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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Storytelling in Business

Ria Story


Ria Story / Top Story Leadership
Leadership / Resilience Expert

Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria learned to be resilient, and not just survive, but thrive. She went on worked her way through school, an MBA, and a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare.
Now a motivational speaker, coach, and author of 7 books, she co-founded Top Story Leadership, which offers leadership development, speaking, training, coaching, and consulting.


Natalie Joy / Defining Your Joy
Strategic Business Growth Coach

In 2014 Natalie Joy began her journey pursuing her God-sized Dream to help women find more Joy in their personal & professional lives. Six years prior she had been forced to start her life over after a failed marriage involving infidelity and emotional abuse. She took on the last name Joy as a daily reminder that each day we have the ability to choose to have Joy in our lives.

Prior to launching, Defining Your Joy, Natalie Joy worked in the corporate world as a Top Level Strategic Coach and Traveling Corporate Trainer-helping businesses grow at a rapid rate of 20% each year in a market of only an average of 3% growth. Speaking & Coaching others are Natalie’s passions but after 13 years in this industry she desired to make a much bigger impact in the lives of women.


Denard Ash / Ash Training & Consulting
Project Management Lead


Paul Johnson with Displayit, Kris Casariego with Predictable Success and Casey Graham with

Predictable Success


Paul Johnson / Displayit
Chief Marketing and Product Officer

Paul Johnson joined Displayit in 2014 as head of the Marketing Advantage team. He’s responsible for determining clients’ needs, ensuring Displayit has the right products and services, and making it easy for Displayit Clients to buy.

After working in numerous sales roles – from account manager to vice president of sales and marketing – Paul discovered that true sales success is achieved with a healthy combination of effective product management, smart marketing and consultative selling. Thus, he began his unending pursuit of the “question behind the question,” developing a knack for hearing what others aren’t saying, connecting the dots, and helping people make decisions that solve their problems.

Paul’s never met a Hawaiian shirt he didn’t like. On any given day, there’s a 76% chance you’ll see him sporting one around Displayit’s offices. After work, he enjoys playing guitar, bicycling or learning something new. Paul has a degree in electrical engineering, and once rebuilt a manual transmission with only 4 part left over.

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Kris Casariego / Predictable Success
Marketing Director

Kris is responsible for the development and implementation of the marketing strategy for Predictable Success. Before joining the Predictable Success team, she was Marketing Director for meeting facilitation training and consulting firm, Leadership Strategies, where she helped lead the company to more than 40% growth during her tenure.

With a focus on hitting goals, Kris’s areas of expertise include inbound marketing, lead generation, strategic planning and team leadership.

As a thank you for tuning in, you can save 15% on our Public Acceleration Workshop in Atlanta on May 16, 2017. Find out more here

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Casey Graham / 
Founder / CEO

Casey Graham is a fired-up entrepreneur with a tremendous passion for helping other business owners. Casey’s transparency and high-energy leadership style have made him the go-to voice in the small business community. As CEO and Founder of The Rocket Company, Casey has developed the 5 P’s of a 7-Figure Business as a template of his success to share with other corporations.

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Biz Radio U Featuring Zach Sergio with Zurly



Biz Radio U

Hosted by Adam Wozniak and Darren Parkinson


Zach Sergio / Zurly

Zach is a recently graduated alumni of Kennesaw State University’s class of 2016 with a degree in Marketing & Professional Sales from the prestigious Michael J. Coles College of Business.

Currently, he works with innovative companies to change the way companies create quality software with QASymphony, and also disrupt the fundraising industry with the Zurly team.

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KSU Entrepreneurship Center The Shrimp Tank Featuring Derrick Meek




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


Derrick Meek / The GreenSeason Group

Derrick founded The GreenSeason Group because he wanted to do business differently.  His family, particularly his mother, influenced his old school way of doing business.  There’s no snake oil here – for Derrick, business is about honesty, helping others succeed and a passion for excellence.  Calling himself a landscape evangelist, Derrick believes there’s something magical about a beautiful landscape and being able to deliver beauty coupled with an awesome client experience is what it’s all about.

Growing up, Derrick’s entrepreneurial talents were always encouraged by his mother and father – something he’s very grateful for as, he laughs, “I never imagined mowing the neighbor’s grass in middle school to support his fishing habit would later develop into a calling”.

