CEO & Principal Consultant
Austin E. Thompson, Jr. is the founder and owner of Thompson Management Consulting, LLC, for which he serves as a Management Consultant currently working with small business owners and entrepreneurs on various business strategy, planning, and development initiatives. Annually, Austin plans, organizes, and executes the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Summit (ESBS) attended by hundreds of small business owners, entrepreneurs, strategists, consultants, academicians, researchers, policy makers, thought leaders, and many others in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Austin is originally from the Republic of Guyana, South America, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Business and Project Management in the College of Adult and Professional Programs at Shorter University in Atlanta, GA. In addition, he has over 17 years in (EMI) regulatory compliance engineering. His published book, A BRAND New You, Taking Ownership of Your Personal BRAND is the basis for many of the personal development workshops he facilitates. There are upcoming literary projects currently in the pipeline.
In addition to writing, teaching, and business consulting, Austin formerly co-hosted a monthly radio program on WATB 1420AM, for which he created the Entrepreneurship and Business Empowerment Hour on the Carib and Company Show. On the program, Austin invited business owners into the studio for personal interviews and a discussion about their businesses. He publishes the monthly Empowered Business Journal for Thompson Management Consulting, LLC, which features articles written by Austin, and those contributed by consultants and entrepreneurs for the small business community. His company is a member of the award winning Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Austin is no stranger to keynote speaking, workshop facilitation, mentoring youth, serving on various business panels and non-profit boards, moderating town hall sessions, fundraising for political candidates, leadership development, and managing political campaigns. He is currently on the Advisory Board of Discovery High School Entrepreneurship and S.T.E.M Academies, and serves as Chief Strategist on the Executive Board of Community Action Network Initiatives (C.A.N.I). In 2012, Austin was elected widely by constituents in the 7th Congressional District of Georgia to the position of District Delegate, and in December 2014, appointed directly by Mayor Judy Jordan-Johnson of Lawrenceville, Georgia to serve on the Downtown Architectural Review Board, which reviews plans for economic revitalization and city planning projects for the City of Lawrenceville, and in addition, serves on the Development Advisory Board for the Board of Commissioners of Gwinnett County, appointed by District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque. Always one to serve, Austin recently completed his Declaration of Intent to campaign as a candidate for the Lawrenceville City Council – Post 1. He will contest with three opposing candidates in the November 5, 2019 election.
Austin is a graduate of DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of Management. He holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electronics Engineering, a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications Management, a Master of Project Management degree with honors, and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). He continues ongoing development in various key disciplines to strengthen his value proposition.
Opening Keynote Speaker
Rich Casanova began his broadcasting career in California's central valley at KSKS-FM. While in California he also ran a successful entertainment company whose staff and crew entertained over 100,000 people. After moving to Atlanta and selling his entertainment company, Casanova ventured into publishing as the Publisher and Franchise Owner of Coffee News, headquartered in Bangor, ME.
Later became the Founder and CCO, Chief Connection Officer, of an online platform where local business professionals register to receive a free list of the top 100 networking events in metro Atlanta.
With a name like Casanova and his gregarious personality, Rich was a natural as a music radio DJ. "I got the radio bug early in my career and often thought how great it would be if there was an opportunity to participate in a talk radio format with a pro-business perspective interviewing thought leaders from the local business community." Thus, was born the Pro Business Channel where Rich is the Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer.
Lunch Keynote Speaker
Ashley was appointed on February 21, 2018 by the White House to serve as Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration for Region IV; serving nine districts located in the 8 Southeastern States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Regional Administrator Bell has oversight of over $5 billion in SBA-backed lending, the Counseling arm of the SBA, which counseled over 225,000 entrepreneurs last year in Region IV, and the contracting programs for small business, which account for over 23% of all federal contracts awarded.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur himself from the young age of 22, Mr. Bell is committed to the SBA's mission to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Bell served as Associate Director for External Affairs for the U.S. Peace Corps and Special Assistant in the Public Affairs Bureau of the United States Department of State. During the Trump/Pence Transition, he served as Communications & Intergovernmental Affairs Lead on the Landing Team at the State Department.
Prior to the 2016 election, Ashley was a Senior Strategist at the Republican National Committee, and created and implemented a strategic initiatives communications plan and media buy to engage minority communities. Ashley was one of four national spokespeople for the RNC and was a key surrogate for the Trump Campaign. As National Director of African American Engagement for the RNC, he managed and provided strategic direction to 200+ RNC field employees and thousands of volunteers in all 50 states.
