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Region Matters Thought Leadership

Regional Leadership Institute Proudly Welcomes 2021 Class of Informed Leaders

By Kate Sweeney

43 leaders from metro Atlanta’s public, private, educational, and nonprofit spheres have been selected to participate in the 2021 Regional Leadership Institute (RLI) from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Members of the 2021 RLI class will have the opportunity to dig into key regional issues during the week-long leadership development program, to be held in Savannah Sept. 19–24.

This year’s RLI class features an immersive, interactive experience which infuses the pillars of equity, interconnection, and shared community throughout the six-day program. Hands-on opportunities will be provided to connect active learning to real-world planning and policy throughout the region, with a focus on action beyond the RLI program itself. Participants will also take part in opportunities called “expert hubs” – in which they will be encouraged to actively relate program topics to their own experiences as experts in their fields—and hear from other participant-experts in the room.

“This year’s participants represent a true cross-section of metro Atlanta leadership. This is valuable, as it requires true collaboration to take on our region’s complex challenges in a meaningful way,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “This year’s immersive, in-depth approach ensures that RLI remains a highly effective way of deepening metro Atlanta’s network of leaders and encouraging them to tackle challenges through a regional lens.”

This year’s class will delve into topics including housing affordability, transit and transportation planning and recovery, public health, and investments in the region’s future.

Since 1991, more than 1,500 leaders from the business, government, education, and nonprofit sectors have participated in the RLI program. This program is designed to expose current organizational and community leaders to the importance of understanding specific issues and challenges facing our region and how they are all interconnected.

For more information about RLI, visit www.atlantaregional.org/rli.

2021 RLI Participants

Colin Ake — Principal, Georgia Tech-VentureLab

Durand Bailey — Director of Operations, Atlanta Music Project

Olu Baiyewu — Urban Agriculture Director, City of Atlanta

Irene Barton — Executive Director, Cobb Collaborative

Stephen Michael Brown — President, Cookerly Public Relations

Maranie Brown — Senior Digital Program Manager, You Are Here (YAH)

Leanna Brown — Director of Government Affairs, Metro Atlanta Chamber

Nick Byers — Senior Vice President, Saturn Freight Systems

Eric Christ — CEO, PracticeAdmin

Ellyn Cochran — Senior Director, Early Learning and Development, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Eshe Collins — Vice Chair/District 6 Representative, Atlanta Board of Education/Atlanta Public Schools

John Cornelius — Atlanta/Metro South Regional Director, Georgia Power

Rochelle Dennis — Chief Brand Strategist, Beak Consulting

Lynn Deutsch—Mayor, City of Dunwoody

Nadia Faucette — Vice President of Engineering, GreyStone Power Corporation

Siddiqa Gibson — Manager, United Healthcare of Georgia

Chantell Glenn — Program Associate, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Sabrina Gomez — Founder and Principal Consultant, STEM Higher, LLC

John Helton — Executive Director, Atlanta CareerRise/United Way of Greater Atlanta

Shelbia Jackson — Director, DeKalb Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Commission/Decide DeKalb Development Authority

Yeou-rong Jih — Director of Urban Initiatives, Greenlink

Terence Johnson — Faculty, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, University of Georgia

Nachae Jones — Founder, Rhéma Word Enterprises, LLC

Soumaya Khalifa — Executive Director and Founder, Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta

Geoff Koski — President/Owner, Bleakly Advisory Group

Emily Lightner — Executive Director, Cultural Arts Council Douglasville/ Douglas County

Christina Martin — Director Service Strategy, Kaiser Permanente

Christopher McCord — Program Director, Moving in the Spirit

Randy  Meacham — Managing Director, Gwinnett Municipal Association

Donna Shaw Murphy — Managing Partner, Murphy Sander Realty Group

Katherine Pace Quattlebaum — CEO/Executive Director, Southern Conservation Trust

Sameer Pathakar — Partner, Lowe Engineers, LLC

Dalia Racine — Attorney Advisor, AEquitas

Catherine Rowell — Councilwoman, City of South Fulton

Raj Shah — Senior Regulatory Attorney and Policyholder Advisor, MagMutual Insurance Company

Chris Sizemore — CEO, Creative Mischief

Shirley Anne Smith — Executive Director, Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation

Rachel Sprecher — Executive Director of Partnerships and Development/Special Assistant to the Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools

Edward “Ted” Terry — Commissioner, DeKalb County

Sheryl Ude — Senior Project Manager, City of Atlanta, Office of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Stephen Valrie — Client Partner, Public Sector; Slalom

Daisy Wall — Head of Revenue, Uber

Karen Winger — Transit Division Director, Gwinnett County Department of Transportation


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