A Commitment to Serve
Grove Park Foundation is committed to working with community leaders to achieve the holistic revitalization of the Grove Park neighborhood. These efforts require incredible coordination of resources, and people sharing a vision for improving the lives of individuals. The members of our staff and our Board of Directors are vital to reaching our goals.
Debra is the Executive Director and Board Member of the Grove Park Foundation. She was previously a Senior Program Director for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) where she managed the Georgia Office’s greenspace and conservation programs, including the Proctor Creek Greenway and Chattahoochee River protection work, and assembled some of the Beltline parks. Prior to that, she directed the Real Estate program for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Debra resided in NYC for many years where she launched the iconic NYC High Line park while employed by CSX Corporation. Previous to that she held a post in the New York City Mayor’s Office, and two years with the City of New York’s Economic Development Corporation. Debra serves on the Board of Directors of the South Fork Conservancy, and completed six years of service as a Planning Commissioner in Dekalb County, GA. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Odera is the Communications and Development Manager for the Grove Park Foundation. She previously worked at Atlanta Housing in Records and Information Management, where she was responsible for managing content and building document sites for the agency. Odera taught for four years, and is a proud Big KIPPster and Teach for America Alum. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Business, with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Brand Management, from the College of Business at Georgia State University.
Garry Long joined the Grove Park Foundation part time in mid-June as our Director of Outreach. He is working closely with residents and families in Grove Park around health, wellness, advocacy, housing, and education.
Garry brings decades of experience from his work in Atlanta’s Edgewood community as the Community Liaison for the Mayson Avenue Cooperative.
Garry has also served on the advisory board for several organizations including, The Neighborhood Fund at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Horizons Atlanta Edgewood Site and Agape Youth & Family Center. He attended The University of Alabama and graduated with a B.A. degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining Zeist, Garry was a banking officer with SunTrust Bank.
Karen has over 30 years of experience working in nonprofits. Most recently, she was a development consultant with Wellspring Nonprofit Resource. She served as the Director of Development and Chief Development Officer for The Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta 2005-2014. She has been a resident of Grove Park since 2007. She will be developing funding sources for GPF from individuals, corporations, foundations, and events.
Freddie Stevens is the Housing Coordinator for the Grove Park Foundation and focuses on housing initiatives, programs, development and policies that advance the organization’s neighborhood revitalization strategy of securing long term housing affordability in Grove Park. Freddie combines his expertise in housing, housing finance, real estate development, and community engagement to develop and manage programs and strategies that support the revitalization of neighborhoods where families feel safe, have expanded economic opportunities, and greater access to viable housing options. Freddie has worked in program and real estate development roles with the Atlanta Housing Authority and DeKalb County Government. He has experience utilizing traditional finance mechanisms, along with municipal, State, and federal funding to preserve and develop affordable housing. Freddie earned a BA from Morehouse College in Business Administration, with a concentration in Banking & Finance. He maintains multiple professional real estate finance and development certifications.
Tarnace is the Economic Development Director for the Grove Park Foundation. He was previously the Westside TAD and Choice Neighborhoods Development Manager for Invest Atlanta, Atlanta’s Development Authority. He managed the Tax Allocation Districts’ (“TADs”) redevelopment and funding programs for over 10 years. Prior to his tenure at Invest Atlanta, he worked at Wachovia, SouthTrust and Prime banks as regional community development officer and lender for over 14 years. Tarnace holds a Bachelor in Business and Accounting from the U.S. Naval Technical Academy and a PMP from the University of Villanova. He is married with three children.