If he’s not spending time with his wonderful wife, or chasing his four boys around, he’s nose-deep in a book, or working on what seems like an ever growing honey-do list.  He’ll tell you his inspiration comes from his faith, his family, and a never ending desire to win.

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Women in Technology (WIT) Special Edition

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.

Women in Technology


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.

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Derek Johnson / ThoughtWorks
Southeast Market Principal

Derek Johnson is the Regional Director for ThoughtWorks Inc., a global software consultancy. After years developing teams in India and Brazil, Derek now leads teams of designers, developers, and analysts to bring comprehensive solutions to the southeastern Unites States. With a focus on leveraging technology to build solutions for enterprises and communities, Derek and his team maintain ongoing support for Women Who Code, Technologists of Color, and Women in Technology, among others.

Derek is a graduate of Morehouse College, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Kennesaw State University. He has served with both Junior Achievement and the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta. He maintains a keen focus on creating opportunities for young people looking to enter high tech careers and thrive as they navigate the corporate world.

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Kyle Tothill / eHire
Partner & Managing Director

Kyle Tothill is a proven entrepreneur and growth enablement professional focused on helping organizations acquire select talent, build/manage successful recruiting programs and solve tough technical and marketing problems. Kyle is currently a co-founder and partner of three successful business services firms out of Atlanta; eHire, LLC, Make & Build and Collective Insights.

During Kyle’s career he has successfully started four professional services companies and one software firm, all requiring significant capital, creative organizational and start up development skills. Prior to his entrepreneurial career Kyle ran a regional sales organization for a Fortune 500 services firm in Atlanta, GA.

Kyle is an avid Golfer, sports enthusiast and overall general competitor.

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Digital Marketing Series Episode 05




Karyn Mullins /
EVP and GM


Michele P. Dambach /
Manager Digital Marketing


Thomas Harpointner (Co Host) / AIS Media

Thomas Harpointner is founder & CEO of AIS Media, Inc., an Atlanta-based, award-winning digital marketing firm. Thomas is a recognized subject matter expert on digital marketing strategy development and execution.

Thomas has served as a keynote speaker at trade organizations, conferences, and corporate events. He has appeared on Fox Business, Bloomberg Television, CNN Radio, CNBC, The Advertising Show, The Today Show and many other TV and radio programs. He’s been featured in publications such as Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, CFO, AJC, Fortune, and Wired.

At AIS Media, Thomas consults executives at leading companies on digital strategy. He’s led hundreds of digital marketing initiatives for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations such as AT&T, Synovus Financial, Emory Healthcare, Wake Forest Innovations, Pfizer, and Maui Jim Sunglasses. Under his leadership, AIS Media has been recognized with dozens of prestigious industry awards.

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Tony Merendino with ServIT and Chris Markl with Georgia State University



Tony Merendino / ServIT

Tony Meredino has over 20 years of experience in Executive level positions in the arena of technology. Tony is the former owner/CEO of BMC Solution and is also a former athlete, playing NFL football with the NY Jets. Tony is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has recently acquired an all organic farm with is producing organic hay and organic angus beef.

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Chris Markl / Georgia State University
Visiting Instructor of Social Entrepreneurship

Chris Markl is a Visiting Instructor of Social Entrepreneurship at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Prior to joining Georgia State, he was a Social Entrepreneur Residence at Florida State University’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement. A social entrepreneur, Markl founded Kourage Athletics which leveraged the storied tradition of Kenyan runners to create authentically Kenyan running apparel. Kourage sold products to over 20-countries and worked with Kenyan Olympians. Markl also founded and led two charity cross-country bicycle rides. Outside of entrepreneurship experience he has worked as an economic analyst in emerging economies.

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Natalie Barrow and Pam Hubby with ArtsBridge Foundation


ArtsBridge Foundation is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge provides arts education opportunities to students in grades K-12 through programs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre including Field Trips, Master Classes, a Family Series, and the annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards – The Shuler Hensley Awards. Since inception in 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 300,000 students and educators from 54 Georgia counties, plus students from Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To learn more, visit


Natalie Barrow / ArtsBridge Foundation
Director of Arts Education & Community Outreach

Natalie Barrow serves as the Director of Arts Education & Community Outreach for ArtsBridge Foundation, the arts education outreach arm of Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Natalie is responsible for the development, design, implementation and delivery of quality arts education programs targeted to students K-12 and related community audiences. Natalie manages four types of programs including: Field Trips, Master Classes, Family Series Performances & the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards – Shuler Hensley Awards. In addition, Natalie produces and directs the annual competition for the Shuler Awards, including the selection and training of the qualified adjudicators that evaluate these school performances.

