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Celebrating Inspirational Leaders event to honor regional leaders

Inspirational Leaders Luncheon 2015
During the previous year's Inspirational Leaders Luncheon, Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon Inc., shared her business expertise with more than 200 members of the north Georgia business community.

Jim Mathis, Lynn Jackson and Grace Fricks will be honored at the Celebrating Inspirational Leaders event to be held April 2 at the Forsyth Conference Center in Cumming. Sponsored by the Center for the Future of North Georgia in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG), the event celebrates the inspirational efforts and leadership of regional leaders.

"It is an honor to recognize these outstanding individuals in our community," said Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business. "North Georgia is blessed to have such strong leadership in so many industries and organizations. Each of the 2015 recipients are excellent role models. They will inspire our graduates to develop their careers and live in ways to make our regional businesses and communities stronger."

During the event, Mathis, CEO of the North Georgia Community Foundation (NGCF), will be honored as the first recipient of the Mike Banks Lifetime Achievement Award, named in memory of UNG development officer and community volunteer Mike Banks.

Mathis joined the staff of NGCF after a 25-year career in banking. During his tenure, NGCF has grown from $3 million to $50 million in charitable assets and $200 million in total invested assets. Mathis has served as a founding board member of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, and trustee of Brenau University. He also led Gainesville-Hall '96, the local organizing group responsible for the 1996 Olympic rowing and canoe/kayak competitions held on Lake Lanier. Mathis has won Man of the Year honors from both the Gainesville Jaycees and the Rotary Club of Gainesville, and was honored by Brenau University with its Distinguished Citizen Award.

Lynn Jackson, administrator of Northside Hospital-Forsyth, will receive the Inspiration in Business Award. During Jackson's tenure as administrator, Northside has grown from 600 to 1,500 employees and added a women's center, surgery center, two medical office buildings and two new floors to an existing building. Jackson has led the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Lanier-Forsyththe Bald Ridge Boys Lodge and the Forsyth County Arts Alliance. She is a former trustee of the UNG Foundation and is a current board member for Lanier Technical College and the Georgia Hospital Alliance.

Grace Fricks, president and CEO of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE), will receive the Inspiration in Community Award. Fricks, who founded ACE in 1997, was recently named one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians" by Georgia Trend Magazine, and the Small Business Administration Georgia District's Financial Services Champion of the Year. She serves on several nationally-recognized boards for entrepreneurship and UNG's BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership Advisory Board.

The Celebrating Inspirational Leaders event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 2. Elana Meyers-Taylor, 2015 World Champion and two-time women's bobsled Olympic medalist, will serve as the event's keynote speaker. A former college softball player, Meyers-Taylor is the first woman ever to win a World Championship in bobsledding for the United States and one of the first women in the world to lead a mixed-gender bobsled team.

Tickets and table sponsorships for the event are available at

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