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Julie Ralston to head up ARC’s new Center for Strategic Relations

By Maria Saporta

Julie Ralston, a mainstay at the Atlanta Regional Commission for 28 years, is taking on an enhanced role as director of the organization’s new Center for Strategic Relations.

The new center will focus on building stronger networks for regional action and progress through community engagement, communications and marketing, governmental affairs and strategic initiatives.

Ralston is well positioned to be the founding director of the new center because she has served as ARC’s communications director for 28 years. She also has coordinated the ARC’s annual State of Region breakfast, organized a quarterly public affairs television show and developed the Model Atlanta Regional Commission youth leadership program, which has graduated some 750 10th and 11th graders during the last 15 years.

Julie Ralston

Julie Ralston

“Julie brings a wealth of experience and extensive regional relationships to this new endeavor,” said Doug Hooker, ARC’s executive director, in an announcement released Thursday. “She is dedicated to a high standard of excellence for ARC and for the Atlanta region, and she makes sure that people remain at the center of our regional planning efforts, programs and services.”

Ralston is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Henry Grady School of Journalism, the Regional Leadership Institute and Harvard’s program on “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.”

She currently serves on the boards of Leadership DeKalb, Olmsted Linear Park Alliance, Clifton Corridor Community Partnership and Emory Health magazine.

In 2011, Ralston received the prestigious George Goodwin award for community service from the Georgia Chapter of Public Relations Society for America (PRSA). She and her ARC team have won numerous awards, locally and nationally, for their communications efforts from the American Planning Association, National Association of Regional Councils, Telly Awards program and PRSA.

Serving as interim ARC Communications & Marketing manager will be Grace Trimble, senior communications coordinator for the past 11 years.

The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 69 other cities.

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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