Board of Directors
The Honorable Ambassador Andrew Young
Andrew Young has always viewed his career through the lens of his first career— that of an ordained minister. His work for civil and human rights, his many years in public office as a U.S. Congressman, United Nations Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, his leadership of the Atlanta Olympic Games, his advocacy of investment in Africa through GoodWorks International, and the establishment of the Andrew J. Young Foundation are all in response to his call to serve.
Ambassador Young brings a unique perspective, honed by his wealth of experience in national and global leadership, to his focus on this era’s challenges. He confronted segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and galvanized a movement that transformed a nation through nonviolence. Young was a key strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham and Selma that resulted in the passage Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1972, the first African-American elected from the Deep South since Reconstruction. He served on the Banking and Urban Affairs and Rules Committees, sponsoring legislation that established a U.S. Institute for Peace, The African Development Bank and the Chattahoochee River National Park, while negotiating federal funds for MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), the Atlanta highway system and a new international airport for Atlanta. His support helped Jimmy Carter win the Democratic Party nomination and aided Mr. Carter’s subsequent election to the Presidency. In 1977, President Carter appointed Andy Young to serve as the nation’s first African-American Ambassador to the United Nations, where he negotiated an end to white-minority rule in Namibia and Zimbabwe and brought President Carter’s emphasis on human rights to international diplomacy.
Ambassador Young’s leadership as Mayor of Atlanta occurred during a recession and a reduction in federal funds for cities. He turned to international markets for investments in Atlanta, attracting 1,100 new businesses, $70 billion in investment, and adding 1 million jobs to the region. He developed public-private partnerships to leverage public dollars for the preservation of Zoo Atlanta. Ambassador Young led the effort to bring the Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta. As Co- Chair of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, he oversaw the largest Olympic Games in history in terms of numbers of participating countries, competing athletes and the number of spectators. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement. Ambassador Young retired from GoodWorks International, LLC, in 2012 after well over a decade of facilitating sustainable economic development in the business sectors of the Caribbean and Africa. Ambassador Young has received honorary degrees from more than 100 universities and colleges in the U.S. and abroad. President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and France awarded him the Legion d’Honneur, each presenting the highest civilian honor for that particular nation. He recently received an Emmy Lifetime Achievement award, and in 2011, his portrait became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. President Bill Clinton appointed him founding chair of the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund. He serves on a number of boards, including: the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Barrick Gold, the United Nations Foundation, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Andrew Young School for Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and Morehouse College. Andrew Young Presents, the Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated series of specials produced by Ambassador Young through the Andrew J. Young Foundation, Inc. is seen in nearly 100 American markets and worldwide through the American Forces Network. The Andrew Young Foundation documents, preserves and interprets Ambassador Young’s legacy of servant leadership in ending racism, war and poverty for current and future leaders.
Rodney Mims Cook, Jr.
Rodney Mims Cook, Jr. is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, Virginia. At the age of 14, he initiated the campaign to successfully save the 5000+ seat Fox Theatre for which he was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation Prize in 1973. In 1974 Cook was a White House intern. In 1982, he established Rodney M. Cook Interests, a design/development company. In 1987, he established PolitesCook Architects, which designed the Newington Cropsey Museum, NY. He is a Founding Trustee of The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Architecture and built the Princes' Olympic Games Monument in Atlanta. Cook is currently orchestrating the design competition for the John and John Quincy Adams Memorial in Washington, D.C. Cook is the founder and president of the National Monuments Foundation, owner of the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta. He is a scholar of the American Academy in Rome. He has lectured at the University of Georgia, University of Virginia, University of Tennessee, Washington and Lee University, The Scott Room at the United States Senate, The Forbes yacht, Highlander, various waters, Hearst Castle, the Kremlin Armory, Tolstoy estate Yasnaya Polyana, Open Society Institute, Soros Foundation, Moscow, National Building Museum, Washington DC, and the Russian Embassy, Washington. Mr. Cook's work has been published in Architectural Digest, Time Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times of London, Pravda, Izvestia, The New Yorker, The Weekly Standard, Forbes and USA Today.
