Amy Rudolph is a key part of the Atlanta legal community. She is a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland and is the Deputy Practice Group Leader of the firm’s US Litigation Group and co-leads the US and global Professional Liability Practices.

In addition to her day job, Amy makes community a priority. She is a member of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society Cabinet, serving on the Engagement & Retention Committee. She also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Appellate Practice & Educational Resource Center. We sat down with Amy to learn more about what is important to her and why she gives back.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I have been a United Way donor through my workplace campaign since 1994, and over the years have led three United Ways campaigns at my law firm.  I decided to get more actively involved with United Way a few years ago, simply because of the opportunity it presented to work with others in the Atlanta business community to benefit the Metro Atlanta area … but as I have gotten to know United Way better, I have been incredibly impressed by United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being Initiative and the impressive results it has achieved just in the last 2-3 years.  It’s great to know that I’m part of an organization that is making a difference.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

I was taught from a young age that much is required of them to whom much has been given.  I am incredibly fortunate to have a steady job and successful career; a stable, loving family; a quality education; good health; and a nice home in a safe neighborhood.  Too many people in our community are not able to say those things. I have been given a lot in my life, and I like paying it forward, being a part of helping to make others’ lives better.

Why did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member by way of the Global Payments Match?

I have gradually increased my United Way pledge over the years since my first workplace campaign, so my financial commitment to United Way was already fairly significant, especially through Cole Women United and United Way signature events like the Women’s Leadership Breakfast and Leading a Life of Purpose.  I decided that the match was a good way to help me ease into Tocqueville-level giving.

What advice to you have for Cole, Young Professional Leaders (YPL) and other community members who are thinking about leveraging the Global Payments Match to become a Tocqueville Society member?

My advice is to think carefully about your overall philanthropic philosophy – what are your priorities, what causes and organizations give you the most fulfillment (and why), and where does United Way fit into that philosophy.  Many people prefer concentrating their giving into one or two primary causes where they can have significant impact, rather than making a diffuse array of smaller contributions that will help a lot of organizations, but only incrementally.  If you share that mindset, then United Way is an excellent way to concentrate your philanthropic efforts – and United Way, in turn, can direct your gift to the organizations most in need of it in Atlanta.  So many nonprofits are doing such amazing work in Atlanta, and you may never have heard of them, but when you do hear of them, it’s really inspiring.  United Way does that research, tracks down these inspiring agencies and their creative programs, and directs our donations to where they are most needed.  The match helps you ease into Tocqueville-level giving, while increasing the dollars flowing to United Way and the organizations they support.  It’s a win-win!

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

What a weird time this has been …. I don’t profess any sort of expertise in this area, but from a personal perspective what seems to have helped me along the way is to keep to some kind of structure for the work week and to punctuate the weekends.  I try to keep to my normal schedule for work (albeit from my basement), to dress nicely for work (at least for what will show on video conferences!), and set aside time each day for family and “me” time, some reflection, and, time permitting, some exercise.  Proving that I am not an original thinker, I, like so many others, took up cycling in the pandemic, and I have really come to look forward to nice bike rides on the weekends!  I have been pretty determined to keep my weekends free of work and have used that time to rest, recharge, exercise, fix a nice breakfast, fire up the grill for dinner (or support one of our local restaurants via takeout, and a generous tip!), read a good book, go for walks in nature (while socially distanced, of course), and even organize a few kitchen cabinets!  It’s also important to reach out to others, even by phone or email, just to see how they are doing – I could do a better job of that.

Thank you, Amy, for your insights, leadership and support of United Way of Greater Atlanta and the entire Atlanta community!

For those interested in learning more about joining Tocqueville Society by way of the Global Payments match, please click here, or email Tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Lyn and Bob Turknett of Turknett Leadership Group use an IRA to support the work of United Way of Greater Atlanta.
What inspires you to live United?

