Meet 50+ Influential Atlanta Women You Should Know

These Awesome Atlanta Women Are Making HERstory Every Day

Atlanta history is rich and progressive. Women have left their marks in numerous ways dating back to Atlanta’s earliest days. Many of these women are honored with Atlanta landmarks you can visit today. In every aspect of American life, Atlanta women have made a difference. In the last 20 years we’ve seen glass-ceiling shattering, groundbreaking actions taken by Southern women who proudly call Atlanta home. Here are 50+ of the most notable modern history makers in Atlanta today, including names you may recognize like Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Pinky Cole and Sara Blakely. And there are many others behind the scenes changing the game, too. Here are a few of the many awesome Atlanta women are making HERstory every day.

Joleen Pete lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their son. On the weekends they enjoy going into the city for family fun and exploration. Joleen is the family travel and lifestyle blogger behind Love, Joleen.

Groundbreaking Women in Politics

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams — Spelman College-educated, lawyer, best-selling author and activist  —   became a household name during her 2018 gubernatorial run as the first Black woman major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States. Despite losing the controversial contest, Abrams used the experience to become a champion for voter rights and founded Fair Fight Action to combat voter suppression. Abrams has widely been credited for boosting voter turnout in Georgia and other Southern states, helping seal a victory for President Joe Biden.

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Keisha Lance Bottoms is the 60th mayor of Atlanta, a post that follows her work as a lawyer, a judge and member of the Atlanta City Council. Mayor Bottoms has championed causes for marginalized citizens including LGBTQ rights- creating an advisory board for the city — defended immigrants and urged Black Lives Matters protestors to register and vote. Mayor Bottoms was among the top choices for running mate to Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign. President Biden nominated Bottoms as vice chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Protection at the Democratic National Committee for the 2021–2025 term.

Shirley Franklin 

As the 58th mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin was the first woman to hold the post and the first Black woman to be elected mayor of a major Southern city. She served in a variety of political offices before being elected and continues to be active politically, most recently on the campaign trail for an Atlanta representative in 2020. 

Executives and Business Leaders

Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely turned her tumultuous relationship with pantyhose into a multimillion dollar business through true grit and determination. Despite being turned away by most major hosiery companies, Blakeley was able to locate a backer who helped her launch her shapewear brand that became one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, a QVC hit and landed Blakely on the cover of Forbes magazine for being the youngest self-made billionaire in the world (2012) and one of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Blakely has since appeared on Shark Tank, American Inventor and Rebel Billionaire, which introduced her to Richard Branson, who supported her endeavors as an entrepreneur and philanthropist and assisted her in setting up the Sara Blakely Foundation, which helps women through education and entrepreneurial training. 

Rosalind Brewer

Spelman College graduate Rosalind Brewer followed a 22-year career at Kimberly-Clark Corp. to be named one of corporate America’s most prominent women and Black woman executives. Brewer is the CEO of Walgreens,  making her the only Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Brewer was COO of Starbucks and implemented policy changes and instituted racial bias training for employees in 8,000 stores. Prior to her position at Starbucks, Brewer was the first Black CEO of a Walmart division, Sam’s Club. She has served on several high profile boards including Spelman College, Molson Coors Brewing Co., Lockheed Martin and most recently Amazon.

Aisha “Pinky” Cole 

Aisha “Pinky” Cole turned her craving for fast food and her vegan lifestyle into a viral food craze in Atlanta. Opening her first vegan restaurant in 2018, Cole used social media and delivery apps to grow her vegan burgers. Success followed with long lines and the addition of Slutty Vegan food trucks. By the fall of 2019 Cole and fellow Clark Atlanta University alumnus Stacy Lee paid off the debts of 30 Clark Atlanta seniors. Cole also created the Pinky Cole Foundation to provide support and education to entrepreneurial youth to assist them in starting their own businesses. There are currently three Slutty Vegan locations in Atlanta with plans for expansion. 