Ashley is the Founder of Generation Inspiration, whose mission is to teach life skills not taught in the classroom to at-risk students in his hometown of Gainesville, Georgia, and set them on a trajectory for success. Each summer, the new members of G.I. undertake an intense eight-week summer leadership program focused on black history, personal financial accountability, networking, drug abuse prevention, economic development, using social media for civic engagement and peer conflict resolution. At the end of the program, Ashley awards scholarships, which, over the past ten years have totaled over $500,000.
A former Hall County Commissioner elected at the young age of 27, Ashley was the youngest commissioner ever elected in the county, representing the 3rd fastest growing metropolitan area in America. A lawyer by trade, Ashley began his career as a public defender, and went on to become a celebrated trial attorney and co-founder of the law firm Bell & Washington LLP, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ashley has been called the most "unique" politico of his generation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as he holds the distinction of being the only person in over half a century to be elected as a delegate to both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Growing up in a neighborhood where many of his peers saw incarceration more than college, and having a deep understanding of the failings of America's criminal justice system, he has used his wide bipartisan network to be a tireless volunteer for justice for all Americans founding the 2020 Bi-partisan Justice Center. His efforts have been chronicled in the The Washington Post, The New 2 York Times, The Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, USA Today, The New Yorker, and AJC and he is a frequent commentator on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.
Ashley has been named a 2017 Georgia "Super Lawyer Rising Star", one of the 2016 "Top 40 Young Lawyers" by the American Bar Association, a 2016 "Lawyer on the Rise" by Georgia's leading legal journal, "The Daily Report," recognizing Georgia's top 25 lawyers under 40, the 2014 National IMPACT Leader of the Year (given to the nation's top young professional of color for excellence in business & civic engagement), one of Georgia Trend Magazine's Top Forty Under 40, a MAVERICK PAC Top 40 under 40, and a recipient of his local NAACP "Drum Major for Justice" award for his work fighting environmental racism as a county commissioner. Ashley has served with distinction as the youngest General Counsel & Special Counsel for the National Conference of Black Mayors, National Association of Black County Officials and National League of Cities - Black Caucus, in total serving over two-thirds of black elected officials across America. Ashley is a proud alumnus of the Congressional Black Caucus Internship program, first serving as an intern and later as an aid for Congressman Sanford Bishop of the 2nd District of Georgia.
Ashley is a graduate of Valdosta State University, where he was President of the Student Government Association and founded the school's chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. He obtained his law degree from Louisiana State University, which he attended on a full scholarship. He was a 21st Century Leadership Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and has an honorary doctorate in Intercultural & Urban Studies from Lighthouse College.
Ashley resides in Gainesville, Georgia with his wife, Lauren, and their three children.
Charles Schrauth - Workshop Facilitator
CEO of BSI Management Search & Consulting, LLC
Mr. Schrauth has owned and operated his own small business since 2002. He has also worked for small business as well as Fortune 500 Corporations. His entire career has been concentrated in the development and implementation of business strategies. He is currently owner and CEO of BSI Management Search & Consulting, LLC, a firm that assists companies to recruit, hire and retain engaged employees. He has earned a MBA degree from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He has also earned certifications in Personnel Consulting, Behavior Analyst, and Values Analyst.
David Shavzin - Workshop Facilitator
David advises business owners on growth and successful exit / succession planning. He is a consultant and coach with 25+ years of experience in exit planning, mergers & acquisitions, operations, and business process improvement.
Business owners start their companies to create their future. But they soon get so caught up in the day-to-day that they lose sight of the key to making that future happen - building value - and are unprepared when the time comes to put their transition into action.
David helps business owners grow their business today, getting the plan in place and staying focused on the process. This builds value, allowing them to make this important transition on their own terms. It allows them to become attractive to potential buyers. David helps businesses create the right advisory team, understand value, work in a focused manner to build value and plan for that eventual exit.
His early career included banking and financial roles, followed by a position on Freddie Mac's corporate planning team. David then spent 12 years with Aventis. This included four years in Europe in corporate finance and global mergers and acquisitions work. He was later appointed Vice President of Operations & Finance for a North American subsidiary, his last role before creating his consulting practice in 2000.