We have been committed to United Way – as volunteers and donors – for decades, because we have seen the power of tackling community problems TOGETHER. UWGA is a powerful force for real change in our community and has the ability to bring all the community together – nonprofits, businesses, local communities, government agencies – all of us – to effectively address our most difficult problems. As a longtime volunteer at the local level I have seen the power of United Way up close and personal.

What prompted you to utilize your IRA for your Cole and Tocqueville Society contribution?

We are old enough to be required to take distributions from our IRA, and, of course, those distributions are taxable as ordinary income. When a gift is given directly from the IRA to a qualifying charity, the income is NOT taxable, but still counts toward your minimum distribution.

How did you learn you could use your IRA for charitable purposes?

From my sister! She and her husband had seen something about this in a newsletter from their financial advisor, and Bob and I began looking into it.

What advantages do you think this method of giving has over others?

Likely only right for some, but it fits for us because it minimizes tax liability.

Would you recommend others to also utilize this method?

YES – IF IT FITS THEIR SITUATION.

Who do you think would benefit from using this method?

Probably most people like us who are still working but who are old enough to be required to take minimum distributions from an IRA.

For more details on using your IRA to help our community, click here. Talk with your financial advisor or tax professional to determine your best strategies. For a confidential conversation about ways to save on taxes while supporting our community, contact your United Way of Greater Atlanta representative.

We are thrilled to introduce LaShonda Foy, our Vice-Chair of Tocqueville Women United!   As a member of the Ivan Allen Circle, Tocqueville Society, and our Tocqueville Women United Cabinet, LaShonda is a community leader who is working to create lasting change for Greater Atlanta.  Tocqueville Women United is a group of female Tocqueville Society members and community leaders who help generate, organize, direct, and influence the activities and dollars of the United Way of Greater Atlanta.   

LaShonda Foy is an experienced financial services and insurance leader. She is a Senior Vice President and Strategy Leader for Wells Fargo – Wholesale Control. She has experience in strategic planning, enterprise global services, risk management, underwriting, operations, and business development. As a Strategy and Control leader, she has responsible for driving risk management transformation, business integration, new business initiatives oversight, and an enhanced control environment. LaShonda earned her MBA in Finance and BS from Florida A&M University. She also holds professional industry designations – Associate in Risk Management (ARM), Associates in Claim (AIC) and Associate in Underwriting (AU).   

LaShonda is committed to youth advocacy and financial literacy. In addition to her leadership role with Tocqueville Women United, she serves as a board member and troop leader for Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and youth volunteer for Northpoint Ministries. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Atlanta Insurance Ministries, Board of Directors for Next Century Youth; Fundraising Officer for Integrity Children’s Fund; Board of Trustees for New Fellowship of Praise, and Mentor for Young Risk Professionals. Additional volunteer experience includes Junior Achievement, Hands on Atlanta, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta, and Ray of Hope Children’s Ministry.   

LaShonda is married to Devin Foy and has four daughters.  In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities, running, dancing, watching her daughters sporting events, and planning family reunions. Her personal mission is to help identify and develop the best in others; foster physical, spiritual, and financial health; and share a spirit of compassionate giving. 

Join us in thanking LaShonda for her leadership and passion! Follow Tocqueville Women United to stay up to date on those who are leading the charge and inspiring the change!  

We know that in light of adversity, it can feel difficult or uncomfortable to take action. That is why we are providing three resources that will maximize your savings and support our work during the COVID-19 crisis, so that you can choose what makes the most sense for you.

  1. Give a gift for later (free today!): You can support United Way of Greater Atlanta forever without paying anything today using our free will-writing tool. A legacy can ensure we can improve lives in our community for generations to come. Write your will and include United Way of Greater Atlanta today.
  2. Give from your IRA: If you’re 70.5 or older and have a traditional IRA, you’re eligible to make a tax-free gift known as a QCD, regardless of if you itemize deductions. FreeWill’s new tool makes the process easier than ever to complete. Make a QCD today.
  3. Give a gift of stock: Transferring appreciated stocks allows you to avoid paying capital gains tax, and deduct the full amount of your stock from your tax return. Transferring stock is a powerful gift to provide immediate funds to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Transfer stock now.