Asa G. Candler VI
Adviser to the Board
Asa Griggs Candler VI is a seventh generation Atlantan and a friend of Rodney Cook Sr. Park since its inception. A member of the founding family of Coca-Cola, Mr. Candler's career has taken him into the commercial real estate world. He is also a pilot and flies single pilot jets. He has supported the National Monuments Foundation's Millennium Candler Peace and Justice Prizes, established by his cousin, Matthew Middelthon. He suggested the NMF alternate giving the prizes between Atlanta and Copenhagen, which has become a notable new tradition within our foundation. The subsequent interest in Atlanta by the Nobel Peace Laureate Secretariat has compelled Mr. Candler to move about the world as an ambassador not only to the foundation but to the City of Atlanta. He is a world-class golfer and enjoys playing on courses all around the world.
Merle DuBois is a longtime resident of Vine City. She is the widow of founding board member Shaheed DuBois and has been engaged in the civic life of the Vine City community for many years. They both have worked tirelessly for the success of Mims Park and its original Olmsted design. Shaheed and Merle went door to door throughout the community to sell the park very early in its conceptual stage.
Merle is now serving that role in his place. They are descendants of the notable American scholar W.E.B. DuBois whose philosophy of the African American engaging in white society were at odds with those of fellow scholar Booker T. Washington.
Reverend Don Harp
Dr. Harp served in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church for more than 40 years. His congregation experienced tremendous growth during his years as senior minister at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, which now has more than 7,000 members. Harp is pastor/theologian-in-residence and teaches in the contextual education program at Candler School of Theology at Emory. His esteemed teaching ability in Candler’s Contextual Education program earned him a Theology Centennial medal in 2014.
Harp also serves as a special adviser to the dean in development, community, and church relations. Additionally, Reverend Harp has served on the City council of Carrollton, Georgia, Mayor Bill Campbell’s Atlanta Advisory committee, and the Advisory Council of Oglethorpe University to the president. Don currently sits on the boards of Fidelity Bank, the Georgia YMCA, and the Winship Cancer Institute. He maintains his membership in the Buckhead Coalition and is a trustee of Young Harris College in northern Georgia.
Mr. J. Rawson Haverty, Jr. has been Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Development at Haverty Furniture Companies Inc. since 1998. Haverty served as Vice President of Real Estate and Insurance Divisions at Haverty Furniture Companies Inc. from 1992 to 1998 and its Assistant Vice President from 1987 to 1992. Haverty has over 20 years of experience with Haverty Furniture which he joined in 1984 and has been its Director since 1992.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the High Museum of Art, the Center for Ethics of Emory University and a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Children's Center and is a co-founder of the experimental village of Serenbe. Serenbe is a zoning protected wellness community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta. A neighborhood full of fresh food, fresh air and focused on well-being. This community is set among acres of preserved forests and meadows with miles of nature trails that connect homes and restaurants with arts and businesses. Serenbe’s architectural planning sets a new standard for community living.
Robert E. (Bob) Hope, president and co-founder of Hope-Beckham in Atlanta, is a 40-year veteran of the public relations and event marketing industry and one of the most experienced public relations counselors in the country. Hope’s extensive background includes a wide variety of experience. He was the public relations director of the Atlanta Braves when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. When Ted Turner purchased the Braves, he became vice president of both the Braves and the Atlanta Hawks teams, while also handling Ted Turner’s personal publicity.Hope left the Turner organization for a stint at The Coca-Cola Company, and later as executive vice president in the New York headquarters of global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Hope is known for his creative communications solutions for high profile products, companies and individuals. In addition to Ted Turner, his clients have included top corporate leaders like Wayne Huizenga, Fred Smith, Roberto Goizueta, and Charlie Loudermilk, as well as top companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Turner Broadcasting, Federal Express, General Electric and others. Hope is active in the Atlanta community. He is a director of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Covenant House, the National Monument Foundation, the Atlanta Sports Council and the Rotary Club of Atlanta. He is a member of the Committee of 100 at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He is a Rotary district director and was selected District Rotarian of the Year for 2012. He is a founder and vice chairman of HAVE Foundation. He leads a group each year to rural Honduras to build and support schools in the Agalta Valley. He is on the board of councilors for the Carter Center, and has represented the Carter Center twice as an international election observer in Nepal. He is a member of the board of ambassadors for the Atlanta Hawks. He was formerly on the boards of the Atlanta Braves and Ottawa Senators.
