Column: Influential Atlanta Committee for Progress wraps up ‘year of transition’
By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on December 13, 2019
One of the most influential business groups in town – the Atlanta Committee for Progress – reflects the changing face of leadership in town.
The ACP serves as a blue-ribbon panel of business and civic leaders who come together to advise the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms. The group was started under the administration of former Mayor Shirley Franklin and has since been continued by her successor Kasim Reed and now Bottoms.
Doug Hertz, chairman and CEO of United Distributors, convened his last meeting as chair of the organization on Dec. 6. ACP’s 2020 chair will be Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines.
“It’s been a year of transition,” Hertz said as he began to list the comings and goings within Atlanta’s C-Suites. “I just wanted to hold the organization together. The goal was to not take a step back during a period of such transition among corporate leaders and university presidents as well as our internal leadership. The goal was just to continue the good work.”
ACP has helped launch a host of major initiatives in the city – beginning with the Atlanta BeltLine to the Westside Future Fund five years ago. In the last couple of years, it launched the Center for Workforce Innovation.
Among the leaders who will be rolling off the board are Larry Gellerstedt, the retired CEO of Cousins Properties Inc., who served as ACP’s 2018 board chair; Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America; and Jeff Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. Former Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson stepped down from the board earlier this year.
Among the new leaders joining the board in 2020 are Mark Begor, CEO of Equifax Inc.; Colin Connolly, president and CEO of Cousins Properties; Angel Cabrera, who took over as Georgia Tech’s president earlier this year; Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T Georgia; and Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
Other relatively new board members are Mike Hayford, president and CEO of NCR Corp.; and Jeff Sloan, CEO of Global Payments Inc.
Also, ACP welcomed its new executive director – Shan Cooper – at the beginning of 2019.
“I think we have come out of it as strong or stronger as when I came in,” Hertz said. “Shan has been a great leader for us.”
Central Atlanta Progress award winners
For its 2020 annual meeting, Central Atlanta Progress – the downtown business organization – is shaking it up. Instead of having a breakfast meeting in the spring, it will hold a luncheon meeting on Jan. 16 at State Farm Arena.
The change in timing was to have the meeting coincide with its new board installation.
The centerpiece of its annual meeting is the giving of its top awards – and that also will have a special twist this year.
The prestigious Dan Sweat Award (named after the influential CAP president who served from 1973 to 1988) is being renamed the Dan & Tally Sweat Award to include the name of his widow, an active civic leader.
The first recipient of the renamed award will be Tally Sweat.
“Tally has been a tireless supporter of downtown Atlanta,” said Maxine Hicks, an attorney with DLA Piper who served on the selection committee. “We just felt there was no better way to recognize the Dan Sweat Award than by renaming it in Tally’s honor.
Another of CAP’s awards also is being renamed. The Turner Downtown Community Leadership Award is being renamed the WarnerMedia Downtown Community Leadership Award to reflect the name change the corporate entity.
The recipient will be Tom Key, the artistic director of Theatrical Outfit since 1995 who will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 season.
During Key’s tenure, Theatrical Outfit moved from Midtown to the Rialto Center for the Arts in 1999. Then in 2005, thanks to the generosity of UPS executive Bill Balzer and his wife, Peg, Theatrical Outfit was able to secure its own home – the nearby Balzer Theater at Herren’s.
“Tom Key is being recognized for his success and accomplishments in growing Theatrical Outfit,” Hicks said. “Theatrical Outfit is such an important part of downtown Atlanta.”
Turknett to honor Hala Moddelmog
Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, will receive the 2020 Lifetime Leadership Award from the Turknett Leadership Group and the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership in October at the Georgia Aquarium.
The Lifetime recognition is the top award given by the organizations, and the luncheon is expected to be attended by 600 people or more, according to Tino Mantella, president and CEO of the Turknett Leadership Group.
“Hala will be a exceptional addition to the list of distinguished previous lifetime achievers,” Mantella wrote in an email listing previous winners: Frank Skinner in 2012; Alana Shepherd in 2013; Oz Nelson in 2014; Frank Blake in 2016 and Andrew Young in 2018.
“When I think of Hala, I think ‘impact,’ ” Mantella continued. “Whether in her corporate business career, leading Susan. G Komen for the Cure or becoming the first woman president and CEO to run the Chamber, Hala has made a difference.”
Moddelmog said she is “obviously flattered” to be receiving the Lifetime award. “When you look at the past winners, I’m honored to be in their company,” Moddelmog said.
Goizueta Foundation and Emory
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School is being awarded a $30 million gift from the Goizueta Foundation – the largest gift it has ever received.
The Foundation was established by the business school’s namesake, the late Roberto C. Goizueta, former chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co.
The business school will invest the gift in three areas that are close reflections of Goizueta’s vision and legacy: establishing the Roberto C. Goizueta Global Classroom, the Roberto C. Goizueta Innovation Center, and the Roberto C. Goizueta Institute for Business and Society.
The gift will support such important additions and innovations as: a virtual classroom; the use of holograms to facilitate “pop-up” campuses at remote locations; the expansion of the business school’s entrepreneurship and innovation programs; and further investment in programming focused on the impact of business on communities, and social responsibility.
“Roberto C. Goizueta believed that it is business’ responsibility to use its resources – its people, its finances, and its influence – to do well in the world and to create a dignified quality of life for everyone,” said Erika H. James, John H. Harland Dean of the Goizueta Business School, in a statement. “This generous and transformational gift will allow us to make significant and sustainable investments in key areas of focus and of growth that will benefit our students, our community, and our society.”
Goizueta and Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott College has been awarded a $2.715 million grant from the Goizueta Foundation to support “Positioning Students for Success through Discovery, Exploration and Connection.”
The gift will enhance SUMMIT – the college’s signature experience – by prioritizing postgraduate success for all students, which has been identified as a collegewide goal.
The gift will allow Agnes Scott students to take full advantage of a liberal arts education. Specific activities will include digital skills bootcamps via the college’s Center for Digital and Visual Literacy; increased access to career coaching and on-demand, interactive, personalized career assistance; as well as funding for speakers and events designed to provide students interaction with nationally-known role models, local leaders and alumnae.
“SUMMIT has been truly transformative for Agnes Scott and its students,” said Leocadia “Lee” Zak, president of Agnes Scott College. “We are proud to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the No.1 Most Innovative liberal arts college in the country for the second year in a row and the No. 2 Top Performer for Social Mobility. This grant will allow us to continue our innovative and transformative approach to liberal arts education.”