR and SHRM-CP certifications in Human Resources. She currently works as a Senior Consultant in Talent Acquisition with a Global Professional Services Organization strategically focused on technology. She also owns Corporate Talent Pool LLC, a Human Capital Management Consulting firm that focuses on Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. As a Human Resources professional, she is dedicated to personal and professional growth, and is always interested in helping others in their careers. She is the Director of Membership with NBMBAA Atlanta Chapter, on the Board of the Ezekial Taylor Scholarship Foundation, enjoys serving the community through the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Open Hand Atlanta, and enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Michelle Marshall DIRECTOR OF Leadership PROGRAMS
Michelle Marshall is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for PUMA Group North America, the first DE&I leader with the company. In this role Michelle oversees all diversity initiatives, programming, partnerships, diverse talent acquisition recruitment, and community advocacy for PUMA North America and Cobra PUMA Golf. Michelle is also work in partnership with counterparts globally to build diversity strategy in European and Latin American offices.
Prior to joining PUMA Group, Michelle was the Senior Director of Women’s Leadership Initiatives for The United Way of Greater Atlanta. In this role, she was responsible for developing strategy, programming, board development, volunteer management, and advocating for and providing resources towards United Way’s initiative of improving Child Well-Being in Metro Atlanta.
Michelle spent 11 years at Nationwide Insurance where she held a variety of roles in claims, underwriting, sales, and operations. In her last role as the regional lead for Corporate Citizenship and Diversity Outreach, she increased brand awareness in local markets through building and cultivating relationships with diverse and community organizations, government officials, overseeing sponsorships, volunteerism projects, and media placement. She executed 300+ marketing activations at major sporting events, diversity conferences, business expos, and other events across 5 states in the Southeast Region. During her time at Nationwide Insurance, Michelle was one of the first Diversity Council Chairs and launched Nationwide’s first Women’s Symposium which featured senior executive speakers and mentoring circles.
Michelle is currently the NBMBAA Atlanta Chapter Vice President of Communications overseeing the Marketing, Public Relations, and Technology committees. Michelle was previously the Director of Marketing and Director of Special Events. Under her leadership, the annual Holiday Soiree saw an 89% increase in revenue, making it the most profitable since inception. Michelle is also a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association Diversity and Inclusion Leaders Council. She formerly served as a board member of United Way of Greater Atlanta, The American Cancer Society, a member of the UNCF Mayor’s Ball Planning committee, and a member of the Georgia Diversity Council.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Business Administration/Marketing from Middle Tennessee State University and received her MBA from Bethel University. She is from Tennessee, but currently resides in Boston, MA.
Shavannia Williams DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Shavannia Williams is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Georgia World Congress Center
Authority, the No. 1 convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. In this new role,
she leads transformational initiatives, social responsibility and sustainability. She also works with
cross-functional partners to strengthen community support and expand the overall brand visibility of the
Ms. Williams joined the Authority following six years at AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE) where
she most recently led fan innovation for the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta United (MLS) and
Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In addition, she served on the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation Committee
working to identify organizations that increase time kids spend in physical activity and approve grants.
Prior to her experience at AMBSE, Williams consulted and worked with diverse organizations and
projects including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Incorporated, D.C. Women’s Business
Center, General Motors Monday Night Football, Sam’s Club, USA Today Charitable Foundation, United
Way Worldwide-NFL Partnership and YUM! Foundation. Earlier in her career, she worked with the
Detroit Lions and Washington Sports and Entertainment (now Monumental Sports and Entertainment)
on the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and Washington Wizards (NBA) brands
and the United States Senate. She also led the public relations strategy for the 2009 NCAA® Men’s Final
Committed to education and empowering others, Shavannia launched Heels and Helmets in 2010 to use
sports to level the professional playing field and help women advance in their careers. Additionally, she
serves as a volunteer tutor and mentor, a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA and a WISE (Women
in Sports & Events) Atlanta board member. She was an adjunct professor in the School of Global
Journalism and Communications at Morgan State University. She frequently lectures on branding,
entrepreneurship, marketing and using sports to connect and empower for national and international
organizations including the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development.
Shavannia’s experience and passion for events and community impact began as a student working on the
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys cooking, fitness, traveling, and spending Fall
Saturdays cheering on her alma mater, the University of Michigan, where she earned a B.A. in Sport
Management and Communication.
She resides in Atlanta, GA and lives by the belief to “bloom where you are plante
Tamara McLaurin DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EVENTS
Tamara McLaurin is a results-oriented, highly organized individual with more than 20 years of experience encom-passing hospitality, sales, and management positions. She is currently a Senior Event Planner for the Federal Re-serve Bank of Atlanta. She provides oversight and coordination of logistical arrangements for events.
She has been a member of the National Black MBA Association, Atlanta Chapter since 2012. She has served on the board as Director of Programs from 2017-2020. Currently serves as Vice President of Records 2021-2022 term. She is affiliated with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and serves as International Sergeant at Arms. She served on the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Cobb County for four years. She also served as a Career Coach for the Posse Foundation by offering critical support to scholars and alumni as they transition from being leaders on campus to being leaders in the workforce.
Tamara received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from James Madison University, and DeVry University awarded her a Master’s of Business Administration in Project Management.
Joe Faxio Lieutenant Director, Economic Development
Joanne Louis DIRECTOR OF Career Mentorship
Joanne is a double owls graduate of Kennesaw State University earning a BBA in Management and a MBA, and is currently pursuing a degree in Educational Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. Professionally Joanne is employed by Troutman Pepper, is a Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens, Inc. and a Certified Professional Coach
Joanne is dedicated to improving the community and serves as a member Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. where she earned the Volunteer of the Year award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., Toastmasters International, Top Ladies of Distinction, National Association of Parliamentarians, and The United Way of Greater Atlanta
An active community leader Joanne serves in a variety of nonprofit boards including Out of Hand Theatre, The United Way Women United, State Charter School Foundation, Kennesaw State University Alumni Association, National Black MBA Association, Association of Coach Training Organizations, Atlanta Real Estate Board
Joanne is a graduate of the Georgia Women’s Policy institute class of 2019, and a graduate of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation Inspire Atlanta Program Class of 2020
A native of Haiti, Joanne currently lives in Georgia and enjoys Atlanta’s arts scene, reading and traveling
LaDawna Barnes Director Entrepreneur Institute
Alexa Cottman DIRECTOR OF Information Technology
Tyeisha Miller DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Tyeisha Miller graduated from Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College’s Allied Health Sciences Program in Nashville, Tennessee, with a BS in Medical Technology. She started her career as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association. She later combined her passion for science and business to become a healthcare leader. She received an MBA from Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan Graduate School of Business and studied global business strategies at the John Felice Rome Center, Loyola University’s campus in Rome, Italy.
Tyeisha is currently the manager of Laboratory Operations at WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta, Georgia. She also held leadership positions at Emory Healthcare and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Tyeisha has been a member of the NBMBAA, Atlanta Chapter for seven years, and currently serves as Director of the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) Mentoring Program. She has also served as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta and Just Us Girls, Inc.