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Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Board of Directors Adds New Members for 2018

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP) has named the following five new members to its Board of Directors:

  • Elizabeth Chandler, Vice President & General Counsel, Legal Department – Rollins, Inc.
  • Tharon Johnson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer – Paramount Consulting Group, LLC
  • JaKathryn Ross, Senior Director, Community Affairs – Georgia-Pacific
  • Michael B. Russell, Chief Executive Officer – H.J. Russell & Company
  • Austin Stephens, Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor – Merrill Lynch

“The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is excited to welcome five new distinguished business and community leaders to its Board of Directors,” said ABP Executive Director Rob Brawner. “These new members provide leadership and strengthen relationships with key partners that will help us continue to support the Atlanta BeltLine through our fundraising, programming and advocacy.”

A complete list of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s Board of Directors can be found here. Following are brief biographies of the Partnership’s new Directors:

Elizabeth Chandler, Vice President & General Counsel, Legal Department – Rollins, Inc.

Elizabeth B. (Beth) Chandler is the Vice President and General Counsel of Rollins, Inc. Rollins is a nationwide consumer services company best known for its signature brand — Orkin Pest Control. Rollins provides pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than two million customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Mexico through its wholly-owned subsidiaries. She has responsibility for the legal, risk management, and audit functions for Rollins, Inc.

Chandler has had a long tenure in Atlanta. Before joining Rollins, Chandler was vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Asbury Automotive. Prior to working with Asbury, Chandler served as City Attorney for the City of Atlanta in Shirley Franklin’s administration; and she served as vice president, assistant general counsel and corporate secretary for Mirant Corp. She began her career at Troutman Sanders LLP, and when she departed, she was a partner in the Corporate Section.

Chandler graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia Law School and the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. She has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Atlanta community, including chair of the board of Atlanta Beltline Inc., and on the board of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Visitors of the UGA Law School. She has participated as a Trustee and on the Finance Committee at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and on the Board of the Partnership against Domestic Violence. She has also served on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia.

Tharon Johnson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer – Paramount Consulting Group, LLC

Tharon Johnson is the founder and CEO of Paramount Consulting Group, a company which offers campaign consulting, lobbying, and government relations services. His diverse portfolio includes clients such as Microsoft, AT&T, and Southern Company, among others. Prior to founding Paramount, Johnson was a Managing Director with McKenna, Long, and Aldridge from 2013 to 2015 and a Director with Greenberg Traurig from 2015 to early 2017.

Since 2001, Tharon has also spearheaded successful campaigns for such notable officials as Congressman John Lewis, Mayor Kasim Reed, Congressman John Barrow, and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. He went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Barrow and as District Director for Congressman Lewis. Tharon’s record includes these victories, as well as numerous other elections for candidates for U.S. Congress, judge, Georgia General Assembly, county commission, city council, sheriff, and school board.

In 2012, Tharon was honored by Georgia Trend magazine as a recipient of their “40 under 40 Award,” recognizing Georgia’s Best and Brightest, and by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a recipient of their “40 under 40, Atlanta’s Rising Business and Community Leaders Award.” James Magazine named Mr. Johnson one of the top 25 most influential Georgians. Additionally, Politics Magazine named Tharon among the Top 10 Democrats in Georgia, and he was the only African-American to be named a Campaigns & Elections 2010 Rising Star. In addition to his political honors, he was awarded the Unsung Hero award by his alma mater Clark Atlanta University.

JaKathryn Ross, Senior Director, Community Affairs – Georgia-Pacific

JaKathryn Ross is Senior Director of Community Affairs at Georgia-Pacific.  In this role, she advances Georgia-Pacific’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, through both service and charitable contributions, as well as, connecting GP to broader Koch-wide initiatives that support economic freedom and societal wellbeing.  JaKathryn supports efforts that address important issues such as over-criminalization and reducing barriers to opportunities for those with past convictions in our communities – challenges that ultimately hinder entrepreneurship and the broader free market.

JaKathryn previously served as the founding executive director of Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia (YEGeorgia), a high school program that provides students with business and entrepreneurship education experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society. JaKathryn led YEGeorgia from concept to actualization which has impacted more than 2,800 students since 2006.

JaKathryn received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida A & M University, and a MBA from Mercer University. Leveraging a breadth of experience in accounting, marketing, sales, and strategic planning that spans 30 years at leading companies including JP Morgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson and now Georgia-Pacific. JaKathryn skillfully transfers that knowledge to advance entrepreneurship education, criminal justice reform and strategic business engagement.

Always willing to share her knowledge, JaKathryn has served as an adjunct professor at Morehouse College and presents at workshops and seminars both locally and nationally on the topic of entrepreneurship education and its value to thriving communities. She also serves on the boards of Georgia Justice Project, Literacy Action, KIPP Metro Atlanta, Park Pride, Leadership DeKalb, and the Council on Alcohol & Drugs.  Ms. Ross is a member of the 2014 Class of Leadership DeKalb and 2016 Class of Leadership Atlanta.

Michael Russell, Chief Executive Officer, H.J. Russell & Company

Michael Russell was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of The Russell Companies in October 2003 succeeding his father, Herman Russell, who founded the company in 1952 and led it for fifty years.  Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer, Michael spent most of his career with H.J. Russell & Company serving in a variety of executive positions, most recently as Executive Vice President where he was responsible for the management and strategic direction of the construction and program management divisions. Michael is also Vice Chairman of Concessions International, an innovator in the airport food and beverage concessions industry. Michael received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and earned his MBA from Georgia State University.  He serves on the boards of various organizations including the Metro Atlanta Chamber (Executive Committee), Commerce Club, SunTrust Atlanta Bank Advisory Board, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business Advisory Board, and University of Virginia Foundation Board.  Michael is also a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and 100 Black Men.

C. Austin Stephens, Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor – Merrill Lynch

Austin joined Merrill Lynch and the private wealth practice of STG Partners in 1997. Austin specializes in developing and managing single family office services. Austin’s experience in working with both affluent clients as well as a family intermediary is instrumental in developing super affluent families.

Austin holds a B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Austin remains active with his alma mater as a member of the Chancellor’s Philanthropic Council for the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.  Austin also serves as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors of American Rivers, the Board of Trustees of The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, the Board for PATH Foundation, as well as the Board of Directors of Feed My Lambs Ministries.

Austin and his wife Stephanie live in Atlanta, Georgia with their daughter Katherine (6) and son Thomas (4). 

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