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ABL honors Chris Womack, others at CEO luncheon

Members gather at the 43rd Atlanta Business League's CEO Awards Luncheon. (Photo by Allison Joyner.)

The Atlanta Business League made “pushing the problems of the pandemic forward” their theme for the event. 

By Allison Joyner

During the Atlanta Business League’s 43rd CEO Awards Luncheon, Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Chris Womack along with others were recognized for their leadership in corporate America, entrepreneurship, and politics. 

“I failed. I made mistakes but I learned from them. I never gave up and guess what, God never gave up on me and I never gave up on God,” said Womack, who received the Herman J. Russell CEO of the Year award. 

Womack serves over 2.6 million customers in the state and is in charge of the largest subsidiary of Southern Company. They are one of the nation’s largest energy providers. 

Georgia Power’s Chris Womack talks about treating people fairly with ABL Chair, Al Edwards during the 43rd ABL CEO Luncheon. (Photo by Allison Joyner.)

The award, named after the CEO of H.J. Russell and Company, was given to Womack for his commitment and fairness to people — while maximizing shareholder profits.  

Also honored were: 

  • Steven Ewing, President and CEO of Wade Ford Car Dealerships, the first African American to own a Ford dealership was named Entrepreneur of The Year. 
  • Joseph Hudson, CEO and Founder of Hudson Strategic Group, was honored with the Trailblazer Award for his over 50 years of direct involvement as a leader and consultant with organizations and individuals who lead Black businesses and communities.
  • Lisa Cupid, Commission Chairwoman for Cobb County, the first woman and Black person to serve in her position, was awarded the Catalyst Award.
  • Rodney Strong, Chairman of Griffin and Strong was given the Distinguished Service Award. Strong was the former Director of Compliance for the City of Atlanta during Ambassador Andrew Young’s time as mayor. 

Wade Ford President and CEO, Steve Ewing, accepting his award at the 43rd ABL CEO Luncheon. (l to r) Ryan Wilson, CEO, The Gathering Spot, Steven Wade, Wade Ford, Leona Barr-Davenport, President and CEO, ABL. (Photo by Allison Joyner.)

“I realized that I’m blessed to have been in a room full of entrepreneurs like myself who are trying to build a business and fulfill their dreams,” Ewing said. 

The first Black business organization in the Southeast, the ABL was founded by Booker T. Washington in 1933 to enhance and expand the business community in Georgia. 

“Whether it’s ABL or other Black organizations’ focus on growth and development, partnering with somebody; a firm or a startup company to get themselves started finding a way to help out,” Womack said. 

“If you have a good business plan, and you’re about your business, you’ll find people who will invest in those things — not hobbies, not dreams — but real business opportunities,” Ewing said. 

To learn more about the ABL, click here.  



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