Jazz Watts is a Community Liaison with Grove Park Foundation. He was previously the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center’s Equal Justice Works Georgia Housing Corps Urban Community Advocate. Jazz conducted over 100 formal outreach and trainings for nonprofit & community-based groups, heirs property owners, and community leaders regarding heirs property prevention, estate planning, and sustaining generational wealth. He coordinated community stakeholder meetings with nonprofit partners such as Georgia Appleseed, Atlanta Legal Aid, & Georgia Legal Services. He managed various marketing and public relations duties with GHPLC scheduling media interviews with outlets such as the AJC, Good Works & ‘A Closer Look’ with Rose Scott. Jazz curated, wrote, and performed in the ‘Sapelo Project’ at the Emory University Brave New Works Festival. He has served as a consultant and professional development facilitator for Nobis Project, Inc providing workshops and consulting services to meet the needs of educators, schools, administrators and community leaders looking to enhance their approach to cultural responsiveness, global citizenship, service-learning, and civic engagement. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hog Hammock Public Library and also the Board of Directors for Nobis Project, Inc. Jazz attended the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at UGA for General Civil Mediation Training and is a Registered Mediator with the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. He is a United Way of Greater Atlanta VIP 2018 Class Graduate. Jazz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Theater from the University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. Jazz is a Gullah Geechee Descendant of St. Simons and Sapelo Island.
TJ is a current resident of the Grove Park neighborhood, and prior served as the President of Grove Park Neighborhood Association (2018-2019). Throughout his term as president, TJ lead various Grove Park neighborhood initiatives, providing a knowledgeable and understanding voice on behalf of all Grove Park residents. TJ also serves as an advisory board member for Westside Reservoir Park, in addition to Invest Atlanta Tax Allocation District-Perry Bolton. TJ provides a balanced perspective for community involvement and business development; both critical elements needed for the continued success of Grove Park. Professionally, TJ serves as Regional Loss Prevention for Publix Supermarkets, where he oversees 32 stores throughout the Atlanta Division. Prior to Publix, TJ served as Area Manager for Belk, Inc. (East Alabama Region), and Area Manager for Stein Mart (Gulf Coast Region). TJ holds BA in Communications and a MBA with a concentration in finance. TJ is the proud father of twin daughters, Kennedy and Kameron, where they are both students at his alma mater, Auburn University- #WarEagle! TJ believes in a “boots on the ground” methodology for Grove Park, where any given day you can see him riding throughout the community picking up trash or removing illegal signs from real estate investors.
Ashley is the Corporate and Community Affairs Executive at Atlantic Capital Bank. In her role, she oversees Atlanta Not-for-Profit and Business Banking, Community Development, Corporate Communications and Marketing. Ms. Carson has 19 years of experience in Corporate and Investment Banking. An active member of the business and civic community, Ms. Carson has been a member of the Atlanta Midtown Rotary for 12 years. She sits on the Board of the Center for Working Families and the Agape Youth and Family Center. She is an alumna of the Georgia 100/Acheiva Program and the Coca Cola Diversity Leadership Academy, and she is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta – class of 2016. Ms. Carson received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 1995, and her MBA for the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in 2000.
Jason is Founder and principal investor Providence Realty Investors (PRI). PRI is a boutique investment firm with $250MM in assets under management that invest directly in projects, provides third-party asset management and underwriting services for owners of apartment projects. He is a multifamily real estate investment professional with 15 years of diverse experience. Prior to PRI, Jason worked in Development with the Integral Group, asset management at Fairfield Residential in Boston, and Boston Capital Corporation. He served on the YMCA Head Start Board for North Georgia for several years, was a Big with Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta and currently serves as Co-Founder and Chairman of a non-profit that raises scholarships for students attending Morehouse College. He also serves on the Morehouse College President’s Advisory Board. Jason holds a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Morehouse College and is licensed by the Georgia Real Estate Commission.”
