Stacey Y. Abrams is the House minority leader for the Georgia General Assembly and state Representative for the 84th House District. She is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives. She co- founded and acts as senior vice president and chief administrative officer of NOWaccount Network Corporation, a financial services firm. Stacey also co-founded Nourish, Inc., a beverage company with a focus on infants and toddlers, and is a partner in other entrepreneurial ventures.
Bill Bolling has served as executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank since founding the organization in 1979. He is a frequent speaker on topics related to hunger, poverty, regionalism, affordable housing and public policy reform. His skills in bridging various public sectors have made him a leader in strengthening the community to serve those most in need. In January 2012, Bill was named Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2012 Georgian of the Year.
Sara Day Evans, founding partner of Prosperity Collective, is an award-winning and innovative sustainability program manager and planner who, for more than 17 years, has delivered outstanding results through strong leadership, creativity and collaboration. In addition to her sustainability consulting, she served as lead developer and planner for WNC’s 21st Century Sustainable Communities Program for the North Carolina Department of Commerce from 2007-2011. Her expertise and passion are in reaching a broad and deep spectrum of community for team-building to inform her strategic sustainability plans and actions.
Nicole Farmer Hurd, Ph.D. is the founder and executive director of the National College Advising Corps, a consortium of 18 partner college/universities in 14 states that hires recent college graduates to serve as college advisers. These advisers are placed into disadvantaged communities to work with low-income, first-generation college and under-represented students to raise college matriculation rates. The National College Advising Corps, an impactful program supported by both Social Innovation Funding and AmeriCorps funds, supports President Barack Obama’s goal of regaining our nation’s leadership in degree attainment.
Merrick L. Furst, Ph.D., distinguished professor, runs commercialization and new venture creation and directs undergraduate programs and faculty development in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. Prior to Georgia Tech, he was a professor at UC Berkeley, president of the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley and CEO of Essential Surfing Gear, Inc. Merrick is known for seminal research in algorithms, complexity theory and AI. Merrick co-invented probabilistic circuit analysis and planning graphs, which are considered among the most influential breakthroughs in the field of AI planning.
Arun Gore is the president and CEO of Gray Ghost Ventures. His 30 years of experience in the United States and India includes serving as a member of the executive team at T-Mobile USA as the chief financial officer of Cook Inlet T-Mobile, and he has been valuable in underwriting the investment opportunities and working with the entrepreneurs of Gray Ghost’s portfolio companies. Arun also brings a wealth of entrepreneurial experience as the prior owner and manager of various start-up businesses.
Brian Hankin is a partner in Prophet’s Atlanta office. He brings more than 16 years of consulting experience across a variety of industries, including consumer goods, hospitality, food and beverage, and technology. He has lead transformational innovation and branding efforts among top consumer brands in North America and Europe including Heineken, The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia-Pacific, Intercontinental Hotels, Carlsberg, Arla Foods and others. As a marketing practitioner, he worked in the brand group at The Coca-Cola Company, where he co- developed Dasani bottled water and managed the Barq's, Mello Yello and Mr. Pibb brands.
Michael Horten is a U.S.- and European-educated lawyer with more than 35 years experience as a practicing attorney, and has his own legal practice, HortenCC. HortenCC focuses on the needs of small and medium-size companies that now play such an important role in our economy, while employing a non-traditional practice model that is based on the latest technology to create efficiencies and billing for the value delivered and not for the time spent by the attorney. Michael is actively involved in a number of business and civic organizations in Atlanta, including the Association for Corporate Growth, the Atlanta Technology Angels and the Atlanta Venture Forum.
Christopher Klaus is the founder and CEO of Kaneva, a rapidly growing social entertainment world. Christopher is also highly regarded as one of the youngest and brightest Internet pioneers of our time, as well as a foremost philanthropist and community leader. Christopher also founded and served as the chief security advisor of Internet Security Systems (ISS), a company he created in 1994 and sold to IMB for a total value of more than $1 billion dollars in 2006.
Nat Milburn is the founder of Dragonfly Growth Partners, and has more than 20 years experience in helping Fortune 500 companies build brands and alternative revenue streams. Nat built and led Newell Rubbermaid’s corporate business development function. In this role, he was responsible for global development and execution of strategies to optimize returns on the firm’s investments in intellectual property and while building Brands That MatterTM. As part of this effort, Nat joined the ATA to identify and make technology investments for Newell Rubbermaid’s BTM Ventures fund. Prior to joining Newell Rubbermaid, Nat was director of North and Latin America Brand Licensing for The Coca-Cola Company.
Sean O’Brien is PGi’s executive vice president of strategy and communications, and is a successful entrepreneur, investor, executive and connector. He has more than 15 years of service on the boards of various nonprofit organizations and currently leads PGi’s strategic planning, analyst relations, internal communications, public relations, capital markets development and investor relations. With an eye for innovation and pushing beyond, Sean is an exemplary model for young entrepreneurs.
Doug Reid is president of Right-Way Services, a management consulting practice providing business strategic and operating assistance, business plans, efficiency and effectiveness assessment and solutions, and organizational development including executive search. Right-Way's clients include high tech, business services, manufacturing and nonprofit enterprises. He serves as a trustee of Atlanta's High Museum and as a board member of several businesses.
Gordon Rogers is an active investor and adviser to startups in the educational technology, social gaming and digital media space. He now focuses primarily on helping early-stage ventures in the digital media and edutainment sectors refine their product strategy and gain market traction. He is also a mentor at Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), as well as managing director of Vernon Bridge Ventures, an early-stage capital/advisory firm. He serves on the boards of Evirx, Rapid LD, Good Egg Studios and Proving Ground.
Scott Sherman is a writer and researcher on the most effective methods of social change. He is an expert on the most effective ways that citizens succeed in creating social progress and innovation. Scott’s work on nonviolent social change projects has been praised by such Nobel Peace Prize laureates as the Dalai Lama and the late Mother Teresa. It eventually led him to found the Transformative Action Institute. He is also a nationally recognized speaker on environmental regeneration.
Jeff Woodward is a partner at Atlanta-based law firm Taylor English Duma LLP, and has been heavily active in the social venture movement. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit and social venture world, serving as general counsel for enterprises such as Better World Books and engaging with initiatives such as the B-Corp. Jeff is active in the promotion of social enterprise and a variety of community organizations. Currently, he serves as vice chair and secretary of Village Capital, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting seed-stage social entrepreneurs through peer support programs.