Leona Barr-Davenport 

Leona Barr-Davenport is president and CEO of Atlanta Business League, Atlanta’s oldest minority business development and advocacy organization. She works with the board of directors to provide increased access to business opportunities for minorities with specific emphasis on Black-owned or operated businesses. She earned an MBA from Clark Atlanta University and has 25 years of experience helping organizations like Atlanta Inter-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund, The Red Cross and Workforce Development for Fulton County. She serves on several advisory Boards and committees in Atlanta for organizations that include National Business League, the Atlanta Coalition of 100 Black Women of Atlanta and Business NOW of Goodwill Industries.

Jai Ferrell 

Jai Farrell is assistant general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a position achieved after she filled the interim spot for nearly a year. Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world with a commercial development division that typically approaches $1 billion in annual gross revenue. A Theatre Studies major at Spelman College, Ferrell received a master’s in communications from Georgia State University. An active Castleberry Hill resident. Ferrell was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 under 40 class in 2019 and was recognized as a Woman of Excellence by the Atlanta Tribune Magazine.

Donna Hall 

Donna Hall has been in the news industry for more than 30 years. She was vice president of marketing, radio and newspaper operations for Cox Media Group Atlanta before making the move to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she stepped into the role of publisher in 2019. Hall also is the new (and first woman) board chair of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), which just celebrated its 80th anniversary.  CAP is a powerhouse that works behind the scenes to improve downtown Atlanta in a myriad of ways. 

Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon

Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon recognizes that society has a long tradition of putting a heavy burden on low-income communities and small businesses. She set out to change that by creating The Village Market. As founder and CEO, Hallmon launched her community-driven initiative that showcases and supports Black-owned small businesses, allowing them to form strong foundations and grow. The Village Market provides ongoing education, resources and support for participants. Hallmon actively blogs, speaks and educates on the topics of financial literacy and entrepreneurship development.

Katie Kirkpatrick 

Katie Kirkpatrick is president and CEO of the 160-year-old Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. She served as chief policy officer and in other supporting roles before taking the top position. She is a graduate of Auburn University,  a registered professional engineer in several states and a member of the school’s 100+ Women Strong group of successful women engineering alumnae. In 2021, Kirkpatrick was named one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and in 2020 she was named one of Atlanta Magazine’s Atlanta 500, a ranking top leaders in the region.

Nzinga “Zing” Shaw 

After five years as inclusion and diversity officer for the Atlanta Hawks, Nzinga “Zing” Shaw was named global chief inclusion and diversity officer for Starbucks in  2019. Shaw formerly worked for the  NFL, YES Network and Essence magazine. She is a graduate of Spelman College and also attended University of Oxford in theUnited Kingdom.

Carol Tomé

Carol Tomé studied finance at the University of Denver and became a commercial lender. She moved to Atlanta for  another banking position before moving on to Home Depot to head up the expansion into Mexico. During Tomé’s tenure, Home Depot stores grew from 400 to more than 2,200 and the stock price soared 450%. After a brief retirement, Tomé made the move to UPS as CEO. She has twice been named one of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women, and in 2012 she was recognized by Wall Street Journal as the second best chief financial officer.

Do you know how Spanx started in Atlanta? Sara Blakely was headed to a party and cut the feet off of her control-top pantyhose. That was the beginning of a billion dollar business. Find out more about these inspirational women-owned businesses in Atlanta.

Leaders in Atlanta Hospitality 

Erica Qualls-Battey

Erica Qualls-Battey is general manager of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marriott International’s third largest hotel, where she is responsible for ensuring guest and associate satisfaction, managing finances and assets, and fostering business alliances. Qualls-Battey is active in her community, working with organizations including  Children’s Miracle Network, United Negro College Fund and United Way. She serves on the board of directors of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and as a member of organizations including Atlanta Business League, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Technical College, Marriott Pride and UNCF Atlanta Corporate Campaign. She is listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business League. 

Karen Bremer 

Karen Bremer brings more than 45 years experience in the hospitality industry to her position as CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). The GRA serves as a unified voice for more than 18,500 food service and drinking places in the state of Georgia with total sales in excess of $20 billion. Members provide more than 476,000 jobs. Bremer, a former restaurateur, has served as manager and president of the Peasant Restaurant Group and was a founding member of the GRA. She serves on a number of boards and has received numerous awards including being named three times as one of  Georgia Trend magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians of the Year.

