#WhyWednesday: John Giegerich

John Giegerich, BB&T Senior Vice President and Atlanta Market President, understands the importance of the work United Way is doing for this community. He’s seen firsthand the difference it can make in one person’s life, and it’s why he continues to give today. Today, hear why John is a passionate Tocqueville Society member and United Way of Greater Atlanta supporter!

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society, the largest Tocqueville Society in the United States, is a committed leadership group making a measurable and sustainable impact on child well-being in Greater Atlanta through the connected efforts of their philanthropy. Learn more about Tocqueville Society here.

Jeff Hammond is a Principal at Sperry Van Ness (SVN) Commercial Realty with more than 20 years of experience in the sale, investment, development and property management of commercial and residential real estate. His track record has earned him nicknames such as “The Bulldog” and “Mr. Networker.” Prior to his current role, Jeff committed over a decade to longstanding United Way partner, United Postal Service (UPS).

Jeff and his wife, Vicky, became United Way of Greater Atlanta Tocqueville Society members three years ago. He also dedicates his time to the Tocqueville Society Cabinet, allowing his naturally gregarious personality to shine as a volunteer on the Engagement & Retention Committee. However, his involvement with United Way began long before he came to us.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way?
“The reason I got involved with United Way was through the UPS campaign. I walked in, first day on August 17th, and my boss was the district chairman. She said, “This is what you do at UPS,” so I thought that’s what you did. That’s how I initially got involved with United Way.

Before then, I’ve always given to the community from my church, Boy Scouts, and also my fraternity (Sigma Nu at UNC Charlotte). I was a community service chair, raised money for different events… so when I got to UPS, it just took off from there.”

How did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member?
“It was a decision that my wife and I made. The step-up program was really the key. We’d been giving what they call “Leadership Giving” at UPS… Then we’re like, “Why aren’t we doing step-up? We’re here in Atlanta, this is the biggest Tocqueville Society in the nation, this is what we should do.” We always kind of dreamed to do that.”

If you were to choose another career path, what would it be?
“I’ve had two career paths – one, I worked at UPS, that was my dream job. Then I went into real estate, and it’s definitely my passion. If there was another job that I would ever take, it would be a CEO of a United Way-type organization. I wake up every day trying to help somebody, even in my own business.”

Where is your favorite spot in Atlanta to grab a bite to eat?
“Atlanta MSA, or…? I’ve got several places I like to go. Local watering hole is The Wing Café, I love wings. Another restaurant, up in Roswell, Peach & The Porkchop, that is probably the best in Fulton County. Going south of the city in Villa Rica, Evan’s BBQ is a great place.”

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society is a committed leadership group making a measurable and sustainable impact in Greater Atlanta through the connected efforts of their philanthropy. The Cabinet volunteers help uphold this value proposition while advancing the Child Well-Being Movement in our 13-county region.


Tocqueville Women United Chair
Daneen Durr
AT&T

Tocqueville Society Chair
Chris Peck
UPS (Retired)

Ivan Allen Circle Chair
Dan Reardon
North Highland Company

 

David Abee
Synovus

 

Lawrence Ashe
Parker Hudson Ranier & Dobbs

 

Shan Cooper
Atlanta Committee for Progress

 

Amy Corn
Marketing Executive

 

Karen Doolittle
Mercer

 

Kathy Dowling
AT&T (Retired)

 

Steve Evans
Macy’s (Retired)

 

Pat Falotico
Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

 

Mary Ellen Garrett
The Garrett Group / Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
John Geraghty
SunTrust

 

Doug Gosden
Holland & Knight

 

Jeff Hammond
SVN

 

Tricia Holder
PMH Consulting Partners

 

Doug Hutcherson
Lockton Companies

 

Laura Mills
Grant Thornton

 

Angela Nagy
EY

 

Mike Orr
The Genuine Parts Company

 

Jimmy Palik
EY

 

Charles “Chuck” Palmer
Troutman Sanders

 

Mike Petrik
Alston & Bird LLP

 

Dave Polstra
Brightworth, Inc.

 

Robyn Roberts
RSR Consulting, Inc.

