Speaker Bios

Venessa Harrison

Georgia President

As president of AT&T’s Georgia operations, Venessa Harrison is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s public policy, economic development and community engagement activities across the state of Georgia.

Named to her current position in November 2018, Harrison works closely with state and local policymakers and business and community leaders to foster an environment that welcomes investment and innovation, focuses on bringing new technologies that drive innovation and create jobs and provides educational and economic opportunities that empower to improve the quality of life for all Georgians.

Harrison began her telecommunications career as a telephone operator. She subsequently pursued a career-development opportunity in the network organization, quickly rising through the ranks of management within AT&T with increasing responsibility in the network, business, regulatory and external affairs departments. Prior to her current position, Harrison served for six years as president of AT&T North Carolina.

In addition to her corporate responsibilities, Harrison is committed to helping make a difference in the community and in the lives of others. She has a passion for driving positive impact and social equity and is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of North Carolina A&T State University and a Member of the Board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Board of the Georgia Research Alliance, the Board of the Atlanta Committee for Progress and the Rotary Club of Atlanta. Additionally, she was recently honored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle with the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Civic Award, by the Women in Technology with the 2020 Woman of the Year in Technology Award, by the Atlanta Business Chronicle with the 2019 Women Who Mean Business Award and named to Atlanta Magazine’s 2020 and 2019 Most Influential Lists.

Harrison holds a Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. A North Carolina native, she is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.

Kevin Greiner

President & CEO

Whether you’ve been an employee since the beginning or you’ve worked here a month, Kevin Greiner is all about discovering what’s important to people – starting with never forgetting your name. We’re not sure how he does it, but we’re glad he does. At the office, Kevin won’t hesitate to chat with you about what you’re up to or the latest tennis highlights – he genuinely cares about every employee.

He’s also passionate about strengthening our community. Under Kevin’s leadership, Gas South has committed to giving back 5% of profits to help children in need. He has built a culture of service while also creating exceptional career paths for employees. He wants to make sure Gas South is a place where people want to be, not a place you feel like you have to be.

With more than 15 years’ experience in the energy sector, Kevin gained expertise in management roles with Southern Company. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s of science in natural resource policy, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.

Board work: United Way of Greater Atlanta (chaired the 2012-13 Workplace Campaign), Georgia Chamber, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta (Executive Committee), Atlanta Opera

Interesting fact: Kevin speaks German and is fluent in Dekatherms (Gas South’s band where he plays the piano).

Sara Irvani

CEO

Sara Irvani is the CEO of Okabashi Brands, one of the remaining 1% of domestic shoe manufacturers. Established in 1984, and now a third generation family business, Okabashi has sold nearly 40 million pairs from its Buford, Ga factory. With its closed loop manufacturing and recyclable bio-based footwear, the team is on a mission to prove that sustainable American manufacturing can flourish at scale.

Sara has a Bachelors in Philosophy with High Distinction from University of Virginia, a Masters of Finance from University of Cambridge, and an MBA from INSEAD. Sara is an Associate Board Member of the Two Ten Foundation, a 2018 Most Admired CEO by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, a Board Member of Soles4Souls, a Global Shaper with World Economic Forum, and on the Board of Councilors of The Carter Center.

Sloane Drake

Vice President of Human Resources

Sloane Drake is senior vice president of Human Resources for Georgia Power and Southern Company. She leads the HR East Region Organization, which includes talent management, diversity and inclusion, volunteer services, labor relations, health and well-being services, and HR delivery for Georgia Power, Southern Company Services; oversight of HR for Southern Company Gas; and talent acquisition, talent management and the development of diversity & inclusion strategies for Southern Company. Drake joined Southern Company in 2001 as a participant in Georgia Power’s Professional Development Program and has held several positions in Southern Company’s HR organization, including the dual role as assistant to the vice president of Human Resources and talent manager. In these roles, she supported strategic initiatives across all areas of human resources and led the development of solutions to enhance leadership and employee development, as well as diversity and inclusion. She also led the HR team responsible for HR delivery and staffing for Southern Company’s two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, located outside of Augusta. Prior to her current position, Drake served as director of Human Resources at Southern Company, where she was responsible for providing HR consulting services for accounting, finance and treasury, marketing services, human resources, system air, general counsel, external affairs, internal auditing, and information technology. Drake graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Active in her community, Drake serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Anti-Defamation League Southeast, Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Technical College System of Georgia, Southeast Labor and Management Public Affairs Committee, and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Aisha Deberry

