By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 3, 2017
Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business organization, will pay tribute to two distinguished Atlantans at its annual breakfast meeting on March 14 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young will receive the prestigious Dan Sweat Award.
And retired Atlanta Police Chief George Turner will receive the annual Turner Downtown Community Leadership Award.
CAP also will present the Marcus Downtown Economic Impact Award to Georgia State University for its contributions to the central city, including its proposed redevelopment of Turner Field.
“When I think of Andrew Young, this is long overdue,” said Maxine Hicks, who serves on CAP’s board and was part of the awards nominating committee. “He embraces the image of Atlanta.”
Dave Stockert, the former CEO of Post Properties who has been CAP’s chair for the past three years, said it was appropriate to honor Young since we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of hosting the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
“Ambassador Young’s story speaks for itself,” Stockert said. “From when he was mayor, he’s always had an interest of putting Atlanta on the world map. And that culminated with the 1996 Olympics.”
The Turner award — sponsored by Turner Broadcasting System — will be given to an actual Turner, but with no relation to the company.
“We wanted to honor Chief Turner for what he’s done,” Stockert said. “The police do a tough job, and they have done it well in Atlanta. Chief Turner was born here and he was raised here. One thing we’ve avoided in Atlanta is having trouble between the police and community. I asked Chief Turner about it, and he said it was because the police force reflects the population that it serves.”
Stockert also said that under Turner’s leadership, crime in downtown decreased. And he and the force helped change the perception of crime downtown.
Hicks, who also is a partner with DLA Piper and chairs its real estate practice, praised Georgia State for its role in uplifting downtown.
“It’s rare to have an opportunity to have a transformational project like the redevelopment of Turner Field,” she said. “This redevelopment will have a lasting impact for GSU and also for the city.”
The annual breakfast also will mark a transition of leadership. Stockert will be stepping down as chair, and he will be succeeded by Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons.
“It’s an easy lift because the staff is so good, and they are so passionate about what they do,” Stockert said of his three years as chairman.
But he acknowledged it is bittersweet for him because of the recent merger of Post Properties with Memphis-based MAA.
“I was really happy to shepherd the start of our first real downtown community,” Stockert said. “There’s so much good going on downtown.”
Georgia Trend’s Most Influential
There was a definite agricultural flavor to Georgia Trend’s 2017 Most Influential Georgians luncheon on Jan. 26 at the Georgia Aquarium. The Georgian of the Year was Gary Black, the state’s agriculture commissioner.
He was introduced by his friend Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau and formerly the head of the Georgia Farm Bureau.
“Gary and I met when I was about 25 years old,” said Duvall, adding that Black had spent most of the 1980s with the Georgia Farm Bureau before becoming president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
Duvall said Black understood that “we can’t be talking farms, we need to be talking about food. Everyone can relate to food.”
In accepting the award, Black echoed the sentiments of Georgia Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Clark, who remembered the 15 Georgians who had lost their lives in South Georgia due to the recent tornadoes.
In his efforts to run “the best department of agriculture in America,” Black said the biggest challenge was to build trust among the various constituencies.
Even Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed adopted an agricultural theme in his remarks. “Georgia’s agricultural leadership is a constant inspiration to improving our local food system.”
It was also noted that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has been nominated to be the new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
The luncheon also inducted two new leaders into Georgia Trend’s Hall of Fame: outgoing Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
“I really don’t have any business being up here,” Huckaby said. “We could not serve well if it were not for the people who put us on their shoulders.”
He also recognized the 10 college presidents who were named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians.
“Our presidents have a tough, tough job,” Huckaby said. “Thank you for the honor for the standing of higher education in Georgia.”
UNICEF and Barron Segar
Former Atlantan Barron Segar has taken on additional responsibilities at the New York-based U.S. Fund for UNICEF. He is now the organization’s chief development officer and executive vice president.
Segar will continue to oversee strategic leadership in key fundraising areas and play a chief role in carrying out the vision for the organization as it works to ensure that every child has a happy and healthy childhood.
He will supervise a leadership team of seven vice presidents and a division of more than 110 staff who raise funds and awareness of UNICEF’s mission, including the organization’s young professionals group, among others. In addition, Segar will continue to serve on the UNICEF Global Think Tank — aiding in the development of UNICEF’s global development strategy.
“Barron started his work with our organization as a regional donor and board member before joining the U.S. Fund for UNICEF as staff — giving him unique perspective and insight to our donors and how they’re seeking to support our mission,” said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “I am incredibly excited for Barron to leverage his years of experience in a larger way for the world’s children.”
Outside of UNICEF, Barron is a founding board member and corporate secretary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, where he serves on the executive team that has distributed more than $325 million in America and internationally.
The nonprofit organization Senior Connections has a new board chair, Deidre Williams, regional marketing leadership with Accenture. She succeeds Walt Bryde, a CPA with Rhodes, Young, Black & Duncan, who will continue on the board as immediate past chair.
The board also has added four new members: Seth Ford, partner, Troutman Sanders LLP; Rev. Mary Lou Gilbert, pastor of visitation and senior adult ministry of Oak Grove United Methodist Church; Asif Mujtaba, senior vice president and relationship manager, Private Bank of Decatur; and Michael Presto, director of B2B markets for SouthStar Energy Services LLC.
“All four of our newest board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table,” said Debra Furtado, CEO of Senior Connections. “Our organization is fortunate to have such a strong board of directors who guide us with innovative ideas and strategic thinking. Without the support of these community leaders, we couldn’t continue our work to improve the health and well-being of our seniors.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta celebrated two volunteers who have made a significant difference in the lives of their Little Brother Little Sister.
The 2017 “Bigs of the Year” were chosen from nearly 2,000 volunteers across 12 metro counties in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to their Littles.
Stephanie Pereda of Kennesaw was named the Big Sister of the Year. She has been matched to her Little Sister Jayla since August 2014.
Pareda attends all of Jayla’s basketball games and school events. Whether they are having a sleepover, working on homework together, or discussing first crushes, Stephanie has been a concrete part of Jayla’s life.
In her nomination essay, Jayla said “Stephanie is my rock. Yes, she’s hard on me sometimes, but that’s only because she loves me. I love Stephanie more than anything. She is my best friend and my sister. I can talk to her about anything.”
Michael Faunce of Smyrna was named as the Big Brother of the year. He has been matched to his Little Brother Jaylen since June 2009.
Over the past seven years, they have grown incredibly close, regularly fishing and enjoying football. Faunce has made an effort to introduce Jaylen to new things, whether they be new foods or experiences.
When Jaylen’s older brother’s relationship with his Big Brother ended, Faunce stepped in and began to include him in their activities.
“He never bats an eye when it comes to including both boys,” says Jaylen’s mother Quimberlyn. “We are like one big family.” She continues, “He has taught Jaylen to look people in their eyes. Just to open up and that it’s okay to talk because Jaylen is often closed off. He teaches him how to work and he instills hard work.”
The Bigs of the Year were announced at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Big Appreciation event on Jan. 26.