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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Across The Network

DeKalb Business Today “Lunch Hour” – September 25, 2015


On this edition of DeKalb Business Today, host Matt Holmes explores corporate marketing strategies with Mike Killeen from Lenz Marketing. Quality Media Consultant Group CEO Lori Manns discusses how she’s helping small businesses to partner with large corporations. Teresa Punzi from The Smart Place shares the innovative ways she’s helping folks with developmental disabilities. Local author Keshius Williams also joins the show, talking about her popular Pepper Storm book series and the work she does to mentor youth in the community.


Lori Manns/CEO of Quality Media Consultant Group


Lori A. Manns is CEO of Quality Media Consultant Group and an award-winning, marketing, sales coach and business strategist. Lori works with small business owners to help them elevate their brand, get more clients and grow revenue. With a long career in the media industry, Lori spent nearly 20 years in media sales and marketing at two of the largest media companies in the United States; Cox Media and CBS Radio. For the past six years Lori has been a passionate entrepreneur and enjoys helping small business owners increase sales and enjoy profitable businesses.  Lori is the founder of the Trailblazer Business Academy™ where advancing entrepreneurs go to learn business growth strategies the soulful way. Lori is also the creator of Sponsorship Sales Secrets System;™ that shows entrepreneurs how to get more sponsors and sales for their businesses, guaranteed. To learn more about expert consulting services on marketing, advertising or sales and, get proven strategies on how to increase your revenue and grow your business; please visit  the website.


Mike Killeen/VP of Marketing at Lenz Marketing


Mike Killeen directs client marketing at Lenz, an integrated agency based in Decatur. Lenz specializes in marketing healthcare groups, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. Mike also serves as program director of Lenz’s two radio programs, “The Weekly Check-Up,” a healthcare talk show on News/Talk WSB, and “The Sports Insider,” a sports-oriented talk show on 92.9 FM The Game.

Mike is the founder of Amplify My Community (formerly Poverty is Real), a non-profit organization that travels from city-to-city throwing fundraising concerts to support local organizations fighting poverty. He is a singer, songwriter, and musician who performs regularly and has released several albums.

Mike received a journalism degree from the University of Georgia and a masters in business administration from Georgia College. He joined Lenz in 2002 and became a partner in 2014. Mike and his wife Jessica live in Decatur with their children, Liam and Emily.


Teresa Punzi/Executive Director of The Smart Place


Teresa Punzi is the visionary behind The Smart Place Adult and Children Services, Inc.. Started in 2001 – and located 1916 Glenfair Road in Decatur, GA – it is a unique, community-based educational and training program for individuals with developmental disabilities, offering vocational training, life skills instruction, counseling and support services designed to enable our individuals the opportunity to succeed in work and to live independently.

Fulfilling everyday dreams, learning necessary functional vocational, academic, community, and daily living skills, and having a positive place in the world are the goals of The Smart Place’s programs. They work individually and closely with each individual to design an appropriate program in a nurturing community setting.

The mission of The Smart Place is to support people with mental and physical challenges in a respectful, safe and productive environment. That environment allows them the ability to reach their highest level of individual independence. The Smart Place welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with families and other service organizations to expand each individual’s opportunity to engage in community activities that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Teresa and her team of 22 full-time staff members ensure that the values of that mission are accomplished because they all understand that each individual enters adult life with powerful dreams of a more positive future. At The Smart Place, they are committed to identifying and sustaining the dreams of individuals and their families. Their vision is a partnership to ensure that all individuals participate in meaningful activities and are viewed as valued members of their community.


Keshius Williams/Author & Founder of Living on Purpose Leadership and Mentoring Program


Keshius Williams is the author of three children’s books- Who Is Pepper Storm?, Pepper Storm and the Gang, and Inspirational Quotes for the Teenage Soul. She is currently working on the next installment of the Pepper Storm Book Collection called Pepper Storm’s (Pep) New Style!

In addition, Keshius Williams is a storyteller, sought-after inspirational speaker, and the Founder of Living On Purpose Leadership and Mentoring Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing life skills through encouragement, empowerment, leadership and service. Ms. Williams believes that every child has the potential to be successful if nurtured and guided in a direction where GREATNESS is their only destiny!

With her love for children and writing, Keshius has infused both passions to create an amazing Pepper Storm Book Collection that children of all ages will enjoy.

