6PM VIP Reception  •  7:30PM Dinner & Awards

Host
Jovita Moore, WSBTV

Donald E. Frieson

Executive Vice President
Lowes Supply Chain

Milton J. Little, Jr.

President & CEO
United Way of Greater Atlanta

*All ticket sales are final & nonrefundable.

Impact Honors is one of a series of events under the auspices of More Than Possible, a financial campaign designed to revitalize the Tri-Cities community and beyond.

The funds raised will be used for Fiscally Fit, a program established to increase financial literacy; the development of a business incubation center that will foster local entrepreneurship; and the creation of an educational center for youth where they can learn technology.

2019 HONOREES

Jason J Carter

Jason “J” Carter is a charismatic and engaging entrepreneur with over 17 years of Lifestyle Marketing and Business Start Up experience.

He has founded several organizations including SoL Fusion Media Group, a creative brand and event management agency, ONE Musicfest, a sell out annual urban progressive music festival, Red Creative, a marketing, digital media and graphic design firm, and Ice Pick, LLC, a live event venue ownership and management company.

J. Carter’s almost 2 decades of leadership experience have allowed him to grow his strengths in all aspects of new business development and execution. His work as a Strategic Brand Marketing Expert has made him knowledgeable of best practices to improve brand recognition, increase product placement, drive revenue growth and profitability, and engage brand target markets. It’s no wonder that notable brands such as Adidas, MillerCoors, Mini Cooper, Hyundai, BMW, Heineken, Bacardi, Nissan, Ford, and Jack Daniels look to him to increase their retail sales and name recognition.

With a network of integrated brands, J. Carter is able to offer clients tailor-made, authentic marketing and promotional campaigns that imprint their names into the hearts and minds of valuable consumers.

In recognition of his work in Brand Marketing and Event Production, he has received Heineken’s Independent Achiever Award, the Coors Light Brand Marketer of the Year award and the prestigious Phoenix Award from the City of Atlanta. He has been featured in various lifestyle publications including, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, EBONY, MTV.com, The Atlantan Magazine, Jezebel Magazine, Atlanta Journal Constitution, VIBE Magazine, Uptown Magazine, Creative Loafing, and among others.

J. Carter is a founding member of the Georgia Entertainment Caucus. He serves on the board of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and is a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

He is currently expanding his business portfolio to include a digital media and content creation company geared toward the upscale urban market. The Harlem, NYC native and graduate of Florida A&M University resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and their two sons.

Larry Dingle

Larry Dingle focuses his practice on regulatory, transactional and legislative matters relating to state and local government, with a particular emphasis on zoning, land use and economic development. His practice covers all aspects of the development entitlement process, land
use and government law, and land use litigation. 

Mr. Dingle possesses a unique combination of legal and public policy expertise. Mr. Dingle began his career as a law enforcement officer for the City of Atlanta, rising to the position of Chief Planner for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson’s criminal analysis team. From 1977 to 1990, Mr. Dingle served as the Clerk of Council for the City of Atlanta, where he was the
director of the Department of Council. From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Dingle worked as a partner at the law firm of Peterson, Dillard, Young, Asselin and Powell. Mr. Dingle has been a Member of Wilson Brock & Irby, L.L.C. since 1997. Over the course of his career, Mr. Dingle earned distinction within Atlanta city government and has been nationally recognized for his
contributions to the practice of law.

Mr. Dingle is actively involved in several professional and community organizations. He has chaired the Board of Directors of Southeastern Energy, Georgia’s largest non-profit energy business. He serves as a members of the Board of Directors for the Bank of North Georgia and on the Georgia State University Board of Visitors. He has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Central Fulton Senior Services.

  • Representative Matters
    Facilitated the acquisition of land use entitlements to allow construction of the first proton therapy cancer treatment center in the State of Georgia.
  • Obtained land use entitlements necessary to facilitate the expansion of Phipps Plaza and the addition of other land uses to the mall site.
  • Obtained the land use entitlements necessary for the construction of Coca-Cola’s Olympic City, and the later redevelopment of this site with the New World of Coca-Cola museum and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Javarro "Jay" Edwards

Jay Edwards is a proud native of Chicago, IL.  After finishing De La Salle Institute, Jay accepted a football scholarship to Morehouse College where he helped the Maroon Tigers win a share of the SIAC Championship in 1991.  As a two sport student-athlete, he also helped lead an effort to reestablish the Maroon Tiger baseball team at the College in 1991 after its absence for more than 20 years. Jay earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Morehouse in 1992.

Following his entrepreneurial aspirations, Jay founded the JME Group, LLC, a successful Atlanta-based business specializing specialty retail, food and beverage concessions in the aviation space.  Focused on quality and strategic growth, JME Group has an expanding national presence. In its twelfth year, JME currently has concessions operations in multiple airports around the country.  These airports include JFK in New York, Denver, Newark, Los Angeles and Kauai. 