Brian has over 25 years of experience providing comprehensive philanthropic, estate and business planning to affluent families. He currently holds the designations of Accredited Estate Planner®, Chartered Advisor of Philanthropy®, Chartered Financial Consultant® and Chartered Life Underwriter®. In addition to other community and professional involvement, Brian recently served on the Board of Directors, the Governance Committee, and chaired the Philanthropic Services Committee at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. He also chaired the Advisory Committee for the Philanthropic Advisor Leadership Institute and served on the Advisory Committee and Grant Review Committee for One Region Atlanta, the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Providers, and on the Professional Affiliate Program and Gift Acceptance Committee for CARE USA. Brian is a graduate of the 2017 Class of Leadership Atlanta. He is an active member of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council and the AALU, and a frequent speaker on philanthropic and estate planning topics
Daniel has over 10 years of experience in financial services. He began as an Analyst at Bank of America in its Leverage Finance Division on the Loan Syndications Desk. Daniel went on to become a Fixed-Income Research Associate focusing on the media and telecom sectors. He has also worked for the mission-based investment fund Local Initiatives Support Corporation, where he helped manage the organization’s portfolio and underwriting operations. Daniel also spent some time with an Atlanta/London based hedge fund, Gallery Capital Management, an alternative fund that invests in specialty insurance risk at the Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace. Most recently, Daniel joined Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI) as the Director of Capital Markets and Financial Systems where he manages an impact investment fund for HFHI and advises on a broader array of financial transactions. Daniel received his BA, with a focus on American politics, from Williams College, where he remains active and serves as a vice-chair of its Alumni Fund. He is committed to helping improve his community, and is a co-founder and current board member of Crawfish for Cancer. Daniel lives in Atlanta with his wife, Laura Kolesar Gura, and 8 month old daughter, Mirele Grace Gura.”
Cheryl is a litigation partner at McGuireWoods LLP. She has 20 years of experience representing Fortune 100 companies in complex matters in federal and state courts as well as in investigations before federal and state securities regulators. Cheryl has lived in Atlanta for 15 years.
Rachelle Kuramoto is an award-winning writer and brand strategist who balances creative and business acumen with deep empathy. As the vice president of brand and content for Dragon Army, she guides organizations to articulate what makes them distinctive and sustainable with the stakeholders who matter most. Rachelle’s professional path spans more than 20 years, starting at Ogilvy Public Relations. In 2015, she launched Watchword Brand, an agency specialized in branding, content production, and market intelligence. In 2019, the firm was acquired by Dragon Army.
Rachelle earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in literature and business as a Presidential Scholar in music at Wake Forest University. She published her Master’s dissertation under the watchful eye of Dr. Maya Angelou, whom she credits with teaching her ability to be courageously empathetic in every form of communication. Outside of work, Rachelle is a mom of two teenagers and a dog, and a happy wife.
Will Lambe is the senior community and economic development adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He specializes in community development finance, and has experience with public-private partnerships, tax credit finance, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, he was director of Community Economic Development programming at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute Atlanta Center for Leadership, class of 2016. He holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master of public policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Jonathan E. Leonard is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and a 1987 graduate of Morehouse College with a B.S. degree in Physics. After graduation from Morehouse, Jonathan worked for Northern Trust Bank in Chicago, Illinois for three years in the Mortgage Backed Securities and Capital Structures Department.
Following his time at Northern Trust, in 1993, Jonathan obtained a law degree from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska. Upon graduation from law school, Jonathan returned to Atlanta, starting his private practice of law where he has built a well-respected boutique entertainment firm primarily focused on providing quality legal services to music talent across the country.
For the past 27 years, Jonathan has been instrumental in providing guidance and counsel to some of the most successful songwriters, producers, and recording artists in popular music today. These transactions include but are not limited to the review, drafting, and negotiation of music publishing agreements, music production agreements, exclusive recording agreements, joint venture distribution and furnishing deals, music licensing agreements and various other personal services agreements related to talent services. He has negotiated such deals with every major record company and music publishing company as well as numerous major media companies in the world.
As part of his practice and representation of such talent, Jonathan is responsible for designing his client’s corporate structures and advising clients on their continued business development activities. Most recently, Jonathan has completed the acquisition, expansion and renovation of the property 2050 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, previously vacated by the Bank of America in 2012. The property currently houses his law practice and he has begun the process of leasing the remaining 7,500 square feet of office space to other local businesses.
