Parker H. “Pete” Petit

Pete Petit is Chairman and CEO of MiMedx Group. A visionary healthcare executive, he has a history of developing companies from their emerging stages and leading them to maturity and significant stature in their respective markets. In 1970, Mr. Petit founded Healthdyne, an international company that manufactured high-tech health care devices and provided health care information systems and services. Healthdyne-related companies grew to annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.

When Healthdyne split into several publicly traded companies in 1995, Mr. Petit remained Chairman of the Board of all the companies until their sale. He became President and CEO of Matria Healthcare, formed from the merger of Healthdyne Maternity Management and Tokos Medical, which was subsequently acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations in 2008.

Mr. Petit served on the Board of Directors of Atlantic Southeast Airlines for 16 years until it was acquired by Delta Airlines, and Norrell Corporation, which was acquired by Spherion Corporation. Mr. Petit is a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Research Alliance, which is chartered by the state of Georgia to promote high technology and scientific development in the state. He is a 1994 inductee into the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia and a 2007 inductee into the Robinson College of Business Hall of Fame. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has provided generous support to both of his alma maters and helped fund the Parker H. Petit Science Center at Georgia State. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgia Tech and received his MBA in finance from Georgia State University in 1973.

Brad Ferrer

Brad Ferrer is executive vice president of finance and administration for CNN Worldwide. He is based in Atlanta.

He was named to his current position in June 2000 and is responsible for financial and administrative matters for each division within CNN.

Since joining Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. in 1995, and until he joined CNN, Ferrer worked in the TBS Corporate Finance group and provided financial and administrative oversight of the construction of Turner Field and Philips Arena as well as due diligence on potential digital and other business investments.

From 1981-1995, Ferrer was a CPA for Price Waterhouse in the accounting and auditing group. He is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Ferrer serves as chair of the Finance Committee of the Georgia State University Foundation Board of Trustees. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors to the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Ferrer holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Georgia State University.

Catherine C. Henson

An attorney by profession, Cathy Henson is an advocate for the improvement of public education. In response to a requirement of the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000 that all Georgia public schools create and operate school councils, Cathy created the nonprofit Georgia School Council Institute to train parents, educators and members of the business community to improve Georgia’s public schools. The website ( has received numerous awards for its ease of use by the average “interested but otherwise uniformed” member of the public.

Ms. Henson has a long history of service in support of public education. She has served as both the Legislative Chair (1995-1997) and President (1997-1999) of the Georgia PTA. She was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Roy Barnes in 1999 and was the first woman in Georgia to be elected its chair. Ms. Henson served on Georgia’s Education Reform Commission in 1999 and 2000, and on the Closing the Achievement Gap Commission in 2001 and 2002. She is a highly regarded speaker on educational issues and has taught Education Law as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University College of Law, her alma mater.

Cathy currently serves on several boards, including the Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Board of Advisors, the Georgia State University Athletic Association (Vice Chair), and Teach for America’s Metro Atlanta Regional Advisory Board (Chair). Her past board service includes the Georgia State University Foundation Board (Chair), the Georgia Perimeter College Foundation (Chair), Piedmont College Board of Trustees, Wofford College Education Advisory Board, and the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

Cathy Henson has received various honors for her volunteer work in public education, including the Georgia Perimeter College Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, the Georgia State University Alumni Award, the Business to Business “Woman of Excellence” award, and the Bank of America “Local Heroes” award. She has been named several times by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the “100 most powerful and influential Georgians.”

Angie Allen

Angela Z. Allen is the founding chair and former chief executive officer of GLOBALT, Inc., a diversified growth investment management firm, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Synovus. Previously, Allen was the president of Southeastern Advisory Services, Inc., where she was responsible for developing investment strategies, asset allocation analyses, investment performance systems and portfolio diagnostics. Prior to that, she was a vice president of Prudential-Bache Capital Funding and was responsible for institutional equity services in the southeast region. She has appeared on CNN/fn and Georgia Public Television financial programs, written an investment feature for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and participated in investor roundtables for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In 2000, after 29 years of career focus in the investment field, Allen founded Full Circle Living, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation fueled by a passion to help level the playing field of opportunity, locally and globally. Full Circle Living’s vision is a world where people are of equal value as reflected in quality of life. In 2009 Full Circle Living published 50-50 Gender Balance: Why We Have To “Get” It and Get It Now because, as a primary focus, Full Circle Living promotes the benefits of gender balanced leadership.