Creating a legacy gift, making a QCD, or transferring stock aren’t just ways to save on your taxes — they’re high-impact ways to demonstrate your commitment to the common good. Today, tomorrow and forever.

Tocqueville Society Member
David Abee

David Abee truly embodies the spirit of what it means to “Live United.”

Although his day job is with Synovus, he dedicates countless hours volunteering on the Tocqueville Society Cabinet. Furthermore, he leads the Engagement & Retention Committee as its chair, seeking to ensure that each member feels recognized and appreciated.

 

Prior to his experience with United Way of Greater Atlanta, David served in volunteer leadership capacities with organizations such as the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association and March of Dimes.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way?
A: Early in my career at the age of 21, my employer at that time encouraged both giving to and volunteering with United Way of Central Alabama; I started with volunteering my time tutoring elementary students in Birmingham and giving $10 a paycheck. Over the years, I have continued to volunteer and give, with it truly being a life-changing experience.

I continue to give to United Way today as a Tocqueville Society member, fully confident that every dollar continues to make a difference in the lives of all those around us. I completely TRUST United Way is making a real difference with those who need it most.

Q: Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?
A: The small community-based nonprofit that is passionate about making a difference in our local communities… THEY truly inspire me to give back to my community and do everything I can to support their efforts. They are heroes!

Q: If you were to choose another career path, what would it be?
A: I would love to teach, and I would enjoy helping others learn. To be a teacher is certainly a calling! Along with teaching a subject or a course, teachers truly play an important role in teaching life to students and pouring into them!

Q: Where is your favorite spot in Atlanta to grab a bite to eat?
A: Chops in Buckhead is my favorite restaurant!  Whether for a business lunch, a casual gathering with friends, or a wonderful dinner in the main restaurant or Lobster Bar… Chops is a great experience!

Q: What has Synovus done to support its customers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: For the Synovus team, this COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the belief in our company’s purpose – to be here for our customers and communities, in good times and when hardships come; to be accessible, present, and to personally partner to meet the most critical needs. To say it’s been a silver lining — a true privilege — to stand beside our customers and to support our community healthcare heroes, organizations, and businesses in various ways would be an understatement. There have been so many defining moments for our company’s team members over the past several weeks.

I am especially grateful for the opportunity to have helped thousands of our small business customers through the Paycheck Protection Program (P3). To date, we’ve been part of distributing almost $3 billion in P3 funds to thousands of small business customers who employ nearly 340,000 individuals across our Southeast footprint. For the thousands with whom we at Synovus have celebrated success, I am deeply humbled by their stories as well.

Tocqueville Society Member
Steve Evans

Steve Evans grew up with modest means. As one of five children, his parents did not have much money to give – but they did give their time. Whether at their church or other nonprofit organizations, they would always lend a hand to help others.

In 1974 as a new college graduate, Steve began his retail career with Kaufmann’s, a Division of May Department Stores. The United Way in Pittsburgh, PA was the only company-wide charity initiative, and it was strongly encouraged that everybody participated.

“I started out at $25.00 a month, a significant amount of my $700.00 per month salary.”

While working in menswear, he met a young woman named Lisa in feminine apparel, who eventually became his wife. Steve and Lisa’s careers flourished, garnering each of them VP titles at Kaufmann’s.

When asked if he could choose an alternate career path, Steve recounted, “I enjoyed my retail career. It was a highly stressful one, but I would not trade it for any other that I know of.”

As they continued to enjoy professional success, they continued to increase their personal commitment to giving back.
One day, Bill Meyer, President and CEO of United Way of Allegheny County (now Southwestern Pennsylvania), reached out to Steve for lunch. Bill encouraged Steve to contribute his time and talents by getting more involved. As a result, he joined several committees to learn more about the work of United Way.

When he and Lisa joined the Tocqueville Society, she also began to engage with the work. She served on the Women’s Leadership Committee, which steered one of the largest Women of Tocqueville groups in the country at the time.