Mercedes Miller

Mercedes Miller has worked in hospitality for more than 30 years and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Leaders In Atlanta Hospitality and one of  the 100 Most Influential  Women in Atlanta. She also received the  Coca-Cola Women of Power Award. As executive director, she has led the Georgia International Convention Center through growth in facilities, programs and services. First hired in 1995 as a marketing analyst, Miller was promoted to sales manager, director of sales, assistant director and executive director. In addition to overseeing the Georgia International Convention Center, Miller also is director of the Gateway Center Arena, the 100,000-square-foot entertainment destination next door to the convention center. In  January, Miller was named  interim city manager for the city of College Park. She attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta in addition to obtaining certificates in facilities/ venue management.

Michele Swann

Michele Swann has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. She is general manager and CEO at Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, which oversees Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, ArtsBridge Foundation and Galleria Specialty Shops. Her expertise includes long-range planning, design and construction, financial management, marketing and venue operations. Swann has worked at the center since 1995 and been in her current role since 1999.


Liliana Bakhtiari

A lifelong Atlantan born to immigrant parents, Liliana Bakhtiari knows firsthand about discrimination. She turned her experiences into a proven track record as a notable community leader, social justice advocate and activist working on a variety of initiatives. She spent much of her youth traveling the globe, practicing social advocacy, participating in a wide variety of cultural projects, including aiding refugees in building new homes, working with sex trafficking victims and volunteering at orphanages. Bakhtiari attended Georgia State University where she studied anthropology and journalism/telecommunication with a minor in political science. She has tackled initiatives locally including engaging suburban and rural voters during especially critical elections, homelessness (during COVID-19), creating a political action committee to support progressive Demcratic candidates, blood drives, senior partnerships and more. She hopes to turn her activism into real change by running for Atlanta City Council in 2021. 

Shanti Das

Shanti Das, a former music industry executive and marketing consultant native to Atlanta, is a lifelong philanthropist and mental health advocate. As a music executive she was most recently executive vice president of urban marketing and artist development at Universal Motown Records, where she managed the marketing campaigns for artists such as Akon, Erykah Badu and Ashanti. Her music career was vast and she worked on promotional campaigns for artists including Usher, TLC and Toni Braxton. In recent years, she founded a company called Press Reset and co-founded a campaign called ATL Live on the Park to showcase emerging urban and pop talent. Her most recent and important initiative has been to launch Silence the Shame, a nonprofit organization which leverages her celebrity connection to bring awareness and raise funds for programs geared toward eliminating the stigma of mental illness as well as support mental well-being. She self-published a book, “Silencing MY Shame” in 2018. 

Jamie Green-Ferguson

Jamie Green-Fergerson says that as a child she was bombarded with messages that she couldn’t be gay and a good person. It wasn’t until, as a student at Georgia State University, she attended her first Pride Festival that she realized she could be gay and happy and attain success in family, business, faith and more. She volunteered at Atlanta Pride shortly after college and served on its board of directors. When she became executive director, she left her position as senior mission manager at Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta. Green-Fergerson is vocal about Atlanta Pride not being just a white LGBTQ organization despite there being a Black Gay Pride group and festival. “There has been a conscious commitment to doing work around racism and racial justice,” she says.

Bernice King

Bernice King is a minister and the youngest child of civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. King attended Grinnell College in Iowa and graduated from Spelman College. At the age of 24, King decided to become a minister, and she earned a master’s degree in divinity and a juris doctor from Emory University in 1990. King is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. In 2009 she was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, making her the first woman to hold the title and following in the footsteps of her father and elder brother, Martin III. King has followed in her parents’ activism footsteps, participating in demonstrations and marches and with public speaking engagements. 

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet and social activist, who most notably is author of “The Color Purple,” which not only won a National Book Award but also the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was turned into a critically acclaimed movie and a Broadway play. Walker was born to sharecropper parents in a rural farming town and enrolled in school at age 4. She graduated from high school as valedictorian before enrolling at Spelman College after being awarded a scholarship. Later, she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College. Walker worked at the Department of Welfare in New York City  as well as for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund before returning to writing and more college at Jackson State College and Tougaloo College. Walker’s life experiences, marriage and parenthood led to her political activism for civil rights (after she met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), Womanism (a term Walker coined) advocates for all  women but particularly for women of color and the Black experience. You can visit her hometown and see many locations important to her early life as part of the Alice Walker Driving Tour. 