Allen completed her undergraduate work at Northern Illinois University, and received her MBA from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and is a former advisory board member for the college. She serves on the advisory board for Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and is the former Chair of the Georgia State Foundation Board and of the GSU Foundation Investment Committee. Allen’s dedication to GSU is rooted in the diversity of the student enrollment and, through their scholarship fund, she and her husband have helped first generation students, in particular. Equipping graduates for leadership in their careers is the reason for her keen interest in the Women Lead program in the Robinson School and the Non-Profit Leadership Alliance in the Andrew Young School. Allen is a member and has served on the board of the International Women’s Forum, Georgia.

Mark Becker

Since beginning his tenure as Georgia State University’s seventh president in January 2009, President Mark P. Becker has pursued an ambitious vision for the future of Georgia State University and has led the institution into an unparalleled period of growth and advancement. Reflecting his vision of the modern public research university, the university adopted a dynamic 10-year strategic plan that has fueled Georgia State’s emergence as one of the nation’s premier urban research universities.

As a first-generation college student who began his educational career at a community college, Becker is personally and professionally committed to ensuring that students of all economic backgrounds succeed. Under his leadership, Georgia State’s graduation rate has already increased by 10 percent, and the university has become a widely recognized national leader in the introduction of innovative programs and initiatives to foster student success. It leads the nation in eliminating disparities in graduation rates based on race or ethnicity, and as one of the most diverse universities in America, is first in the nation among non-profit institutions in graduating African-American students.

By promoting the achievements of the university, making it more visible locally and nationally, and demonstrating the value of a Georgia State degree, the university under Becker’s leadership has set a series of records for enrollment, graduation rates and total graduates. Becker has also placed high priority on ensuring financial support for students, and need- and merit-based scholarship funds distributed by the university have tripled since his arrival. Under Becker’s leadership, Georgia State has set fund-raising records.

Becker’s passion for student success has been matched by his commitment to increasing multidisciplinary research and economic development through the creation of new research centers, the Second Century Initiative—an ambitious program to hire 100 senior faculty members to serve in interdisciplinary research clusters, and an emphasis on the translation of faculty research into products and companies. This commitment has brought the university to new heights of research accomplishment, as reflected, for example, in university records for sponsored research funding and federal research funding.

Being globally connected and engaged is another important component of Becker’s vision for the modern research university. Seeking to position Georgia State faculty and students to thrive in an increasingly complex and global landscape, Becker has worked with faculty leaders and international partners to enhance Georgia State’s global profile. Becker is particularly committed to developing strong partnerships with universities in rapidly growing economies. As a result, the university is strengthening relationships with counterparts in Brazil, China, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.

Becker has aggressively advanced the campus’ physical development and Georgia State is widely acknowledged as a major catalyst in the revitalization of downtown Atlanta. The university has made major additions to campus housing and dining, research and academic facilities, and intramural and athletics facilities. In 2010 the university added football to its athletics program, and in 2013 added sand volleyball and moved to the Sun Belt Conference to advance into the Division I – Football Bowl Subdivision level of NCAA competition.

Throughout his career Becker has served on boards and committees of civic, government and professional organizations. He serves, for example, on the boards of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, World Affairs Council of Atlanta, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Aquarium, Georgia Research Alliance, Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Committee for Progress. He also serves on the executive committees of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (chair) and Central Atlanta Progress.

Trained as a statistician, Becker has had a distinguished career in biostatistics and public health sciences. For most of his professorial career he was a member of the faculty in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan, where he also held appointments in the Institute for Social Research and the Department of Statistics. He was made a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Becker has been principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has published extensively in leading journals, and his doctoral students have gone on to successful careers in leading higher education institutions and with multinational companies. Becker served on multiple editorial boards, was co-editor of Sociological Methodology, and was a guest editor for Sociological Methods and Research and the Journal of the American Statistical Association.

Prior to his appointment as president of Georgia State, Becker was executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina and dean of the School of Public Health and assistant vice president of public health preparedness and emergency response at the University of Minnesota. From 1989 to 2000, Becker was a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, where he also was associate dean for academic affairs. He has held academic appointments at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University.

