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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Conference Planning and Association Management Tips From Meeting Expectations President Brian Meyer

On today’s show we interviewed Brian Meyer with Meeting Expectations – they specialize in conference planning and association management. Brian shared some great information about employee retention as well as tips on how to get the most out of your next meeting or conference. He also explained how his company has evolved from a meeting business to now one that also manages associations and does some consulting as well.

Brian Meyer/Meeting Expectations

Meeting Expectations is a full-service, global provider of certified conference and association services. They create inspired solutions in the realms of meeting management, association management, site selection, registration, technology and marketing.

As managing partner and president for Meeting Expectations, Brian is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company. In addition, Brian is responsible for executive development, key customer contact and the overall financial performance of the company.

During Brian’s tenure, Meeting Expectations has attained 90% or better client and staff retention rates which is part of the reason they have  won numerous awards, including a longstanding position on the Corporate Meetings & Incentives CMI 25 list (a list of the 25 largest and most influential North American meeting and incentive planning companies) and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work. In 2010, he spearheaded the creation of Meeting Expectations consulting practice, Ascend Consulting, Inc. Brian further supports the industry by participating in numerous industry councils and roundtables.

ASTD Special on Nonprofit Training and Community Involvement with Jennifer Williams, Lanous Wright and Cindy Smith

Today’s show focused on the partnerships that ASTD has developed between Georgia Center for Nonprofits and Goodwill of North Georgia. Nonprofit training and community involvement are two of the missions of the ASTD.

Jennifer Williams/Greater Atlanta Chapter of ASTD

Jennifer is the Vice President of Community Involvement at the Greater Atlanta Chapter of ASTD, American Society for Training and Development. ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. There are 130 U.S. Chapters and members of the ASTD come from over 100 different countries. The Atlanta Chapter is one of the largest in the Country and is thought to be one of the thought leaders with multiple awards.

The Community Involvement group is apart of the ASTD Chapter and is designed to give members the opportunity participate in community involvement activities around the city. The group supports metro Atlanta non-profits with Training & Development resources to increase the workplace readiness skills of their staffs and clients. They have developed partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Jennifer is also a Sales Force Effectiveness Trainer at Georgia Pacific. She is responsible for managing the entry-level sales professional new hire onboarding program as well as designing and developing e-learning platforms for external, distributor sales teams.

Lanous Wright/Georgia Center for Nonprofits

Lanous is the Nonprofit University Director at Georgia Center for Nonprofits.  The Georgia Center for Nonprofits’ mission is to improve the quality of life by making nonprofits more successful and their vision is to build the country’s highest performing state-focused resource center as well as to position Georgia as a national model for nonprofit excellence and achievement.

Cindy Smith/Designs to Perform

Cindy has been volunteering with the Goodwill of North Georgia for several years now teaching a basic computer skills course. Recently she has helped to join Goodwill of North Georgia and ASTD. She describes their working together as a partnership, seeing as GoodWill’s mission is  putting people back to work and ASTD Atlanta’s is about workplace learning and performance, the partnership has worked out very well. Their project is to create more courses for the Goodwill centers. She and her team are currently developing new courses for the Goodwill centers. Looking to sign up and help Cindy go here and check out their project.

In addition to her volunteer work she does instructional design

Real Estate Connections ATL Special with Peter Pasternack

We are excited to announce that each month we will be doing a Special Edition of Atlanta Business Radio and spotlight one of Atlanta real estate community’s most popular business networking events – Real Estate Connections ATL – which is  held on the first Thursday of each month.  Real Estate Connections ATL is hosted by one of the stars of Flip This House, on one of television’s most recognized real estate investment and home renovation shows, Peter Pasternack from Foundation Designs. His company designs, builds, and renovates residential and commercial property.

Peter invited some of the past sponsors and attendees of this event to talk about what makes this event so special.

Tony Davis, Financial Center Leader in Small Business and Consumer Lending with BB&T talked about why his company sponsors this event. David Hixon with Property Inspectors of Atlanta talked about how he  met a great power partner at this event and how it helped him grow his business dramatically. Jeremiah Jarmin, Principal with The Jarmin Law Group explained how this is the real estate networking event he looks forward to most each month.

Everyone agreed that Peter does a great job making sure each attendee meets someone that is important to him or her.

If you are affiliated with real estate in any way please check out this event each month. The next event will be held at AJA at 3500 Lenox Road, across from Phipps Plaza on April 5, 2012 from 6-9pm.