DeKalb Business Today – September 25, 2015


On this edition of DeKalb Business Today, host Matt Holmes looks at how Leadership DeKalb is making a difference in the DeKalb County business scene. Executive Director Maria Balais talks about her role in enhancing the leadership skills of program participants young and old. Chris Chavez, Metro President of DeVry University and Chairman of the Board of Leadership DeKalb, talks about the program from the perspective of someone who’s been through it.


Maria Balais/Executive Director of Leadership DeKalb


Maria Balais is a seasoned Non-Profit Executive with over 15+ years of experience in community affairs. She has had proven success in organizational management and fundraising, development and promotion of philanthropic and community affairs programs.

In her current role, Maria is the Executive Director for Leadership DeKalb. In the last three years, she has provided leadership in elevating their core program by making the core program relevant to current issues in the community. These outcomes include the implementation of the new program day, Integrity & Ethics and an updated Diversity & Inclusion day. This has resulted in the organization having its largest class ever which brought in over 180K in tuitions raised. Maria has led the organization to reorganization involving staff and other resources. She has cultivated donors and increased sponsorships resulting in reduced negative equity by 100%. Maria Balais has strengthened the pipeline for human capital to take on leadership roles in the community.

Previously, Maria Balais managed her consulting firm that provided corporate and not-for-profit organizations with community outreach, communications, organizational development and program management services. Her consulting firm executed a five-month long Diversity Leadership program for top business and community leaders, reigning in over $200,000 in sponsorships and tickets sales. She developed and managed the organizational strategy for diversity management institute, resulting in a successful execution of several high-profile public outreach events. Prior to consulting, she managed the ING Corporate Foundation and led community relations at Troutman Sanders, LLP.

As a community advocate, Balais serves on the Emory Board of Visitors. She has served on the boards of the League of Women Voters Atlanta-Fulton Chapter, Provost Academy Georgia, Anti-Prejudice Consortium, and the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association. She is a graduate of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2006.

Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Agnes Scott College. She has resided in Downtown Atlanta for 19 years and is a proud Mom to C.J., a student at Centennial Academy Charter School.

Maria Balais is a woman that means business.


Chris Chavez/Metro President of DeVry University, Board Chair at Leadership DeKalb


DeKalb Business Today “Lunch Hour” – September 18, 2015

On the latest edition of DeKalb Business Today, we delve into the worlds of banking and cloud computing. Judy Turner and Rosemarie Codling from Private Bank of Decatur explain why banking local is the best way to go. Bill Seybolt shares how Cumulus Global is making small- and mid-size businesses more efficient and more productive by taking them into the cloud.


Judy Turner/Private Bank of Decatur President


Judy Turner is President of Private Bank of Decatur. She is responsible for all Decatur market initiatives. In 2015, Judy celebrated 50 years in banking in Metro Atlanta, having started with Citizens & Southern National Bank in the Personnel Department. She worked in Auditing, became one of the first Personal Bankers when C&S started that program, and became an officer of the bank in 1974. A year after C&S became NationsBank (1995), Judy had an opportunity to go to work in the Decatur Office of Bank South. Three years later Bank South was purchased by NationsBank and several community leaders felt a need for a community bank in Decatur. They looked to Judy to organize and lead Decatur First Bank, where she was President and CEO. In November of 2011, Judy had the opportunity to join Private Bank of Buckhead to organize and open Private Bank of Decatur.

Community involvement has always been important to Judy, who currently serves as President of the Decatur Book Festival, Trustee of the DeKalb History Center, Treasurer of Seniors Helping Seniors and as a member of the Junior League of DeKalb Advisory Board. She has served on the boards of both the Community Bankers Association and the Georgia Bankers Association, as well as Leadership DeKalb, the Development Authority of DeKalb County (former Chair), and the DeKalb Medical Foundation.

Judy lives in Decatur with her husband Roy. They have a daughter and twin grandchildren.

Rosemarie Codling/Private Bank of Decatur SBA Portfolio Manager


Rosemarie Codling is SBA Portfolio Manager and Banking Officer for Private Bank of Buckhead and Decatur, which includes PrivatePlus Mortgage. She recently celebrated 20 years in banking.

Her 20-year banking career began in New York, though the majority of it has been in the Atlanta market, with the past 10 years focusing on SBA lending. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Management from Bernard M. Baruch College and a Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Banking from Mercy College.

