Meet Our Leaders
President- Richard Fletcher
Richard Fletcher, CHT is Sr. Director, Learning and Organizational Development for Zaxby’s Franchising, a franchisor of gourmet chicken restaurants with 525+ locations and 20000 employees throughout the Southeast. He has been with Zaxby’s since 2003. Richard has responsibilities for overseeing the structures, systems, and processes within the organization to improve organizational effectiveness and is also responsible for identifying, recommending and implementing short and long term strategy for design development and delivery of leadership, team-related, professional, and interpersonal skills development programs.
Richard has over 25 years of executive level experience in sales, operations, organizational development and training with other national companies such as Wolf Camera, Zaxby’s and Sprint PCS. Richard is a national member of ASTD and VP Special and Geographic Interest Groups for ASTD Atlanta. He is an active member of the Council for Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and Regional Director for the CHART’s Atlanta Regional Training Forum.
Richard received a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University. He is a certified EQ-I®, EQ-360® administrator and has received the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) certification from CHART. When he isn’t busy developing people, he loves hitting the links and traveling. Asked to choose his favorite Zaxby’s menu item, he hesitates since he likes them all. "But if I have to pick, I’d go with the Kickin' Chicken Sandwich!"
President-Elect - Vanessa Carey
Vanessa Carey is the Director of Enterprise Organizational Development for West Corporation. West Corporation specializes in the creation of solutions that cover every aspect of voice communication. These include, to name a few: Conferencing and Collaboration – InterCall, Public Safety – Intrado, Automated Services - West Interactive, West Business Services, Direct Response Solutions - West Direct, Receivables Management Solutions - West Asset Management, Facility and Home-based Agents and several more. You may recognize names like InterCall, Sprint Conferencing, and Raindance who have found their home under the West umbrella. West processes billions of minutes in voice-related transactions every year with 30,000 plus employees located throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Vanessa has been with West for seven years and leads a team that serves as internal consultants to all the business units at West. This includes responsibilities for all facets of organizational development, corporate related training, leadership training, team building, interpersonal skills development, and executive coaching. Her time at West has been all about progress through developing and launching West University, an Enterprise wide trainer’s forum, virtual training, online exit interviews, and employee engagement surveys, and many other developments. Prior to West she served at Cox Communications as Manager of Leadership Development and implemented a formal succession planning process. Vanessa has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling with twenty years’ experience in adult education, counseling, training and development, management and leadership development. She is a national member of ASTD and enjoyed volunteering at this year’s ICE Convention. If she is not developing people she is performing for them. She is active in music and drama and has a passion for travel. Antarctica is on her destination list in order to complete her goal of visiting all continents.
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CFO - Sheila Gann
Sheila Gann, growing up in a small town in eastern KY, obtained her BS in Business Administration with a degree in Accounting from Colorado University in 1989 while raising two sons. She has been an accountant for over 30 years and has recently set out for a career change by going back to school and obtaining a MS in I/O Psychology and two post-grad certificates in Human Resourse Management and in Leadership from Capella University. Leadership is where her passion lies and hopes to one day become an Executive Coach.
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VP of Community Relations - Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams currently serves as the 2012 Vice President of Community Involvement. The Community Involvement team supports metro Atlanta non-profits with Training & Development resources to increase the workplace readiness skills of their staffs and clients. ASTD has developed strategic key partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Jennifer is a Sales Force Effectiveness Trainer at Georgia Pacific. She is responsible for managing the entry-level sales professional new hire onboarding program as well as designing and developing e-learning platforms for external, distributor sales teams.
Prior to joining Georgia Pacific, she was the Director of Organizational Learning and Leadership Development for Insurance House. She has also served as an Organizational Development Consultant for the State of Georgia and a Sales Effectiveness and Leadership Develop consultant for several Fortune 500 companies. Jennifer has been an active leader in the local community as an advocate for adult learning and education. Other interests include skiing, traveling and most outdoor adventures.
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Hampton University in 1990 and a Masters of Instructional Technology from Georgia State University in 2007.
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VP of Marketing & Communications - Sarah Gilbert
Sarah Gilbert is a workplace learning professional in instructional design, facilitation, and implementation. She specializes in custom mobile and elearning development, creating unique learning experiences that improve retention, influence behavior, and impact productivity. Her company, meLearning Solutions, has been featured by Adobe®.
Sarah has over 12 years of experience in training and development, project management, and call center consulting. She has a BSBM, MBA, and was published in ASTD’s The Book of Road-Tested Activities by Elaine Biech for her innovative technical training concepts. Sarah regularly contributes to various conferences as a session speaker. She loves to read, travel, run, bike, and hike.
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VP of Member Services - Brian WomackBrian Womack is currently a senior learning and development specialist at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in Savannah, Ga. Gulfstream designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft, and employs more than 12,500 people at 12 major locations around the world.
In his current role, Brian is responsible for managing leadership development for the company’s middle to senior management team members. He has spent the majority of his career developing talent within various industries, including federal government, finance and public education. At Gulfstream, Brian specializes in facilitating leadership skills using the Situational Leadership II© model developed by the Ken Blanchard Companies, Inc. Additional professional specialties and responsibilities include redesign and facilitation of the Certified Manager© program, developing training strategies in alignment with the leadership competency model, instructional design and training evaluation and analysis. Brian also specializes in the delivery of several additional tools to build leadership and team skills, such as the Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI®), Championing Diversity, Franklin Covey® and delivery of the company’s Leadership Competency Model.
For more than eight years, Brian has been a member of the national American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) organization and currently serves as the vice president of member services. During his years as a member, Brian has received several certifications through ASTD, such as the Creating Leadership Development Programs certificate and the National Trainers certification.
Brian was born and raised in the Virginia-Washington, D.C. area. In 1997, he graduated from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, and in 2011, he completed his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. His interests include spending time with family and friends, travel, good food, reading and physical fitness.
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VP of Programming - Doug Samuels
Doug Samuels is the managing partner and principal consultant at flexOD, a talent management company he founded in 2007. His company helps client’s improve their bottom line by connecting the dots between a company’s vision/mission/values/business strategy and their human capital systems. Their programs focus on improving employee engagement, succession planning, and leadership bench strength and use the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as a process framework.
He has been a member of ASTD Atlanta for five years. He is thrilled with the successful direction taken by the chapter’s great leadership over the last several years. He wants to contribute to what he considers the backbone of the chapter, its SIG/GIG programs. Previous SIG/GIG leadership has taken these important programs to new heights. His vision is to continue that trajectory.
Doug’s professional career in learning and development has taken him around the world. After flying KC-135s (Boeing 707) for many years, he served as a master instructor at the USAF’s navigator training school and later created and delivered the military’s first software training program. He was selected to direct the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Ada Software Engineering Education and Training Program, created to ensure the Ada programming language was used in all mission-critical software across the military. He received the DOD Meritorious Service Medal for his efforts.
Previously, Doug served as the Director, Training and Development in a Fortune 50 company and Director, Organization Development at a burgeoning Fortune 1000 company. He holds a BS, Mathematics from Valdosta State College, a BS, Computer Science from Chapman University, an MEd, Adult Education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a BA, Psychology and MS, Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Valdosta State University
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2012 Board of DirectorsChair
Leigh Anne Lankford
Richard Fletcher - President
Vanessa Carey - President Elect
Steve Maul - Immediate Past President
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