Speakers

Dawn Cook, PCC

Dawn Cook, PCC

Executive Coach

Executive Coach working with leaders and teams to improve their leadership bench strength, increase the speed/reduce cost of doing business through better work relationships and deliver better results. Her mission is to help organizations drive profits by developing their people and she believes that better emotional intelligence (EQ) leads to better leaders which lead to better business performance.
Dawn’s clients include Fox Sports, Coca Cola, Southern Company, AFLAC, Towers Watson and many more. Dawn has also co-authored, “Developing Human Performance” with her colleagues at 6 Seconds. She has also been interviewed in various magazines on the value of emotional intelligence in customer service.

Aziz Hashim

Aziz Hashim

Managing Partner at NRD Capital

Aziz Hashim is founder and General Partner of NRD Capital, the first business fund both sponsored and managed by a Multi-unit franchisee. In 2014, Nation’s Restaurant News recognized Mr. Hashim as one of the “50 most powerful leaders” in the Foodservice Industry for setting the standard for multi-unit development. He is often published and quoted in prestigious franchise industry publications as well as The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Globe and Mail, and The Washington Post.

Mr. Hashim serves on several boards including the Board of Advisors at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. He also is a member of the Executive Committee for the International Franchise Association (IFA), and will become its Chairman in 2016.

Amin Maredia

Amin Maredia

Chief Executive Officer at Sprouts Farmers Market

Executive with strategic, operations and financial experience with Global Fortune 100 and private equity backed companies in retail, energy, manufacturing and financial services sectors. Deep experience in strategy, operations, capital markets, structured finance, M&A and stakeholder management.

Currently as chief executive officer of Sprouts Farmers Market, Amin serves as the steward of one of the largest natural and organic retailers in the country, and champion to our passion: to inspire, educate, and empower every person to eat healthier and live a better life.

Rudy Karson

Rudy Karson

Managing Director, Karlani Capital

As co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Kenexa (recently sold to IBM for $1.3 billion), Nooruddin (Rudy) Karsan has built the company to its current standing as a leading global provider of business solutions for human resources. Started in 1987, Kenexa boasts a global presence in more than 20 countries, over 2700 employees, and a stellar client list including three of the Fortune 5. Kenexa’s unique combination of software solutions, content and services helps organizations improve business outcomes. Under his leadership, the company went public in 2005 and has been one of the fastest growing companies on the NASDAQ. In November 2011, Kenexa moved to the NYSE. Kenexa has received numerous awards in the HCM and HR technology space, including Forbes’ Fastest Growing Technology Companies, and Top HR Product of the Year by Human Resource Executive® magazine in 2008 and 2010.
In addition to his leadership, Karsan brings to the company his vision of serving humanity, which has become Kenexa’s mission. He has been lauded for his entrepreneurial and humanitarian achievements by the Kauffman Foundation, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program, the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board. In 2010, he co-authored a book, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement, which was a NY Times bestseller, and illustrates many of Karsan’s personal beliefs with respect to organizational and career success. Karsan attributes his personal success to the unconditional support of his family, which he considers his greatest achievement.

Derreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo

Founder of the Global Soap Project

Derreck is the founder of the Global Soap Project, which recycles used hotel soap and redistributes it to impoverished populations around the world. In creating this global humanitarian initiative, he demonstrated that a simple, yet novel idea has the power to transform the lives of millions. A Top Ten CNN Hero in 2011, his passion for helping others and commitment to innovative thinking previously earned him the role of CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Most recently Derreck has joined the board of trustees for Helen Keller International, an organization committed to improving the sight of vulnerable populations around the world. From Ugandan refugee to successful entrepreneur and renowned human rights activist, Derreck inspires audiences to dream big as he shares his vision for harnessing the power of observation to identify issues and solve challenges in any community or organization.