A special shout out to our sponsor – the Business Marketing Association – Atlanta Chapter.  Please go to their website to register for their monthly networking events

Also . . . if you know of a business in Atlanta that we should know about, please email Amy Otto at Amy@ and we’ll invite them to appear on the show.


Farm To Table Restaurant Special with Atlanta Chef Costanzo Astarita

On today’s Farm to Table special edition of  Atlanta Business Radio we interviewed Constanzo Astarita and talked with him about the C&M Gastronomy Group that he started with friend Mario Maccarone.

Costanzo Astarita / C&M Gastronomy Group. Costanzo hails from the Island of Capri, off the coast of Italy, where he was born into a food-centric family. Steeped in a culture rich in fresh ingredients from land and sea, the long line of chefs practiced an innovative culinary lifestyle focused on quality and creativity.

When Astarita’s family immigrated to Bermuda, he honed his skills at The Bermuda Culinary School. During his education, Astarita cooked for a veritable who’s who of dignitaries and movers and shakers. From Princess Margaret and President George H. W. Bush to legendary music producer Robert Stigwood and others, leaders the world over have lauded Astarita’s skill.

Astarita continued his education in the United Kingdom where he immersed himself in a vigorous culinary environment. He then settled in Georgia in 1989 and became the food and beverage director at Chateau Elan.

After revamping the resort’s culinary efforts and establishing a new program, Astarita decided to bring his unique vision to the Atlanta dining scene when he realized his dream of becoming a business owner. Along with business partner and fellow countryman Mario Maccarone, Astarita launched C+M Gastronomy Group. For nearly two decades, C & M Gastronomy Group has brought unique and stylized restaurant concepts to the Atlanta restaurant market.

Astarita’s commitment to exemplary cuisine is behind some of the city’s most beloved restaurants, including Ciao Bella, Baraonda, Publik Draft House and his newest concept, Fig Jam Kitchen & Bar.  Among his various mentors and employers, Astarita counts his father among his most influential role models.

He still remembers his father’s mantra, and holds it dear to his heart today:

Serve the best and freshest, in-season ingredients available.  Keep the recipe simple, and let the ingredients stand out in each dish.

Astarita infuses these principles into his winning recipe for success, and he brings his passion for creative, quality cuisine to each plate he prepares.


Mary Waters: International Trade Opportunities For Georgia Businesses, And Christine Stadler Georgia Family Law Attorney

Today we opened the show by exploring international trade opportunities for Georgia businesses with Mary Waters. And closed the show with our good friend family law attorney Christine Stadler.

Mary Waters/ Georgia Department of Economic Development

From 2008 Mary has been helping information technology, medical and life sciences companies export products/services to international markets as the international trade manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s global commerce division. The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm and lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, developing new domestic and international markets, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.

Christine Stadler/ Stadler Law Group LLC

Christine Stadler is the President of the Stadler Law Group, a team of experienced, competent Georgia family law attorneys who serve the Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee and metro Atlanta areas. Their philosophy is to help you through your family law matter as quickly, easily and as cheaply as possible. They handle divorce, paternity, legal separation, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property, domestic violence, and any other family law related issue. Her personal specialties are in Divorce and Bankruptcy. With an Emory law degree received in 1991, Christine is an excellent lawyer and comes highly recommended by her past clients.




Atlanta Connectors Special with Paul Terlemezian from iFive Alliances, Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk from BBR Marketing and Kenneth F Jones from Dynami Group

We opened another edition of Atlanta Connectors with business alliances expert Paul Terlemezian with iFive Alliances.  Paul says the primary reason for a business to improve its ability to build connections is to increase its profits. Connections may lead to reduced costs or increased revenues – the work of iFive is focused on increasing the revenues of its clients by building strategic business to business alliances.

Next up we had on good friend Bonnie Buol Rusczyk with BBR Marketing. Her firm provides marketing strategy and services to professional services firms. By having such a narrow market, she has been able to create a name for herself and her company, and was recently named “One to Watch” by AccountingToday on their Top 100 Most Influential People of 2011

And we closed the show with Kenneth F Jones with Dynami Group. Dynami features seasoned professionals who are knowledgeable in all areas of meeting production services. We bring together the best team for your needs. We understand your need to produce a diverse array of meetings and events, domestic and international, often with little lead-time and always with a view to providing measurable cost saving.

A special shout out to our sponsor – the Business Marketing Association – Atlanta Chapter.  Please go to their website to register for their monthly networking events

Also . . . if you know of a business in Atlanta that we should know about, please email Amy Otto at Amy@ and we’ll invite them to appear on the show.