Bishop Dexter Johnson
Dexter L. Johnson is a native of Atlanta. He is the Pastor of Higher Ground Empowerment Center formally known as Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, an inner city ministry. He is the proud parent of three wonderful children, Dexter II, Demario, and Danielle. He is also the CEO and founder of The Oasis of Vine City, a “one stop shop” resource center. The Oasis of Vine City was designed to empower the people in the Vine City community and surrounding areas. Pastor Johnson has ventured in many endeavors while working in the Vine City neighborhood, and has brought forth many positive changes and accomplishments. Pastor Johnson has pursued studies at Towns Elementary School, C. L. Harper High School, Morehouse College, and Carver Bible College. He recently received his honorary doctorate from ABG Theological Seminary in 2008. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 – 1988. Pastor Johnson currently holds office as Chairman of the Vine City Civic Association, CEO of The Oasis of Vine City Resource Center, Board of Directors of the Vine City Health and Housing Ministry, member of the Concerned Black Clergy and serves as Atlanta Metropolitan District Overseer of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International.
Diane Makeda Johnson is an accomplished community advocate for the promotion of healthy livable communities. She has served seven terms as the chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit-L, Two terms as PTA President of Centennial Elementary School and currently is serving her second term as a member of Fulton County Community Development Block Grant Citizen Review Panel. Makeda is a visionary and motivational leader with excellent communication and training skills; with a deeply rooted passion for the development of human capacity.
Makeda is the founder and Project Manager of Sister’s Action Team Inc.(SAT), a grassroots, community- based organization that empowers women from their own communities to become proactive change agents for themselves, families, and community. She is a 2012 graduate of the Atlanta Center for Non Profits High Potential Diversity Leaders Program and 2013 graduate of Atlanta University Consortium Community Leadership Certification Program. She has received numerous awards for her service among them Georgia State Department of Human Resources Live Healthy Georgia BARR award , Fulton County Department Of Health & Wellness, and BET/CDC Community Based Organization Award for effective community outreach efforts and improving the health and quality of life for African American Women.
Honorary Board Member
Kumar was senior Project Manager at the world’s largest railroad organization. He oversaw and managed construction of a $150 million maintenance facility and constituted a new system of manpower requirement for the facility. He has substantial work experience in delivering time based 24×7 quality output and leading cross functional teams. A trained mechanical engineer with Master’s in Economics and M.S. in Mathematical Risk Management, he has valuable experience in managing technical and operational aspects of rolling stock assets with impetus on human resource management and staff welfare. He excels in management of a large workforce in industrial settings, dealing with unions and negotiations. A graduate of LEAD Atlanta class of 2013, advisor to Ambassador Andrew Young, he is Director of Special Projects for the Andrew Young Foundation
Robert C. (Robin) Loudermilk, Jr., is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Loudermilk Companies, LLC. An asset based real estate management company based in Atlanta, Georgia, a post he has held since December of 2011 and a Partner in Loudermilk Bell.
Loudermilk Bell, LLC (“LB”) was formed in 2007 as a real estate joint venture between Robin Loudermilk, President of the Loudermilk Companies, and Dwight Bell, President of Cannon Equities. Prior to The Loudermilk Companies, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Aarons Inc. (NYSE AAN) from 2008 through November 2011 and President and Chief Operating Officer from 1997 through 2008. Mr. Loudermilk joined Aaron’s in 1985 as an assistant store manager and held various positions: a Director since 1992, Regional Vice President, Vice President Manufacturing, Vice President Rent-to-Rent Division, Vice president Real Estate & Construction, Store Manager and Vice president Office Furniture Division. Additionally, he was Vice President of Ball Stalker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aarons. Prior to his career with Aarons, Inc., he worked for Caldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services, and subsequently Stratton Construction Inc.