David is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Immediate Past President of the Institute of Management Consultants - Georgia Chapter. He speaks frequently on exit and succession planning. He has spoken to several chapters of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), several Rotary Clubs, at Vistage and more. David earned an MBA from George Washington University and a BA in International Relations and French from the University of Wisconsin. He is fluent in French, conversational in Spanish.
Claire A Smith, PhD - Workshop Facilitator
Spiritual Mentor and Coach
Claire A Smith, PhD, is a spiritual mentor and coach who empowers business leaders through her writing, speaking, mentoring, and coaching. She is passionate about helping people connect with their spiritual self to beat overwhelm and enjoy clarity in their business, increase their productivity, strengthen their relationships and decrease their stress. She has experienced and fought through firsthand the stress and overwhelm that comes with building a business. Through Dr. Claire's teaching and coaching, business leaders are experiencing needed change to work with greater effectiveness. Please visit her website at http://claireannsmith.com.
David Ryback - Workshop Facilitator
Author, Writer and Speaker
Dr. Ryback is the author of over 60 professional articles and innumerable book reviews in such publications as Psychology Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Creative Loafing, AHP Perspective, and Business to Business magazine among others.
Dr. Ryback has been a professor at the University of Maryland (Overseas Division), the University of West Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University. A former corporate consultant with Rohrer, Hibler & Replogle in Montreal, Canada, he has also done research and published on such topics as perception affected by mindset, emotional intelligence, interpersonal communication, scholastic achievement, and enlightened management.
Dr. Ryback has been a book critic for Business to Business magazine. He was on the editorial board of Georgia Psychologist. An article he wrote on productive thinking - Self-Determination and the Neurology of Mindfulness - in a national psychology journal has recently been published along with a chapter he wrote for an edited book on emotional awareness in the workplace. He has been a columnist for Speaker, the magazine of the National Speakers Association, with a distribution of over 5,000 to the most influential speakers across the globe.
He earned his B.Sc. with Honors at McGill University, his M.S. at San Diego State, and his Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998, 233 pages, $19.95, trade paper, with translations into German, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean) and co-author of Psychology of Champions (Praeger, 2008, 196 pages, $45, hardback).
Dr. David Ryback is a unique speaker with a unique message. Greater Success and Fulfillment at Work with Emotional Intelligence shows his audience how to face what is real in themselves and others and develop their deeper self, with the help of clearly understood take-home points. As a corporate psychologist and international consultant, he has the depth of experience for that message.
Dr. Sinclair Gray III – Workshop Facilitator
An inspirational speaker, motivator, author, organizer and "liberator of persons from all intellectual, social and cultural walks of life", Dr. Grey is a committed advocate for communal change. As a strong proponent of gathering the masses through grassroots efforts, Dr. Grey has dedicated much of his life to mobilizing and inspiring others to achieve their true potential. Dr. Grey is also the author of six books, Seeds of Freedom: Inspirational Messages for Ordinary People with Extraordinary Potential, God Held Back Your Night So That You Can Get It Right, It's In You: Motivational Messages That Will Help Uplift and Empower You, Positive Living Through Positive Affirmations, So, You Think You Want To Date? (Thoughts and Reflections on Wise, Skillful Dating), and The ABC's of Making Business Networking Work For You. Dr. Grey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, in 1991. After receiving his call to preach in 1997, Dr. Grey earned a Master of Divinity degree and graduated Cum Laude from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia, in 2002. In 2012, Dr. Grey was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Thomas Christian University in Jacksonville, Florida.
E. Nego Pile, Esq. - Workshop Facilitator
Owner, The Pile Law Firm
E. Nego Pile is an attorney with the Pile Law Firm, LLC practicing in the areas of elder law, estate planning and administration, guardianship, special needs planning, business law and real estate. He is currently licensed to practice law in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and will be expanding his law practice to include Georgia in 2018. Nego provides key assistance to new business ventures to ensure that all legal bases are covered, and that new businesses have the best possible chance for success. Nego is an active member of the Pennsylvania and Montgomery Bar Associations. He volunteers with the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project where he provides legal representation to children of Montgomery County who are victims of abuse and neglect. He also volunteers with the Montgomery Bar Association Civics Education Program, where he teaches civics
Garcia Glover - Workshop Facilitator
Garcia Glover is an entrepreneur and old-school seller (twenty-five years and counting) who has been involved in all kinds of sales activities - with the gray hair and scars to prove it. Oftentimes, during his plain-talk business seminars, he gladly shares stories about his hard-learned lessons.
