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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Jan Rosen and Jim Cook with National Financial Services Group and Laurie Bacopoulos with Cobblestone Consulting

Jan Rosen and Jim Cook/National Financial Services Group

Jan Rosen is Executive Vice President of National Financial Services Group, a leading comprehensive financial services firm in the Southeast. He is responsible for recruiting, training and mentoring a team of financial professionals in the Atlanta office. Jan has over 15 years of experience in the industry and prior to joining NFSG he served as Managing Sales Director for MetLife in the Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta markets.

Jim Cook is CEO of National Financial Services Group. The firm traces its roots back to 1896, the year that National Life Insurance Company opened an agency in Atlanta. Under Cook’s 12 year leadership, the firm has expanded into one of the premier financial services companies in the Southeast with over 100 financial professionals and offices in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. NFSG has been the recipient of numerous GAMA International Awards, which recognize exceptional agencies and firm leaders around the world.

Jan and Jim are Registered Representatives and Jim is an Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. Securities and Investment advisory services are offered solely by Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30338, 770-512-5100. National Financial Services Group, and all other entities, are independent of Equity Services, Inc. TC71859(0113)

Laurie Bacopoulos/Cobblestone Consulting

Laurie Bacopoulos is president and founder of Cobblestone Consulting, Inc. one of Atlanta’s highly respected, technology consultancies. Cobblestone celebrated 11 years of Business Excellence in 2011.

Laurie brings 2 decades of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and has proven expertise building technology solutions to real business needs. Her portfolio of technology-centric consulting experience and solutions includes implementing enterprise-wide Intranets and Portfolio Management systems that transform organizations toward new processes and improved information and decision making systems to support “Smart Business.” In June 2010, Cobblestone Consulting launched itsfirst product; “Smart Business in a Box©”, a SaaS solution that offers robust Intranet solutions that emphasizes operational efficiencies and project management.

Laurie is very actively involved in volunteerism with a mantra of “giving back”. She currently serves as President of the Association for Strategic Planners for the Atlanta Chapter, the only not-for-profit professional association dedicated to advancing thought and practice in strategy development and deployment for business, non-profit and government organizations. Additionally, she is very active with Georgia Women’s Business in their Mentor Protégé Program.

Laurie is very passionate about and an avid competitor on the endurance horse racing circuit. In 2007, she joined the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) to compete in the Southeast with her horse Dublin.


Sanjay Parekh with Startup Riot, Jessica Park with JPark Events, Drew Voyles with Young Life Africa Expeditions and Michael Muldoon with La Tagliatella

Sanjay Parekh/Startup Riot

Sanjay Parekh is the Founder of Startup Riot, an all-day event which highlights 30 startups through three minute, four slide presentations given by the startups. The startups subsequently answer questions from a judging panel for three minutes.  This year’s event will be February 20, 2013 at The Tabernacle and features keynote speakers T.A. McCann and Adam Rich.

Jessica Park/JPark Events

Jessica Park, Director of JPark Events, is a certified event planner and entrepreneur here in Atlanta, as well, she is a native Atlantan. Jessica’s near 20 year tenure in the restaurant and service industry has given her the skills to organize peers and charges to get things done in a high volume environment. A demeanor perfectly suited for event planning, proving to unusually skilled in multitasking and troubleshooting. Jpark Events has catered an afternoon tea and dessert for the Dalai Lama, has been featured in Martha’s Circle, and on Style Me Pretty, and Ruffled Blog. Her work has also been seen in Occasions Magazine, The Atlantan Brides, and Pretty Pear Bride featuring her custom dessert tables. Recently she was voted best caterer in Atlanta by Wedding Industry Experts.

Drew Voyles/Young Life Africa Expeditions

Drew Voyles is a Regional Coordinator with Young Life Africa Expeditions.  YLXA is a division of the non-profit global organization, Young Life, passionate about sending students, young adults, and families on Trips to Africa that go beyond comfort zones through full-immersion experiences. Partnering with more than 20 different Young Life Africa communities across 13 Countries, YLXA has taken over 1,200 people on 91 Trips over the past 7 years to serve and experience the heart of Africa through a different lens. Countless people both in Africa and the U.S. have come home from these Trips with their lives forever changed.”

Michael Muldoon/La Tagliatella

As President of Polish-owned AmRest Holding’s La Tagliatella, LLC in the US, Michael Muldoon is responsible for developing the strategy and executing day-to-day operations of the European-based Italian restaurant concept. With more than 130 La Tagliatella restaurants across Europe, Asia and India, Michael opened the brand’s first U.S. flagship location at the Shops at Metropolis in Midtown Atlanta, Ga., in December 2012, followed by a second location at Emory Point in Atlanta in January 2013. A third location is slated to open in Arlington, Va., in March 2013. With Michael leading the way, AmRest plans to open more than 100 La Tagliatella locations nationwide in the next few years.

