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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Sandy Springs Studio

Karen Steadman: Leadership Futures, Bob Eckert: New & Improved, Mark Peterson Author of Guerrillapreneur, and Jacqui Chew: TEDx Peachtree

Karen Steadman/ Leadership Futures, Inc.

Dr. Karen Steadman is the Founder and CEO of Leadership Futures, Inc., a coaching and human capital strategy firm that optimizes the performance of leaders in complex systems. Her specialty expertise is advising analytical leaders who are “Beyond Smart” of the best strategies for leveraging the human factor with their teams, organizations and shareholders. She is a licensed psychologist who graduated with highest honors in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and completed her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia. She has implemented leadership development programs in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, South Africa, India, Australia and Asia. She a proud board member for HOBY International whose mission is to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders. Her book PIONEER: Why Stop at Successful? will be released December, 2012.


Bob Eckert/ New & Improved LLC

Bob Eckert is CEO at New & Improved. Bob works primarily with large transnationals to foster increased innovation in their cultures, people, leadership practices, products, services and processes. Bob says, “Essentially, I’m in the business of helping people be more effective in their work and lives via whatever method works”.

Bob has a diverse background of experiences that helps him to add additional value. Such as; Psychotherapist, Neuropharmacology trainer, wilderness guide, manufacturing facility owner, retail manager, tree farmer, innovation specialist, husband and dad.

Bob uses his training and consulting skills to make change efforts stick. The author of numerous articles and books, his most recent (co-authored with Jonathan Vehar) is “More Lightning, Less Thunder: How to Energize Innovation Teams” which details a model for healthy human development in the service of great personal creativity and the emotional intelligence that leads to great team membership.

A sought after speaker who’s impacted tens of thousands at conferences around the world, Bob has a solid track record of satisfied clients in the areas of innovation, human resource and team development. He and his partners work with the world’s leading companies, including more than 20% of the Fortune 500 as well as NGOs in the developing world in places like South Africa immediately post-Apartheid and recently Uganda, helping to overcome the incredibly negative impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army.


Mark Peterson/Guerrillapreneur

Mark A. Peterson is the author of the small business strategy book, Guerrillapreneur™. Guerrillapreneur is the combination of the words “Guerrilla” and “Entrepreneur,” and is the name given to enterprising, cash, and environment-conserving small business executives.

In Guerrillapreneur, which can be found on, Peterson, a former strategy consultant, business incubator executive and serial entrepreneur, provides eco-green, capital preserving frameworks that small business executives can use to effectively compete against corporate goliaths.

Mark A. Peterson has over twenty-five years of entrepreneurial and strategic consulting experience. Peterson is the co-founder and former CEO of PrideRock Holding Company, Inc., a leading biometric and criminal history screening company. Along with his business partner, Mitch Duitz, Peterson launched PrideRock in 2002 from their respective garages and grew the business to over $10 million in annual revenues. In 2011, Peterson and Duitz completed the sale of the business to Corelogic, a spin-off from First American.

Peterson’s career history prior to PrideRock includes working as the Vice President of Emerging Markets at ChoicePoint, Inc. and six years as a strategy consultant with Andersen Consulting’s (now Accenture) Strategic Services practice. During his time at Dartmouth College, Peterson launched two entrepreneurial ventures: Le Noir Style, a company that sold health and beauty-aid products for African Americans to New England Area colleges; and ENform Magazine, a political and social magazine.

Peterson is a 1987 graduate of Selma High School (Selma, Alabama) where he was named the city’s first African-American Paul M. Grist “Boy of the Year”. Peterson has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth.

Jacqui Chew/ TEDx Peachtree

Jacqui Chew Spent the last 15 years leading high-performance teams at both marketing consultancies and corporations. Four years ago she started iFusion Marketing to exorcise her passion for supporting innovation and by extension technology startups. Officially, iFusion Marketing is a consultancy that provides fractional CMO services to technology startups. In practice, she serves as the stand-in senior marketing executive for companies that aren’t quite ready to add a permanent senior marketer to their team. Tasks run the gamut from strategy planning to brass tacks execution.

Jacqui apprenticed with some of the best in Atlanta such as Georgia Technology Hall of Fame inductee Leland Strange and worked with or at some pretty recognizable companies like eBay, Durex Consumer Products, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), Miller Brewing Company and Stonesoft (HA+infosec for you cyber security buffs). Finally, she led the launch of Silverpop,, and during the tech boom of the late 1990s.



Eric and Robin Gagnon: We Sell Restaurants, Mark Koppelmann: Financial Planning Association of Ga, and Mark Towery: Geo Strategy Partners

Eric and Robin Gagnon/We Sell Restaurants

We Sell RestaurantsEric Gagnon is well known in the industry as an expert in restaurant sales and valuation where he is a frequent speaker and writer for the restaurant industry He has been designated a Business Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press. Eric was the 2011 President of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers and has been named to the Lifetime Million Dollar Club. He also belongs to the International Business Brokers Association and the Business Brokers of Florida.