In addition to his professional endeavors, Jay is a civic leader in the Atlanta community.  Most notably, Jay is a loyal and committed alumnus of his alma mater Morehouse College.  He is an active member of the College’s National Alumni Association and currently serves as the President of the Metro Atlanta Alumni Chapter.  Jay serves as an official corporate sponsor during major college gatherings such as Annual Commencement, Homecoming and A Candle in the Dark, and has been recognized by the College, the national association and the local chapter for his dedicated service.  These honors include 2016-17 Region 1 Alumnus of the Year, Top Donor for the Class of 1992 25th anniversary reunion, and 2016 Honoring Our Fathers Dr. Joseph Draper Service Award recipient.  Jay was recently inducted into the Henry Morehouse Society for his charitable commitment to the  College.

Additionally, Jay is an active member of Kappa Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Eta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and 100 Black Men of DeKalb County. Continuing his passion for youth athletics and sports, Jay is an NCAA Division 1 football referee in the PAC-12 Conference. 

Jay is married to Tiffany Cochran Edwards and they are the proud parents of their daughter Emerson. They worship at Impact United Methodist Church in Atlanta.  In his spare time, Jay enjoys as much golf as possible.

Rob Hardy

Rob Hardy is the Executive Producer and pilot director of the Warner Bros. / CW network series All American, which stars Taye Diggs. The series is currently streaming on Netflix. Additionally his hit BET Networks series The Quad, was listed by the New York times as one of the Top 15 Shows to Watch in 2017, and ran for two seasons. Hardy who is an NAACP Image Award nominee, broke into network television at Warner Bros. with his January 2007 directorial debut of the Emmy Award winning show ER. Soon after, Black Enterprise Magazine listed him among the Top 40 Entertainers Under 40. He continues to direct some of TV’s hottest shows including: Power, Shameless, Black’ish, The Flash, How to Get Away with Murder, Black Lightning, Blindspot, Empire, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, Step Up: Highwater, Arrow, Castle, and Doom Patrol.

Hardy began his career as a high school Senior, with the camcorder-shot movie G-Man. While pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Florida A & M University, he made the leap to film with the low-budget motion picture Chocolate City. This experience earned him the institution’s highest honor, the Bernard Hendricks Student Leadership Award, and launched his company Rainforest Films. The underground
buzz on the project soon led to his controversial film Trois. Hardy not only directed and co-wrote the thriller, he was also instrumental in self-distributing the project to be the fastest Independent African American film to pass the $1million dollar mark. In 2003, after directing the critically acclaimed thriller Pandora’s Box, he added the role of
“Executive Producer” to his credits by collaborating with his former business partner Will Packer, to produce several movies including: No Good Deed, Think Like A Man Too,  Think Like A Man, Stomp the Yard, Three Can Play that Game, and Motives. Hardy also wrote and directed the spiritually themed drama entitled The Gospel, and later directed the sequel Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. Later, he created the Sprite Step
off TV series for MTV 2 that placed a fraternity step competition into the reality TV space. A documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr’s life as a fraternity member called AlphaMan: The Brotherhood of MLK, soon followed.

The Hollywood Reporter (December 2002) listed him amongst the New
Establishment of Black Power Brokers. Florida A&M University awarded him with the Meritorious Achievement Award, which is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus. After which he received the inaugural Woody Strode / Paul Robeson Award of Excellence from his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In 2014, Hardy formed Rainforest Entertainment and partnered with Mitzi Miller where they have developed projects with the likes of Jerry Bruckheimer, John Legend’s Get Lifted Productions and rapper/actor T.I.

Additionally, Hardy graduated from the New York Film Academy, has directed commercial projects for clients, including: CNN, TBS (Turner Broadcasting), American Honda, Coca-Cola, Georgia Lottery and The National Cancer Institute. He serves on the Advisory Board for the International Feature Project (IFP) Film Lab series, the board for
Odyssey, is a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and was one of the founding principals of the Bounce TV network. He is also a public speaker with a oneman live stage show series, called Amazing Stories. He also served as keynote graduation speaker for the 2018 commencement at his alma mater Florida A&M University. Hardy resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and two sons.

 

Juan & Gee Smalls

Juan and Gee are a successful Atlanta-based couple, certified Relationship and Life coaches, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs and fathers of 18-year-old Gee Smalls, Jr.  In addition to media appearances, their expertise and unique perspective have been solicited by a diverse group of clients including major corporations, public institutions, government agencies and philanthropic organizations.

Since 2008, Juan & Gee have dedicated their careers to helping the underserved Black LGBTQ community by blogging, speaking, coaching, interviewing and working in-the-trenches to empower others to have healthy relationships and experience their best lives. Juan & Gee’s passion for improving the lives of the forgotten and disenfranchised within their community led to the creation of Love Works shortly after they married in 2009, where they strive to help couples of all persuasions find the love that works for them.

