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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Women in Technology (WIT) Special Edition

Mona Charif

The work of Women in Technology has an incredible impact.
Since 1992, Women in Technology has had a mission dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in Georgia’s technology community. Through the WIT COMMUNITY, WIT Also educates and encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM.


Sandy Welfare /  WIT 

Sandy D. Welfare is the Executive Director of Women In Technology (WIT). Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of Cool Girls Inc, an award-winning early intervention after-school program dedicated to the empowerment of girls (2009-2015).

Sandy’s career began in 1989 in Greenwich, Connecticut where she joined Rand Insurance as the Controller. Six years later, she accepted a position with Lucent Technologies, an international telecommunications leader, holding a number of positions including serving as Accounting and Treasury Manager in Singapore (1999-2000) and then as Senior Manager in Australia and New Zealand (2000-2002). Sandy returned to Atlanta in 2002 as Senior Manager of Global Financial Services.

In 2003, Sandy accepted a position as Director of Operations for Xchanging, a business processing outsourcing company. In 2006, her career took her to London, England as Managing Director for professional services, where she managed global business processing services for bank financial transactions, insurance and retail.

Sandy received her undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in New York, and a Master of Business Administration from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She serves on the board of several non-profits, including Kiwanis Club of Atlanta. Sandy resides in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Cliff and son, Soloman.

Twitter     Twitter(Sandy)      LinkedIn


Mona Charif / NTT Data, Inc.
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Mona Charif is an award-winning marketing and communications professional with a proven track record of over-achievement. She is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Office for NTT Data, Inc., a world-class IT services firm and systems integrator. Her focus is on programs and campaigns that increase client understanding of how NTT DATA helps them achieve their business goals.

Mona is dedicated to fostering awareness on diversity in the workplace, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training for girls and young women. She is the proud mother of two exceptional teenagers, the wife of an extraordinarily patient man, and a devoted daughter and sister. Mona also enjoys tennis, gardening, travel, movies and award shows.

LinkedIn   Twitter



Georgia Department of Economic Development Small Business Rock Stars

Small Business Rockstars


Mary Ellen McClanahan / Georgia Department of Economic Development
Director, Entrepreneur & Small Business Project Manager, Global Commerce

As Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business Development for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Mary Ellen helps find solutions and effective ways to build an enabling environment and support small business through mentoring, professional development, strategic planning, processes and resource awareness.  She connects with Georgia’s business and community associations so that thousands of businesses, local leaders and practitioners are aware of resources and opportunities.  She also directs any sized businesses to the specific resources they need.

Mary Ellen is an Existing Industry Project Manager within the Metro Atlanta region.  She calls on growing companies, making them aware of state resources and incentives, and provides assistance with their growth plans and decision-making process.  Mary Ellen also works closely with the local economic developers with their economic development efforts.

During her 19 years with the department, she helped develop and grow its regional economic development program, the “Entrepreneur Friendly” Initiative, and acted as legislative liaison.  Prior to that, Mary Ellen was the economic developer and president of two rural South Georgia chambers of commerce in Dodge and Sumter Counties.

Originally from Erie, PA, and in Georgia since 1973, Mary Ellen serves on the boards of GEDA (Georgia Economic Developers Association), GACCE (GA Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives), Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection, and the DeKalb Workforce Investment Board.

She is a 1997 graduate of Institute for Organization Management and Leadership Georgia, and a 2000 graduate of EDI (Economic Development Institute).

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Carrie Burns / Atlanta Movie Tours
Founder /CEO and Chief Movie Buff

The film industry is booming in Georgia, with over 700 movies and 20 television shows filmed here since 1972. Atlanta has been fortunate to play a key role in many, including Ant-Man, Driving Miss Daisy, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Ride Along, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 and The Walking Dead. Since 2012, Atlanta Movie Tours has been providing a whole new way to see the city for visitors and locals alike. Atlanta Movie Tours tour guides are experienced actors who have worked on set, giving you fascinating behind-the-scenes stories you won’t hear anywhere else.

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Mallory Sofferin / Sweet Grass Dairy
Communications Coordinator

Sweet Grass Dairy currently manufactures six different artisan cow’s milk cheeses. Sweet Grass Dairy also has a small cheese shop and a full service restaurant in historic downtown Thomasville. Sweet Grass Dairy is dedicated to producing high quality, flavorful cow’s milk cheeses that are a true expression of their unique terroir.  They purchase milk from the family’s dairy farm located 30 miles from the cheese plant. The Little family is dedicated to farming sustainably in a New Zealand rotational grazing method, and to upholding the highest level of humane animal husbandry.