Hamidah Thanawala

Hamidah Thanawala

Hamidah is a financial executive with over 20 years’ experience with top tier global banks, the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, and a large international consulting firm. Currently Hamidah is a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young in their Financial Services risk and regulatory funtion with major Globally Significant Financial Institutions as her clients.

Hamidah has an MBA from Pace University and an MS in Hospitality Management from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also is a CFA (Certified Financial Analyst). Hamidah lives with her husband, has two children, ages 18 and 15 and likes to go on family hikes, watch movies and enjoy ‘Girls nights out’.

Rozmin Ajanee

Rozmin Ajanee

Vice President of Jasper Ridge Partners

Rozmin Ajanee is a Vice President in the Private Equity group of Jasper Ridge Partners, a Palo Alto-based investment management firm that provides discretionary investment management services and customized solutions to prominent families, foundations and global institutions. Prior to joining Jasper Ridge, Rozmin worked on the investment team of Sterling Partners, a middle market private equity fund based in Chicago, where she managed a number of acquisitions in the healthcare and for-profit education space. Rozmin began her career as an Investment Banking Analyst at UBS Investment Bank.

Rozmin received a BA in Communication Studies from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Akbar Jaffer

Akbar Jaffer

CMO at ZorroSign

Akbar brings over 20 years of innovation and enterprise software industry experience, managing multi-million dollar products selling into worldwide SMB and large enterprises. Akbar specializes in innovation trends and practices, revenue engineering, marketing technology, and growth strategies.

Akbar currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer and a board member of ZorroSign, Inc., He also serves as the founding Chairperson for the SF Bay Area chapter of the Internet Marketing Association. He also serves as the Honorary Secretary of IPN Western Region chapter. Akbar authors PointOfIntersection.org, a blog about innovation where technology and humanities meet.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Computer Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, and has completed advanced studies in Internet marketing and Social Media strategies from the University of California, Irvine.

In his copious amounts of free time, Akbar explores his passion for films, theatre, music, third world development, traveling, and jeep off-roading.

Beau Turpin

Beau Turpin

Beau Turpin was born and raised in Albany, Georgia and was able to begin his career close to home. While attending Georgia Southern University he had the opportunity to play football in We Are Marshall. After deciding this was the career he wanted to pursue full time, he decided to finish his degree before pursue the film industry. Instead of moving to LA, he was lucky to start working immediately in Georgia.

Working on films in Atlanta such as The Blind Side, Hall Pass, Footloose and Joyful Noise helped Beau to work closely with seasoned industry professionals such as Molly Smith, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Michael Nathanson, eventually opening up the door to producing his own movies in Los Angeles.

In his final act as an assistant, Beau worked for former DreamWorks executives, Walter and Laurie Parkes, on the Zach Galifianakis comedy, Keeping Up With The Joneses and Paramount’s Rings, finishing up with Joel Silver on The Nice Guys with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

He previously co-produced Lionsgate’s Counterpunch, starring Danny Trejo and Steven Bauer. His newest film he produced, Beneath the Leaves, starring Mira Sorvino, Paul Sorvino, Doug Jones and Chris Masterson will be out later this year.

Beau has partnered with veteran producer and former studio president Richard Saperstein. They are currently in the midst of launching their new company Bluestone Entertainment and partnering with a new studio facility being built in Covington, Georgia. There they will develop and produce the growing slate of over two dozen films and serve as a co-financier to other films as well.

Jacqui Chew

Jacqui Chew

Jacqui Chew is ATDC’s startup catalyst and CMO-in-Residence with a focus on providing customer acquisition and channel strategy as well as investor relations counsel. She is an award-winning go-to-market strategist and principal at iFusion, a digital strategy collective. Jacqui’s experience spans well-known brands and high-growth b2b and b2c startups including Cycloramic, eBay, IBM, Stainmaster, PeopleSoft (now Oracle), and Venture Atlanta. As the senior marketing executive at Silverpop, a marketing automation pioneer, she oversaw its debut and supported the Series B round venture capital raise of $30 million.