Becker attended Harford (Md.) Community College, earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University in 1980 and his doctor’s degree in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1985. Becker grew up in Havre de Grace, Md., near Baltimore. He and his wife, Laura Voisinet, have two adult children, Matthew and Julia.

Kenneth L. Bernhardt

Ken Bernhardt is Regents Professor of Marketing Emeritus at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business. Previous positions at Georgia State include Taylor E. Little Jr. Professor of Marketing, Marketing Department Chair, Assistant Dean for Corporate Relations, Special Assistant to the Dean for Corporate and Community Relations, and Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Planning. Dr. Bernhardt was a member of the RCB faculty from 1972 until his retirement in June 2013. Dr. Bernhardt also served as Consumer Research Advisor at the Federal Trade Commission from 1978 to 1980 and Visiting Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School from 1983 to 1984. Dr. Bernhardt is the author of twelve books and monographs and numerous articles on marketing and consumer behavior. Since 2004 he has been writing a bi-monthly column on marketing for Atlanta Business Chronicle.

His current work experience includes consulting for a number of organizations including Chick-fil-A, Primrose Schools, Delta Air Lines, HoneyBaked Ham, Boardwalk Consulting, BrightWave Marketing, and Leapfrog IT Services. Previous assignments included consulting for UPS, The Federal Trade Commission, Kimberly-Clark Health Care, BellSouth, IBM, Coca-Cola, Snapper, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Engauge Digital, AirTran Airways, Home Depot, and several law firms. He serves on the Boards of Advisors for Sandbox Digital; Matchstic, a branding agency; and What’s Up Interactive, an interactive marketing agency. His other activities include service as past Chairman of the Board of the 45,000 member American Marketing Association, past President and former Executive Secretary of the Association for Consumer Research, past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and the American Marketing Association Foundation, and past Chair of the U.S. Census Bureau Marketing Advisory Committee.

Ken is the immediate past Chair of the Board for the Georgia State University Foundation, Vice Chair and former chair of the board of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and serves on the board of directors and executive committee for Junior Achievement of Georgia. He is a past chair of the board and a member of the board and executive committee for Leadership Atlanta, and is a past chair of the board and a Life Director of the Alliance Theatre. He received his MBA from the Harvard Business School and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

W. Frank Blount

W. Frank Blount is Chairman and CEO of JI Ventures, Inc., and TTS Inc., a high-tech venture capital company and Chairman and CEO of TTS LLC, a private equity company. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1961 with a BS in Electrical Engineering, he earned an MBA from Georgia State in 1969 and and an MS from MIT Sloan School in 1971. In 2010, Mr. Blount was awarded the GSU Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2007, he received the GSU Robinson College of Business Alumni Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement. Frank is on the Advisory Board for the J. Mack Robinson College of Business and is a former trustee of the Georgia State Foundation Board.

Mr. Blount is on the board of directors for KBR, Inc, in Houston and the advisory board of the China Telecom Corporation. He has served on the boards of Caterpillar, Inc., Entergy Corporation, Alcatel-Lucent, BHP, National Australia Bank, Adtran, Hanson PLC, Adtran, and others. He has also served as Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Cypress Communications.

In 1992, Mr. Blount was appointed CEO of Telstra, an Australian telecom company, from which he retired in 1999. Prior to that, he was Group President of AT&T in New York, after having held a number of positions with the company dating from when it was Southern Bell. In 2000, he co-authored “Managing in Australia.”

Mr. Blount is on the advisory board of the Wesleyan School. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have two grown sons and four grandchildren and are members of the Capital City Club and Wieuca Road Baptist Church.

Ann-Marie Campbell

Ann-Marie Campbell is president of the Southern Division of The Home Depot. She is responsible for the sales and operations of more than 690 stores. Ann-Marie leads a team of more than 100,000 associates in 15 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.

Ann-Marie joined The Home Depot in 1985 as a cashier. She has served in a variety of positions during her 20-plus year career at The Home Depot, including store manager, district manager and regional vice president. She also has served as vice president of operations, vice president of merchandising and special orders, vice president of retail marketing and sales for Home Depot Direct and vice president of vendor services.

Ann-Marie is a graduate of Georgia State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in business administration. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honor society, and the National Scholars Honor Society. She currently serves on the boards for Potbelly Corporation and Barnes & Noble, Inc. She also serves on the advisory boards for Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business and Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for women and business. In 2014, Fortune Magazine listed her among the top 50 most powerful women in business.