Sweet Grass Dairy is located in the only area of the United States where cattle can graze 365 days a year due to mild winters and unlimited water from the Floridian aquifer. Sweet Grass Dairy does not even have a barn to house their cows. The company’s goal as cheese makers is to make cheeses in an old world style to let the true flavors of the grass based milk shine through to the final product. Sweet Grass Dairy is trying to change the American perspective on food, and is dedicated to educating the American public on the importance of knowing how our foodstuffs are grown, raised or made.



Brandon Pelissero / Ecolink
Chief Value Officer

Ecolink is a 25-year industrial chemical manufacturer and distributor with an environmental mission of less and safer chemicals for workers and their communities. Ecolink is among the earliest pioneers in formulating with citrus terpene oil (citrus fruit skins) as alternatives to toxic and hazardous chemicals which are being banned, or phased out, due to environmental (ozone depleting potential, SMOG) and health & safety reasons (carcinogenicity).

100% of Ecolink’s branded solutions were developed in collaboration with customers. Often times the customer will determine the packaging and labeling, even naming the product in some instances. Ecolink leverages digital marketing in very big ways (Ex: 10 clicks have converted into more than $10M of lifetime revenue). Ecolink is committed to educating the next generation. Starting in 1999, Ecolink funded environmental education with leading national programs and currently invests in high schools, businesses and marketing programs throughout Georgia. Ecolink ships the same/next day. This is very uncommon for the industrial chemical industry, especially for under $500 or 55 gallons. Ecolink recently (10/3/16) celebrated its 25th anniversary and is very pleased to report minimal losses. Ecolink is thankful for doing good while delivering good.

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Samrat Sharma with PwC Strategy, Chris Godfrey with Buckhead Business Association and Author Chris Butsch

Samrat Sharma and Chris Butsch


Samrat Sharma / PwC Strategy&

Samrat Sharma is an advisor to executives in the consumer and retail sectors for Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business.

Mr. Sharma is a recognized thought leader and has several publications to his credit, including “Creating an Organic Growth Machine,” which appeared in the Harvard Business Review, “Escaping the Consolidation Mentality in CPG” and “Shaping Category Dynamics to Win in CPG” in strategy+business magazine. He has also written and contributed to many other s+b articles and viewpoints.

Prior to joining Strategy&, Mr. Sharma spent six years in marketing, business development, and strategy with Honeywell International and General Electric, and in executive search with Korn/Ferry International.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, with Honors, from the University of Delhi, and an MBA in Strategy, Marketing, Finance and International Business from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Chris Butsch / The Millenial’s Guide to Making Happiness

Chris Butsch is Atlanta Business Radio’s “Millennial Correspondent.” Author of The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness, Chris educates other generations on how to decrypt and connect with his unique generation.

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Chris Godfrey / Buckhead Business Association

Chris Godfrey joined Avison Young’s Office Advisory Team as an Associate in the fall of 2015. He is a Metro-Atlanta native, and a graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Chris focuses on creating relationships with clients and learning about their culture so he can provide innovative solutions to positively impact organizations and grow talent retention. Chris has served as president of the Buckhead Business Association’s young professional group where the pillars focus on leadership, philanthropy and connecting others. He is involved with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and has served on several committees, helping provide insight into the commercial real estate needs of the city and how it aligns with the talent pool.

As Atlanta continues to be an international beacon where hospitality meets hustle, Chris is at the forefront of helping organizations with their real estate strategies to meet the needs of what will soon be the largest group of employed talent, the Millennials. His unique background provides an advantage to clients as he can focus on their needs, bridging their real estate and people.

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James Lloyd with TITLE Boxing Club


James Lloyd / TITLE Boxing Club
Franchise Development Manager

James LloydJames Lloyd started his career at TITLE Boxing Club back in 2009, working on the front lines of the franchise business as a trainer, assistant manager and eventual general manager of the original, and first, TITLE Boxing Club in the country in Overland Park, KS.  Working every position in the business allowed James to see the real needs of the business through multiple channels, and in 2011 he became a franchise owner himself.   His career path shifted when current CEO John Rotche purchased part of the company in 2012 and asked James to move to Ann Arbor, MI in order to build out a new corporate location.  Over the last 5 years James has served in various roles for the company, from a regional director of franchise operations, to his current position as a franchise development manager.   Today James uses his in-depth knowledge of the TITLE Boxing Club franchise system to help individuals achieve lifelong goals and embark on the path of franchise ownership.

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Neighborhood Business Radio Episode 3

Neighborhood Business Radio


Teena Thomas / Makeup by Teena

Teena was born March 29,1992 in Kerala, India. When she was 2 years old her family moved to the United States with her two older brothers. Growing up she wasn’t allowed to wear much makeup, but being the youngest sibling of two boys she didn’t have much of an interest. What she did have a passion for was art. She loved painting, drawing and even creating her own picture books. “Art was my escape and a way of creating my own perfect world.”