Women Leading Atlanta Arts and Culture

Paige Alexander 

The Carter Center was founded by President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter in partnership with Emory University and is based on the premises of access to fundamental human rights and alleviation of human suffering. The center seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. Paige Alexander recently joined The Carter Center as CEO bringing with her more than two decades of experience in both governmental and nonprofit sectors. This includes senior leadership positions at two regional bureaus of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) covering missions and development programs in 25 countries. Alexander found herself at the helm of the Carter Center during a pivotal time for Atlanta as the city struggled with both the pandemic and racial unrest. Her arrival also coincided with changes at the Carter Center as the Carters stepped back from their daily involvement, moving the Atlanta institution from a founder-led organization to a founder-inspired organization.

Kimberly Beaudin 

Following an extensive nationwide search, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame promoted Kimberly Beaudin to chief executive officer from her previous position as senior vice president of marketing and sales. Beaudin has more than two decades experience with brand development and has worked with Arrow Exterminators, the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers. She joins the ranks of the growing number of women leaders in college sports.

Susan Booth 

Susan Booth’s accomplishments in the theatrical world are widely acclaimed. During her tenure as artistic director for the Alliance Theatre she has initiated collaborations and programs to involve teens and community. Booth has also produced high profile commercial partnerships with the likes of National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Stephen King, John Mellencamp and Kristian Bush just to name a few. Booth’s education includes degrees from Denison and Northwestern universities and fellowships at the National Critics Institute and the Kemper Foundation. She has held teaching positions at Northwestern, DePaul and Emory universities.

Meredith Evans 

Meredith Evans is director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. She holds a doctorate in library science (archive concentration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a master’s degree in public history from North Carolina State University and a master’s in library science from Clark Atlanta University. She has spent nearly two decades serving as instructor or librarian at a multitude of universities. Evans has been described as an archivist whose work has always focused on supporting community collaborations. 

Judy Forte 

Judy Forte is superintendent of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. She is responsible for the protection and preservation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birth home, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and more. You can visit The King Center, where Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott, have been laid to rest, as well as tour Freedom Hall, which houses exhibits and resources regarding the civil rights movement and its leaders.

Leslie Gordon 

The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum conducted a nationwide search for its executive director before finding Leslie Gordon right in its own backyard. Gordon, a Savannah native, attended the University of Wisconsin where she received a bachelor’s of fine arts and then obtained master’s degrees from University of Gothenburg and Georgia State University. Gordon’s career in arts management began as director of cultural affairs for the city of Savannah.  She served as a producer of the Cultural Olympiad, arts and cultural programming that preceded the 1996 Olympic Games. She worked for 16 years as director of the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University.

Joanna Hobday 

Joanna Hobday joined Coca-Cola Co. in 2018 as senior director, retail operations within the Global Licensing and Retail Group. She leads World of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola store Orlando and Coca-Cola store Las Vegas.

Hobday spent nearly 10 years with Merlin Entertainments. She has led attractions including Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

A native of the United Kingdom, Hobday also worked for Hilton Hotels and Resorts and Visit London. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Warwick, England.

Camille Love 

Camille Love has directed cultural programming for the city of Atlanta since 1998 and is the longest serving executive director of cultural affairs for the mayor’s office. Love guides the cultural and artistic vision of the Chastain Arts Center and Gallery, the city’s Public Art Program, Gallery 72, Elevate, Contracts for Arts Services, the Cultural Experience Project and the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which, year after year, continues to be one of the nation’s preeminent free jazz festivals.. Love earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Wake Forest University and attended Duke University Law School before working in marketing at IBM. She founded and served as president of For the Love of Art, a consultant practice that provided educational, fund-raising and public relations services for visual and performing arts and opened her own gallery representing primarily African American artists before accepting her current position. 

Mary Pat Matheson 

Before joining Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) as president and CEO, Mary Pat Matheson was executive director of the Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City. She started as a horticulturist before earning a bachelor’s degree in Resource Management and Park Planning, making her the perfect candidate to chair the ABG. In her position she directs all operations at the 30-acre public garden and has expanded membership, fund-raising, education and more. Under her guidance, Matheson has effectively doubled the size of the ABG through a $50 million dollar capital campaign and development of additional gardens, a full-service restaurant, Canopy Walk and SAGE parking area.  In addition, Matheson is responsible for the 185-acre site in Gainesville.

