Young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 are expected to have more influence on the future of economic roles and lifestyles than many generations that have come before them. Cities across the country are vying to retain and import a generation that is thought to be green, highly-educated and one that is radically transforming work environments and social networks. Most business development experts agree that cities that create a landscape and culture that cultivate young professionals will be at a competitive advantage in terms of business attraction and quality workforce.
The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Augusta Magazine, is pleased to announce and showcase 10 of Augusta’s most outstanding young professionals. The young professionals featured in this article entered into a competitive nomination process in March and have emerged as this year’s most promising and rising stars. We salute the achievements of these outstanding individuals and look forward to watching their dreams unfold.
To further recognize these individuals, the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce will submit a nomination on their behalf to the 2015 Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 competition and they will also be honored at the Chamber’s Member Economic Luncheon on June 19.
With the program now in its seventh year, Augusta’s reputation for youthful and extraordinary talent Is growing both regionally and statewide. We have much to be proud of both now and in the future as these incredible individuals take their places among our community’s leadership.
—Sue Parr, president
Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce
Company: Burroughs/Elijah, LLC
Position: Managing Partner
After Brandon Elijah and his business partner Daniel Burroughs received their law degrees, they returned to their hometown of Augusta to establish a growing estate planning, elder law and business law firm. Named to the “2013 Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend magazine in the taxes, estates and trusts category, Elijah relates his management role to that of a business development officer, focusing on molding the firm as a change agent in the community. Last year he received the Outstanding Service to the Public Award from the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division for his work in organizing and founding the First Responders Wills Clinic Program. The purpose of the program is to offer free simple estate planning documents to first responders and their immediate family. Since inception, the program has assisted more than 200 first responder families from across the state. Other philanthropic efforts include his involvement with the State Bar of Georgia’s Legal Food Frenzy, a fundraising competition for law firms across the state. All monies and food raised locally were donated to the CSRA Golden Harvest Food Bank.
Company: ADP and Enhanced Career Services
Position: Human Resources and Benefit Manager
Priscilla Gary is a double threat as both a corporate career woman and an entrepreneur. At ADP, she is the HR and benefits manager, overseeing all daily activities of the client service team and communicating department goals through performance planning sessions. As owner and founder of Enhanced Career Services, Gary provides assistance to businesses and individuals in the areas of preparatory career readiness, job skills training and business partnership services. The consummate community advocate, Gary is also a co-host on America SSC TV, with a mission to expose citizens to the brighter side of the CSRA and increase community awareness and volunteerism. This media platform aligns with her work as a motivational speaker/writer and ordained minister. The 2014 NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) Woman of the Year says she is most passionate about equipping and inspiring people of all ages through teaching, training, ministry and service. Hence, she is involved in numerous civic organizations, including the CSRA Boys and Girls Club, United Way and the Salvation Army.
The Reverend Dr. Charles E. Goodman Jr.
Company: Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church of Augusta
Position: Senior Pastor/Teacher
Voted one of “America’s Most Loved Pastors” in the September 2006 edition ofGospel Today magazine, the Reverend Dr. Charles Goodman is a compassionate spiritual counselor, mentor and leader whose work is not bound by denomination or race. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Dr. Goodman matriculated at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he earned a master of divinity degree with a concentration in homiletics and black church studies. Four years later, he completed the doctor of ministry program at Wesley Theological Seminary. Known for his straight-forward yet insightful style, this effervescent Baptist minister is a sought-after speaker and revivalist, broadcasting weekly on Kingdom Living and daily on the radio with a Spiritual Vitamin From PG. Despite the demands of his spiritual outreach efforts, Dr. Goodman has dedicated a tremendous amount of energy to Tabernacle Baptist Church, where the congregation has grown from 1,800 to more than 5,000 members under his seven-year leadership. His goals are to develop a preparatory school for Tabernacle Baptist Church and build a global brand for his personal ministry.
Company: Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce
Position: Director of Strategic Initiatives
In just one year working at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, Kaden Jacobs has quickly distinguished himself as someone who can gracefully navigate a world of diversified and often diverging opinions. In his role, Jacobs has become a knowledgeable and effective advocate for quality education for children in Augusta. In particular, he is responsible for the development and ongoing coordination of volunteers tasked with furthering the Business Education Advisory Council’s strategic partnership between public education and the business community. Jacobs has also been an enthusiastic addition to the Communities in Schools Augusta Richmond County Board of Directors, an organization that is working hard to achieve national accreditation and to expand its services. His professional goals over the next five years include improving the public perception of the Richmond County school system through business and education partnerships that simultaneously improve the quality of education while preparing students for the workforce.
Company: U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence
Position: Labor Counselor and Administrative Law Attorney
In 2006, Christopher Kenny was assigned to Fort Gordon as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He and his wife immediately fell in love with Augusta and hoped to have the opportunity to remain in the area. Fortunately for Augusta and for his family, Kenny was offered a position in the civilian ranks as a legal assistance attorney in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. Currently, as a labor counselor, Kenny serves as the principal legal advisor regarding all labor and employment law matters affecting the Cyber Center of Excellence, the Fort Gordon Garrison and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, as well as other tenant agencies located on the installation. His primary goals are to become more involved in the local legal community, specifically through the Augusta Bar Association, and to participate in Leadership Augusta or Leadership Columbia County. As an attorney at Fort Gordon, Kenny feels he is in a unique position to serve as a valuable bridge between local community leaders and the Army. He has worked with numerous military support groups to ensure that service members and their families are aware of the help available to them during difficult deployment periods.