As Teena got older and entered high school, she discovered her love for makeup. As the years progressed, Teena worked as a freelance artist for Pur Minerals as a vendor in several different Ulta locations. In 2015, Teena attained her Bachelors in Social Science from Kennesaw State University. After graduating, Teena relocated to Atlanta, GA, where she has continued to develop her experience by working with different editorial photographers and modeling agencies including Ford Models.

Instagram   VoyageATL Article


Tim Samuel / Sparketh
Co-Founder and Vice President

Sparketh uses its online learning platform to empower young students to reach their creative potential. We are creating an atmosphere that is a rewarding place for both students and professionals. Our goal is to create a portfolio of quality online courses that are as effective as an in-person private tutor.

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Kurt and Kyle Sobotka with Prime Technical Services, Jeffrey Stepakoff with Georgia Film Academy and Author Chris Butsch

Prime Technology Services


Kurt and Kyle Sobotka / Prime Technical Services
President and Co-Founder

Kurt Sobotka started Prime Technical Services with his twin brother Kyle in 2014.  Prime Technical Services is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business supporting customers in the private and public sectors.  Prime has been selected as a finalist for this year’s Pacesetter Awards in being one of the fastest growing privately held companies in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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Jeffrey Stepakoff / Georgia Film Academy
Executive Director

Jeffrey Stepakoff was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an accomplished writer-producer and an experienced academic, with a twenty-eight year entertainment industry career that includes sweeping internationally-recognized credits, leadership roles in content creation and production management, and a track record of collaboration, innovation, and success in virtually all forms of commercial media.

After earning a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and then completing his Masters of Fine Arts in Playwriting at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Stepakoff moved to Hollywood and began writing and producing film, television and digital entertainment. He has “written by” or “story by” credits on thirty-seven television episodes, has written for fifteen different series, and has been a writer and/or writer-producer on eight prime time, or first-run cable staffs. He’s been credited on more than two hundred episodes of popular television. TV credits for which he is most known include the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters, Wild Card, Hyperion Bay, The Magic School, C16:FBI, Robin’s Hoods, Land’s End, Flipper, Sons & Daughters, Major Dad, The Yakov Smirnoff Show, Beauty & the Beast, Have Faith, Simon & Simon, and Dawson’s Creek, where he was Co-Executive Producer. Until July 2015, he worked as the Co-Executive Producer of Chasing Life for ABC Family.

Twitter   Twitter (Personal)   Facebook


Chris Butsch / The Millenial’s Guide to Making Happiness

Chris Butsch is Atlanta Business Radio’s “Millennial Correspondent.” Author of The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness, Chris educates other generations on how to decrypt and connect with his unique generation.

LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook


Biz Radio U Featuring Katy Galli with Keep Moving Forward Podcast

Keep Moving Forward

Biz Radio U
Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson


Katy Galli / Keep Moving Forward Podcast

Katy Galli is an entrepreneur based out of Atlanta, GA. Her ultimate goal is to help you realize that you can beat the odds and go the distance, if only you keep moving forward. To achieve this, she created the Keep Moving Forward podcast for your listening pleasure. Every Wednesday, she interviews inspiring individuals from all walks of life who will undoubtedly prove to you that giving up is for rookies. To experience her weekly episodes, you can tune in at and subscribe on iTunes. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as @KatyGalli45 for a daily dose of motivation.

In addition to her podcast, she also founded the USA based pet supply company, MallardMade. Specializing in Americana style dog beds that were proudly made right here in the United States, MallardMade previously donated beds to Companions for Heroes to support our veterans and shelter animals in need. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for an exclusive look at her beds.

While she leads the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, she is an avid athlete and coach, as well. She is a certified level 1 USA Track and Field coach, a CrossFit athlete, and a CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) trainer.


KSU Entrepreneurship Center The Shrimp Tank Featuring Chau Nguyen with Hirewire

Chau Nguyen


Where can a young entrepreneur figure out how to turn their dreams into reality? Just take a step into the Shrimp Tank. The Shrimp Tank brings you interviews with some of the most successful business owners in the United States to learn the do’s and don’ts of starting and running a successful business. Then, the fun really starts when we bring in high school and college students to pitch their business ideas to the Shrimp Tank. We don’t fund any business, but we do teach kids how to turn their business ideas into a successful business.

Hosts of The Shrimp Tank Chris Hanks, Ted Jenkin and Lee Heisman


Chau Nguyen / HireWire

Chau NguyenChau Nguyen has been an entrepreneur for over 10 years. In 2005, Chau co-founded Campus Special, which was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US for four consecutive years. Campus Special reached millions of college students at over 500 universities through mobile apps, ecommerce, and print media. Nearly 4,000 college students launched their career in sales and marketing through his award winning internship program. In 2014, Campus Special was acquired by Chegg (NYSE: CHGG).