Marjorie Knowles

Marjorie Fine Knowles, professor of law emerita, served as dean of the college from 1986-1991. Knowles received the LL.B. in 1965 from the Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude, and the A.B., magna cum laude, from Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa membership. After graduating from law school, Knowles clerked for a U.S. district judge, then served as an assistant U.S. attorney and as an assistant district attorney. She then became the executive director of Joint Foundation Support. Knowles joined the faculty of the University of Alabama School of Law in 1972, serving in various capacities, including associate dean.

In 1978, Knowles was appointed as the first assistant general counsel for the Inspector General Division at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In 1979, she was appointed as the first statutory inspector general of the Department of Labor. After her service in Washington, Knowles returned to the University of Alabama. In 1986, she moved to Atlanta to become dean of Georgia State Law. After leaving the deanship, she returned to full-time law teaching, specializing in corporate law. She teaches courses in Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Conflict of Laws.

Knowles currently serves as a trustee on the Georgia State University Foundation Board. She is a former trustee of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, the College Retirement Equity Fund (CREF), a former member of the Court-Appointed Task Force to Monitor Implementation of the Settlement Agreement in the Coca-Cola Race Discrimination Law Suit, as well as a former director of the Center for Working Capital and the International Center for Corporate Governance and Accountability at the George Washington University Law School.

Knowles has also served as an advisor to CALPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Law School and as a member of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the Association of American Law Schools; she chaired the committee in 1998 and 1999.

Knowles is the author of scholarly works including a comparison of the ALI Principles of Corporate Governance with Georgia Law, a description of the Share-Owner Affairs Program at the Coca-Cola Company, and a report on diversity in higher education.

Iqbal F. Paroo

Iqbal Paroo is Managing Partner of Paroo and Associates, bringing over 40 years of health industry and international leadership experience to his firm. His expertise lies in complex health care systems, academic health care institutions, technology companies, and venture-funded startups.

Mr. Paroo led a turnaround of Hahnemann University Hospital as CEO, and then served as President of the University and as Chancellor. After Hahnemann, Mr. Paroo was Chairman and CEO of Qualitas Healthcare International, a venture-funded company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Just prior to establishing his consulting firm, Mr. Paroo served as President and CEO of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm. Other positions held: Hospital CEO within the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) system; Vice President of Health Sciences at Meharry Medical College (Nashville, TN); Director of Commissioning for the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan

Since 2008, Mr. Paroo has been engaged by Johns Hopkins Medicine, and he led the acquisition, designed the process, and negotiated the transaction that resulted in Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS) and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) acquiring Suburban Hospital and Health Care System in Bethesda, MD, Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC, and the All Children’s Hospital in St Petersburg, FL. In March 2013, Mr. Paroo created a joint venture between Bayfront, HMA Florida and University of Florida -Shands Health System.

Mr. Paroo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from Georgia State University. In 2012, he received the GSU Robinson College of Business Alumni Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement

In December 2012, President Obama appointed Mr. Paroo to the Board of the African Development Foundation for a 5-year term. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Paroo is multi-lingual and maintains a diverse, global network of social and professional relationships.

William Pate

As president of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), William Pate is in charge of maintaining tourism as one of the city’s top economic drivers. The industry brought more than 48 million visitors to metro Atlanta in 2014, generating more than $14 billion in visitor spending and sustaining more than 230,000 jobs.

Prior to joining ACVB, Pate served as president of Career Sports & Entertainment, a national sports marketing and representation firm. He is the former chief marketing officer of BellSouth, one of the world’s largest communications companies, where he spearheaded the development and marketing of the BellSouth brand both nationally and internationally.

Pate also held positions at MCI, where he supervised domestic and international advertising and public relations and at Knapp Inc., an Atlanta-based marketing services firm specializing in solutions for large corporations. In addition, he spent six years at the Southeast Dairy Association, producing advertising and marketing programs.

He began his career in non-profit, working in public relations positions with Goodwill Industries and the American Red Cross. Pate has received many awards and honors for his work from both Advertising Age and the American Marketing Association. He was named 2010 corporate marketer of the year by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association and was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 100 Most Influential Atlantans in 2009 and 2010. Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International recognized Pate as one of the 2011 Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing.