Prior to joining the ArtsBridge team, Natalie served as the Artist Partnerships Manager at Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center. Before joining Woodruff, she served as the Manager on Duty at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in the Cobb County Civic Center complex.

Natalie has a performance background in musical theatre and received a BA in Theatre & Performance Studies from Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts. Natalie was recently selected for the inaugural 30 Under 30 program with the International Association of Venue Managers, she was a member of the 2014 Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta class and was a member of the 2016 Leadership Cobb class.

Natalie is passionate about arts education programs designed to engage, motivate and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters, which is always her goal through ArtsBridge programs!


Pam Hubby / ArtsBridge Foundation
Director of Development

Pam Hubby is Director of Development for ArtsBridge Foundation, the arts education outreach arm of Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. In this role, Pam is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the foundation as well as fundraising, donor cultivation, special events and community relations.  Prior to joining ArtsBridge, she was the Director of Corporate Relations for Kennesaw State University and before that worked extensively in the banking industry including at Citizens & Southern National Bank (Bank of America), Bank of North Georgia and Georgian Bank.  Currently, Pam is a member of Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta(ALMA)’s Class of 2015, ARC’s Regional Leadership Institute Class of 2015 and Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club.


KSU Entrepreneurship Center The Shrimp Tank Featuring David Gould




 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


David Gould / Thermopro

David Gould has been a business owner and entrepreneur for 40 years.  Originally from Long Island, NY, David joined his family’s business, Gould Products, in 1977, selling plastic storage containers to the material handling industry. The family moved the business to Boynton Beach, FL in 1978, where sales began to grow rapidly through expanded distribution of our products.  In 1982, David’s brother Michael joined the business to spearhead sales and marketing.  To gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace, we decided to move the business to a more strategic, centralized location in Metro Atlanta in 1992.

Shortly thereafter, we expanded a budding product line of clear, wall hanging magazine and pamphlet racks sold to the office products industry.  The company soon focused on the office products line rather than the materials handling products, due to less completion and better profit margins.  In 1998, we moved our facility from Lawrenceville to Duluth, GA, where we began to manufacture what we sold through a process called plastic vacuum forming.  (We had previously contracted the manufacturing to other companies.) So by changing what we sold and by manufacturing our own products, we completely reinvented our business.  This proved fortuitous as office product sales grew for several years.

In 2005, we introduced a new product, the Prize Wheel, which was sold through promotional products dealers.  A year later, in 2005, we sold our office products to a company from Minneapolis who, to this day, still contracts us to manufacture the products for them.  Additionally, we began to contract other custom vacuum forming business from a variety of companies to supplement our proprietary promotional products.  In the same year, we renamed our parent company, “Thermopro”, promoted for contract manufacturing, with a DBA, “Games People Play” for our proprietary products.  For the past several years, we’ve enjoyed steady sales at good gross margins and very positive cash flow.

David has a BA in Biology from the State University of NY at Buffalo and an MS in Microbiology at Long Island University.

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KSU Entrepreneurship Center The Shrimp Tank Featuring Joe English



 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


Joe English / Taylor English 

Joe English works in close partnership with his clients to provide practical and cost-effective business solutions to employment law issues. Mr. English has earned a reputation as a trusted counselor for his business clients, providing day-to-day advice on general employment-related matters, including risk management and preventative practices. When clients are faced with a legal claim arising from employment practices, Mr. English is an effective advocate for management, regularly defending employers in employment litigation and arbitration cases. Mr. English’s litigation practice has included restrictive covenant claims, complex class-action litigation, employee benefits lawsuits, wage and hour matters, and the spectrum of employment discrimination and retaliation claims. Mr. English has nearly 20 years of experience representing clients in claims that trigger an employer’s Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) coverage, working with clients and insurance carriers to coordinate the defense of insured employment-related claims in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Mr. English enjoys working with early-stage companies, and helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses while developing best practices and legal safeguards in employment and related areas. At the same time, Mr. English is able to work with human resources professionals and in-house attorneys at more established employers, assisting them in remaining legally compliant despite an ever-changing landscape of laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels.

Mr. English is a founding member of the Executive Advisory Council for the KSU Entrepreneurship Center, and a participating member with the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs.

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