But most of all, Garcia is a fun-loving, straightforward sales leader who sharpened his skills while working for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies such as AFLAC and W.W. Grainger. He has excelled as an Executive, Sales Trainer, Administrative Manager, Sales Manager, Key Account Executive, Territory Manager, and Coach (college baseball). And back in the day, he was an officer in the U.S. Army. Garcia credits his profound understanding of the intricate workings of the ever-changing business landscape for his past and future success.
Garcia is currently co-founder and managing partner at Axle Sales Partners, LLC, a national sales training company, headquartered in Cleveland, with sales offices in Atlanta and Dallas. Axle develops the capabilities of salespeople that help build consistent, high-performing sales teams. He is also a founding member of the Sales Enablement Society.
Marianette ReFour - Workshop Facilitator
Professional Etiquette Specialist
Marianette ReFour is an Emerging Business and Professional Etiquette Specialist who is a strong advocate of personal growth and lifelong success for all. Her passion ranges from servicing individuals to small businesses to companies and organizations regardless of background. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee, a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology, and a Doctorates Degree in Education with a Specialty in Counseling Psychology.
She has now worked for over 18 years as a Licensed Professional Counselor. In this profession she has serviced individuals of all ages and professions along with various diagnoses. Seeing a rise in anxiety and depression among clients seeking employment and those facing challenges with maintaining employment she began to seek out new treatments as she has always strived to assist individuals on a journey of choice to wholeness and living well. It was at this time that she discovered a need for a specific set of skills now referred to as soft skills which would allow individuals to reclaim their place in the work world.
With a desire to do more and play a more integral role in assisting individuals in the work world with acquiring these skills, she sought out workshops and trainings that focused on equipping individuals, building entrepreneurs, building job/intern seekers, business etiquette, professional networking, and businesses of all sizes along with studying the delivery of soft skills for use by all entities. With this new foundation she has emerged into servicing entrepreneurs, small to large businesses, interns, millennials, and all individuals (kindergarten through seniors) seeking a journey of wholeness and living well through job, career, professional, and occupational success!
Michel Valbrun - Workshop Facilitator
Certified Public Accountant
Michel Valbrun, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a seasoned award-winning Millennial Financial Expert, Writer, and Empowerment Speaker on a mission to help people pave the path to lasting financial success. Hailing from Miami, he desired to be his own boss early on. What truly inspired him to take action was when he first read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" in high school. From that point forward, he decided to harness his unwavering entrepreneurial spirit to ultimately attain financial freedom.
However, Michel's journey wasn't without hardship. After graduating college, he wound up with substantial debt (over $30,000). This may have discouraged him, but it ultimately pushed him to greater heights. He went on to pay off his debts and within two years improved his overall financial status. Michel grew passionate about personal finance and his passion became a calling, committing to providing financial empowerment to over 1 million millennials.
Today, Michel serves as Founder of Wealth Warriors and Unlock Your S.W.A.G. (Self-Awareness, Wisdom, Action, and Growth), two online communities dedicated to providing proven tips and strategies to living a fulfilling lifestyle - not only financially, but professionally and personally.
When he isn't creating monetary transformation in people's lives, you can find Michel Valbrun at personal development workshops, reading, and spending time with his wife. He is also an avid dancer, rapper, and writer with a knack for video production.
Nicole Mitchell - Workshop Facilitator
Nicole Mitchell is an experienced HR professional located in the Atlanta area. With 15+ years of experience in all functional aspects of Human Resources, Nicole is well versed in the industry. Prior to establishing HR Biz, her positions included Generalist to Director level roles in retail, state government, and the private sector. This diversity combined with hands on capabilities provide a unique ability to identify company needs and provide solutions. Throughout her career she continues to stay abreast of best practices, industry developments and business trends by attending local workshops, meetings, and national human resource conferences. Speaking engagements with non-profits. local businesses and volunteering are great opportunities to give back to her community.
Nicole has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Masters of Science in Management.
About HR Biz
HR Biz is a full-service source for small to medium-sized organizations. As companies concentrate their resources on their core business, they often look outward for expertise in
Our HR products and services are offered to provide companies with a custom solution to getting the right HR assistance when they need it. HR Biz enhances your company's process so you can recover your time to focus on the business at hand. Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive HR expertise through all our products and services.
