Column: Andy Young film premiere has Atlanta flavor

By Maria Saporta
Friday, August 27, 2010

The Buckhead Theatre’s Aug. 24 premiere of the latest documentary by Andrew Young Productions, “Change in the Wind,” certainly had an Atlanta flavor.

It truly is an Atlanta documentary that reveals the improbable partnership between Morehouse College President Benjamin E. Mays and “Gone With The Wind” author Margaret Mitchell.

Also, many of the voices and people in the film are well-known Atlantans, including Ted Turner and Joanne Woodward. Two people who lent their voices to depict the major players in the story — Jasmine Guy and Jennifer Holliday — spoke to the sold-out crowd at the Buckhead Theatre.

Another interesting Atlanta tie is Darryl Cohen, who also addressed the crowd. Cohen, an attorney with the Atlanta-based law firm of Cohen, Cooper, Estep & Whiteman LLC, is the current chairman of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

“I’m so excited about something I’m about to tell you,” Cohen told the hometown crowd. “On Feb. 25 in New York City … NATAS is proud to present the ambassador (Andrew Young) with our trustees award for achievement. We are honoring a man who is a living legend.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed introduced Young at the newly renovated Buckhead Theatre, formerly known as the Roxy Theater, calling him a personal mentor and one of Atlanta’s “jewels” that helps “create a tapestry that makes Atlanta so beautiful.”

When “Gone With The Wind” was released in 1936, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, which led to what Tom Brokaw has called the “greatest generation.”

“We survived that, and [World War II],” Young said. “I think the times in which we live require us to be another great generation.”

New Kiwanis executive

The Kiwanis Club of Atlanta looked far and wide for a new executive. The 92-year-old membership organization received applications from 55 candidates for its key administrative job.

But in the end, it didn’t need to go far at all.

Karen Sullivan Losin, a past president of the club and a member for more than 10 years, decided at the last minute to apply. She had agreed to serve as the interim executive until a permanent person was hired. But she was enjoying the job so much, she decided to become a candidate.

“She was the unanimous choice of the search committee and the executive committee members,” said Nancy Bedford, the current president the Atlanta Kiwanis Club.

When announcing the selection, Bedford said that Losin’s “experience with nonprofit volunteer organizations as CEO and as a consultant in the areas of executive management, fund development and grant writing, together with her people skills and technology abilities, put her far ahead of any of the 55 candidates.”

A past president of the Atlanta Kiwanis Club, Phil Smith, said that in addition to serving as the club’s president, Losin also has been a lieutenant governor of the organization.

“To be able to keep it in the family like this, is a great opportunity,” Smith said of Losin’s appointment. “We are just thrilled. This will help move us to that next step.”

Losin succeeds Nancy E. Williams, who resigned on May 31 after serving in that role for more than a decade.

Rice joins CDC Foundation

John Rice, vice chairman of General Electric Co. and president and CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure, has been elected to serve a five-year term on the board of directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation (CDC Foundation).

“John’s success leading GE’s health-care business, his global experience and his passion for community involvement make him a great addition to the Foundation board,” said Phil Jacobs, board chair of the CDC Foundation.

Where banks want to be

More than 40 banks in Georgia have closed their doors since the economic downturn, but the president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association says there is a positive side to that “unpleasantness.”

More than 300 federally insured financial institutions are operating in Georgia, and 281 of those banks are headquartered in the state, Joe Brannen told the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Aug. 23. He said that of the 41 banks that have failed in the state, buyers were found for all but five of them.

“I look on that as a positive,” Brannen said, adding that financial institutions from many other states, such as Arkansas, South Carolina and Mississippi have been buying Georgia’s failed banks.

“You know you are in trouble when you rely on Mississippi to bail you out,” Brannen said jokingly. “These out-of-state banks see Georgia as a place they want to be.”

Brannen said recent census projections said that 60 percent of all the growth in the United States between 2010 and 2030 will take place in five states — Texas, California, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Marcuses and medicine

Bernie and Billi Marcus will be honored at this year’s Georgia Life Sciences Summit on Oct. 28 at the AmericasMart downtown.

Charles Craig, president of Georgia Bio, said Bernie and Billi Marcus were being honored for their multiple commitments to help advance medical innovation. Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot Inc. and chairman of the Marcus Foundation, also will be the keynote speaker.

During the summit, there also will be panel discussions and speeches from senior executives of major pharmaceutical companies about the role of research and development in global health.

Other featured speakers include Dr. Ricardo Azziz, the new president of the Medical College of Georgia; Dr. Vassant Narasimhan, president of Vaccines USA, who works for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics; Dr. Mark Rosenberg, president and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health; and Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, the executive vice president and chief medical officer for Merck & Co. Inc.

Red Cross honors UPS

The Atlanta-based UPS Foundation has been recognized by the American Red Cross for its support of the charity’s disaster response work.

United Parcel Service Inc. is among the donors that provide ongoing support to the American Red Cross so that the organization will be prepared to respond during major disasters.

“Thanks to the support of the UPS Foundation and other companies and foundations, the Red Cross has a reliable funding base for disaster relief services,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, in a release. “This enables the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disaster anywhere in the United States, providing food, shelter, emotional support, and other essential assistance to disaster victims.”

Ken Sternad, president of the UPS Foundation, said the partnership with the Red Cross includes financial grants, in-kind services and logistics expertise to improve the organizations relief and recovery efforts around the world.

As Tim English, CEO of Atlanta’s Red Cross, said in the same release: “UPS is regarded as a potent force in Atlanta’s business community.”

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.

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