Mr. Loudermilk currently serves as investor and business advisor to State Traditions, LLC and is a Principal at Main Street Parking. He founded The Public Safety organization The Buckhead Alliance and currently serves on the boards of Genuine Parts Company (NYSE GPC), The Atlanta Police Foundation and the Buckhead Community Improvement District. Mr. Loudermilk is a member of the Buckhead Coalition, the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club, and is a former member of the Young Presidents Organization.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Robin graduated from the Lovett School in 1978, where he now serves as a trustee. He attended the University of Alabama and graduated in 1982 with an undergraduate degree in General Business Administration.
A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Mohamed was the second round pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2009 NFL draft where he recorded two 100-yard receiving games his rookie year, the first Browns rookie to have two or more such games in a season since Kevin Johnson in 1999. Before joining the NFL, Mohamed earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology taking only 3.5 years from the University of Georgia where he was named the 2008 team captain, selected as a first-team All-Southeastern Conference and Academic All-SEC member, and received the team's Leon Farmer Award for his dedication to the strength and conditioning program and academics.
Mohamed attended Independence High School helping his team win 77 consecutive games and capture four consecutive North Carolina state 4A championships while setting the North Carolina state prep records for career receiving yards (4,851) in a season (2004), touchdown catches in a career (76), and touchdown catches in a season (32 as a senior).
Since retiring from the NFL, Mohamed has worked as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. In Spring 2017, while riding ATVs with friends, Mohamed was involved in an accident that resulted in the amputation of most of his left hand. Most recently following the accident, Mohamed is an entrepreneur and a speaker focusing on finding opportunities in adversity, maximizing the present, and athletes in business. Mohamed is a member of the 2018 UGA 40 under 40 class. He has studied at the Harvard Business School, completing their Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports program led by Anita Elberse. He will begin Harvard’s Program for Leadership Development, which functions as their alternative eMBA, in fall 2018.
O’Brien is currently a General Partner with Valor Ventures. She is the former CFO and Director of Ops for the Dental System Group, a $500 million dollar division of Carestream Health which serves businesses in 130 countries and employs 1500 people. With revenues of more than $2.5 billion, Carestream is a leading provider of dental and medical imaging systems and healthcare IT solutions. The company was formed in 2007 when Onex Corporation purchased Eastman Kodak Company’s Health Group. O’Brien has a proven track record of success in managing company P&L, tracking company performance and adjusting corporate strategies. She has collaborated in numerous transformation programs, participating in their design, development, management, and execution. She is known for consistently maintaining a high degree of shareholder confidence and retention by driving revenue and delivering results with directed focus on ROI.
O’Brien began her career in 1995 with GE where she was rapidly promoted to positions in Six Sigma Quality, Merger and Acquisitions and Corporate Finance. She is a graduate of GE’s premier training program in Financial Management. O’Brien holds a BSBA in Finance from UF. She earned her MBA from Emory in 2003. A leader in her community, O’Brien is the founder of The Executive Women of Goizueta, and currently serves on the Goizueta Alumni Board. She is a graduate of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2009. In 2008, she was named to the Board of Director’s Executive Leadership Honor Roll. Most notably, she is the recipient of Goizueta Business School’s 2006 Alumni of the Year Award and was profiled by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as an Up and Comer, one of Atlanta’s most promising younger leaders under 40. She is the Advisory Board Chair for Crime Stoppers, the very important arm of the Atlanta Police Foundation for which she has raised millions of dollars. She also serves on the Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta Board and the Association of Corporate Growth Board.
Milo D Pinckney is a proven entrepreneur with a diverse experiential history. His professional skill sets have been successfully applied to a broad variety of business enterprises. He has served in numerous senior leadership roles: President Hinsdale Medical Management, COO American University of Integrative Sciences, Sint Maarten School of Medicine, Netherlands Antilles, CFO Xavier University School of Medicine Aruba, CEO Greater Medical Center Atlanta, CFO Graduate Medical Consultants and currently serves as the CEO/President of the Yellow Llama companies. He sits on the board of directors of multiple companies including, TSC Direct Insurance, Drivers Insurance Company, The World Crafts Council of North America and the Brightring Foundation.