Executive Director of Diversity and Community Partnership

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Aisha received her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She started a career in admissions at her alma mater that eventually led her to Atlanta to continue her work in professional education focusing on diversity in the areas of enrollment and retention while owning dollar stores in the greater Atlanta area. Aisha later received her Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University where she served as President and Sub-Region Director of the Black Law Student Association, as well as other leadership positions in organizations such as the Women’s Law Society, Immigration Law Society and OUTLaw, an organization to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Aisha is the co-editor for the book entitled Human Trafficking (Taylor-Page, Piatt, Jr. Carolina Academic Press) which addresses the legal psychological, and moral effects of sex and labor trafficking. She has worked in the area of Title IX and Compliance addressing issues around sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination. She is currently the Executive Director for Diversity and Community Partnerships for PCOM Georgia where she implements strategic efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment for both the Georgia and South Georgia locations. Aisha serves on advisory boards and diversity councils both locally and nationally. She is a podcaster for a show entitled “Dad, Daughter Dialogues,” which explores the intersectionality of life between her and her Father. Aisha also is the founder/member of ADJ Consultants and creator of aishadeberry.com, an inclusive site where she holds live sessions and masterclasses in the areas of DEI.

Rene Alegria

President & CEO

Rene Alegria is the President and CEO of MundoHispanico.com, the #1 independently owned Spanish-language digital media company in the United States. Based in Atlanta, Georgia and winner of 8 Emmy Awards, the platform is a conduit of news and entertainment programming for the entire US Latino community.

Alegria’s work has been featured on The Today Show, USA Today, CBS Early Show, The Daily Beast, and Fox News, among many others. Named as one of the top 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Magazine, and born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, he has devoted his professional life to establishing positive, multidimensional images of Latinos through a variety of media.

Prior to becoming a digital entrepreneur, Alegria was the founding publisher of Rayo/Hapercollins, an award-winning publishing imprint centered on giving voice to the Latino experience through books. Among those he worked with and nurtured were Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, PBS’s Ray Suarez, Grammy Award-winning artists Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz; People en Español’s Armando Correa, Univision’s Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, ABC’s John Quiñonez, as well as Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho in Spanish, among scores of others. The books he published won over one hundred International Latino book awards.

Keyra Lynn Johnson

Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Keyra Lynn Johnson is Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for Delta Air Lines. She is charged with leading the company in modeling a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy with supporting programs, initiatives and action plans that have impact on Delta employees, customers and the community. Under Keyra’s leadership, Delta’s strategy seeks diversity, pursues equity, promotes inclusion and drives accountability for actions that foster sustainable results.

She also oversees The Delta Care and Scholarship Funds Inc., the company’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit available to help Delta people when facing a sudden, unexpected personal crisis or provide scholarships to assist employees and their families advance their education.

Prior to joining Delta’s HR Global Talent team in 2016, Keyra served as Delta’s Managing Director – Corporate Communications. In that role, she set the course for the company’s global communications strategies, overseeing teams responsible for employee communications, public relations, international communications, the corporate intranet and leadership communications.

Keyra began her career at Delta more than 20 years ago on the frontline. Under her leadership, Delta has been honored with numerous diversity and inclusion-related distinctions. Keyra also has been named to the Top 50 Women in Travel list by GBTA’s WINiTTop 100 Diversity Officers in the U.S., top Executives in Global Diversity list, Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity list by Black Enterprise, and Corporate Advocate for Inclusion by Rainbow PUSH.