Jacqui has spoken at TED and is a sought-after speaker on digital strategy, disruptive business models, and entrepreneurship. She has been featured on FOX 5 Atlanta and quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, and Fortune.

Jacqui is active in the technology and social innovation communities. She organizes TEDxPeachtree, the largest TEDx event in Georgia and contributes to the TAG Hi-Growth Industry Task Force. Previously, she served on the boards of the Atlanta Press Club, Women in Technology and the Atlanta chapter of the American Marketing Association. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Hawaii, Manoa and speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and Taiwanese.

Asad Abdulla

Asad Abdulla

Asad Abdulla is a Director of Product Innovation & Management at Equifax. Asad’s background spans product innovation, management, strategy, and business development in both established companies and start-ups. Asad loves staying involved in the community and serves on the board of Technology Association of Georgia’s (TAG) Product Management Society and as a pro-bono consultant with numerous community organizations in Atlanta.

Aisha Yaqoob

Aisha Yaqoob

Aisha is a professional advocate for immigrant rights at the state Capitol, working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to push for civil rights for immigrants and people of color. She is currently the Democratic nominee for Georgia House District 97 which includes parts of Northern Gwinnett county. As policy director for a nonprofit legal and advocacy center, Aisha monitors local, state, and federal policies that affect immigrants and works to fight for their rights. Aisha is actively involved in her community. She was a co-organizer of Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women, has participated in the Gwinnett Citizens Academy (Fall 2016 Cohort) and served on the Advisory Committee for the Downtown Suwanee Redevelopment Commission (2014-2015).

Munir Meghjani

Munir Meghjani

A progressive thinker and a social and civil entrepreneur, Munir Meghjani has used his professional experience and heavy community involvement to make connections and bring together diverse groups in Atlanta. This commercial and investment real estate broker with Sands Investment Group is also cofounder of Knock on Wood Creations, which makes handcrafted wood accessories. He also serves as the founding Executive Director of his non-profit HOPE (Helping Organizations & People Everywhere) Inc. – they create interactive events to re‑engage young adults in service. He also played a critical role in the start of AROMA (Activist Recruiting Organizing & Mentoring in Atlanta), a group geared towards strategically and creatively mobilizing activists.

He was recently honored as part of the first-ever “Emory Alumni Association’s 40 Under Forty” by Emory University and the inaugural “40 Under 40 Georgia Muslim” by the Islamic Speakers Bureau. He won the 2016 OPEN Atlanta Pitch Tank and received the Sands Investment Group “Pacesetter Award.” He is also a graduate of the inaugural Emerging Leadership DeKalb Class of 2017. His motivation comes from a mantra he adopted at an early age: “I can’t do all the service the world needs, but the world needs all the service I can do!” Munir graduated from Emory University in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology focusing on Sociology and Philosophy.

Amir Charania

Amir Charania

Amir Charania leads the Data & Analytics practice at Daugherty Business Solutions, a management and technology consulting firm that works with Fortune 500 companies across the country. He has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. In his current role, he focuses his efforts on (a) identifying opportunities to create business value through the application of analytics (b) exploring ways in which he can grow the capabilities of his Data & Analytics team of well accomplished consultants and (c) help his current client, Delta Airlines, improve their customer loyalty program by providing strategic recommendations based on customer analytics.

Amir earned his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai and his MBA in Management of Technology from Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. He currently lives in Johns Creek with his wife and two children.

Brandy Nagel

Brandy Nagel

Brandy Nagel is an Entrepreneurship Educator and Research Faculty in the Economic Development Lab at Georgia Tech. In addition to helping students and researchers create startups, she works with educators and campus leaders to develop entrepreneurship programs. Working with local teams, she designs and implements education programs to support commercialization of technologies and economic development. She has served as a part of the NSF I-Corps program since 2011. Her background includes marketing communications and trademark licensing. From strategy to execution, she has developed and launched marketing plans at startups, corporations, non-profits, small businesses and agencies. Her books on social media and technology can be found on Amazon. Brandy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Brenau University and a Master’s degree from Mercer University.