 

Amy Rudolph
Eversheds Sutherland

 

Sylvia Russell
AT&T (Retired)

 

Sidney Simms, Jr.
Eversheds Sutherland

 

Lyn Turknett
Turknett Leadership Group

 

 

For more information, please contact Tocqueville Society Director, Karin Von Kaenel at (404) 527-7227 or kvonkaenel@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Mary Ellen Garrett

Tocqueville Society Chair & Tocqueville Women United Member

“Could any force be more powerful than thousands of women philanthropists working hand-in-hand with nonprofits, neighborhoods, companies, schools, and other-who all share the same goal of a safe, stronger region?”

Count on Mary Ellen Garrett to ask that important question.

The 34-year Merrill Lynch veteran is no stranger to success. In addition to numerous internal accolades, she has received multiple years of recognition from Forbes as one of the nation’s top wealth advisors.

However, one thing that has always set Mary Ellen apart is her ability to leverage her own talents for the benefit of others. Many Atlanta-based nonprofits can attest to the value she has brought to their organizations: Mercy Care Foundation, Atlanta Catholic Archdiocese, Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, The Carter Center… just to name a few.

She is a trailblazer in every sense of the word, but especially at United Way.

Twenty years ago, Mary Ellen joined the Tocqueville Society at the recommendation of her colleague and mentor, Jere Goldsmith.

It didn’t take long before she decided she had an important role to play in uplifting other women, too. Mary Ellen was a guiding force in establishing Women’s Legacy (which is now called Women United), and later, Tocqueville Women United.

Shortly afterwards in 2004, Mary Ellen and her husband Scott became the very first household – which includes their son, Alex, and twin daughters, Anna and Patsy – to establish themselves as Legacy Leaders with a planned gift to United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Mary Ellen joined United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Board of Directors, and in 2012, she brought her talents to United Way Worldwide’s U.S.A. Board of Trustees.

Most recently, Mary Ellen became the chair of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society—the first woman to hold that position. As Chair, Mary Ellen represented our Tocqueville Society in Omaha, Nebraska, meeting with the family of Peter and Warren Buffet to open the doors for transformational giving.

It is an understatement to say that we are grateful for Mary Ellen Garrett’s decades of support – Atlanta is a better place because of her joy in philanthropy.

Kelly Janzen
Chief Accounting Officer, WestRock

Say hello to Kelly Janzen, Chief Accounting Officer for WestRock and a Tocqueville Women United Cabinet member who started her United Way journey in Houston.

“While I was living in Houston, a really good friend invited me to a few Tocqueville events, and I had a greater realization of the impact that United Way has on communities. Thus, I decided at that time to make a larger commitment and join the Tocqueville Society.”

Kelly started with WestRock in August 2017 from Baker Hughes, a GE company, based in Houston, Texas where she served as the Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer.

“I’ve been involved with United Way for many years in various capacities, starting with campaign captain at my previous employers.”

Prior to Baker Hughes, she was with McDermott International, Inc. as Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer. She also had a successful career with General Electric, where she started as a global controller with GE Security and continued in controller leadership roles with GE Healthcare, an assignment with GE Corporate in Hong Kong, and GE Power & Water.

Kelly started her career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen LLP. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Louisiana State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Kelly is also a member of the WellStar Health System Foundation Board, in addition to her service as a Tocqueville Women United Cabinet member.

“It was important to me when I moved to Atlanta to continue my involvement with such a great organization.”

Joseph E. Heatherly
Audit Partner, Grant Thornton LLP

Tocqueville Society Member
Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board Member

 

 

Joseph E. Heatherly is an audit partner at Grant Thornton LLP, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms.

Joseph began his career at Grant Thornton in September 2004 in Charlotte, NC. After spending several years in the audit division of the firm’s Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC offices, he completed a two-year rotation within the firm’s national office. In July 2015, Joseph moved to the Atlanta office of Grant Thornton searching for additional career opportunities and was promoted to audit partner in August 2016. Joseph focuses on serving publicly traded and privately held entities within the transportation, retail, service, and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition to his membership in the Tocqueville Society of United Way Atlanta, Joseph is a member of the Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board of United Way Atlanta and serves as Internal Communications Chair. He is also a member of the 2019 Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Class of Atlanta.

