Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo by Catholic Charities Atlanta
Members of Catholic Charities Atlanta’s 2013 Leadership Class were honored at a graduation ceremony held Jan. 8. The class included 42 young Catholic leaders from 21 parishes around the archdiocese.


Catholic Charities Atlanta announces graduation of 2013 Leadership Class

Published January 23, 2014

ATLANTA—The 42 men and women of the 2013 Leadership Class sponsored by Catholic Charities Atlanta (CCA) graduated in a ceremony held Jan. 8 at the Georgian Club. The leadership program, concluding its third year, continues to grow as young faithful Catholic leaders seek opportunities to learn servant leadership and incorporate their faith in the workplace.

This year’s class, parishioners at 21 parishes in the Atlanta Archdiocese, collectively volunteered over 150 hours of their time to the agency. They helped sort and distribute gifts for the Catholic Charities Atlanta Christmas Connections program, collected baby items for the Pregnancy and Parenting program and participated in speed interviewing skills training and setting up an apartment for refugee clients. Class members became agency advocates by serving as parish talk speakers for the Christmas second collections at parishes in the archdiocese. The class’ collective fundraising power helped raise nearly $88,000 for the work of CCA, helping those in need in the community.

Randy Hain, principal with Serviam Access, and co-chair of the Leadership Class steering committee, said, “The Catholic Charities Leadership Class program strives to assist class members to become better servant leaders, increase their awareness of the many Catholic programs available in the Atlanta Archdiocese while raising much needed funds and awareness for Catholic Charities Atlanta to support the outreach programs and services that help people in need, of all or no faiths.”

At each graduation, one class member is asked to speak about his or her experience being part of the CCA class. This year’s speaker, Melissa Tribble, operations manager for Guardian Products, Inc., articulated the impact of the Leadership Class program on her business and professional life: “One thing I really wanted to get from this leadership class is finding more of a purpose in my day to day world—how do I serve when my business isn’t healing or helping or directly bettering someone’s life?  But the reality that I have come to understand is many of us are not in positions where we directly serve, yet we still have the chance to make a difference. … Bringing your faith to work might not mean leading a lunch-time Bible study, but caring about the people around you and being committed to them is a part of faith.”

She added, “Leading with morals and ethics—that is a way of serving others. Walking into work every day with the purpose of helping someone with a smile and sincere heart—that is a way of serving others. And utilizing the talents you have to the utmost of your ability—that is serving God.”

Class members were nominated for their accomplishments as leaders in the workplace, in their parishes and in the community. They participated in a half-day retreat where they learned more about the work of CCA as well as were exposed to the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff and Dr. Phil Thompson. Other speakers and teachers included Paul Voss, president of Ethikos, Terry Trout, of CBeyond, and Raellyn Kovich, associate partner at Bell Oaks Executive Search.

Graduation is not the end of the class member’s journey, but just the beginning. Each of the class members has been matched with a senior Catholic business leader to serve in a nine-month mentorship program. The mentors are Catholic leaders in the Atlanta business community who have made a commitment to be involved in the spiritual and professional lives of these new servant leaders.

2013 Leadership Class

All Saints Church, Dunwoody: Greg Pyne, director of operations, North American Securities.

Catholic Center at UGA: George Barkley, managing partner, Sovereign Systems, LLC.

Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta: Sean Claire, regional sales manager, Silverpop Systems; John Elrod, shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Veronica Esquivia-Lee, director of operations, Virtue Media; Christine Faas, communication and training consultant, The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; Bernadette Flowers, stewardship director of time and talent, Cathedral of Christ the King; Betsy Harvey, president, BrandSwell; Yovany Jerez, corporate training manager, AT&T; Jim Komperda, vice president, Institutional Real Estate Group, KeyBank; Megan Martin, assistant real estate manager, CBRE; Margaret Piekarski, director, sales training and development, Given Imaging; Pilar Plazas, project services manager, Quintiles; Steve Schreck, senior manager, Community and Alliance Management, Global Regulatory Affairs, UCB, Inc.; Melissa Tribble, operations manager, Guardian Products, Inc.; and Liza Vega-Smart, direct marketing coordinator, Habitat for Humanity International.

Holy Cross Church, Atlanta: Jessica Martinez, development intern, Grady Health Foundation.

Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta: John Breen, AVP of marketing, Equifax; Jonathan Linn, analyst for supply and risk management, Gas South; Kelley Thomas, creative director/principal, Push Creative; Bill Vargo, corporate director of risk management, Nordic Logistics & Warehousing, LLC; and Keith Watson, senior audit manager, SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City: Michael Tigue, owner, Web4u Corporation.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton: Christy Sammon, government affairs director, Smith, Gambrell & Russell.

Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta: Caitlin Miller, attorney, Mary A. Miller & Assoc., LLC.                                                                                                                               

St. Pius X Church, Conyers: Andrew Gowasack, Agent, Ashford Advisors.

St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Loganville: Arun Kanjira, secondary science/math teacher, Gerard Preparatory School; Jeffrey Savier, graduate student and rehab technician, Emory Healthcare.                                              

St. Ann Church, Marietta: Kenneth Bowman, global account manager,

St. Benedict Church, Duluth: Beth King-Howard, founder, Inspired EdSourcing, LLC.              

St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek: Dan Cole, sales vice president, Southeast Region, UnitedHealth Group.

St. James the Apostle Church, McDonough: Katherine Ames, assistant to senior vice president, metro Atlanta region, Georgia Power Company.

St. Joseph Church, Marietta: Hernan Morales, insurance claims supervisor, Progressive Insurance Company; Caroline Rittenhouse, principal consultant, Midtown Consulting Group. 

St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs: Jose Espina, president, Tortillas De Casa; LaRhonda Julien, construction support administrator, Georgia Transmission Corporation.

St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell: Adriana Bonilla-Ramirez, management consultant, CSR – LLC; Paul Kleinkauf, director, Merrill Corporation.                                                                          

St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta: Cinthya Rojo, billing specialist, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.                          

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna: Michael Foy, U.S. tax director, Invesco Ltd.           

St. Thomas More Church, Decatur: John Lanier, director, Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

Transfiguration Church, Marietta: Rob Means, financial advisor, Edward Jones.

For more information about the 2014 Leadership Class, contact Stephanie Ungashick, senior director of marketing and communications for CCA, at 404-885-7268 or by email at Nominations for the 2014 Class will be accepted through May 1. Visit Catholic Charities Atlanta’s website at for nomination forms, mentorship information and sponsorship opportunities.