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Regional Leadership Institute Proudly Welcomes 2021 Class of Informed Leaders

Atlanta — Jun 23, 2021

The Atlanta Regional Commission today announced that 43 leaders from metro Atlanta’s public, private, educational, and nonprofit spheres have been selected to participate in the 2021 Regional Leadership Institute (RLI).

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

2021 RLI Participants

  • Colin Ake — Principal, Georgia Tech-VentureLab
  • Durand Bailey — Director of Operations, Atlanta Music Project
  • J. Olu Baiyewu — Urban Agriculture Director, City of Atlanta
  • Irene Barton — Executive Director, Cobb Collaborative
  • Stephen Michael Brown — President, Cookerly Public Relations
  • Maranie Brown — Associate Director, Program Management at T3
  • 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

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) 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 73 other cities.  The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.

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Contact Name: Kate Sweeney
Contact Phone: (404)-314-7863
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