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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Mary Blackmon with Farm Star Living, Angie Reese with Accurate Protection, and Raven Sampson with The Smart Data


Mary Blackmon/Farm Star Living

Mary is a 3rd generation farmer from Arkansas, who left her hometown to pursue college and a career in advertising sales and marketing in Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York City. She worked for publishing houses and internet companies (Wired, Walt Disney Internet Group, Vivendi-Universal Internet Group). In NYC in 2002, she founded, the first national discount site for the spa & wellness industry. She grew it into a multi-million dollar business and a leader in the industry, and attracted hundreds of thousands of women as well as sponsors including Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, Kimberly Clark, Allergan, American Express, et al.

In 2008, however, she learned most of her family farm bordering Ark / LA would be sold. Not wanting to lose the family heritage and farmland her family before her had so cherished, Mary, along with the support of her brother Douglas, was adamant to preserve and keep the remaining farmland. She then began making changes in her life so that she could move from Los Angeles back South in order to keep, operate and run the farm. She bought back her grandparents house and renovated it, and discovered that ‘saving the family farm’ had changed her life forever – and for the better. Today she admits that she is happier than ever – inspired, loving the farming business and now launching Farm Star Living, which she felt compelled to create for the good of farming and the people she has met along her new path. She hopes that Farm Star Living will provide farmers the respect, acknowledgment and support they so deserve and attract new farmers as well as support the current ones.

Angie Reese/Accurate Protection

Accurate Protection is an independent insurance agency specializing in business insurance. Safeguarding your company from potential losses requires more than just the purchase of an insurance policy. We invest ourselves and our time to understand your business and assist you with developing strategies that lower your overall business risk as well as your cost of insurance over an extended period of time. From your first meeting with us throughout your interactions you will see that we strive to consistently go beyond the expected standard routine and deliver results that exceed your expectations.

Workers’ compensation is a fixed commodity and a controllable expense. Our job is to ensure that you do not pay a dime more than you have to for coverage. Accurate Protection will provide you with money-saving strategies that reduce your bottom line. We understand how the system really works. Let us teach you how to control your workers’ compensation program, instead of allowing it to control you.

Raven Sampson/The Smart Data

Raven Sampson is the Founder and CEO of The Smart Data. The Smart Box is a fun-filled way to encourage children to successfully master spelling, reading, vocabulary, math, history, general knowledge and specific topics of interest – all while engaging in their normal video games.


Malenka Warner with Daybook Network, Jacqui Chew with TEDx Peachtree, Neale Martin with Sublime Behavior Marketing, and Peter Bowerman the Well Fed Author


Malenka Warner/Daybook Network FacebookLinkedinTwitter

Malenka Warner is Managing Director and Owner of Daybook Network, which specializes in hyper-local news syndication. Atlanta Daybook, is used by non-profit organizations, PR agencies, advertising agencies, government agencies, professional organizations and corporate communications departments, to “Get the Word Out” about their news and events. (Nashville Daybook is gearing up, and other cities will follow in 2014.)

With over 30 years experience in broadcasting, interactive and social marketing, and public relations – Malenka makes sure that Daybook helps its Contributors capitalize on the Digital Ripple involved with online promotion.

Atlanta Daybook has over 7,000 subscribers, including reporters and newsroom staff from radio stations, television stations, newspapers and magazines, government officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders and the community influencers. Daybook is about engaging the community in your brand story!

And because Daybook has been around for over 14 years, it also brings tremendous search-equity strength to Contributor’s stories. Add to that the Daybook social promotion strategy for Contributor stories with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – and you can see why Daybook is the catalyst for your Digital Ripple.

NOTE: Malenka mentioned the GBI Cyber Safety Initiative – which responds to community requests for presenters on the subjects of Cyber Safety and Cyber Bullying. If your community group is interested in having a trained individual come present more information, you can click here to make your request:

Other online resources that Malenka mentioned:, and

Jacqui Chew/ TEDx Peachtree

Jacqui Chew Spent the last 15 years leading high-performance teams at both marketing consultancies and corporations. Four years ago she started iFusion Marketing to exorcise her passion for supporting innovation and by extension technology startups. Officially, iFusion Marketing is a consultancy that provides fractional CMO services to technology startups. In practice, she serves as the stand-in senior marketing executive for companies that aren’t quite ready to add a permanent senior marketer to their team. Tasks run the gamut from strategy planning to brass tacks execution.

Jacqui apprenticed with some of the best in Atlanta such as Georgia Technology Hall of Fame inductee Leland Strange and worked with or at some pretty recognizable companies like eBay, Durex Consumer Products, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), Miller Brewing Company and Stonesoft (HA+infosec for you cyber security buffs). Finally, she led the launch of Silverpop,, and during the tech boom of the late 1990s.