Prior to introducing La Tagliatella to the U.S., Michael was president of the $240 million Applebee’s division of AmRest and led the turn-around and eventual sale of the Applebee’s division. He spent time as vice president of human resources of AppleGrove which was acquired by AmRest in July 2008. Michael has spent his entire career in the restaurant industry beginning as an hourly employee and working his way through various leadership positions in operations and support functions.

Michael holds an MBA from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University. He lives in Roswell, Georgia with his wife Charity and their two sons, Michael and Declan.

Joey Asher with Speechworks, Dov Wilker with AJC Atlanta and Tammy Allen with Do Good Get Rewards

Joey Asher/Speechworks

Joey Asher is President of Speechworks, a selling and communication skills coaching company in Atlanta. He has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. Joey’s fourth communication skills book is entitled  “15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations.”

Dov Wilker/AJC Atlanta

Dov recently returned to Atlanta and American Jewish Committee (AJC) after earning his International MBA from Tel Aviv University and working in the private sector for an Israeli Software start-up that focused on feedback and consumer engagement. Dov previously served as AJC Atlanta’s Assistant Director for two and a half years, where he led AJC’s public affairs efforts on a local and national level. Dov was selected to participate in the United States’ first professional exchange to South Asia, when he visited Sri Lanka in the summer of 2009, just months after the end of their Civil War. In Sri Lanka, Dov consulted with leaders in both the private and public sector on Diaspora relations. Most recently, Dov was recognized as one of Atlanta’s ’40 under 40’ by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Dov began his career working as the Director of Academic and Community Affairs for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Southeastern United States. Dov is married to Juliana Jacobson of Wichita, Kansas and they recently welcomed their daughter.

Tammy Allen/Do Good Get Rewards

Tammy Allen is a seasoned marketing and entertainment entrepreneur. Her experience spans over 25 years of managing professional bands, booking musical acts, producing award winning events, and owning a professional music studio. She partnered with Terri Harof at C3 Marketing for 3 years prior to launching Do Good Get Rewards. Tammy was in charge of sales, booking entertainment, public relations and marketing for clients in the hospitality industry.

Do Good Get Rewards is an online volunteer rewards program created to support Non-Profit organizations and their volunteers. Members receive reward points for volunteering and redeem them for products offered by businesses looking to increase their customer base and encourage social engagement.

Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Lisa Kennedy/Bobby Dodd Institute

Maryum Lewis/Quality Care for Children

Jamie Tobias/Piedmont Healthcare Foundation

Lisa, Maryum and Jamie are volunteers and board members for the Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a professional association representing nearly 30,000 members in 231 chapters throughout the world.  AFP volunteers and staff work to advance philanthropy through education, training, mentoring, research, credentialing, and advocacy. The association fosters the development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.

In addition to their service for AFP, they are employed full-time as fundraisers for nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta community.

February Newsletter Article

Sanjay Parekh with Startup Riot Visits Atlanta Business Radio

On January 24, 2013, co-hosts Lee Kantor and Stone Payton of BusinessRadioX®’s Atlanta Business Radio welcomed to the studio Sanjay Parekh to discuss the upcoming Startup Riot 2013 in Atlanta.

Sanjay Parekh is the Founder of Startup Riot, an all-day event which highlights 30 startups through three minute, four slide presentations given by the startups. The startups subsequently answer questions from a judging panel for three minutes. Startup Riot is open to all investors (institutional, corporate, and angels), entrepreneurs, and companies looking for partnerships and/or M&A opportunities. Also welcome are individuals representing governmental, academic, and non-profit organizations that support entrepreneurs.

Parekh founded Startup Riot several years ago to address the growing number of startups and entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area. According to Parekh, “I think the South and Atlanta specifically is a great place to be for a startup.”

Last year, Startup Riot expanded to the West Coast with events in California and Oregon. Parekh says that they are now exploring hosting events in Europe. Parekh went on to say, “The mission of Startup Riot is to help entrepreneurs wherever they are in whatever stage of the game they are at.”

This year’s event will be February 20th at The Tabernacle in Atlanta and features keynote speakers T.A. McCann and Adam Rich. T.A. McCann was the founder and CEO of Seattle-based Gist, Inc. and is now a Vice President at Research In Motion, which acquired Gist in February 2011. Adam Rich is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of, overseeing all editorial content for the leading men’s multi-platform digital lifestyle publication.

To learn more about Startup Riot and their upcoming event, listen to a rebroadcast of this episode at Atlanta Business Radio.