President/Owner, JH Austin Consulting
Theresa Austin-Gibbons is the President/Owner for JH Austin Consulting, where she provides consulting services in multiple areas including compensation, employee benefits, leadership development, and more.
Mrs. Austin-Gibbons recently served as Executive Director of WorkSource DeKalb where she fostered innovation by implementing services such as Workforce Wednesday, Helping Youth Prepare for Employment (H.Y.P.E) and receiving an Association of County Commissioners of Georgia Grant in 2019. Austin-Gibbons successfully implemented the DeKalb Virtual Career Academy (DVCA) that served over 750 youth in a summer work experience initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic and another 620 youth in 2021.
Theresa is a graduate of Valdosta State University where she received a BA in Criminal Justice. She also earned a master's in business administration at Troy University. Mrs. Austin-Gibbons enjoys singing, attending professional sporting events, spending time with her granddaughter, and traveling with her husband. In 2020, she released a duet with a long-time friend, entitled “God’s Amazing Grace Saved Me”. Theresa feels her greatest personal accomplishment in 2020 was becoming a member of the Decatur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated.
Ted R.H. Cummings
President & CEO of Onyx MS
Ted Cummings is a Board Member of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. Since 2013, he has served as Chairman of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) Professional Services Industry Group for the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC). As an advocate for education, he is currently President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Chairman of the School Advisory Council at Liberty Middle School in Covington, Georgia. In serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Georgia Piedmont Tech, Mr. Cummings has worked to enhance the academic growth of students and expanding the college’s programs, now and well into the future. We are honored to have him serve on our board of directors.
President, Decide DeKalb Development Authority
Dorian DeBarr is President of the Decide DeKalb Development Authority. He joined the Authority in 2016, developing robust programs and leading staff, resulting in a robust project pipeline, multi-agency collaboration, delivery of a five-year County-wide strategic economic development plan and the creation of Advance DeKalb, a unique public-private partnership focused on economic development. During his tenure, the Authority has facilitated the creation of more than 3,400 new and expansion jobs, as well as retained more than 7,600 jobs in DeKalb County. More than $1.3 billion in investment has been facilitated by the Authority during Dorian’s term as Interim President since 2018.
He most recently served as chief financial officer of Invest Atlanta attracting investment to Atlanta’s most underserved communities.
Dir. of Resource Mgmt, Southern Company Gas
Latasha James has over 20 years of compliance, operations, and leadership experience. Latasha currently serves as the Director of Resource Management for Southern Company Gas
where she is responsible for the strategic execution of annual work and resource forecasting, optimizing the utilization of resources, overseeing the scheduling/dispatching and fulfillment
of all work, delivering an exceptional customer experience to both internal and external customers, as well as maintaining regulatory compliance standards for Atlanta Gas Light,
Chattanooga Gas, and Virginia Natural Gas. Prior to joining Southern Company, Latasha worked with Georgia Power, Safety Kleen Inc and Universal Environmental Services LLC.
While at Georgia Power Company, she worked in a variety of cross-functional positions with increasing responsibility including regulatory, safety, compliance, maintenance, laboratory, and operations.
Latasha James holds a B.S. from the University of South Carolina and an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University. Latasha and her husband have two beautiful daughters. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending sporting events, and children’s activities.
Santiago Marquez has been the CEO of the Latin American Association (LAA) since July of 2020. He was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1971. He is a graduate of Georgia State University, an alumnus of the Buckhead Business Leadership Class and alumnus of 2013 Leadership Atlanta class. In 2020, Santiago Marquez graduated with a Master's in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business.
From 2008 - 2020, Marquez served at the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), having started as the vice president and CFO and worked his way up the organization when he was named president and CEO in 2017. There, he focused on re-energizing the mission of helping Hispanic businesses grow and integrate into mainstream society. In his capacity as President and CEO, Marquez formed an alliance with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, essentially placing GHCC as the Hispanic arm of that organization.
Prior to his time at the GHCC, Marquez served the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as the Director of Latino Outreach. The initiative focused on connecting with Latino youth and families, while helping clubs increase the number of Latino staff and board members.
Santiago Marquez has been working in the non-profit sector since 1998. Marquez served as the Director of Employment and Housing for the Latin American Association, starting the first housing department to focus on Hispanics in Atlanta.
He is a proud husband and father.
Head of Community Affairs, Amazon (Atlanta region)
Terreta Rodgers is the head of Community Affairs for Amazon’s Atlanta region and a member of the corporation’s Public Policy Team. She oversees hyperlocal external affairs strategies in support of Amazon's efforts to be the world's most trusted business and community partner.