Dr. LaShawnda Lindsay-Dennis
Company: Paine College, Department of Education
Position: Associate Professor
Because of her accomplishments and contributions to the mission, vision and core values of Paine College, Dr. LaShawnda Lindsay-Dennis was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor in 2014. On student evaluations, her teaching skills have consistently scored above average. The recipient of the 2012-2013 Evelyn Berry Teacher of the Year Award, Dr. Lindsay-Dennis has developed and taught two special topics classes on gender psychology and African American education, and she has revised existing courses to make them more relevant to the student body. Her academic research record is equally impressive, with a resume that includes presentations at national conferences, several published journal articles and three grants totaling more than $360,000. Dr. Lindsay-Dennis is currently the principal investigator for the project entitled “Broadening Participation Research Project: Understanding Barriers to STEM Education for African American Women.” Within the next 10 years, her goal is to expand the reach of her non-profit agency, Black Girls Matter, by creating psycho-educational curriculum materials, offering CEUs for counselors who serve this population and disseminating evidence-based techniques to address the varied needs of black females.
Company: Augusta Economic Development Authority
Position: Project Manager
To date in his career, Scott Poag has announced more than 400 million dollars in capital investment and more than 3,000 net new jobs in the communities he has served. As a project manager with the Augusta Economic Development Authority, he is poised to continue creating an environment that attracts businesses and allows them to flourish. Partnering with state and local service providers, policy makers and national and international site location consultants, Poag remains current on real estate and industry trends in order to match the strengths of the community with the needs of the private sector. His colleagues have lauded his exceptional leadership skills, which have been integral in securing major projects that are positively impacting the economic landscape of the region, including the Starbucks production facility and the recent Unisys IT announcement. Serving as a member of the Technology Association of Georgia and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, Poag intends to surround himself with experienced mentors in order to evolve in his profession and make Augusta the most competitive marketplace it can be.
Company: MAU Workforce Solutions
Position: Financial Analyst
Thomas Sherrouse enjoys breaking the mold. The job responsibilities and description that MAU Workforce Solutions has on file for the financial analyst position are typical. However, Sherrouse has expanded those job duties by learning and assisting in developing the company’s entire payroll and invoicing process. His work ethic, resourcefulness and skill sets make him indispensable and many co-workers consider Sherrouse the “go-to” person for a variety of issues. Since he began at MAU, the company has increased revenue to more than $60 million and increased the number of employees from 4,200 to more than 7,000. While working to obtain his CPA license, Sherrouse envisions himself emerging as a leader and an innovator, ultimately hoping to take on a management level position in financial planning and analysis. Up until last year, Sherrouse served as chairman of the Board of Equalization for Richmond County, a board of 10 to 15 grand jury-appointed members that hears appeals brought by property owners against the tax assessor’s office. He also volunteers for the MAU-sponsored Relay for Life campaign, Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church and Harlem High School.
Position: Executive Vice President of Business Development and Accounts
Stacy Snyder has demonstrated notable success in formulating marketing strategies in an ever-evolving healthcare industry. At Ocozzio, a national healthcare marketing company, Snyder is responsible for sourcing and executing new business and ensuring current client expectations are met. A past community health scholar and health communications fellow at Boston University School of Public Health, Snyder is backed by a portfolio of experience in her role as executive vice president of business development and accounts. As former director of marketing and customer service at Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare in Massachusetts, Snyder collaborated with the CEO to oversee marketing for 160 primary care physicians in 30 Boston-area practices. She is not afraid of a heavy work load and looks forward to trailblazing the growth of Ocozzio, with a long-term goal of seeing the company become the national leader in outsourced marketing services, not only in healthcare but across all industries. In addition to her professional pursuits, Snyder is involved in several groups that advocate for animal adoption, awareness and foster programs.
Company: Rural Sourcing, Inc.
Position: Human Resource and Recruiting Manager
Serah Tyler says her workplace is anything but a cubicle-lined adult time-out. Her position with Rural Sourcing is a multi-faceted one that keeps her moving and interacting with a team of creative colleagues who rely on her to be liaison, confidant, reference point and human resource guru. Overseeing more than 100 computer science professionals, Tyler is responsible for recruiting new colleagues for three development centers, training employees and promoting internal and external company events. She has mentored and taught area science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, opening their eyes to the opportunities available in Augusta, an emerging “cyber city.” Outside of work, the 2015 Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Women on the Way Award winner volunteers with the Augusta Warrior Project to help soldiers and veterans prepare civilian resumes. Tyler has made it her mission to teach them to translate what they did in military life into terms that reflect what they can do in the civilian world. In addition, Tyler is an active member of Young Professionals of Augusta and looks forward to mentoring other emerging professionals, deepening the roots she has already established in this community.
This article appears in the June/July 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.