Joseph is a native of Jonesville, SC, and received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Masters of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University. He resides with his wife, Caroline, and their daughter in Buckhead.

Lee W. Crump is the CIO and Group Vice President of Business Support for Rollins, Inc. Rollins is an S&P500 company based in Atlanta, has annual revenues of over $1.8 billion and is the parent company of Orkin Pest Control, HomeTeam Pest Defense, and other well-known pest control companies. Prior to joining Rollins in 2009 Crump spent ten years as the CIO of the largest and most profitable ServiceMaster subsidiary based in Memphis, TN.  In 2012 Crump was named Georgia CIO of the Year (Global Division) by the GeorgiaCIO Association.

Lee serves as the Board Chair for Year-Up, Atlanta and is a member of the Board of Directors for PowerMyLearning, Atlanta where he is Resource Development Committee Chair. He serves on the Advisory Boards of the GeorgiaCIO Association where he is Board Chair Emeritus, and the Association of Telecommunications Professionals (ATP). He is a past Board Member of Georgia Junior Achievement and CHRIS Kids. He is a volunteer and mentor for Pathbuilders Achieva, as well as Year-Up Atlanta, where in 2013 he received the Year-Up Urban Empowerment Award.

He is a member of American Mensa, the GeorgiaCIO Association, the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Technology Association of Georgia, (TAG), the Association of Telecommunications Professionals (ATP), and the Society of Information Managers (SIM).

He and his wife Tracy reside in Brookhaven. When he’s not working, you can find Lee on the golf course or practicing blues riffs on the electric guitar.

On January 24, 2019, we were pleased to celebrate the new year by welcoming our new Tocqueville Society members. Thank you to all who attended!

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society, the largest Tocqueville Society in the United States, is a committed leadership group making a measurable and sustainable impact on Child Well-Being in Greater Atlanta through the connected efforts of their philanthropy. The Tocqueville Society is open to individuals who contribute $10,000 or more annually to United Way of Greater Atlanta.

For more information, please email tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Erika Ford Preval is a leading source for modern and approachable events in etiquette and lifestyle for youth and adults. As Founder of Charm Etiquette, she has delivered expert advice that has improved the social skills and enhanced both the personal and professional lives of guests – from Fortune 100 companies to scholar athletes attending top universities.

While the ideals of leadership, lifestyle, and proper etiquette are a major focus, Erika also strives to foster a sense of community by hosting curated small group events within partner restaurant locations throughout Atlanta. Known for making it “cool to be cordial” her teaching methods are anything but stuffy and rigid – they’re relevant, fun and memorable experiences. After attending Charm events, guests are confident in navigating among any group of people – whether attending a State Dinner at the White House or a casual dinner at Waffle House.

Erika also shares her modern spin on manners through her blog, Erika Preval: simply put and as a contributing writer for Southern Living. She has become a credible “go-to” resource for national media and highly regarded resources like Zagat, the Chicago Tribune and CNN. Her local press features include the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, StyleBlueprint, The Atlantan and Atlanta Magazine. Founded in 2013, Charm Etiquette was named Best Classes and Workshops by Best Self Magazine and Erika has been recognized with honors from numerous organizations, including Georgia Tech University’s Women Out Front. 

Erika holds a degree in Economics and International Relations from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and Certification in Japanese Language and Culture from Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. 

A long-time supporter of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, she serves as a member of the Cole Women United Cabinet as well as its Board of Directors. She is also a Summer 2014 United Way VIP Alumni. Coincidentally, her daughter served on the inaugural Youth United Board. 

Her passion for youth and community is evidenced by years of continued service and philanthropy in Atlanta. Erika is a Lifetime Member and serves on the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. She is also a member of the Junior League of Atlanta and Atlanta Woman’s Club. In the same year that Charm Etiquette was launched, Erika provided ideation and initial funding to Spelman College for what would grow to become the Spelpreneur program – fostering entrepreneurship and innovation amongst its students.