Professional in Human Resources
Susan M. Anderson - Workshop Facilitator
Financial Strategist - Transamerica Financial Advisers, Inc.
Susan Anderson is a financial strategist with Transamerica Financial Advisers, Inc. Transamerica is a financial, a full-service, fully licensed, independent Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA, SIPC. She is licensed in the states of Georgia and Florida. She attended the University of Miami and the New York Institute of Finance.
Ms. Anderson also has over ten years’ experience in the financial services industry and has worked for the following brokerage organizations: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and EF Hutton & Co. Prior to joining Transamerica, she was in the field of law for over 25 years.
Ms. Anderson has experience in public speaking and has published multiple articles. She has earned various accolades and achievements over the years.
Tamay Shannon - Workshop Facilitator
Where 2 Start Marketing
W2S Marketing, Where 2 Start Marketing, was created especially to serve small businesses. If it is offering specialized training, social media execution, or strategic planning. Tamay Shannon takes the overwhelm out of social media for small businesses. She's been in business for over 8 years helping small businesses get the brand exposure they deserve without the hassle. She's always up for a rousing discussion on social media and can be found at @where2start
Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly - Workshop Facilitator
Founder and President of the Caribbean and American Global Business Connections
Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly, A Native of Guyana, South America, is the Founder and President of the Caribbean and American Global Business Connections, (CACGLOBAL), a business networking platform, bridging the gap Internationally in Atlanta, Georgia in 2011. Sebrena is a keynote speaker and received recognition as one of the Top 25 Women to do business with in Atlanta by Rolling Out Magazine (Atlanta prominent Publication). She Received the Trailblazer award by People You Need to Know Magazine. This Global tv & Radio hostess & Producer, global ambassador, motivational Speaker, Actress and Business Coach & global Real Estate Investor. She is a Master networker &Mentor and has Leadership platforms in over 40 countries with Several Franchise Partners in the Network Marketing Industry in the Travel and Tourism Arena. She is the First Ambassador to implement the Dinning Local Global Partnership Program for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry in Atlanta & NYC with her Global Company travel&tourism business( cabcglobal travel). Sebrena has over 6 years of experience as a network marketer, leader and mentor & trainer. She has spoken regulary globally and her technique that led to her success. Her stumbling on her talent and the KEY to leverage. Her passion for showing her audience of embracing any concept and mastering company internal model has given her countless opportunities with speaking engagement on the Network marketing Subject Matter. Her unique demonstration of showing her audience the key to Building network as given the success she currently as acquired in the US and Abroad. Personal Development as she notes is VITAL, or the process and acquiring success in this field won't be accomplished. "You have to become someone you are NOT". Sebrena, has been featured in Countless Publications such as: Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, People You Need To Know Magazine Presented her the Woman of the year Trailblazer Award. In 2018, The Voyage Atlanta Magazine featured Mrs. Kelly highlighting her Contributions to the City of Atlanta in entrepreneurship and Media. The Women Empowerment Network presented Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly with the Diamond of the Year Award in 2013 for her commitment to Empowering and Inspiring Global Communities. She was presented with the Called To Succeed Award from her Global Company in 2016 for her commitment in LEADERSHIP. In 2018 The Christian Women & Men Acts Of Faith Ministries for her dedicated services to the global communities by touching lived one at a Time. Resolution No. 1699 was presented to Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly, by the US House of Representative in the state of Georgia for her Global efforts serving communities. The RICE AWARDS nominated Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly as the first Person of Caribbean Descent in the Business Person of the Year for 2018. Passionate about enriching the Lives of many, Sebrena will be one of the Influential Voices as part of the Diaspora Engagement platform to Guyana. Sebrena Mission in Life: I am not where I aspire to be YET, thus constant GROWTH is a task. I want to impact many and afford a life they DREAM of, ( they are entitled) to generational Wealth and to life a life of fulfillment. A legacy must be created and documented. In 2019, Sebrena Sumrah-Kelly, will Be launching her Global Women Platform for Women who are Unsung Voices of the World. She reminds her audience to remember their entrepreneurial gifts and SERVE the VOICELESS. For more information, sebrenaSpeaks@gmail.com, (678) 571-2621, www.cabcglobal.net, Ig( @sebrenaSpeaks), FB (sebrena sumrah-Kelly, sebrenaSpeaks)
Will Nobles - Workshop Facilitator
Founder and CEO of Vector Choice Technologies
Will Nobles founded Vector Choice Technology Solutions Corporation in 2008. He holds two degrees in Technology with multiple certifications in the technology industry. He has over 20 years working experience in the Technology field. He has worked for a range of companies from large fortune 500 companies to small firms. Will lives in Lawrenceville, GA with his wife and three children. When not checking out the latest technology toys he enjoys playing softball and spending time with his children. Will is also an active member of his Church and the Convene Group.