Hala Moddelmog 

Hala Moddelmog became the first woman president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. After serving six years there, she was named president and CEO of Woodruff Arts Center, home to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. Moddelmog also served as president of Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group and president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. Under her leadership, Komen achieved its first four-Star Charity Navigator rating. Moddelmog earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia (where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate) and a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia Southern University. She has also attended executive programs at Harvard University and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Jill Savitt 

Jill Savitt, president and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, is a human rights advocate with expertise in genocide and atrocity prevention. She has been involved with the center since 2010, having come from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where she was acting director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. Savitt graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relation before starting her career as a reporter for an NPR affiliate. Savitt spent three years teaching a course on human rights advocacy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs before becoming director of campaigns at Human Rights First, a post she held from 2001 to 2007.

Beth Schiavo 

Beth Schiavo became executive director of the Center for Puppetry Arts in the midst of the global pandemic, which brought a handful of challenges. Schiavo has served on the audit committee of the Woodruff Arts Center and the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. She was managing director and CFO of Atlanta-based North Highland Consulting. Schiavo graduated from Virginia Tech and the Executive Leadership Program at the Kellogg School of Management. She holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell Executive Education. 

Bonnie Speed

Bonnie Speed is director of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. Previously, she served two years as  art director for the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. She is passionate about art and speaks Mandarin fluently. Speed is credited with attracting new audiences and partnering with the community to make the Carlos one of the top museums in the Southeast.

Jane Turner 

Making the move from corporate work to volunteerism after the birth of her first child ultimately landed Jane Turner her position as executive director of the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. She faced challenges as the museum waited for the area around it to grow. Turner credits that waiting period for forcing creativity and focus at the museum. She has brought a theatrical element to the museum while also increasing accessibility and undertaking major capital changes. 

Jennifer Grant Warner 

Jennifer Grant Warner knows a thing or two about the power of discovery and innovation. As president and CEO of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, she has worked to expand the museum’s educational programming. Prior to landing at Fernbank, Warner worked at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  She attended college at the University of Kentucky and holds a master’s  from Georgia State University. 

Women Leading in the Music Industry

Michele Caplinger

Michele Caplinger is senior executive director of the Recording Academy, Atlanta chapter. She has worked to gain tax incentives for the music industry and to assure that Atlanta is part of the national music scene alongside cities such as Nashville. She told Atlanta Magazine that one of her proudest moments was her involvement in the Georgia Music Investment Act, which provides tax credits for the industry in Georgia.  

Cynthia Charles

Cynthia Charles worked with ONE Musicfest for more than seven years, overseeing all operations and supervising a team of more than 100 involved in all activities for the one-day music festival, which draws a crowd of nearly 20,000 people to Atlanta.

Phylicia Fant

Spelman College graduate Phylicia Fant is head of Urban Music at Columbia Records, overseeing a roster of artists including Lil Nas X and Pharrell. Born and raised in Atlanta, she helped launch the Annual Entertainment Summit at her alma mater, Spelman. She is the executive producer of the documentary Eggs Over Easy: Black Women & Fertility directed by Chiquita Lockley. Fant recently received a Bounce Trumpet Award for Corporate Executive of the Year. 

Indigo Girls

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are most notably known as the Atlanta-based folk music duo the Indigo Girls. Ray and Saliers met in elementary school, began performing together as high school students and went away to different colleges before returning to Emory University. Both women have openly identified as lesbians and have long been regarded as icons of the LGBTQ movement. They have championed causes such as the environment, gay rights, rights of Native Americans, women’s rights, racism and more. 

Heather Kim

Heather Kim has known for years that she would start her own label. YMG Entertainment, the first Korean-American record label in Atlanta is just that. Knowing that Atlanta has one of the fasting growing Asian populations in the U.S., Heather has taken her time with her father, guitarist Lee Mi-ja, and her Georgia Tech MBA to be a leading executive in the industry, recruiting and training K-pop stars.