Erika resides in Atlanta with her husband, John, and two teenage daughters.

A child is the product of his or her community.

This was what United Way of Greater Atlanta saw at the end of its last strategic planning meeting. They saw that children growing up in Greater Atlanta’s 13 counties were given a disadvantage based on the zip code where they were born.

In order to help these communities, though, you need funding. You need people who understand the significance of a gift, and no group of donors gives more to the United Way than members of Tocqueville Society.

United Way uses 14 different data-driven child, community and family measures to determine an overall “Child Well-Being” score for each zip code in our 13-county region — United Way now has a shared agenda, and a way to leverage your donations in order to maximize the impact and reverse the implications of the Child Well-Being score. By using the child as the lens, United Way can then identify the big picture needs of the community.

Tocqueville Society members understand the impact a significant gift can make. Tocqueville Society is named after French politician Alexis de Tocqueville, who recognized the importance of voluntary action. Our local society was created in 1985. Members of Tocqueville Society are philanthropic leaders in the Atlanta area who contribute $10,000 or more annually to United Way of Greater Atlanta.

There is also a step-up match program that gets members in on the ground floor with donations of $5,000 in the first year, and a promise to increase that total to $6,500, $8,000 and then up to $10,000 in subsequent years. At least half of that first donation is allocated toward the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.

According to United Way Worldwide’s annual report, Tocqueville Society has generated more than $10 billion to date. There are 25,000-plus members in 400-plus societies around the world.

“We generate $14 million annually,” said United Way Senior Major Gifts Officer Yael Sherman. “We have 1,038 members.”

The affinity group increases in size and amount given each year. Sherman, Major Gifts Officer Sarah Massey and Tocqueville Society Director Karin Von Kaenel, recruit new members from existing corporate partners or through the “organic nature of the campaign.”

Tocqueville members are invited to First Tuesday luncheons where they can hear from prominent members of the community. There’s also an annual Tocqueville Awards Reception and other exclusive events such as a New Members Social and Mentoring Mixer with members of Young Professional Leaders.

“I feel like we have enough events to keep people engaged,” Massey said. “The people we are dealing with are very busy, so we have to stay busy to keep them engaged.”

Networking with like-minded people who are leaders in Atlanta is one of the major selling points for new Tocqueville members, Von Kaenel said.

“In addition to some of the benefits, it’s a wonderful peer network,” Von Kaenel says. “People at this level —if you give at this level— you really find value in knowing your investment is being allocated in the best way possible.”

Part of this comes from being able to explain to explain the impact a donation can make toward improving the well-being of children in Atlanta. Sherman spends a lot of time talking to members about the importance of the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.

“We talk to [Tocqueville Society members] about the importance of child well-being, and that in order to reverse this you need to look at ending generational poverty,” Sherman said. “If you want these children to be able to reach their full potential, then you have to improve the child well-being. If want an educated workforce, then we need to train these children to be tomorrow’s career-minded individuals.”

Sherman said we can’t continue to thrive and be a “Number 1 city” if we can’t improve the well-being of our children for the future.

“All of these [Child Well-Being] indicators predict outcomes,” Sherman said. “When we talk to people, it depends on where they are coming from and where their interests are. We show them where the Child Well-Being Agenda fits into that.”

The Child Well-Being heat map has been an excellent tool in ensuring them that their money would be used for the best impact, Massey said.

“We’ve really shifted to the whole data-driven approach,” Massey said. “That’s what has enabled us to develop the heat map, which has been an incredible tool for us. Every donor lives in one of our 13 counties. They are on that map and their children are measured on that map, and that’s why they should care.”

Tocqueville Society members know that this is bigger than just giving an individual gift. They have the chance to be a part of real change in their community.

“I want people to join Tocqueville Society because they know they can make a difference and be a part of something bigger and be a part of the biggest Tocqueville Society in the country,” Massey said. “It sends a clear message to your community that you care. This is a society of business-minded people who want to be smart about their philanthropic decisions, and they want their dollars to go as far as they can.”

For more info about Tocqueville Society, click here.