With more than 20 years of experience in corporate relations, brand and cause marketing, community engagement, and government affairs, Terreta has spent her career leveraging relationships with opinion leaders, elected officials, and stakeholders to support economic growth in Georgia. Terreta started her career in politics, working in the Office of the Mayor of the City of Atlanta and later serving as a press secretary for Vice President Al Gore.
Terreta is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is chartering president of the Northwest Georgia Section of the National Council of Negro Women. She serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the ATL Airport Chamber.
Terreta is an alumnus of Georgia State and Clark Atlanta Universities, having earned a Master of Public Administration degree and a B.A. degree in mass media arts. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including Women Looking Ahead Magazine’s Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, and the Atlanta City Council Commendation for Community Service. She also was named one of Atlanta's Top 25 Women of Achievement and an Atlanta Business League Woman of Influence.
Terreta resides in Georgia with her husband.
Communities in Schools, Co-Founder
Mr. Shorthouse is co-founder of the Communities In Schools (CIS) national network, whose mission is to surround students with a community of support and resources, empowering them to succeed in school and to achieve in life. Mr. Shorthouse has dedicated more than 50 years to improving educational opportunities, which has resulted in increased academic achievement, post-secondary school readiness and improved graduation rates. Like Georgia Piedmont, Mr. Shorthouse aims to make talented individuals with potential highly marketable, which in turn builds upward economic mobility, resulting in stronger families and more competitive companies, who grow from the skilled people they greatly need. We are honored to have him serve on our board of directors.
Area Manager, Georgia Power
As the Georgia Power Area Manager, Rondah Thomas is responsible for external activities and community engagement for South DeKalb and Rockdale counties. She is responsible for providing support and coordination for region operations, sales, customer service, and community and economic development. She is also responsible for supporting and fostering a culture of trust, inclusion, continuous improvement, and helping to drive Southern Company’s Moving to Equity efforts.
Rondah serves as secretary for Gresham Park Community Development and has been actively involved in educating students in underserved communities in DeKalb County. She is a member of the 2022 Leadership Rockdale and 2023 Leadership Dekalb class and leads the Women’s and Children’s Ministry at First Baptist Church, Gresham Road. She is also a board member of Rockdale and Dekalb Chamber of Commerce. She is on the Advisory Board for Chris 180 as well as the board of Advance Dekalb.
Rondah was born and raised in Dekalb County and educated through the Dekalb County School System. She has a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech.
Rondah is married and has four children.
Chief Nursing Officer, Piedmont Newton Hospital
Beth Timberlake is the Chief Nursing Officer at Piedmont Newton Hospital. Prior to her role as CNO, Beth joined the Piedmont Newton Hospital in 2019 as Director of Women’s Services and then was promoted to Director for Surgical and Women’s Services. Beth’s roles and responsibilities include enhancing the quality of care by creating a strategic vision to enhance surgical and maternity services, promote growth, and cultivate an environment of engagement from the employees she serves.
Beth received her BSN from Georgia Southern University and her master’s degree in healthcare administration from Strayer University. Beth has received several honors and awards throughout her 20 years in nursing.
Her nursing career is dedicated to creating high quality, reliable systems of care and working towards engagement and professional growth in the next generations of nurses and health care professionals. Beth and her husband share three beautiful children.
Ruth A. Wilson was the first African American elected Clerk of Courts in Rockdale County, GA. Wilson served in this role for 10 years having been elected three times. Now retired, she is known as Madame Clerk Emerita. She became the first African American to have an Official Portrait in the Rockdale County Courthouse. Wilson served as a court technology leader and change maker. She committed to “Bringing the Courthouse into the Community and the Community into the Courthouse”. She did so by establishing the Family Law Information Center and Law Topic Speaker Series; donating more than $100,000 to local nonprofits and public agencies; creating the Rockdale County Middle School Oratorical Competition.
Prior to entering the public sector, Wilson worked for 26 years with SouthWestern Bell/AT&T/BELLSOUTH companies, producing measurable results that included achieving a four state $250 million revenue target for new product development and developing a $50 million application for a parent/teacher collaboration known as the Lead BellSouth International Brazil Cellular Project.
Ruth Wilson has an extensive record of community involvement and leadership with local, national and international organizations. She has received several commendations and awards. Wilson holds a BA English Literature from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Georgia State University.
Ruth finds joy as the mother of three college-educated and highly principled professionals and in marriage to her best friend and life partner. She is the grandmother of one beautiful young lady and rising star. She loves the outdoors, entertaining, and her two beautiful German Shepherds, Kenya and Kaira.