The bank added its SBA program in 2008 and by the next year the bank was designated a Preferred Lender by the U.S. Small Business Administration. That designation has continued to be renewed. Preferred Lenders are allowed to expedite the processing of SBA loans because of their depth of experience with SBA lending. PLP status means that the bank’s borrowers have 24-hour or less turn-around from SBA once their loan has been approved at the bank level. A Preferred Lender also is allowed to make certain unilateral changes or addendums to the loan without having to wait for SBA’s approval.

“One of Rosemarie’s chief roles is to help small- and medium-sized businesses acquire loans for a broad range of business and business start-up purposes,” Brent says, “beginning by helping demystify SBA lending for anyone who might be seeking business lending solutions.”

Away from the bank, the Jamaican native is involved in her church and enjoys reading about Eastern philosophy and history, and talking with people from other cultures and learning more about them. She has a college-aged son. Rosemarie and her family – three generations – reside in Lawrenceville.

Bill Seybolt/Cumulus Global Cloud Advisor


Cumulus Global measures success by their customers’ results. As a Cloud Solutions Provider, they help small- and mid-size businesses, nonprofits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions. Partnering with both Google and Microsoft – and more than three dozen cloud services – they focus on their customers’ goals, objectives, needs, and priorities and bring forward the best solution.

In 2013, Bill Seybolt left one career in information technology and began anew in sales, joining Cumulus Global earlier this year. He brings a great deal of insight around collaboration, organizational change and how to adopt a new way of work as well as specific strategies outside the traditional workplace to succeed. You can read about it all over at

DeKalb Business Today – September 18, 2015


On this edition of DeKalb Business Today, we focus on the great things happening in the East Metro DeKalb Community Improvement District (CID). Local business owners Nicole McGhee Hall, Van Jakes and Lloyd Nurse discuss ways that they – and their businesses – are helping to make East DeKalb a hot spot for innovation and investment.

Nicole McGhee Hall/Founder & Chief Consultant at Nickel Works Consulting, LLC


Ms. Hall is the founder and lead consultant at Nickel Works Consulting. She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering and has been primarily focused in the area of transportation in her 20+ years of work experience. She is a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) through the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and is adept in business development/marketing, government relations, community engagement and Community Improvement Districts (CIDs).

She has worked with multiple CIDs in the Metro Atlanta area providing Administration, Expansion, and Formation Services. She is a 2014 Atlanta Regional Leadership Institute graduate and a Georgia Academy for Economic Development graduate. Nicole’s team works for businesses, in communities and with the governments.

Van Jakes/Owner-Operator of Jake 22 Management Company


Van Keith Jakes attended Kent State University from 1979-1983. He was a four-year starter as corner back and the captain of the football team during his senior year. He graduated from Kent State in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Van played with the Kansas City Chiefs during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. He joined the United States Football League (USFL) and played with the Jacksonville Bulls in 1985. After the demise of the USFL in 1985, he returned to the National Football League (NFL). In 1986, he began a three-year career with the New Orleans Saints.  Van then played with the Green Bay Packers during the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He retired from the NFL in 1991.

Van became a McDonald’s Owner Operator in August 1992 where he opened his first restaurant in Tampa, Florida. In May 1994, he sold his Tampa store for four stores in Atlanta, Georgia.  In the summer of 1996 he acquired two additional stores. Currently, Van owns and operates three McDonald’s restaurants in the Stone Mountain/Lithonia area of Dekalb County; Panola Road, Turner Hill Road, and Fairington Road.

Van has many affiliations, hobbies and philanthropic interests. He is a member and past president (1997-98) of the Atlanta Black McDonald’s Owner Operator Association (BMOA), and serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Owner Operator Association (GAMOA) and is president of the African American Consumer Market Target Marketing Subcommittee. He is the former president of the Stonecrest Business Alliance, and serves on the SDIA (South Dekalb Improvement Association).  He currently works on the McDonald’s Workers Compensation Committee.  He has been the chairperson for the Wheels of Dreams Youth Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic where he worked tirelessly to fulfill its mission to “create future business leaders.”  In April 2008 Van was inducted as a member of the prestigious organization “100 Black Men of Atlanta”. Van is a member of Antioch A.M.E. Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

In 1998, Van received the Women Looking Ahead, Blue Print Award, for Entrepreneur of the Year. He has been cited by the Atlanta Tribune, several years in a row, as one of Georgia’s Top 20 African-American owned businesses.  He has also received commendations from Governor Roy Barnes as an “Outstanding Citizen.” In September 2002 he was inducted into the Harvard Cup High School Hall of Fame in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. He is also a current member of the NFL Players Association, while also a Partner in Education with several schools in Dekalb County. In December 2009, he was inducted into the Atlanta Tribune, Hall of Fame with three other local NFL greats. He is an avid golfer and racquetball player. Van is a devoted husband and father to his wife Chrystal and their four children: Leigh, Van II, Jasmine, and Jordan.