Jonathan Sparks - Workshop Facilitator
Founder of Sparks Law
Jonathan Sparks is the Founder of Sparks Law. He works as an in-house counsel for small to medium sized businesses. His bi-monthly blog deals specifically with legal issues that Georgia businesses face. Before forming Sparks Law, Jonathan worked at the United States Department of Justice, the United States Senate Office, the Attorney General’s office for the District of Columbia, and as an attorney at King & Spalding here in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, where he excelled at Corporate and Business law, Torts, Litigation, and Securities law. His areas of practice are Business and Corporate, Business formation, Trademark, Copyright, and Internet Law.
Rep. Valencia Stovall
Executive Board Member for the Atlanta Council of PTA’s
Rep. Valencia Stovall is proud native of Southeast Atlanta and has a passion for economic development and education reform. She was first elected in 2012 and has a strong diverse background in finance, retail operations, business development, and now public policy. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the House Education Sub-committee on Early Learning & K-12, Commissioner on Georgia Literacy Commission, Commissioner on Georgia Education Reform Commission and Georgia Council For The Arts, member of 5 House committees including, Education, Vice-Chair Medical Cannabis Working Group, Small Business Development, Economic Development & Tourism, and Interstate Cooperation. In the community she is the Treasurer of Clayton State Univ. Dean of Arts & Science Advisory Committee, member of PTSAs & PTO, former member of Georgia Quality Rated Advisory Committee and Clayton County Public Schools CTAE Advisory Committee and is a 2015 Henry Toll Fellow.
Rep. Stovall was also recognized in 2016 by the National Council of State Legislatures as a Woman in Politics Making A Difference. She was appointed in 2017 by House Speaker David Ralston to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Education Committee which is the greatest national appointment of her public service career. She is the only House Democrat appointed to Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a Leadership Academy. She was selected as Chair of House Education Special Sub-committee on School Redesign which traveled around the state to engage stakeholders on their views on what changes are needed.
As a legislator, she has recognized persons of influence for their philanthropy such as: Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (2015), Chris & Kyle Massey (2016). She made history by hosting the first Men & Women in Radio Day at the Capitol (2015), Women In Radio Day at the Capitol (2016, 2017), Cambodian Heritage Day at the Capitol (2015), and Educate Georgia Summit (2016, 2017). Governor Deal signed into law her first general bill as a 2nd term legislator, HB 614, ‘The Landon Dunson Act” which allows video cameras to be placed in the self-contained classrooms of special needs students.
As the Chief Financial Officer of a retail experience and operations firm, she oversaw finance, operations, and human resources for thousands of employees for projects including the logistical and retail operations of the 1996 Olympic Games, retail operations for two Superbowls, Georgia Dome retail development and management for events including NFL Atlanta Falcons, SEC Championship Games, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Atlanta Hawks, Motorsport Events, The Rolling Stones, and U2, The University of Georgia Stanford Stadium retail development and management, Coca Cola/Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, and promotional printing locations throughout Metro Atlanta.
Rep. Stovall’s philanthropic work included serving as the former Board Chair of a Special State Charter School grades K-5th which she restructured the organization through strategic planning, lead real estate acquisition and development, directed financial and legal negotiations, implemented growth capital programs, ensured personnel restructuring and development, re-engineered business processes, instilled urgency for financial discipline, and capitalized on growth opportunities with local community partners. She also served on the Advisory Council for a 6th-8th grade state commissioned charter school.