In 2006, Steve and Lisa moved to Atlanta after Macy’s bought Kaufmann’s. However, the relocation didn’t stop them from staying involved as Tocqueville Society members. Lisa co-chaired the nationwide campaign for United Way at Macy’s in 2007 and 2008, and Steve began serving as a Tocqueville Society Cabinet member in 2013.

They also still find time for the things that matter most.

They raised two daughters, Shea and Casey, who both graduated from Milton High School. After Shea was diagnosed with lupus, Steve began his involvement with the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter. As the past Board Chair and past President & CEO, he has personally raised over $1 million for the Lupus Foundation. In 2017, he and Lisa were recipients of the National Advocacy Award.
Though they have been in Atlanta almost 15 years, “Lisa and I are both from the Pittsburgh area and remain huge fans of the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, and Pitt.”

Their favorite spots to grab a bite to eat are Casa Nuova in Alpharetta and Sotto Sotto in Atlanta.

If you would like to learn more about Steve and Lisa – join us! An event exclusively for North Fulton and Gwinnett County Tocqueville Society members will be held in the Evans’ home on the evening of Thursday, March 26th. For more details, please email tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

AAP & Tocqueville Society Member Spotlight: Youlanda Mack

AAPTocqueville Society Member, Youlanda Mack
IT Technical Lead for Oracle ERP and Cloud Applications
Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Tell us about your role at Cox Enterprises and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?

As an IT technical lead for ERP and Oracle Applications, I am responsible for the operational support of the PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM) and Autonomous Oracle Integration Cloud Applications.  My day-to-day HCM responsibilities include the overall management of data and infrastructures that run applications for all Cox companies (CEI Enterprises, Cox Communication & Cox Automotive). These activities can range from hardware infrastructure support, database management, application modifications\migrations, and batch performance for HR related jobs such as employee benefits and payroll. I also support application modification and system uptime consumptions for the processing of cloud interfaces for with Cox Suppliers and vendors.

Cox is committed to giving back, volunteerism, and mentorship to help server communities. As part of that commitment, all employees of Cox have these values as an individual objective. Cox encourages and offers paid time off for employees to participate and serve local communities and volunteer events that will help to make a better future for the next generation.

As a Cox employee, I have those same values. I am strategically contributing to the Cox company goals by giving and being involved in several corporate and community volunteer events. I am committed to performing my job with integrity while helping to empower people to overcome their challenges and have opportunities to improve their quality of life.


What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in IT?

Almost every aspect of life touches IT and technology so it is a great career choice. Technology continues to grow and change rapidly. I would encourage them explore multiple areas in IT (Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Cyber Security, Mobile, Virtual Reality, Web, etc.) and multiple roles (Architect, Business Analyst, Database Administrator, Developer, Software or Security Engineer, etc.) to find an area that you really enjoy working in. I would also advise them to expand their knowledge with continuous learning in IT, soft skills and leadership, set development goals, read books, attend training on a regular basis, and know yourself and accept your flaws. Lastly, I would advise getting a mentor early on in your career to help guide you and provide open and honest feedback.

 

You have a long list of experience volunteering and mentoring in the community. What first sparked your interest in philanthropy and why did you become an AAP Cabinet member?

My interest in in philanthropy is simply because I am a beneficiary of philanthropy myself growing up in a lower income household with a single mother and it is a passion for me to help others. I know firsthand the difference philanthropy has made in my life. I received financial assistance, college entrance exams, college applications, identify college majors, etc. all of which help me attend college. I often think back and appreciate the mentorship, encouragement, lessons, and inspiring words of people who have crossed my path and made me a better person for the sharing of themselves. I am a person of faith and I truly believe “To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48)”.  Giving back is part of my values, beliefs and gratifying experience. It is also an honor and privilege to share my mentorship, knowledge, finances, service and time volunteering to serve local communities and great causes like the African American Partnership. Being a philanthropist specifically for AAP has the added benefit of being part of my heritage. It is truly a passion and self-fulfillment goal of mine to inspire others to overcome difficult and challenging circumstances. Furthermore, it is embedded in my heart and soul to make a difference in life and beyond myself. Being an AAP Cabinet member provides me the opportunity to do so.