Lloyd Nurse/Co-Founder & CEO of Nurse Technologies


Lloyd Nurse is a man of many talents, having worked as a pilot, military officer and business owner with an eye on real estate development. Lloyd immigrated to the United States from his native Guyana, where – in addition to all his other professional pursuits – he took up inventing. He now holds three U.S. patents and has more in the pipeline.

Lloyd co-founded Nurse Technologies, a company geared towards raising awareness of problems related to medicine usage.

DeKalb Business Today – “DeKalb Chamber Golf Tournament”

DBTOn a very special edition of DeKalb Business Today, hosts Matt Holmes and Jason Becknell take you to the 11th annual DeKalb Chamber of Commerce golf tournament at historic Druid Hills Golf Club. Some of the top business leaders from in and around DeKalb County spent their day on August 31 hacking away, all to raise money for the Chamber’s efforts to grow and foster business in DeKalb.


Here is a list of business leaders we caught up with at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament:

Katerina Taylor, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

John Kelley, Georgia Power

Ray Gilley, Development Authority of DeKalb County

Al Edwards, CERM

Adrienne White, Center for Civil and Human Rights

Neca Smith, AidevO People Consulting

Thele Moore, American Family Insurance

Dan Bell, Discover DeKalb

Bridget Lewis, Workplace Learning Solutions

Nancy Jester, DeKalb County District 1 Commissioner

Margaret Mason Tate McIntyre, Intown Doula

Monica Selden, Selden Enterprises

Jim McMahan, DeKalb County School Board and McMahan Mortgage

Terrell Patton, Keller Williams Realty

Michael Shields, Surge 365

Fred Daniels, Citizens Trust Bank

Otis Threat, Lieneur


DeKalb Business Today “Power Lunch” – September 4, 2015


On the latest edition of the DeKalb Business Today “Power Lunch”, host Matt Holmes interviews a panel of guests who have each carved out a niche in the DeKalb County food scene. Iberian Pig General Manager Leigh Ann Miller discusses her restaurant’s unique offerings and the role that hospitality plays in cultivating repeat customers. Hilde Friese reflects on her memories of four decades running The Village Corner in Stone Mountain, sharing the secrets that have made her restaurant the go-to German spot in Metro Atlanta. Local food blogger Maria Pinkelton rounds out the panel, offering her views on some of the best spots to eat and drink in DeKalb County.


Leigh Ann Miller/General Manager, Iberian Pig


Born in Palm Beach, Florida, Leigh Ann Miller grew up with a fond appreciation for the arts, particularly music. After attending Palm Beach County School of the Arts, she performed classically and with major recording artists such as Clarence Clemons and Wynton Marsalis.

While pursuing her first love of music, she found her second love in the hospitality industry. After continuing her education at Cornell University, she found that she wanted to run the show, not just perform in it. She coordinated PGA Tour events, planned functions with many recording artists and opened Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida. In 2010, she found her way to Atlanta and The Castelucci Hospitality Group.


Hilde Friese/Founder, The Village Corner

The Village Corner started in 1974 as an all-natural bakery. Two years later, they moved from a back room to their own building and delivered bread all over town and cakes and tortes to select cafes. In 1986, they moved to their present location. Hilde’s son graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary School and helped develop and expand the menu. In 1996, they added a tavern and in 2014 they started their own brewery.

The business is unique in that they not only have an ethnic restaurant, but they also retained the bakery. German breads and European tortes are all done on the premises. Where else can you go to get a Reuben sandwich on house-baked marble rye, house cured in home-brewed beer, with authentic sauerkraut?!

The Village Corner can accommodate small parties of up to 50 in a private room. Their Sunday brunch, especially on the deck when weather permits, is a favorite. They offer beer samplings of four or six of their own brews and are expanding that continually.


