The Atlanta Business League’s President & CEO Leona Barr-Davenport is always looking for a few good men and women, powerful ones, who appropriate large blocks of their time to give back to those less fortunate and to uplift the youth.
That was the theme woven through the ABL’s 36th annual Chief Executive Officer Appreciation Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis. Through a multiplicity of initiatives and programs, the ABL has established a plethora of opportunities for business owners to experience viable growth while multiplying invaluable business relationships for the past 80 years. The august body of 2014 awardees have significantly contributed to the participation in the minority entrepreneurship development and community activities — with emphasis on community service.
“Today’s CEO luncheon was critical for a number of reasons. Everybody counts and every dime counts towards making a difference in the lives of people,” Barr-Davenport said. “If you look at all of the honorees today, they were service based — if you look at Bill Bowling with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Doug Shipman, and Cynthia Daye of Citizens Trust Bank — if you look at each honoree, today’s event was about CEOs and companies who understand the value of giving back and investing and serving. So we’re excited about this day, we’re excited about giving back, and we’re excited about where the Atlanta Business League continues to go and grow.”
Take a look at the 2014 honorees of the CEO Appreciation Luncheon:
State Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Atlanta: He is the Chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Council and is president of the Legacy Automotive Group which includes Legacy Chevrolet Cadillac Saab of Columbus and Legacy Ford of McDonough. The former captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also sits on the board of two Ivy League institutions: as the board member of the James Bristor Society at the University of Pennsylvania and the board of the Columbia University Business School Greenhouse Project.
Bill Bowling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank: For me, it was just a calling to take the food that can’t be used (for retail) and give it to the people who need it. It has proven to be a good idea over the years. We have over 200 food banks around the country. There continues to be food that gets plowed under in the fields and can’t be used in retail or wholesale manner. And we put that food to use.
Caeser Mitchell, president of the Atlanta City Council: Obviously, the Atlanta Business League continues to have an impact in the community and be engaged with young people. This event, as the end, as you saw, got very focused on young people. That is something that I support and that I buy into. So it was great to see that.
Cynthia Day, CEO of the Year, is president of Citizens Trust Bank: To be the CEO of Citizens Trust Bank, I am truly blessed. When I think of the Atlanta Business League, I think, like Citizens Trust Bank, of organization that is an intricate part of the community, that is steeped in historical significance. The ABL is the fiber that unites the business community towards one collaborative effort — and that is economic empowerment. Always be prepared for an opportunity before it presents itself. Always put your best foot forward and, most of all, pray for wisdom.
Doug Shipman, CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights — That’s been there from the very beginning. That’s the idea that came from Rev. Lowry and Shirley Franklin, that notion to allowing to grow and evolve and thrive into the future.