David is the CEO and owner of C.D. Moody Construction Company, an Atlanta-based general contracting and construction management firm. His projects include such iconic Atlanta buildings as Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, the New World of Coca-Cola, and the Cyclorama addition and renovations at the Atlanta History Center. David is the recipient of many distinguished awards and honors from prestigious Atlanta and national organizations, like the “2009 Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Who’s Who – 100 People to Know in Atlanta’s Commercial Real Estate Scene”, and the “2014 Morehouse College Outstanding Alumnus Entrepreneur Award.” He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College and the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America. David has a BS in Psychology from Morehouse College, a Bachelor of Architecture 5 year professional degree from Howard University, has completed graduate courses in architecture and construction management at the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, and was a fellow at Harvard University in the Advanced Leadership Initiative program in 2015.
Leonard is Managing Partner and co-founder of Zion Consulting Group, a real estate and business development advisory firm serving non-profits, faith based institutions and corporations. He is also Managing Partner and co-founder of ZL Development Group, which partners with faith based institutions to develop their real estate assets. Leonard has over 23 years of real estate, consulting, global asset management and investment banking experience, including roles with Merrill Lynch & Co.’s corporate finance/investment banking division and Alliance Capital Management International. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Youthbuild Newark a non-profit, which helps high school dropouts complete their education while training them in the construction field; as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of East Orange General Hospital, a 325-bed urban hospital serving the community of East Orange, NJ.
Marlena Norris is the principal and founder of The Laundry Centers with two locations on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. She is a senior finance executive with 30 years of financial management, accounting and auditing experience who’s spent the last 15 years as V.P. of Finance for InterContinental Hotels Group, Inc. Her background also includes finance and accounting roles in the oil and gas, freight forwarding and logistics, temporary staffing and public accounting industries. She’s previously served on the boards of Jomandi Productions and YWCA Atlanta, and is currently a member of On Board.
Laura Heery Prozes is a co-founder of Brookwood Group, Inc. and the current owner and Managing Principal of Brookwood Design Group LLC, a separate affiliate of Brookwood Group Inc. She co-chaired the 18th annual Congress for the New Urbanism, lead the concept phase for international projects, and served as Brookwood’s Principal-in-Charge for several Atlanta master plans and redesign projects.
Torian Robinson is a seasoned leader and trusted advisor who has stood in the intersection of private and public partnerships for the advancement of public good. Starting his career as a retail branch manager for a global bank, Torian was exposed to community development when he was tasked with opening the bank’s first branch within the historic neighborhood of Harlem. Over the following decade, Torian deepened his experience within placed-based, people-focused organizations through his involvement and employment with youth development and educational organizations, empowerment zones, faith based institutions, and board membership. Having worked both a fundraiser and program manager, Torian values collaboration and often seeks strategic partnerships to achieve goals. Torian is currently serving as President of People and Culture at Dreamville Ventures. In this role, he oversees the administrative departments of Finance, HR, IT, Operations, and the Dreamville Foundation.
Torian is a distinguished alum of Morehouse College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three sons.
Latresa McLawhorn Ryan is Executive Director of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI), an intermediary organization leveraging ideas, people and capital to close the racial wealth gap in Atlanta. Prior to joining AWBI, Latresa was a vice president within the Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice at SunTrust Bank. She has more than 15 years of experience as a strategic advisor helping entrepreneurs, nonprofit and foundation clients maximize the impact of their assets to support and align with their missions and personal goals, including designing and implementing social impact investment strategies. Latresa began her career as an attorney at Arent Fox, PLLC, in Washington, DC, before opening her own boutique law firm specializing in estate planning, asset protection and nonprofit law with a concentration on venture capital, private equity firm, and small business owners. Prior to joining SunTrust in 2014, Latresa was the Director of the Office of Partnerships and Global Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Development at Operation HOPE where she focused on cultivating strategic partnerships and led the fundraising and development activities across the organization. She earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Spelman College and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law.
She is an active local leader where she proudly supports various community efforts, including as a board member and former chair of the Grove Park Foundation, a holistic quarterback organization located on Atlanta’s Westside, board member for the Georgia Planned Giving Council, and as a member of the United Way of Greater Atlanta Community Engagement Council.