Robin Gagnon is Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for We Sell Restaurants. Her experience spans Brand Development, Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Fortune 100 companies. Prior to joining We Sell Restaurants in 2005, Robin served as Vice President of Strategic Marketing for a $4 billion dollar division of Macy’s. She was Director of Advertising for another Fortune 100 retailer with more than 2000 locations in the U.S. Since joining the firm in 2005 she has also represented buyers and sellers, transacting hundreds of restaurants. A prolific writer, Robin is known in the industry for her financial expertise and many articles on restaurant sales and valuation.

Check out their book, Appetite for Acquisition. Appetite for Acquisition


Mark Koppelmann/ Financial Planning Association of GA

Financial Planning Association Of GeorgiaMark is a Financial Advisor with Financial Planning Association of Ga. The Financial Planning Association of Georgia is a local community of financial professionals who utilize the financial planning process in assisting individuals plan for the future. By providing a defined framework, members help answer questions in the areas of investment management, insurance, educational planning, and estate planning.

As a LPL Financial Advisor, Mark brings with him over -10- years of experience advising high net worth private clients in the areas of retirement, investment, and risk management. Prior to becoming a LPL Registered Principal in 2009, he spent the majority of his career working in the same capacity for both Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. Mark’s client centric philosophy, drives his day to day activity servicing and advising clients.

In his role, Mark focuses on developing financial plans and investment strategies based on client needs and objectives. As a planner, his primary objectives are to educate clients on their financial affairs and to provide customized service based on specific client needs.

Mark earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia. In addition to his formal education, Mark obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ designation in 2001.


Mark Towery/Geo Strategy Partners

Mark Towery is the Managing Director of Geo Strategy Partners, a management consulting firm that helpsGeo Strategy Partners leading manufacturers and b2b service firms with Market Research and Competitive Analysis, Strategic Positioning and Planning, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Geo Strategy Partners’ clients include global leaders such as Alcoa, Siemens, Dow Chemical, Tyco, Visa, Assurant, Danaher, Ansell, and many others. With offices and affiliates worldwide, over half of Geo Strategy Partners’ projects are multi-country or global in scope. Mark has been a strategy consultant for 20 years and has almost 30 years of total international business experience. Prior to consulting he headed up several international aerospace co-production projects for General Dynamics, including being sent as the first employee to Indonesia when he was 25, armed with a cashier’s check for $300,000 and an accounting manual with instructions to set up an office.


Renata Nedzynski and Brighton Kelly with Aquesst and Sarah Moore with Beazer Homes

Renata Nedzynski/Aquesst

Renata Nedzynski is a Managing Partner of Aquesst. Renata grew up outside of Philadelphia with her parents and younger sister, Eva. She earned her BA of Finance, Magna Cum Laude from Clarion University. After college Renata moved to Florida and took a position as a Technical Recruiter with the Fort Lauderdale TEKsystems office specializing in staffing of Information Technology professionals. She moved to Atlanta in 1999 and joined a local search firm as the Recruiting Manager of the Contract Information Technology division. After being promoted to Division Manager, she grew the Information Technology division and was promoted to VP and then EVP of professional services, having started additional verticals and offices for the firm. After 11 years with the organization, Renata left and started aquesst with Rebecca Hoke. Renata actively volunteers her time to various professional and charitable organizations.

Brighton Kelly/Aquesst

Brighton Kelly is a Senior Technical Recruiter with aquesst specializing in identifying top talent in the Atlanta area. She has a background in international executive search and information technology professional placement. Brighton grew up in Atlanta, the oldest of 3 girls and then went on to graduate from the University of Georgia with a BA in Spanish and minor in Speech Communication. After college, Brighton moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she worked in international executive placement for TXT International- she focused on full life cycle recruiting from business development, executive recruitment and account management. Upon her return to Atlanta she joined a local Atlanta firm and quickly became specialized in Information Technology recruiting. Brighton joined aquesst in October of 2011 and continues to focus on finding top talent in the Atlanta area in the Information Technology sector.

Sarah Moore/Beazer Homes, USA

As Director of Business Systems & Planning at Beazer Homes, Sarah Moore is responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business by communicating effectively, demystifying technology, and identifying metrics for IT success. Her Business Analysis, Project Management and Quality Assurance teams focus on quality, timely delivery of projects; while Change Management and IT Governance concentrate on repeated successful delivery.

Sarah is known for customer-focused results, where she assists the business in identifying the value of IT to the organization through maximizing efficiency of their systems and processes. In her current role, she oversees leading-edge systems in an industry not commonly known for their use of technology.

Sarah’s current focus at Beazer is in streamlining business process and reducing resource overhead through the implementation of SaaS systems. By utilizing Business Analysts who previously worked within the individual business units, and providing training and mentorship in the technology they now support, her team delivers value to the business in terms they understand.

Prior to joining Beazer, Sarah focused on IT service delivery and sales force automation at Cbeyond. In the previous 5 years she held various management roles focused on business analysis, program management, and IT systems delivery at CompuCredit. While there, she developed the internal Systems Development Lifecycle, implemented over 150 projects, and was chosen to participate in the ELITE management program.

Sarah has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2005. She is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia, Women inTechnology, and the Project Management Institute. She is also very involved in the Sandy Springs community in addition to serving on the Fund Development Council for the Junior League of Atlanta. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.