Seth Radman

Seth Radman

Seth Radman is an entrepreneur and recent Georgia Tech grad who has started and grown multiple successful startups. His first company, Plutonium Apps, has built and launched 30 mobile apps for startups and corporate customers including the Atlanta Hawks, UGA, and BrandBank. His apps have has been featured on the App Store 10+ times in over a hundred countries, including Apple’s App of the Day.

Seth’s work and his startups have been featured prominently by several news outlets, including TechCrunch and Apple. He has made speaking appearances at TEDx Georgia Tech and SXSW, and he serves as an advisor and mentor to startups at ATDC, TechSquare Labs, and Georgia Tech. Seth is currently the cofounder of Crescendo, a music technology startup that helps musicians boost their confidence through interactive training software powered by AI.

Pallavi Purkayastha

Pallavi Purkayastha

Pallavi first ventured into political campaigns as a volunteer for Michelle Nunn for Georgia Senate. After the 2014 midterm elections, she worked at the Democratic Party of Georgia’s field program for nearly two years, where she raised funds and did grassroots voter outreach. In 2016, Pallavi led the field efforts for Rep. Sam Park, who defeated a three-term incumbent to become the first progressive Asian-American elected to Georgia’s General Assembly. Last year, she served as Campaign Manager to Rep. Bee Nguyen, who became the first Vietnamese-American legislator upon winning. She currently serves as Chief of Staff to Representative David Dreyer, and Campaign Manager to State Representative candidate, Angelika Kausche, and State Senator Jen Jordan. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Red Clay Democrats, a political action committee dedicated to electing progressives in the state and local level. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs.

Representative Meagan Hanson

Representative Meagan Hanson

For Meagan, serving others and her local community has always been a way of life. Whether as a volunteer, or as a practicing family law attorney providing pro bono assistance, Meagan has been involved in building our community. In 2016, Meagan took her passion for public service and ran to represent the 80th district in the State House. Meagan has been working tirelessly to deliver results that improve the lives of families across the district ever since.

An attorney by trade, Meagan received her law degree from the University of Alabama. This year, Meagan was once again named one of the most influential attorneys in Georgia by James Magazine. In 2014, James Magazine listed her as one of Georgia’s most influential attorneys. For the last two years, Hanson has regularly appeared on Fox 5’s ‘The Georgia Gang’ as a guest panelist.

As a homeowner and active community leader in Brookhaven, Hanson was deeply involved in the grassroots effort for the Brookhaven cityhood movement as a board member for BrookhavenYES. Hanson is an active member of the Junior League of Atlanta, where her service earned her the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award. As a Republican leader, Hanson is the immediate past chair of the Georgia Young Republicans, having served three years as Chair. She was awarded the Georgia Young Republicans’ 2015 Woman of the Year.

Hanson is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law. She and her husband, David, also an Atlanta attorney, live In Brookhaven with their two chocolate labs, Beau and Lucy.

Naaz Malek

Naaz Malek

Naaz is the lead physician assistant for California Emergency Physicians’ Atlanta site, at DeKalb Medical Center. She graduated with Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast News Journalism from the University of Georgia. She has a Master of Health Sciences from the University of South Alabama and is board certified to practice Emergency Medicine.

Naaz is a national speaker for CEP; she conducts procedural workshops and does case and literature reviews at conferences. She is also a clinical preceptor and adjunct lecturer for physician assistant faculties at Emory University, Philadelphia College of Medicine, and Morehouse College of Medicine.

Naaz is a volunteer journalist who writes, edits, and produces multi-media content for various Ismaili organizations and non-profits such as The Foundation for a Better Life. Naaz’s goal is to combine her passion of video based story-telling with medicine to raise awareness about health and social issues and the make the world a better place.

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