Neale Martin/Sublime Behavior Marketing

Neale is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sublime Behavior Marketing, a marketing consulting firm that applies brain science principles to shape and change consumer and organizational behavior. Neale’s expertise in unconscious behavior has been widely embraced by some of the world’s top market researchers at leading companies in diverse industries including CPG, pharmaceutical, consumer electronics, and wireless. His work on the primacy of unconscious mental processes helps explain many of marketing’s most pernicious errors.

Neale is an accomplished author, consultant, speaker and college professor. He is the author of the celebrated book Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore, a pioneering examination of the principles of marketing in light of research from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. In Habit, Neale guides readers through the complexity of the human brain and remarkable examples of the impact of the unconscious mind across business, pop culture and daily life. Perhaps most importantly, the book lays the foundation for a habit-based approach to marketing that updates traditional marketing tenets with 21st century brain science.

Peter Bowerman/Well Fed Author

Peter Bowerman is the author of The Well-Fed Writer (2000), TWFW: Back For Seconds (2005), The Well-Fed Self-Publisher (2007) and the 2009 edition of The Well-Fed Writer – which combined and heavily updated the content of BOTH original WFW titles. The WFW books are how-to “standards” in the lucrative field of commercial freelancing – writing for businesses, large and small.

In 1993, after a 15-year career in sales and marketing, Bowerman turned his sights to freelance commercial writing. With no industry experience, no previous paid writing experience and no writing background, he built a commercial freelancing business in Atlanta, Georgia from fantasy to full-time in less than four months.

His corporate client list has included The Coca-Cola Company, MCI, BellSouth, IBM, UPS, Holiday Inn, Cingular Wireless, DuPont, American Express, Mercedes-Benz, The Discovery Channel, Junior Achievement, Georgia-Pacific, The Cartoon Network, the CDC, The American Heart Association and many others.

Special Edition: TiE Atlanta


Bobby John/Band of Coders

KP Reddy/Ampirix LinkedinTwitter

KP Reddy is an author, entrepreneur, second generation civil engineer, speaker and thought leader with over 25 years experience in technology and the building infrastructure industry. He is a nationally-recognized expert on advanced construction technologies, including Building Information Modeling (BIM), Collaborative Communication, Artificial Intelligence, Semantics Database Technology, Mobile Applications and Cloud computing and is currently focused on innovation and sustainability for the Built Environment. In 2012, KP published his first book BIM for Building Owners and Developers: Making a Business Case for Using BIM on Projects a go-to-guide for increasing transparency, and creating a more integrated design and construction process, leading to better quality buildings at a lower cost and in a shorter time frame. KP is currently a Managing Advisor with AMPIRIX Consulting, a firm that recommends innovative solutions, identifies and helps launch new products, expand into new markets, direct strategic acquisitions and forge corporate relationships.

Ritu Shrivastava/Live Ur Dreem

Learning an Art — like the Bollywood Dance or Yoga for instance — has many proven benefits like fitness, fun, meeting like minded people. Dancing both assists children’s development and enriches the lives of adults. With more than 20 years of experience in dance lessons, Ritu at the Live Ur Dreem Dance Studio provides unique and personalized instruction to our students. Our team of instructors are motivated by their love of dance, yoga and the passion to transfer their knowledge and skills to others so their creativity and talent can shine. We can teach anyone from age 5 on. We guide each and every student through the basics of dancing and fitness activity for self expression, stage performances and weddings etc.


Special Edition: PRSA Georgia Chapter


PRSA’s Georgia Chapter , the second-largest local chapter in the national society, consists of some 850 professionals throughout Georgia. Its mission is to enhance the profession, provide continuing education and offer networking opportunities for its members.

The Chapter has monthly meetings as well as eight Special Interest Groups (Corporate & Employee Communications, Healthcare, Independent Counselors, Leader Board, Nonprofit, Technology, Travel & Tourism, and Young Professionals) that meet at various times.

The Chapter supports nine PRSSA (student society) groups at the following colleges: Berry College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, Savannah State University, University of Georgia (largest PRSSA chapter in the world), and University of West Georgia.

Neil Hirsch, APR/Novelis

Neil Hirsch, APR is manager of global external communications for Atlanta-based Novelis, the leading producer of rolled aluminum and the largest aluminum recycler in the world. In his role, he is responsible for media relations, corporate visibility, crisis communications, social media and government affairs for the corporation.

Prior to joining Novelis, Hirsch led U.S. communications for Solvay Pharmaceuticals; served on the communications team at Ford Motor Company and began his career working at Cookerly Public Relations.

He is currently president-elect of the Georgia Chapter of PRSA and will serve as Georgia Chapter president in 2014. Hirsch is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication where he received his ABJ in public relations in 2000.

Elyse Hammett, APR/EOS Marketing & Communications

Elyse Hammett, APR, is vice president, public relations of EOS Marketing & Communications. A frequent guest lecturer at her alma mater, Emory University, Hammett also serves on the board of the Georgia Chapter, Public Relations Society of America as chair of the membership committee.