She also served as the Executive Board Member for the Atlanta Council of PTA’s in which she oversaw the executive financial operation and development for 90 schools. For two years she served as the co-founder of the Morrow Community Fall Festival which drew over 5,000 attendees to this unity in the community event. She is the proud mother of Lovett and Kristy and an alumni of Southside Comprehensive High School now Maynard Jackson High School, Fort Valley State University, and Georgia State University. Rep. Stovall is proud to serve in the Georgia General Assembly and welcomes the opportunity to speak at upcoming events. She is working to ensure that House District 74, Metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia become thriving economic regions and amazing places to live.
Saurel J. Quettan - Workshop Facilitator
Co-Founder and President of QM3 Utility Services, Inc.
Saurel J. Quettan is a co-founder and President of QM3 Utility Services, Inc. (QM3). Under his leadership, QM3 has developed and deployed processes and systems, and managed millions of field assets for utilities across the southeast. QM3 has over 50 employees and currently serves the states of Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Mr. Quettan also serves as the President of the Georgia Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (GAHCCI). In that capacity, Mr. Quettan is committed to empowering the Haitian-American community one business at a time. GAHCCI is a world-class organization consisting of companies, alliances, and remarkable professionals joined together to build, promote, and strengthen the Haitian communities within the Atlanta metro area, the great state of Georgia, and the Republic of Haiti. Mr. Quettan is keen to create and to develop strong partnerships with other bi-national local chambers and business communities at large, while ensuring future prosperity through global advocacy for: 1) socioeconomic development; 2) investments; and 3) trade between the Republic of Haiti and the southeast of the United States.
Since 2009, Mr. Quettan has also served on the board of directors of Haiti Outreach (HO). Headquartered in Pignon, Haiti, HO is home to 46 Haitian men and women. The organization has raised over US$12 million since 1997 to work with and empower the people of Haiti by creating sustainable clean water and sanitation projects with the sole purpose of improving their lives on a long-term basis. Driven by the vision that Haiti is a developed nation, Mr. Quettan enjoys and thrives on the development and delivery of leadership programs designed to move the people of Haiti to advance Haiti. He’s traveled to Haiti and trained/developed more than 1,200 Haitian citizens since 2009. Program participants are equipped to lead their communities, while being fully committed to transforming Haiti. Moreover, they assume responsibility for their lives, their communities, their organizations, and their country. Mr. Quettan earned a MBA from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida UF). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). Mr. Quettan has been married to his best friend and major business partner and collaborator, Mrs. Susan M. Quettan, for more than 30 years. They are the proud parents of Marlon, Marcus, Marcel and Tinica. They are also the proud grand-parents of Marion, Madison and Sky. They’ve been calling Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., home for more than twenty
Stephaney Bolden - Panelist
Senior Business Development Officer with LiftFund
For over 20 years, Stephaney Bolden has been working to help individuals develop the skills necessary to become their own boss. She has utilized the skills she acquired in administration, project management and supervision to advance in her field of business development. Since 2005, she has focused on lending to small business owners who are not able to obtain financing through the traditional banking avenues. As a senior business development officer with LiftFund, she has presented the organization’s mission to groups of hundred on panels, round tables and in one on one settings. She has guided business owners through the process of formulating, registering and documenting transactions in their business. She has managed a portfolio of over $100,000 per month while being a support and mentor to numerous entrepreneurs throughout the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia. Presently, she is tasked with developing the Georgia market through establishment of partnerships, networking, sales presentations and training of business owners.
McKenzie Wren - Workshop Facilitator
McKenzie Wren, MPH, is a skilled facilitator who believes in the power of community to create its own answers. As a change maker specializing in culture, she has an expansive portfolio of work helping her clients access their wisdom to catapult their growth and the growth of their organizations. She helps businesses, schools and non-profits create culture on purpose: intentional culture that supports collaboration, inclusion and success. She has worked in and with many non-profits and served as Executive Director of the Clarkston Community Center for six years. McKenzie often incorporates storytelling, theater techniques and the visual arts into her work. McKenzie is committed to authentic inclusion, social justice and racial equity and she brings this to all aspects of her practice. McKenzie earned her master’s degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health where she currently teaches students on leadership and community engagement. She is VP of Membership of the Southeast Association of Facilitators and VP of Education for National Association of Women Business Owners.
