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Past Speakers

Over the past 5 years, the Mike Cottrell College of Business has been honored to have a number of distinguished speakers on campus to present to its students, faculty, alumni and business communities.  Below is a collective list of those speakers as well as video from some of their presentations.

April 2014: Inspirational Leaders Luncheon, Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon

On April 8, 2014, over 200 business and community members attended the Mike Cottrell College of Business' first ever Inspirational Leaders Luncheon in honor of the College's departed development officer and friend Mike Banks. During the luncheon, Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, spoke about Cinnabon and the life experiences that led her to become president of the organization. In addition to her presentation, two north Georgia leaders, Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Buster Evans, superintendent of Forsyth County Schools, were recognized for their leadership in business and the community respectively.

March 2014: Brent Herd, Director of Southeastern US Sales, Twitter

Brent Herd, Director of Southeastern US Sales for Twitter, spoke on UNG's Dahlonega campus. During his hour long presentation, he discussed the evolution of Twitter and where communication is moving in the future. Brent is the Director of Southeastern U.S Sales for Twitter and is responsible for all Southeastern revenue and business partnerships on the Twitter platform. Most recently, Brent served as Senior Vice President at ShareThis where he was responsible for North American revenue generation activities as well as business development partnerships for the company. Previously, Brent established himself as a leader in the South as he helped grow online revenue and introduced innovative partnerships for the combined AOL – entity. Brent managed a team of 55 people and over 250MM in annual revenues. Brent began his career at Yahoo! in 1998 in NYC. In 1999 Brent moved to Atlanta with Yahoo! and was given the Yahoo! Super Star Award in 2001, the highest distinction a Yahoo! Employee can earn.

November 2013: Blake Canterbury, Founder, Beremedy

In November, Blake Canterbury, CEO and Founder of beremedy, spoke on UNG's Gainesville campus, discussing the beginnings of beremedy and opportunities in social entrepreneurship. With his success, he has been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, ScoutMob, Star94, 11Alive and local news in 36 cities, 28 states and 4 countries. Blake and beremedy have both been featured at Catalyst Conference, one of the world’s largest conferences for young church leaders and beremedy has been named one of the “3 best Twitter usages worldwide” by CNN. Beremedy’s greatest success thus far was its use of social media to network the United Nations, United States Marines, Haitian Police and multiple other organizations to aid 100,000 people after the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

September 2013: Michael Cohn, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, Cloud Sherpas

In September, Michael Cohn, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Cloud Sherpas, served as our speaker.  Founded in the basement of Michael's home, Cloud Sherpas has grown to become one of the world's leading cloud-service brokerages, consulting with organizations like Jordache, Office Depot and Perry Ellis in their move to cloud-based services like Google Apps, and ServiceNOW.

Over 150 individuals were in attendance at the event in Dahlonega with simulcasts held as well in Gainesville, Watkinsville and Cumming. Cohn spoke about the challenges he faced in starting his business and how he nurtured it to become a two-time Google Enterprise Partner of the Year for Google Apps, a platinum partner and the first ServiceNow partner to reach preferred partner status globally.

November 2012: Rich McKay, President and CEO, Atlanta Falcons

As Atlanta Falcons president & CEO, McKay is in charge of all team business operations and also works on contract negotiations and managing the team’s salary cap. His impact has been felt at the league level for years as a valued member of many NFL committees charged with advancing the game. In 13 seasons as an NFL general manager, he constructed six teams that reached playoffs, three that advanced to NFC championship games, and one Super Bowl winner.

October 2012: Penny McIntyre, President, Newell Consumer Group, Newell Rubbermaid

McIntyre’s portfolio includes Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Calphalon, Levolor, Paper Mate and Parker – all winning brands in their respective categories. She joined Newell in 2009 as group president of office products. Previously, she spent 11 years with Coke in a variety of international marketing and general manager assignments, including leadership roles in Moscow, Johannesburg, London, and the U.S. Prior to Coca-Cola, she worked at S.C. Johnson in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

October 2012: David McNeill, President and Managing Partner, 4th Strand

McNeill’s last two start-ups both achieved sale multiples of greater than 55 times the invested capital. 4th Strand, a B-to-B service provider, was recently sold to Intertek Group PLC, and McNeill continues to run the company. Prior to his entrepreneur endeavors, he held C-level roles with larger private and public companies, worked in private equity with TPG Capital, and in consulting with Bain & Company. He holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Auburn University.

September 2012: Doug Keith, President of Drive Technologies, Siemens

Keith is currently responsible for the drive technologies division, including product development, marketing and manufacturing of motors, and drives and gears in the U.S. He has worked in various manufacturing industries for market-leading companies like Siemens, General Electric, and Black & Decker for almost 25 years. Keith holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

September 2012: Shirley Powell, Executive Vice President, The Weather Channel Companies

As EVP of corporate communications Powell has oversight of all internal and external communications strategies for all TWCC cross-platform businesses. She provides communications counsel on a broad range of business initiatives, as well as serving as the company’s chief spokesperson. With more than 20 years in media, Powell has served in senior roles at Turner Broadcasting System, National Broadcasting Company, Disney, and Nickelodeon.

October 2011: John Trautwein, President and COO, Source Support Services

October 2011: Michael Higley, Managing Director, US International, FedEx Express

October 2011: Carla Cooper, President and CEO, Daymon Worldwide

September 2011: John Allison, Distinguished Professor of Practice, Wake Forest University; Retired Chairman and CEO, BB&T

September 2011: Stuart Kronauge, SVP Marketing, Coca-Cola Trademark Brands, The Coca-Cola Company

November 2010: Frank Bifulco, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, The Home Depot

November 2010: John Buckles, Vice President & General Manager, PepsiCo Foodservice

October 2010: Debbie Stroud, Vice President, Quality, Service & Cleanliness, McDonald's

October 2010: John Baumstark, Chairman & CEO, Suniva

September 2010: Stan Sthanunathan, Vice President, Marketing, Strategy, & Insights, The Coca-Cola Company

September 2010: Jim Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Atlanta Falcons

December 2009: Jerry Wilson, Chief Customer & Commercial Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

November 2009: Kevin Tanner, Chief Operating Officer, Dawson County

November 2009: Bill Kelly, Brand Manager, Coca-Cola North America

November 2009: Chuck Bengochea, President and CEO, Honey-Baked Ham

October 2009: Jennifer Martin, Director Global Brand Communications, Delta Airlines

October 2009, Henry Ferris, Director of Merchandising, Home Depot

October 2009: Will Wade, Senior Vice President, First Citizens Bank

September 2009: Kevin Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Rollins, Inc.

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