 

You have mentored others in the community, what advice would you give to a younger Youlanda Mack?

First, I would start with the advice of obtaining a couple of mentors. I would have a mentor in my profession to help me navigate my professional career and identify talents that I possibly did not see in myself. I would also have a second mentor that was more experienced in life and a good sounding board to help me with decisions. This second mentor could be another businessperson, coworker, friend or relative that I respect and admire. The two mentors can provide guidance, open and honest feedback from different prospective.

Another piece of advice to my younger self would be to engage in public speaking at a young age. Being an African American female and a minority in the IT field, I believe public speaking would have helped embolden me to communicate more effectively and proficiently. I also believe public speaking builds up your confidence to creatively tell your story to get your idea recognized and shared with others. Ultimately, I believe mastering public speaking improves your overall interactions with others.

As a final point to my younger self; stay true to who you are. Know that what I do now does not define who I am and who I will become later.

 

Who is your favorite American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?

I have a list of favorite American Trailblazers but there are two that I really admire. One of my dearest trailblazers is my mother. Her willingness to sacrifice to support me in my aspirations in whatever I chose to do. She supports me 100%. Another great trailblazer for me is Michelle Obama for me. She is one of the most inspiring persons of this decade. I really like her life story and the transparency that she shows in her appearances and speaking engagements. She shares stories and life lessons of her struggles and accolades of how she worked through and succeeded in overcoming life’s challenges. As part of her accolades, she has been presented three honorary doctorate degrees and recently won a Grammy for her spoken word for her memoir “Becoming. Educationally, professionally, personally and her elegance of being the first lady of the 44th U.S. president, Barack Obama represents pure excellence. She certainly inspires African American women to know that we can think differently, dream differently because it is possible to reach our full potential.

#WhyWednesday: Dr. Tameeka Law Walker

Meet Dr. Tameeka Law Walker of Georgia Perinatal Consultants. Why does she invest in Greater Atlanta’s future as a member of our Tocqueville Society and African-American Partnership? For Dr. Law Walker, it’s personal.

Today, hear Dr. Law Walker share the why behind her commitment to her community.

Why child well-being? When children thrive, communities thrive. Across Greater Atlanta, volunteers, donors and community advocates are rallying around the Child Well-Being Movement – so that our region can be a place where every child, regardless of zip code, can reach their full potential. Right now, nearly half a million children in Greater Atlanta live in areas with low or very low child well-being scores. But together, we can change that! Learn how you can get involved.

As we embark upon a new decade, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year. The Tocqueville Society helps underwrite the Child Well-Being Movement – in other words, our work wouldn’t be possible without this group of philanthropists! Thank you to each and every Tocqueville Society member who showed up to support the Atlanta community.


Super Bowl LIII

With your support, Super Bowl week was a game changer for kids! We had so much fun with the Super Bowl Experience, supporting Character Playbook, and our virtual reality “Call the Play” game.
View the photo album here.


United Way Day at the Capitol

United Way Day at the Capitol brought our elected and appointed policymakers together, including Governor Kemp and Mayor Bottoms, to build awareness around our Child Well-Being mission.
View the photo album here.


4th Annual African American Partnership Leadership Luncheon

More than 1,000 people came out to the 4th annual AAP Leadership Luncheon to hear from Common, connect with other community leaders and power the academic potential of African-American boys and young men.
View the photo album here.

 

Tocqueville Society & Young Professional Leaders Mentoring Mixer

This annual event provides United Way Tocqueville Society members with the opportunity to share their personal experiences and advice with young professionals in Greater Atlanta. On March 14, we were proud to bring people from different walks of life together for a full evening of networking and insightful discussion.
View the photo album here.

