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Atlanta’s Center for Civil Rights names key leaders to its team

By Maria Saporta

With opening day exactly four months away, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is announcing several strategic hires as part of its management team.

“It’s an exciting time for us at the Center,” said Doug Shipman, CEO of the attraction that is under construction on Pemberton Place — the same block that houses the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

“Our grand opening is fast approaching, and it’s a great feeling to have a high caliber team of individuals leading us to a successful launch,” Shipman added. “I look forward to the contributions of each of our new additions.”

The new hires include:

Alexis Scott, publisher of the Atlanta Daily World who has worked for local news organizations for 40 years, will be leaving the media industry to become the Center’s vice president of member relations.

Judith Service Montier, vice president of marketing and communications for United Way of Greater Atlanta, will serve as the Center’s vice president of marketing.

Dina Bailey, most recently director of museum experiences at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been hired as the interpretation curator — overseeing the educational needs of the Center.

Marvin Douglas Bryant, president and CEO of the Atlanta Micro Fund since 1999, will serve as the Center’s vice president of finance.

Gabriel Wardell, formerly executive director of Cine — a nonprofit community-based theatrical art house venue, will join as group sales director.

“I am thrilled that these individuals will be joining our team,” said Terrie Rouse, the Center’s chief operating officer. “They share a passion for our mission and vision and have a proven track record with civic and cultural institutions.”

Debbie DeMars and her team at the DeMars Group provided support to the Center throughout the selection process.

The $80 million National Center for Civil and Human Rights will showcase both the modern American civil rights movement — which was nurtured in Atlanta as well as the global quest for human rights — an effort that took hold in the United States during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian, who continued his work in his post presidency at the Carter Center.

The Center will be the only public place in the world that will display the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection — the papers that the City of Atlanta helped secure in a community-wide initiative in 2006 led by then Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

The Center, which will have meeting and gathering spaces, also will  serve as a hub for ongoing dialogue on current day events — attracting world-renowned speakers and artists well informed on a variety of civil and human rights topics.

The new hires come with varied and diverse professional backgrounds.

* Alexis Scott has spent more than four decades working in the Atlanta community. Since 1997, she has been publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper of the 20th century — founded by her grandfather in 1928.

Scott joined the Atlanta Daily World after a 22-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she worked her way up from reporter to vice president of community affairs; and then joined parent company — Cox Enterprises, Inc. where she served as the director of diversity.

Scott is also active in nonprofit organizations. She chairs the board of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. She is a member of the Historic South View Cemetery Preservation Foundation; the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau; Central Atlanta Progress and the High Museum. She is also a recent member of the board of Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters. Scott is a regularly featured commentator on “The Georgia Gang,” a week-in-review program on politics broadcast on FOX 5 in Atlanta.

Scott and her family were inducted in the Atlanta Press Club’s inaugural Hall of Fame class of inductees in 2011.

* Before joining United Way, Judith Service Montier served as director of marketing and corporate sponsorship for the National Black Arts Festival. She also was appointed by City of Atlanta to serve as executive director for Atlanta 2000, the city’s official Millennium Commission; and she served as the entertainment manager for the Olympic Village during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

Currently, Service Montier serves on the board of C.H.O.I.C.E.S. (Center for Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully), the Atlanta Press Club and the Rialto Center for the Arts.

* Dina Bailey has worked in several capacities at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In her role as director of museum experiences, she managed the programmatic side of the museum, and she directed all aspects of exhibition design. During her tenure, Bailey also supervised the interpretation and education departments as well as interpretive services, and provided curatorial support to the Freedom Center.

Marvin Douglas Bryant has about 10 years of banking experience and 14 years of nonprofit management experience. With the assistance of a dedicated group of individuals, he helped establish the Atlanta Micro Fund (AMF), a nonprofit that provides business loans and mentoring to microenterprises. Prior to working with microenterprises, Bryant spent most of his professional life in the banking industry including working several years with NationsBank (now Bank of America) as a commercial credit analyst and banker.

* Gabriel Wardell, who last served as the executive director of Cine, also has been involved with the Atlanta Film Arts Institute. In his role at Cine, he oversaw all aspects of the management and administration of the nonprofit, including: developing marketing strategies, coordinating communications, orchestrating social media and cultivating development opportunities.

When the Center officially opens on May 22, it will have exhibitions, designated event spaces and a broadcast studio. It will have educational forums to make sure that the Center not only provides a historical perspective to global events but also is a venue to discuss and resolve current civil and human rights tensions in the world.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. Mary Townsend August 11, 2014 5:28 pm

    I have had a governor appointed Judge lie on my case.  My enemies are deep-pocketed republicans.  Who do you have who would not be afraid to put somethings together to point a finger towards injustice.Report

  2. Mary Townsend August 11, 2014 5:29 pm

    My civil and judicial rights have been violated.  The evidence is documented.Report


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