In 2015, Chau launched Hirewire, a hiring marketplace where employers can connect with job seekers on-demand. Unlike traditional job boards, there is no need to post a job and wait for resumes to come in. Instead employers can run a search and filter candidates by location, experience, availability, and instantly view job seeker profiles with job history, video interview, and message directly within the app.

Hirewire currently serves 4,000 employers and 100,000 job seekers within the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industry in Atlanta with plans to expand to additional cities and industries in 2017. To date, Hirewire has raised $3.9M in funding to improve the way hiring is done.

Chau has been named one of the Highest Rated CEOs of 2014 among small to mid sized companies by Glassdoor and voted to the annual list of Most Loved CEOs in America 2014 by Inc. Magazine. Chau has a passion for coaching, mentoring, and developing people.

Twitter   Twitter (personal)   Facebook


Pat Falotico with The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, Yves Neidlinger with CulinaryLocal and Drew Dawson with The Headshot Truck

Pat Falotico, Yves Neidlinger and Drew Dawson


Pat Falotico / The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Patricia Falotico is the CEO of the Robert K Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Founded in 1964 by Robert Greenleaf, the Center advances the philosophy and practice of Servant Leadership which enriches individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a better more caring society. The ultimate measure of success for a servant leader is how those served grow.

Pat retired from IBM following 31 years leading a broad range of projects including technical sales, sales management, service business development, software distribution, marketing and development of business partner relationships on the local, regional, national and international level. She served as IBM’s Senior State Executive for Georgia and Senior Location Executive for Atlanta; providing leadership for IBM in the community and across the state, linking Corporate Citizenship and Employee Engagement activities with strategic IBM initiatives.

Pat is active is several civic organizations and is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to get a high quality education which enables them to becoming contributing members of society. She currently chairs on the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Community Engagement Council and is an active alumn and volunteer of Leadership Atlanta. Pat mentors emerging women leaders through Pathbuilders’ Achieva program.

Pat holds a B.S. in math and computer science from Manhattan College. Originally from New York, Pat now lives in Marietta, Georgia with her family.

LinkedIn   Twitter   Twitter (personal)


Yves Neidlinger / CulinaryLocal
President and CEO

Yves Neidlinger has worked in sales and marketing for technology companies for the past twenty years. He is an amateur chef and has 11 years experience working in the hospitality industry, including as the founder and CEO of CulinaryLocal.

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Drew Dawson / The Headshot Truck
Photography Director

Drew Dawson is a Georgia native from Coweta County. Sharpsburg to be exact, which is where the The Walking Dead is filmed. Drew pursued a career in photography for 8 years in Los Angeles, learning and working with the top photographers in the business.

Drew mentored with, and learned to shoot from Adam Hendershott, a close friend and Co-Founder of the Headshot Truck. Drew joined The Headshot Truck after years of working for other photographers and freelancing in some pretty fantastic locations, like Hawaii, Alaska, and… Delaware. Drew left his home in rainy Seattle for sunny Los Angeles and has been with the Truck ever since, partnering up with the company to have a third truck brought to Atlanta.

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Biz Radio U Featuring Lee Kantor and Stone Payton with Business RadioX

Stone Payton and Lee Kantor
Biz Radio U
Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson


Lee Kantor / Business RadioX

Lee founded Business RadioX out of frustration with traditional media’s cronyism, onerous gatekeepers and anti-business bias. Business RadioX is a disruptive media platform that helps companies of all sizes get the word out. Now the dominant business radio network in the Atlanta area Lee has put Business RadioX on an aggressive national and international growth path.

Most recently, Lee helped Business RadioX successfully launch its Radio In My Booth product – giving companies an innovative way to drive tradeshow booth traffic and authentically engage with prospects to boost lead generation.

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Stone Payton / Business RadioX
Managing Partner

For over 25 years, Stone Payton has been helping organizations and the people who lead them drive their business strategies more effectively.

Stone literally wrote the book on SPEED ® – Never Fry Bacon In The Nude: And Other Lessons From The Quick & The Dead (2nd Printing Book Logix, 2012), and has dedicated his entire career to helping others produce Better Results in Less Time.

As managing partner for Business Radio X ® and co-host for the network’s most popular shows, Stone is constantly learning from innovative, passionate, driven people who have chosen to live into their dreams, and serve others who wish to do the same.

His career began with the change management consulting firm, Conner Partners (formerly ODR), and has included sales, marketing, design, and delivery roles for some of the most respected training and consulting firms on the planet.

Stone is a popular radio personality, published author, accomplished speaker, and trusted advisor to business owners, sales leaders and senior executives.

Stone, his wife Holly and daughters Katie and Kelly, make their home in suburban Atlanta. His leisure interests include boating, hiking, and travel. Stone’s Personal Mission: Helping businesses Get The Word Out about the great work they’re doing to serve their market, their community, and their profession.

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