As the Atlanta Market President, Wendy is responsible for advancing Bank of America’s strategy across Metro Atlanta by delivering the firm’s global financial resources and expertise to customers and clients. Wendy connects with local business leaders and community stakeholders to advance the goal of delivering one company to customers and clients. Wendy is also responsible for ensuring Bank of America’s Environmental, Social, and Governance strategy, including philanthropy and community development efforts have a positive impact on metro Atlanta.
As co-head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Commercial Banking practice for the Southeast region, Wendy leads the firm’s efforts, working with mid cap and middle market companies. This includes public and private companies with annual revenues of $50 million to over $2 billion in a variety of industries. Wendy partners closely with teammates across the firm to provide the expertise and consultation necessary to deliver the best solution for the client. Wendy holds Series 7, 63, and 24 securities licenses.
Wendy joined Bank of America’s predecessor, NationsBank, in 1996. She worked on both the consumer and commercial sides of the bank. She left Bank of America in 2000 to join the executive team of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta as Chief Operating Officer. Wendy was responsible for streamlining the functions of the organization, solidifying its financial position, and positioning the organization for ongoing growth. Wendy returned to Bank of America in 2007, and she has held various leadership roles since that time.
Wendy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Presbyterian College, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree. Today, Wendy serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Board of Directors for The United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Board of Trustees for Woodruff Arts Center, a director of the Buckhead Coalition, a member of Atlanta Committee for Progress, and a member of Leadership Atlanta- Class of 2017. Wendy has served in different leadership capacities in Atlanta, including President of the Board of Directors for The Heards Ferry Education Foundation; Board of Directors for The Georgia Center for Non Profits; and an alumna of Leadership Georgia- Class of 2010. She also is actively involved with her church and volunteers at her daughters’ schools.
Carol Waddy enjoys taking a vision and making it reality. Carol is respected as a credible voice in community affairs and helping others extend their thinking wherever she serves.
Carol currently serves as director of corporate social responsibility and community engagement for Chick-fil-A, Inc. where she leads a team devoted to removing barriers to opportunity for underserved communities and youth. She is responsible for Chick-fil-A’s community initiatives, civic engagement, corporate volunteerism, and public/private partnerships.
Prior to joining Chick-fil-A, Inc., Carol served as a Vice President and member of the Executive Leadership Team at United Way. She has 15 years of global experience in various executive leadership roles from Fortune 500 corporations to technology focused companies including GE Capital and Acuity Brands, Inc.
Carol served as Vice President of Human Resources for Aquilex Corporation where she led Human Resources across North America and Europe and Director of Corporate Human Resources for Acuity Brands, Inc. where she led the human resources function for 10,000+ staff enterprise-wide.
A passionate volunteer and supporter of many philanthropic endeavors, Carol serves on the Board of Directors for Breakthrough Atlanta, Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, National Black Arts Festival and the Atlanta Public Schools Advisory Board.
Carol was named 2019 Atlanta Magazine Woman Making a Difference and 2018 United Way Woman of Impact.
Carol and her husband, DePriest support several philanthropic endeavors. They endowed a scholarship awarded annually to students attending HBCUs. With their help, fifteen African American students have realized their dreams of a college education.
Carol earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tuskegee University and a Master of Public Administration from Clark Atlanta University.
Carol lives in Atlanta with her husband and attends Impact United Methodist Church. They have one adult daughter living in Missouri.
Adrienne is the VP of Strategy/Business Development at Citizens Trust Bank. Prior to joining Citizens Trust Bank she was the VP of Finance of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and worked at a fortune 500 company and big 4 accounting firm. In 2016 she was recognized by Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 40 Under 40 and has taken on various leadership roles in the Atlanta community including the Atlanta Track Club Board, Atlanta Public School Audit Committee, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership advisory board, Outstanding Atlanta, Black Girls Run!, National and State political campaigns, LEAD Atlanta, and New Leaders Council. Adrienne is a licensed certified public accountant in Georgia and earned her Masters of Accountancy and Bachelor of Science in Commerce; Concentration in Accounting, from The University of Virginia