What to Expect at This Year’s Virtual State of the Region Breakfast

This year’s State of the Region breakfast will be like no other. But that means much more than just going virtual.

The Atlanta Regional Commission has totally re-imagined this year’s event to make it much more interactive and engagingThe program has been carefully crafted to address the urgent challenges facing our region: the pandemic, the economy, and racial equity. 

For those who have attend a previous a State of the Region event: Buckle up! This year’s version is full of new features and opportunities to dig into the issues. 

And for first-timers: We’re so glad you are joining us for what is sure to be a critical conversation about our region’s future.

Here’s a guide to give you a flavor of what’s to come on Friday morning.

Logging Onto the Platform

Joining this year’s State of the Region event is easy. Just follow these steps:

Note: This platform is best viewed by Internet Explore 11 or higher; Mozilla Firefox 68 or higher; Safari 7 or higher; and Chrome 75.0.3770 or higher. You can determine your browser version by choosing “Help” at the top of your browser window and selecting “About.”

If you are using a VPN connection, some platform features may not be accessible. For the best experience, check your connection speed, browser settings and access to audio/video controls. You can also check your domain and firewall whitelisting settings.

An Engaging Experience: Not Your Typical Zoom Call

We’ve selected a terrific digital platform to host this year’s event that’s highly visual and interactive. You’ll be able to: 

  • Enter the virtual lobby, where you’ll be able to and ask questions at an information booth. 
  • Spend time in the Networking Lounge video chatting with colleagues one on one or in small groups. 
  • Visit the Sponsor Village to check out exciting virtual exhibits. 
  • Use the chat feature to comment about speaker presentations. 
  • Share your viewpoint by participating in live polls.
  • Earn points by engaging with the platform. Top point-earners will win one of five terrific prize packages from some of the region’s most exciting neighborhoods.

Dig Deep: ‘What’s Next ATL’ Panel Discussion

A focal point of our program is our first-ever “What’s Next ATL” live panel discussion. Four regional leaders will sit down for a frank discussion of what their organizations are doing to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and racial inequity.

The panel includes new leaders of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and the Latin American Association, along with the longtime director of the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Our moderator is Amber Saunders, a rising legal star from the firm Naoulo & Saunders, who brings a fresh perspective and plenty of energy to the table. 

What’s Next ATL Panel Discussion: Finding Our Courage 

Moderator: Amber Saunders, Naoulo & Saunders, PC


  • Frank Fernandez, President & CEO, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta 
  • Katie Kirkpatrick, President & CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber 
  • Milton J. Little, Jr., President & CEO, United Way of Greater Atlanta 
  • Santiago Marquez, CEO, Latin American Association

Courage ChatsBreakout Sessions on Promoting an Equitable Region 

After the main stage program wraps up at 11 a.m., we move to perhaps the most innovative part of the eventYou’ll be able to choose to attend one of three “Courage Chats” that each explore equity and inclusion. The tracks are: 

  • The Gilded Cage: Why are black and brown Americans often judged by the color of their skin rather than the sum of their achievements earned? No matter how successful or the station in life, black and brown people are disproportionately discriminated against on many levels.
  • Neither Black nor White: Latino, Asian, Indian and other people of color experience inequity and systemic racism in their everyday lives.
  • Sustaining the Awakening: How do we move forward and continue the discussion when the protests have stopped, the webinars slow down, and no one is talking about inequity or racism at the dinner table? 

The sessions will kick off with an artistic twist: a short monologue promoted by Out of Hand Theatre. 

What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.