She is also active in the association’s APR training program, where she has coached more than 80 candidates since 2007 through the universal accreditation process to earn his or her APR designation.

Stephen Brown, APR/Cohn & Wolfe Atlanta

Stephen Brown, APR, is managing director of Cohn & Wolfe-Atlanta. His 16-year agency career includes work within advertising, public relations, marketing and interactive disciplines and he consults on topics ranging from media relations strategy to creative brainstorming to leveraging social media.

He recently spoke at the PRSA Annual Conference about “changing the beat” and harvesting new story opportunities. He currently is treasurer of the Georgia Chapter of PRSA, was secretary of the board last year and has served on numerous committees in the past.


Special Edition: TiE Atlanta


Andre’ Schnabl/Andre’ Schnabl Advisors LLC Linkedin

Andre’ Schnabl is formerly a Managing Partner of Grant Thornton LLP, Atlanta office. He now serves on boards and provides financial consulting support to early stage technology companies and more mature companies on global matters.

Mac Martirossian/MThree Advisory LLC LinkedinTwitter

Born and raised overseas, Mac immigrated to the United States at the age of 13, speaking three languages. He graduated with honors from Long Island University’s School of Professional Accountancy and spent 12 years of his career with the New York and Dallas offices of Price Waterhouse, first in audit and then management consulting.

Mac has served as the Chief Financial Officer of two publicly traded companies, transitioning his career to positions of greater responsibility in General Management, Operations, and Sales and Marketing, globally on five continents. Most recently, he served in Senior Finance and Operations executive roles at the home services division of The Home Depot. He started MThree Advisory Services in December 2009, now serving clients in five states.




Donna Mahaffey with Perimeter Community Improvement District, Mike Neuemier with Arketi Group, James Franklin with TechBridge, and Dale DeSena with Taste of Atlanta


Donna Mahaffey/Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

Donna Mahaffey is the Chief of Staff for the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs). She has a background in local and state government, public transportation and executive management.

Mike Neuemier/Arketi Group FacebookLinkedinTwitter

Mike Neumeier is principal at Arketi Group, a high-tech business-to-business public relations and digital marketing agency. Using more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing and analyst relations, Neumeier has developed a record of creating and delivering PR programs that help enable businesses build their bottom line. As a principal at Arketi Group, he counsels clients on the strategy behind conveying business messages to market and media influencers.

James Franklin/TechBridge FacebookLinkedinTwitter

James Franklin was named Chief Executive Officer of TechBridge in July 2011 when he transitioned from his position as Chairman of the Board. James’ service to TechBridge started in 2006 as a volunteer. From there he joined the Board, serving as Products and Services Chair, Digital Ball Chair, and Board Vice-Chair before becoming Board Chair. Prior to joining TechBridge as CEO, James held executive management positions at a number of IT products and services companies.

Dale DeSena/Taste of Atlanta

Taste of Atlanta is back for its 12th year and is cooking up a bigger and tastier event than ever before! The legendary three-day food festival will return to Midtown at Tech Square Friday, October 25 through Sunday, October 27, 2013. Taste of Atlanta, the city’s premier food+wine+beer+cocktail event, attracts food lovers from Atlanta, the Southeast and beyond to showcase the area’s finest restaurants for a weekend of big fun and great fare. Guests of all ages will enjoy an extensive selection of culinary creations, engaging chef demos, specialty food and beverage tents and family-friendly activities. The event satisfies thousands of palates every year, highlighting Atlanta as the Food Capitol of the South.




Erin Whitty with Two Men and A Truck, and Kelly and David Long with Orangetheory Fitness


Erin Whitty/Two Men and a Truck

Whitty’s journey to this point started back at the University of South Carolina where she graduated with a degree in business administration. After spending a short time working in commercial real estate in New York City, she accepted a position with Two Men and a Truck in Fairfield County, Conn. in 2001.

Her cousins own the location, and they recruited her as a move consultant. After four years, Whitty was promoted to an office manager. A short time after her promotion, Whitty moved to Atlanta when her husband was relocated for work. She joined the management team at the Two Men and a Truck franchise located in Tucker, Ga. and continued to use her extensive experience to climb the ranks. As the management team grew their portfolio to five franchises in 2012, she continued to shine and became a multi-unit manager.

In January of this year, Whitty had the opportunity to purchase her own franchise in downtown Atlanta, and she capitalized on it.

Kelly and David Long/Orangetheory® Fitness FacebookTwitter

Orangetheory® Fitness is a one-of-a-kind, group personal training workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Backed by the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart-rate-monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Led by skilled personal trainers, participants use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, SBT Suspension Training and free weights, burning up to 500-1,000 calories in a 60-minute session. The result is the Orange Effect–more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.