Mr. Pinckney has enjoyed an eclectic mix of cultural, business and life experiences that have contributed to his extensive history as a manager and motivator of people. He is a Coast Guard certified Blue water captain who has been a winning competitive sailor in the MORC/SORC yachting circuits. He is a passionately active instrument rated pilot.
Milo Pinckney is an articulate speaker and dynamic motivator of people. His extensive business experience has made him a frequently sought consultant and business commentator on radio and TV media. He can be heard Tuesday afternoon and evenings on Sirius/XM Power 128 on the Armstrong Williams show and on livestream “the Rightside Wire”
Judge Christopher Portis
Christopher Portis a native of Atlanta, Georgia, graduated with honors from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2003. Attorney Portis earned his Juris Doctor in 2006 from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. While in law school, Attorney Portis served as the Student Advocate on the Honor Council and as an associate member on the Alternative Dispute and Resolution Board. Attorney Portis interned at the Fulton County State Court for two years in the chambers of Chief Judge A. L. Thompson.
Attorney Portis also served as interim staff attorney for Judge Myra Dixon of the Fulton County State Court. Attorney Portis remains active in the community through the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and in 2005 served as Deputy Campaign Finance Manager for Lisa M. Borders, Atlanta City Council President. Attorney Portis is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and he practices in the General Litigation, Business and Estate Planning Groups. In October 2008, Attorney Portis was appointed as a Fulton County Magistrate Judge.
Dean Jaqueline Royster
Jacqueline Royster is the dean of Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. She holds the Ivan Allen Jr. Dean’s Chair in Liberal Arts and Technology, and is professor of English in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication.
A graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Royster earned an M.A. and D.A. in English from the University of Michigan. Her research centers on rhetorical studies, literacy studies, and women’s studies, areas in which she has authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters.
She is the author of three books: Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1997), Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change among African American Women (2000), and Profiles of Ohio Women, 1803-2003 (2003). She co-authored Feminist Rhetorical Studies: New Horizons in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies (2012).
She co-edited Double-Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters (1991) and Calling Cards: Theory and Practice in the Study of Race, Gender, and Culture (2005) and edited a textbook for college writing courses, Critical Inquiries (2003).
She was consulting writer for Writer’s Choice, a textbook series for grades 6-8, and co-edited Reader’s Choice, a series for grades 9-12, both published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.
Prior to joining Georgia Tech in 2010, Royster served as Senior Vice Provost and Executive Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences for The Ohio State University (OSU).
A lifelong Atlantan, Seydel is a partner in the law firm of Davis, Pickren & Seydel and is active in the firm's fast growing real estate, franchising and business transactions practices. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the Mercer University School of Law, Seydel is a director and vice-chairman of The Conservation Fund, co-founder and CEO of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund, Inc. and is a member of the board of directors of the Southern Environmental Law Center and Turner Environmental
Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law, as well as an Advisory Board member of the National Parks and Conservation Association.
Seydel was a key component for the distribution of the Ted Turner $1,000,000,000 gift to the United Nations, one of the largest philanthropic gifts in history. Seydel has been a season ticket-holder of the Hawks for almost 20 years. He and his wife, Laura, have three children, John, Laura Elizabeth and Vasser.
Honorary Board Member and Strategic Adviser to the Co-Chairmen
Jabari Simama is a retired educator and public official. Simama served as President of Georgia Piedmont Technical College for 6 years. He also served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Development and Chief of Staff in DeKalb County government from 2009 to 2012. Dr. Simama earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University; his Master’s from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in African American Studies, and his Bachelor’s from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut in Secondary Education with specialization in English.
Simama served as Atlanta City Councilman under Mayor Andrew Young, Communication Director in the administration of Mayor Bill Campbell, and a top official in the administration of Shirley Franklin. He was instrumental in the South Carolina Technical College System’s winning a $3 million broadband grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dr. Simama served as an appointed member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, which provided financial oversight for the Atlanta Olympic Games Committee’s $2 billion budget.
He is the author of the highly acclaimed book: From Civil Rights to Cyber Rights (2009). For several years he wrote a weekly column for Creative Loafing and was a feature writer for Atlanta Magazine. Dr. Simama and his wife, Nisha, are the parents of two adult daughters.