Keyra is a graduate of Georgia State University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication. She is an active member of her church and community  and she serves on the Board for Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. The badges she wears most proudly are wife to her husband, Stephen, and mother to her son and daughter – together affectionately known as #TeamJohnson.

Sue Schmidlkofer

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director

Sue Schmidlkofer is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for a global leader in logistics and the world’s largest package delivery company, UPS. In this role, Sue helps oversee the company’s strategy to leverage the unique perspectives of more than 528,000 employees across the globe to foster an inclusive culture and equitable workplace. This global strategy is built on UPS’s ability to increasingly connect our customers, suppliers, employees and communities to propel growth and innovation.

Throughout her 26-year career with UPS, Sue has held a variety of leadership roles primarily within Human Resources in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and currently at the company’s global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sue serves on the board of the Georgia Diversity Council and the Atlanta Diversity Management Advocacy Group. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sue holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Spanish, and a Master’s Degree in Business Management and Human Resources. She is also SPHR certified through the HR Certification Institute. Sue was named one of the 2018 Top Ten Champions of Global Diversity by DiversityGlobal Magazine.

A few of her passions include mentoring, volunteering, reading, spending time with her family, cooking, and playing tennis.

Doug Jenkins

Metro North Region Director

Doug Jenkins currently serves as Georgia Power’s Metro North Region Director, where he is responsible for providing leadership for region operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for 600,000 customers in an area that includes Dekalb, Forsyth, north Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties.
Jenkins has dedicated his entire career – taking on positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in region operations, engineering, key account management, customer service and sales – to Georgia Power because he recognized from the start that the company stood for something beyond energy and beyond wires. For over 30 years, he’s been motivated by the company’s mission, “A Citizen Wherever We Serve.”

Prior to his current role, Jenkins served as assistant to the executive vice president of customer service and operations. In this position, he worked with the executive team to develop and implement strategies for the company’s customer service, operations and maintenance efforts for an electric system that serves more than 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Jenkins earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA in finance from Georgia State University. He is a certified energy manager, a certified engineer-in-training and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He serves in various community leadership positions, including chairman of the board for Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board for Council for Quality Growth, past chairman of Gwinnett Technical College, past chairman of Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, the executive committees of Gwinnett Public Schools Foundation and Gwinnett Student Leadership Team. In addition, he serves on the boards of directors for Partnership Gwinnett and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. He is a member of the Gwinnett and North Fulton chapters of Citizens of Georgia Power.

Nicole Love Hendrickson

Chairwoman

Nicole Love Hendrickson was elected Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on November 3, 2020, in a historic election, making her the first African American to hold this position.

Nicole is a social worker, bridge builder and community advocate. Prior to running for office, she served as the founding director of the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners’ first-ever comprehensive outreach program that involves engaging diverse constituents in county government. She launched the Gwinnett Citizens Academy and the Gwinnett Youth Commission, among many community-based initiatives in her five-year tenure. She served as the Associate Director of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services for eight years prior to her appointment with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

Nicole is active in numerous business, civic and service organizations. She currently serves on the United Way Gwinnett Community Board, as well as the boards of Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora Theatre. She served on the Children’s Healthcare Community Board from 2013-2020 and board chair of the Gwinnett Young Professionals from 2017-2019. Nicole is a member of the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County and has held the positions of treasurer and public image chair.

Nicole is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, a 2016 graduate of the ARC’s Regional Leadership Institute, and a 2016 graduate of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber’s Cultivating Hispanic Leaders Institute.

Nicole was the recipient of the Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Service Award in 2017, and Georgia Trend named her a Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. In the following year, she received the Trailblazer Award from the 100 Black Men of Metro Atlanta, recognizing her for her years of service and dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.

Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island and later went on to earn her master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. Nicole is a Rhode Island native but has called Gwinnett County home for 12 years. She currently resides in Lilburn, with her husband of eight years and their 7 year-old son.

Contact

Contact Lina Teitelbaum, Programs & Events Manager, with questions.
678-584-2252 or lteitelbaum@gwinnettchamber.org

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