 

State of the Children: Progress through Partnerships

Two years after launching the Child Well-Being Index, the 2019 State of the Children event held on May 9 explored the progress made — and how far we have to go — to ensure that our region’s children are thriving.
View the photo album here.


8th Annual Leading a Life of Purpose

On May 16, attendees heard a captivating panel discussion from some of the most influential women leading in business and philanthropy about breaking barriers and building bridges. Panelists included New York Times Best-selling Author and Former Media Executive, Gail Evans, and Chief Diversity Officer of The Home Depot, Beatriz Rodriguez.
View the photo album here.


Tocqueville Recognition Reception

One of our favorite nights of the year was celebrated on September 19, as we were joined by Governor Brian Kemp as our keynote speaker. Award winners for the evening included Bill and Ashley Rogers and GEEARS.
View the photo album here.


11th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast

On November 21, Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle spoke on sisterhood, courage, community, leading where you are and finding purpose. Thank you to Glennon, Abby, our Women of Excellence honoree Sally Yates and to all the gamechangers who made the 2019 Women’s Leadership Breakfast a success! Because of you, our Women United Advancement Initiative can break down barriers for more women—so they can in turn empower each other and our communities.
View the photo album here.


We can’t wait to celebrate 35 years of the Tocqueville Society in 2020!

AAP & Tocqueville Society Member Spotlight: Myra Bierria

AAP and Tocqueville Society Member Spotlight
Myra Bierria
Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Southern Company

Tell us about your role at Southern Company and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Myra: My role is Vice President and Corporate Secretary for the Southern Company. One of my core responsibilities is to provide legal and administrative support to the Board of Directors and executive management. My day-to-day activities can range from providing legal advice to the Board of Directors or executive management concerning corporate governance matters to planning logistics down to the last detail for a Board meeting. Southern Company is committed to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities. Sound corporate governance policies and practices are an important part of Southern’s strategy, consistent with the increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters as they relate to the energy industry.

What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in corporate law?
Myra: Earning a law degree is a significant investment of time and resources, but the education and development of analytical skills are well worth it. If you can take time off after undergrad and work in either a law office or corporate environment, it may be helpful in determining whether a law degree is something you really need or desire. As far as practicing corporate law specifically, I’d advise a person to get as much experience as possible at a law firm before moving in-house to a corporate law department. The diverse mix of clients one has the opportunity to advise in a law firm prepares potential in-house lawyers to handle the wide range of legal issues that may come up in a corporation.

If you were to choose another career path, what would it be?
Myra: If I could change my career, I would choose to be an American History professor. I enjoy teaching others and am fascinated with what we can learn from our country’s past and how lessons learned can and will impact our future.

What sparked your interest in philanthropy and why did you become a United Way Tocqueville Society member?
Myra: I was raised in a working-class family. Although an excess of resources was not the norm, my parents taught us to be charitable with our time and whatever financial contribution we could spare. The United Way is one of the first organizations I can recall providing small but, to our family, meaningful donations. Further, the 100 Black Men’s Young Black Scholars program as well as the Girl Scouts program would not have been available to me without the generosity of others. Each of these programs played a critical role in my college and career choices. Being a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society is a logical way for me to pay it forward. Fortunately for me, my company had a step-up program that allowed me to join the Tocqueville Society early in my career and increase my donations over time.

Who is your favorite American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?
Myra: My favorite American trailblazer for the longest time has been Justice Thurgood Marshall. More recently, I’ve added First Lady Michelle Obama. Both Marshall and Obama overcame extreme adversity with success not just as individuals but as public figures as part of a larger organization with a significant positive impact on our society. In the legal field, Justice Marshall successfully litigated pivotal desegregation cases in front of our country’s highest court, which he would later serve on. He persevered despite the challenging racial tension of his times and in spite of threats to his personal safety. Similarly, First Lady Obama as part of the executive administration and as a high-profile educated career woman and mother of two served our country with dignity and grace despite unimaginable obstacles.  I’m inspired by her resolve and determination to have a positive impact on the health of children while serving as a role model for women.