21st Century Leaders Recognizes Outstanding Alumni in “30 for 30” Award Program

Awards Recognize Long-Term Impact of Organization’s Transformative Programs

ATLANTA – December 10, 2019 21st Century Leaders (21CL) announced today the recipients of the “30 for 30 Alumni Award” in celebration of the organization’s 30th anniversary.  This diverse group of exceptional program alumni are being recognized for leading the way in business, leadership, community, educational, and philanthropic endeavors. 21CL is a non-profit organization that connects, transforms, and inspires high school students across Georgia to leverage-diversity, explore career opportunities, and become leaders in their schools, communities, and ultimately the workforce.

The honorees who all originate from Georgia and now represent organizations ranging from LinkedIn to NASA will be recognized at an awards reception on January 16, 2020 at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta. A complete digital publication is available to view  highlighting the work of each of the 30 selected honorees.

“There are 30 unique stories to tell within this group of award winners.  However, we were excited to see several themes resonate among these alumni including a focus on servant leadership and a desire to give back to their communities,” said Matt Johnson, board chairman for 21st Century Leaders and Principal with KPMG.

He continued: “This is a distinguished group of individuals who began their journey as Georgia high school students and 21CL program participants. Today they epitomize 21CL’s 30 years of unyielding commitment to the power of diversity, corporate collaboration and the importance of inspiring the next generation of business leaders.  We were particularly impressed to see examples of alumni who now work for the same companies that initially invested in them during their time as students. It is incredibly rewarding to see the full-circle impact of our programs.”

About the 30 for 30 Recipients
The 30 award winners represent a diverse group of individuals at different stages in their careers and a wide variety of organizations. To learn more about the recipients, 21CL created a digital publication including images and their personal stories can be found here.


  • Julia Abelsky, San Francisco, LinkedIn
  • Charles Orgbon, Oakland, Deloitte
  • Nathan Puckett, San Francisco, Tesla
  • Brandon Williams, Glendale, NBCUniversal


  • Khari Arnold, Atlanta, NBA.com (WarnerMedia)
  • Taylor Benford, Atlanta, Accenture-GA
  • Maria Blackburn, Woodstock, Southern Company
  • Greg Clay, Atlanta, Leineur Consulting Group
  • Jacque-Corey Cormier, Atlanta, Georgia State University
  • Clayton Dawkins, Kennesaw, City of Cartersville
  • Brandi Harrison, Atlanta, Turner Studios (WarnerMedia)
  • Victoria Lamar, Atlanta, Securing Degrees Debt Free, LLC
  • Quentin Marlin, Savannah, Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams LLP
  • James Nixon, Vidalia, Meadows Regional Medical Center
  • Christiana Oshotse, Atlanta, Journal for Young Investigators
  • Timothy Parham, Marietta, The MAP Foundation
  • Dr. Jyoti Sharma, Atlanta, Piedmont Healthcare
  • Teryn Shipman, Atlanta, VIPKID
  • Randell Trammell, Cartersville, State YMCA of Georgia/Georgia Center for Civic Engagement
  • Natalie Walker, Atlanta, Cox Enterprises
  • Jewel Wicker, Atlanta, Freelance Entertainment and Culture Reporter


  • Tia Bolden, New Orleans, NASA, The Boeing Company

New York

  • Michael Asmelash, New York, Live Nation Entertainment
  • Arjun Sahgal, New York, Eazel

New Jersey

  • Lauren Flanigan, East Hanover, Mondelez International


  • Machmud Makhmudov, Philadelphia, Joe Biden for President


  • Moyo Jennifer Sonola, Nashville, Operations & Strategy Consultant


  • Brent Gills, Austin, Deep Seas Investment Group, LLC


  • Katherine Bryant, Alexandria, St. Stephens & St. Agnes School

United Kingdom

  • Sara Dada, London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Nominations for this award program were the responsibility of a nine-member selection committee which was compromised of the organization’s advisory council and board of directors.  The nomination committee was comprised of the following individuals: Jon Neff, COO of Hire Dynamics, Michael White, director of HR at Cox Enterprises, Steven Staes COO & general counsel at K&G Superstore, Dennis Adamovich, CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame, Kathy Solley, partner at Nelson Mullins, Ellen Lindemann, assistant director at Lekotek GA, Rosalynne Price, former senior manager of diversity at Cox Enterprises, Art Evans, senior director of talent management for the Atlanta Braves and Mike Szalkowski, CPA, family office manager at Schejola Partners.

About 21st Century Leaders
Since inception in 1989, 21st Century Leaders has served more than 14,000 diverse high school students from over 250 Georgia high schools. 21st Century Leaders is a non-profit organization that connects, transforms, and inspires high school students across Georgia to leverage diversity, explore career opportunities, and become leaders in their school, community, and ultimately the workforce. For more information about 21st Century Leaders, visit www.21stcenturyleaders.org.


Media Contact:
Lauren Shankman
404-214-0722 x 121

We would like to give a special thanks Trevelino Keller for their pro-bono work on this special initiative. 

View 30 for 30 Digital Publication
RSVP to 30 for 30 Event