Pate is a past chairman of the board of the Atlanta Sports Council, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and ACVB. He serves on the board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, College Football Hall of Fame, Commerce Club, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Chick-fil-A Bowl, as well as on the Board of Councilors of the Carter Presidential Center and the Industry Advisory Board for Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration. Most recently, he was named to the Woodruff Art Center’s Board of Trustees.

A native of Atlanta, Pate grew up in Decatur and attended Georgia State University, where he received his undergraduate degree in journalism and his graduate degree in communications.

Chip Patterson

Chip Patterson founded AmeriPark in 1986 while studying business at Georgia State University. Since that time, Chip has been the visionary driving force behind the success of AmeriPark. The company has grown over the past 20 years from a “one man shop” to a well-respected, full-service parking company with more than 1,000 employees and 150 accounts throughout the country. Chip is also the owner of Trextel, a National Technology Deployment Provider.

He is the founder of Reinvention Wheels, a bicycle charity serving the disadvantaged in the US and internationally. Chip is also very involved in the local nonprofit community including the Georgia State University Athletics Board and the Cobb Youth Football League. Chip has been heavily involved with Atlanta business leaders in developing a major city as a founding Board member of the Buckhead Alliance, a community action group now apart of the Community Improvement District. He is a member of Atlanta’s CID Central Atlanta Progress and a member of the Midtown Alliance

Chip lives in Marietta, GA with his wife Shawna and their four children.

Deepak Raghavan

Deepak Raghavan co-founded Manhattan Associates, Inc., a global leader in supply chain solutions, in 1990 (, where he conceptualized, designed, and developed the industry’s first “packaged” distribution management software for the consumer supply chain. Deepak’s leadership in developing customer-focused software products and implementation services enabled Manhattan Associates’ consistent track record of growth and profitability. With 2014 revenues of over $490 million, Manhattan Associates is a publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ (ticker: MANH).

While continuing to provide strategic and governance oversight as a director, Deepak left full-time employment at Manhattan Associates in June 2002 to pursue his passion for astronomy. His wonders about the countless stars and the possibility of other life-supporting environments led his research efforts, which are focused on a better understanding of the habitats of Sun-like stars. His Ph.D. work was a comprehensive multiplicity survey of Solar-type stars, aimed at improving our understanding of the propensity of Sun-like stars to have planetary and stellar companions. The findings, published in the Astrophysical Journal in 2010, have over 350 citations to-date. Deepak earned his Ph.D. in astronomy at Georgia State University in 2009, where he serves as an adjunct professor, teaching physics and astronomy courses.

Born in New Delhi, India, Deepak received his Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, in 1987, and his MBA from Georgia State University in 1998. From 1987-1990, he served as Senior Software Engineer at Infosys Technologies Limited, where he designed and implemented information systems for the apparel manufacturing industry.

As president of the Deepak Raghavan Family Foundation, he is actively involved in supporting the foundation’s priorities of education, animal conservation, and children’s healthcare. His community involvement includes current service on the boards of Woodward Academy and Georgia State University Foundation. He is a founder, mentor member, past president and past chairman of the board of the Atlanta Chapter of TiE, a global entrepreneur organization. He has served as vice chairman of the board of Zoo Atlanta, advisory board member of the Atlanta CEO High Tech Council, and director of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, and on the advisory board of the Robinson College of Business at GSU. Deepak resides in Atlanta with his wife and two children.

Frank Strickland

Frank Strickland is a partner at Signature FD, a wealth and asset management firm. Prior to joining SignatureFD, Frank worked as a financial consultant to business owners, professionals, high-net-worth individuals and multigenerational, high-net-worth families. He began his professional career in the tax department of KPMG (one of the “big four” accounting firms) and went on to found and serve as the CEO of Data Systems Corp., a professional services company serving CPAs and physicians in the Southeast.

A graduate of the McCallie School, Frank earned a BBA in accounting and an MBA in accounting/finance from Georgia State University. He is a member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals, the Investment Management Consultants Association and the Alternative Investments Management Association.

Frank is active in a wide variety of social and community activities, including serving as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Metro Atlanta Crime Commission and on the board of directors of the Georgia State University Athletic Association. He also coaches youth sports teams and is a member of the Piedmont Driving Club, Capitol City Club, Burge Plantation Club and Ocean Forest Golf Club. He and his wife of 42 years are the parents of four adult children.