Maria Pinkelton/Foodie, Blogger



Maria Pinkelton is a food and lifestyle blogger, and a resident of the city of Decatur. She moved to the city nearly five years ago because of the good schools, walkability and beer. When she is not dining or spending time with family and friends, she is writing about dining and spending time with family and friends. In order to fund all of this food and leisure Maria works as a communications specialist. She is married and she and her husband have one son and two refrigerators dedicated to beer.

Make sure to read Maria’s blogs and follow her on Twitter!

DeKalb Business Today – September 4, 2015


On this edition of DeKalb Business Today, host Matt Holmes interviews a panel of guests who are working to make a difference in DeKalb County. Charmelle Scott from BusiNeighbor Inc. joins the show to talk about her efforts to help local veterans in need. Dacia Dickey and Virginia Mason discuss how the Resident Services Corporation of DeKalb is working to assist families in the county. We also sit down with a mainstay of local radio; Charlie Sill drops by to talk about his bilingual multimedia company, Bluberry Productions.



Charmelle Scott/BusiNeighbor Inc.






Virginia Mason/Resident Services Corporation of DeKalb

Virginia Mason has worked in the housing industry for the past 14 years working directly with families seeking to establish themselves economically and become self-sufficient.  Her housing career came as a direct result of her previous experience as a teacher.  Initially working with housing residents to obtain their GED and gain life skills, this parlayed into a position as a Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator.  As an FSS Coordinator, Virginia linked families with community resources to assist them with employment, homeownership and other life goals.   Virginia is excited about the new Circles initiative which taps into people’s dreams and goals for a better life and then provides additional motivation and support.



Dacia Dickey/Resident Services Corporation of DeKalb

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Dacia Dickey attended Coppin State College. She then began working with children with special needs. That led her to an eight year career in the housing industry, including stints with Baltimore City Housing, Public Housing, Atlanta Housing Authority, DeKalb Housing and Resident Services Corporation of DeKalb.



Charlie Sill/Bluberry Productions, LLC

As an audio professional for over thirty years, Charlie Sill has worked with The Weather Channel, local television in Amarillo, Texas, Total Traffic here in Atlanta as well with many other radio stations across the nation. Charlie grew up in Los Angeles in and around the entertainment industry which afforded him the opportunities to work alongside Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams on the set of “Hook”. He also worked with director Kenny Ortega and Christian Bale on the set of “Newsies”. With his passion for the filmmaking process and his talent for voice over work, Charlie has placed himself at the forefront of an ever-evolving technological field. He loves every aspect of the creative process and brings that passion, along with his partner Federico Vasquez, to Bluberry Productions,LLC. Together they form a bilingual powerhouse of creativity which would be an asset to any business or event.

Decatur Book Festival

9-3 Senior Salute

Senior Salute Radio brings timely information to leading edge Boomers and Seniors about issues involving care-giving and aging.  Learn from both professionals and regular people going through the process with their families. Each week we will also Salute an incredible Senior.

Senior Salute Radio is presented by The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier.

Today’s Guests:

Philip Rafshoon/AJC Decatur Book Festival

9-3 Senior Salute

Philip Rafshoon is Program Director for the AJC DBF. He manages the team that curates featured authors and events at the festival. With a BS in Management from Ga. Tech, he spent ten years in corporate sales. He then opened and operated Atlanta’s Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse, a venue for a diverse array of literary events and an unofficial LGBT community center. Philip has been involved in a broad range of community organizations including the advisory committee of the American Booksellers Association.


Daphne Reiley/Author

9-3 Senior Salute

Daphne Reiley is the founder of Ripples of Grace, a consulting practice meeting communities of faith in their mission to include the isolated.  Daphne has found that isolation takes many forms and that communities of faith, in particular, should be but are often not very good at meeting the needs of  isolated individuals and families.

Ripples of Grace provides education to organizations desiring to better address ways of reaching out to isolated populations. Daphne offers workshops to professional organizations as well as communities of faith.  She also facilitates retreats for pastors, congregational leaders, and groups of individuals.

Along with her favorite co-author Joseph LaGuardia, she is working on a companion book to their previously published “A Tapestry of Love, the Spirituality of Caregiving”.  The work in progress – “Taking It to Heart” –  is a book aimed at those receiving long-term care.