In 2011, the duo started created The Gentlemen’s Ball, which is an annual Black-Tie Gala that celebrates black LGBT people and allies for their work in creating social change.  By 2014 the annual Fundraiser evolved into The Gentlemen’s Foundation, a 501c3 organization which is committed to broader social change and encouraging individual and collective empowerment as well public service, leadership, philanthropy, and networking. Wanting to promote the holistic development of black LGBT men, Juan and Gee have started a healthy community dialogue on issues that contribute to individual wellness and growth and help celebrate positive, diverse images of men in their community. 

Juan & Gee are also recent restaurateurs, with the opening of Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar in Historic college park in June of 2019. 

 

DePriest Waddy

 

DePriest Waddy is the Executive Director of Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, JCCEO, one of the largest Community Action Agencies in Alabama with a $30 million budget and over 500 employees. DePriest’s experience leading transformative growth across a diverse portfolio of businesses, make him well positioned to accelerate JCCEO’s mission.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, DePriest has 30 years of executive leadership experience in strategic fundraising, operations, and marketing with various corporate, and Atlanta-area national non-profit organizations. He served as Regional Director with United Way of Greater Atlanta where he led community engagement, program management, fundraising and working  relationships with the board of directors, staff and volunteers.

Prior to United Way, DePriest served in a variety of executive roles, always leading with an entrepreneurial spirit in his work and igniting turnaround expertise that has strengthened the organizations under his leadership: Director, Corporate and Workforce Development with Year Up; CEO with Prevent Child Abuse Georgia; Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Big Brothers Big Sisters; Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance for Atlanta Public Schools’ Project GRAD Atlanta. DePriest held various corporate leadership roles in marketing and operations with Sears , AT&T, The American Hospital Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

DePriest holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from The University of Alabama and a Master of Business Administration degree from Kennesaw State University. He has served on and chaired several non-profit boards including DeKalb Workforce Development, Travelers Aid,
TechBridge, Inc., and Odyssey Atlanta. DePriest has also served the community as a member of Rotary Club and Leadership Gwinnett. He is currently a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Leadership Birmingham (Class of 2019) and an active volunteer with United Way
of Central Alabama. DePriest is passionate about mentoring and making sure underserved populations are represented and integrated into positive societal outcomes. He is an active mentor and has established a legacy in youth and workforce development programs.
Fueled by his faith, family and friends DePriest believes his many successes are a gift from God.

He and his wife have always believed in sharing their many blessings and endowed The Carol and DePriest Waddy Scholarship through Cascade United Methodist Church. The scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student pursuing a degree at an Historically Black College or University. To date their generosity has helped over 10 deserving students achieve their dream

Tirrell D. Whittley

Quote: “A vision without action is just a hallucination.  Action without a vision is random activity.”

Tirrell D. Whittley is the visionary and executive leader of LIQUID SOUL.  Since founding the company in 2001, it has grown into one of the nation’s leading brand marketing agencies specializing in advertising, marketing, social media and publicity for entertainment, sports and corporate brands. Recognized as an expert in millennial and multicultural marketing, Mr. Whittley has become a trusted advisor for brands looking to find impactful ways to target consumers.

Under his leadership, LIQUID SOUL, has developed marketing and distribution campaigns for an astounding slate of films and television shows, including such legendary properties and blockbuster hits as Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, 42: The Jackie Robinson Story,War of the Planet of the Apes, Game of ThronesHunger Games:Catching Fire,Fast & Furious 6,Black-ish,The Voice, Empire,Power, and numerous others.  To date, the go-to agency’s strategies have driven results for over thirty #1 studio films and more than 150 films that have generated over $3 Billion at the box office. The company’s corporate clients include such iconic brands as Walmart, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Home Depot, NCAA and AT&T. 

Among his many distinctions, Mr. Whittley has been recognized as the Atlanta Business League’s “Entrepreneur of the Year”,Florida A&M University’s “School of Business & Industry (SBI) Hall of Fame”Inductee, and he has received the “Film Advocate Award” from the BronzeLens Film Festival, an “Innovators Award”from the Black Women in Film Network and is lauded among the Who’s Who in Atlanta and Atlanta Tribunes “Top 25 Architects of Success”.

Mr. Whittley is a nationally known speaker and has delivered keynotes and marketing insights for such prestigious organizations as NBCUniversal Diversity & Inclusion Council, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, General Mills’ Box Tops for Education, Tavis Smiley Foundation’s Leadership Institute, Hollywood Black Film Festival, BronzeLens Film Festival, Atlanta Business Journal and B.E.S.T. Academy. He has been featured in numerous articles by the Associated Press, DEADLINE, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Multichannel News, Ebony Magazine, Black Enterprise, TheRoot.com, Upscale, Rolling Out, NewsOne.com, Sphinx Magazine, Examiner.com, HelloBeautiful.com, The Atlanta Tribune, The Atlanta Voice and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). 

Tirrell Whittley is a cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.  He is active in his community as a life-member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., American Marketing Association (AMA)-Atlanta Chapter, 100 Black Men of Atlanta, BronzeLens Film Festival, Atlanta Business League and Florida A&M University Foundation.  He is an ordained deacon in his church and resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two daughters.

2018 Impact Honors Photo Gallery

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