Gladys Knight

The Empress of Soul was born in Atlanta, and began singing at a Baptist church here when she was 4 years old. And, oh yes, who can forget her Grammy Award-winning, No. 1 hit  “Midnight Train to Georgia,” recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips? Atlanta has shared her with the world, but we’ll always claim her as a hometown gal.

Janelle Monáe 

Atlanta couldn’t be happier that Janelle Monáe made our city her adopted hometown. She seems to be everywhere these days — movies, music videos, the Super Bowl. In 2010, she released her debut full-length album, “The ArchAndroid,” which made it to No. 17 on the Billboard U.S. Album Chart. In the 2016 movie, “Hidden Figures,” she starred as Mary Winston-Jackson, a real-life aeronautical engineer at NASA. In 2019, she appeared in the biopic, “Harriett,” about Harriett Tubman. And on it goes.   

Malita Rice

Malita Rice, aka Malita the Mogul, is the CEO and founder of Mogul Mentality, an entertainment management and marketing firm in Atlanta. She has a background in talent management, content production and brand development and has cast more than 100 music videos. Her management company works with clients like OG Parker, Rick Ross and Deko, and has produced hits like Migos’ “Walk It Talk It.” Rice is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. 

Kandi Burruss-Tucker 

You may know her from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” but Kandi Burruss-Tucker is more than a reality TV star. Burrus-Tucker began her career in the music industry at an early age singing with various groups including the all-women group, Xscape. She became an award-winning songwriter and gained critical acclaim in 2000 by winning a Best R&B Song Grammy Award for her song “Scrubs,” which was performed by TLC. In 2009 she began her role on RHOA which led to five spin-off/companion series. She appeared on Showtime’s “The Chi” and won season three of “The Masked Singer.” Burruss-Tucker is one of the founders of the  Old Lady Gang soul food restaurants in Atlanta.

Women on the Move

Monica Campana

A native of Peru, Monica Campana recalls always having art as a part of her life, from the crayons she used to color as a child to the Atlanta-based Living Walls nonprofit organization she co-founded and for which she serves as CEO. Living Walls brings public art to underserved communities,  not only exposing those communities to art but also allowing artists of all races and backgrounds to create murals and public art as part of its program. “In the past decade Living Walls, The City Speaks, has facilitated more than 150 murals across the region and around the world.

Lauren Koontz 

As the first woman president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Lauren Koontz leads the organization’s efforts to ensure that all people, especially children, experience an equal opportunity to fully reach their potential. Prior to joining the management team at the YMCA, Koontz served in leadership roles at Coxe Curry & Associates, Emory University School of Medicine, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, where she was named by the CEO to the organization’s national strategic steering committee and was the youngest associate appointed. A Georgia native, Koontz grew up on St. Simons Island. She received a bachelor’s degree  from the University of Georgia and a master’s from Georgia State University.

Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery, former Atlanta Dream guard, is the first former WNBA player to become both an owner and executive of a WNBA team. She is part of a three-part investor group including real estate investor Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair, president of Northland Investment Corp. Montgomery is also a studio analyst for the Atlanta Hawks and was the WNBA’s Six Woman of the Year in 2012.

Valerie Montgomery Rice 

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice is the sixth president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine and the first woman to lead the freestanding medical institution. She is also a renowned infertility specialist and researcher. A native Georgian, Montgomery Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Tech, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a doctor of humane letters honorary degree from Rush University. For three consecutive years (2016-2018) Georgia Trend magazine selected Montgomery Rice as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. 

Rochelle Walensky 

Rochelle Walensky was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquartered in Atlanta. Previously, Walensky was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School)where she conducted research on HIV/AIDS, making her one of the nation’s leading experts on virus testing, prevention and treatment. She served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts, conducting research on vaccine delivery and strategies to reach underserved communities.

Sally Yates 

From 2010 to 2015, Sally Yates was United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2015, she was appointed United States deputy attorney general by President Barack Obama. She returned to private practice in Atlanta as a partner at King & Spalding’s Special Matters & Government Investigations practice. Yates is a native Atlantan who attended college at the University of Georgia, receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She subsequently earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. While in law school, Yates was executive editor of the Georgia Law Review. 

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