Andy Morgan - Workshop Facilitator
Principal and Founding Attorney
Andy Morgan is the principal and founding attorney of the Morgan Law Group, which is a law firm based in Lawrenceville, Georgia that provides business law, real estate and trust and estate advice and representation. Andy has practiced business law for over 20 years. He is a member of the Georgia and New York State Bars. Andy began his law career as an associate at a prominent New York based law firm where he practiced in the areas of initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, proxy fights, private placements and joint ventures. He then served as general counsel to a privately owned oil company, where he was a member of the executive team that ultimately arranged the sale of the business to a major US oil company. Andy has served as an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau in New York City and as an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is a federal agency that regulates broker dealer activities. Andy also served for over eight years in the military as a soldier in the ordinance branch of the United States Army Reserve. Andy is an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber, where he has served on the Board. He is also actively engaged in the community, serving on the Board of Gwinnett County Habitat for Humanity, as an Area Manager for the Gwinnett County Board of Elections and as a Volunteer Attorney on occasion for the Gwinnett Legal Aid Society. Andy received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union School of Engineering in New York and a law degree from The New York University School of Law. He is also a graduate of the Empire State Military Academy and Leadership Gwinnett.
Jeffrey L. Patterson - Panelist
Chief Credit and Operations Officer
Jeff brings over 30 years banking experience to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Prior to joining SBA, he served as Director for Georgia State University’s SBDC. Jeff has been Chief Credit and Operations Officer and has worked in larger bank and startup environments. He previously served as Bank President and Board member. His expertise includes financial analysis, loan proposal and business plan preparation, cash flow management, and customer satisfaction. He maintains his brokerage and financial planning licenses as well as his Commercial Lending Diploma. Jeff is also a Certified Expot & Trade Counselor. He earned his BA, Business Management, North Georgia College & State University and an MBA, Brenau University
Tamahn Jamison - Workshop Facilitator
opportUNITY Development, LLC was launched by Tamahn Jamison in 2016. A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Tamahn's strong work ethic began at the age of 11 when he started delivering newspapers. While his friends were playing games or chasing their dreams of becoming professional athletes, he understood the importance of work before play. After graduating from high school and watching the honor students walk across the stage, he promised his father that he would apply himself in college and graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA. The same focus that he possessed as an 11-year old paperboy carried him through fulfilling that promise. Along with earning a B.S. in Business Administration from Old Dominion University with a 3.17 GPA, he pushed himself to do so in four years - although many classmates needed 5+ years to do so - while simultaneously working a full-time job.
Prior to founding opportUNITY Development, LLC, Tamahn spent 20 years in sales and management for a handful of automotive entrepreneurs. It was during this time that he strengthened his skills of helping others achieve their personal and professional goals. In addition to training and developing the talent within the various organizations, he also became a personal mentor to dozens of those that worked with him over the years.
Tamahn is married to his loving wife Jaime, who is a musician, and has a daughter attending Norfolk State University. He has been a "Big" in the Atlanta Big Brothers Big Sisters program since 2014. Tamahn serves on the Board of Directors for the South Fulton Economic Empowerment Foundation (SFEEF) and as Chief Financial Officer on his homeowner's association (HOA) Board of Directors. You can often find Tamahn in attendance at City Council meetings or networking at business events. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing pool or reading a good book. Rep. Stovall is proud to serve in the Georgia General Assembly and welcomes the opportunity to speak at upcoming events. She is working to ensure that House District 74, Metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia become thriving economic regions and amazing places to live.
Stephanie Sokenis - Workshop Facilitator
Founder of SmallBiz Ally
As an Accredited Small Business Consultant, and founder of SmallBiz Ally, Stephanie Sokenis has a passion for providing entrepreneurs, and small business owners, the tools they need to properly start, to grow, and ultimately succeed.
Stephanie’s professional background includes 15 years of Chamber of Commerce experience, between her time on Long Island, NY, and the past seven in Gwinnett County, Georgia where she developed and drove regional initiatives for small business resources and conducted hundreds of one-on-one small business consultations. Stephanie also owned and operated her own small business services company assisting entrepreneurs navigate business ownership which she inevitably made her only focus.
Stephanie’s twenty plus years serving on various nonprofit boards have earned her commendations at the local, state and federal levels. Experience, coupled with her degree in business communications and being a graduate of the 2017 class of Leadership Gwinnett, has given her a valuable perspective of the growing and changing needs of entrepreneurs across many industries, at all stages of business. She, and her husband of 24 years, Joe, reside in Buford with their son, Michael, a Sophomore in Georgia Gwinnett College.