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Column: Charles Shapiro to lead World Affairs Council of Atlanta

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 18, 2014

After conducting an international search, the World Affairs Council of Atlanta has selected Ambassador Charles Shapiro, a career foreign service officer, to be its new president.

Shapiro, who will start Sept. 15, was selected by the council’s board in collaboration with Georgia State University.

In 2011, he retired from the Foreign Service, where he had numerous positions including ambassador to Venezuela and principal deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere. Other foreign postings included Chile, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Denmark as well as several assignments in Washington, D.C.

Also in 2011, Shapiro became president of the Institute of the Americas, a think tank at the University of California San Diego.

Charles Shapiro

Charles Shapiro

“Ambassador Shapiro stood out as the most qualified candidate for a number of reasons, especially his experience as a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, including the position of ambassador to Venezuela, and his experience as president of the Institute of the Americas,” said David Abney, CEO-elect of United Parcel Service Inc., who chairs the World Affairs Council board, in a statement.

Abney went on to say: “I am confident that he has the leadership experience that will enable him to work well with Atlanta’s leaders in business, government, and civil society to address international issues that are critical to Atlanta’s businesses, communities and residents.”

Other members of the search committee included Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart, The Coca-Cola Co.’s Clyde Tuggle, AGCO Corp.’s Lucinda Smith; and GSU’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business’ David Forquer.

Shapiro is succeeding the founding president, Wayne Lord, who retired June 30 after four years of leading the council.

“I am truly honored to have this opportunity to lead the World Affairs Council of Atlanta,” Shapiro said in a statement. “In just over four years, my predecessor Wayne Lord and the council staff have done an amazing job delivering impactful programs on international topics critical to Atlanta and to the country. I look forward to building on this strong foundation and working to help Atlanta and Atlanta business think globally. As an Atlanta native and GSU alumnus, I am delighted to once again call Atlanta and Georgia State home.”

GSU business dean Richard Phillips said Shapiro will bring a “wealth of experience in global trade, international affairs and cultural diplomacy that will benefit Robinson’s students and the wider Atlanta community.”

Cedric Suzman, the council’s executive vice president and director of programming, said, “Ambassador Shapiro’s experiences will add new depth to our Latin America programming, a region that is critical to Atlanta.”

The World Affairs Council of Atlanta is a membership- and grant-supported nonpartisan organization affiliated with GSU’s Robinson College of Business and the World Affairs Councils of America. Its mission is to provide a forum for dialogue, a source of expertise, and an engine for research on international affairs and global issues that affect Atlanta and the world.

Cancer-care grants

Georgia CORE has announced grants to 10 cancer organizations through the Georgia Access to Care, Treatment and Services (ACTS) grant.

The grant is funded by Georgia’s breast cancer license tag program, which contributes $22 from each tag purchased or renewed with the Georgia Department of Revenue into the ACTS fund.

The top recipients of the 2014 grants were the Central Georgia Cancer Coalition and Meadows Regional Medical Center, which both received about $100,000.

Other recipients were the Athens Regional Foundation, the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, the East Georgia Cancer Coalition, Gwinnett Medical Center, Hearts & Hands Clinic, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute and Susan G. Komen Atlanta affiliate, which all received about $50,000.

“We were also able to allocate $48,000 to the Georgia Department of Public Health for the Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention Program for underserved women,” said Georgia CORE Vice President Angie Patterson. “This is incredibly good news since many of these women are on waiting lists for mammograms, and the state has not been able to increase funding for BCCP.”

Georgia CORE administers the ACTS Grant on behalf of the Georgia State Office of Rural Health within the Department of Community Health. Over the past several years, cancer centers and nonprofit organizations throughout the state have applied for this funding to pay for screenings, education and treatment for Georgians without insurance who are also below the poverty level, according to Georgia CORE President Nancy Paris.

Starting in 2014, supplemental funds from the breast cancer license tag program have gone to administer genetic testing for those in need as well; 20 people have been tested to date with these funds.

KIPP names new executive director

The board of KIPP Metro Atlanta has unanimously appointed Kinnari Patel-Smyth as its new executive director.

Patel-Smyth is succeeding David Jernigan, who recently was approved by the board of the Atlanta Public Schools to serve as its new deputy superintendent and be part of the new leadership team of Meria Carstarphen, who has just taken over as superintendent of APS.

Patel-Smyth has served as the chief academic officer for KIPP Metro Atlanta over the past two years. Prior to joining KIPP, she taught in Atlanta and Fort Worth for six years and served as a principal and managing director of programs for Explore Schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., for eight years.

“We are thrilled that Kinnari is willing to step up to the challenge of leading our organization,” said Craig Jones, who chairs the KIPP Metro Atlanta board. “She has a proven track record with KIPP and has been a part of an intentional succession plan over the past two years. This is a natural next step for Kinnari and for the organization, and the board has complete confidence that she is the right leader to take KIPP Metro Atlanta to the next level of excellence.”

This leadership transition comes at a time when KIPP Metro Atlanta is opening the final school in its eight school growth plan. Kinnari will assume the role of executive director on July 28.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to serve our 2,500 KIPPsters as executive director,” Patel-Smyth said. “I look forward to building on the successes of the past 12 years.”

Ferst Foundation

The Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy is adding four new members to its board — Kathy Ashe, Scott Campbell, Ali Gant and Colin Owens.

The Madison, Ga.-based nonprofit expects to hit a major milestone this fall when it will mail its 4 millionth book. It mails free, age-appropriate books and learning guides to children from birth up until age 5.

Ashe was elected in 1991 as a state representative from Atlanta, serving for 21 years and specializing in children and education issues. Campbell is an entrepreneur from Madison with a myriad of business ventures, including restaurants, manufacturing and logistics. Gant is the senior development officer for Atlanta’s Mercy Care Foundation. Owens is the son of a former school teacher and grandson of a school teacher and principal, who currently serves as director of marketing for the Jackson Spalding public relations firm.

AT&T and Junior Achievement

AT&T has raised more than $675,000 to support Junior Achievement of Georgia through the “Teaming Up for Tomorrow’s Leaders” campaign.

That means that all those funds were raised from AT&T’s employees across the state rather than through corporate donations. The campaign was guided by John Dwyer, AT&T’s senior vice president of customer experience. Employees organized internal fundraisers, including silent auctions, bake sales and golf tournaments over a three-month period.

The campaign concluded with a luncheon recognizing the leaders of the top 16 grossing departments. At the luncheon, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and board chair of Junior Achievement Worldwide, was the keynote speaker.

AT&T has been a long-standing partner of Junior Achievement of Georgia, consistently being the top corporate supporter of the organization. In the last decade, AT&T has raised more than $5 million for JA.

“Junior Achievement greatly values our relationship with AT&T,” said Jack Harris, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Georgia. “We could not successfully serve Georgia’s students without their continued support.”

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.


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