ATD Greater AtLanta

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ATD Greater Atlanta

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2021 Executive Board


Cornelius A. Dowdell, MBA, LSSGB |          

Cornelius “Neil” Dowdell is a sought after high potential professional focusing on Talent Development, Human Capital Management and Operational Efficiency. He has more than 20 years’ experience consulting and supporting small to large organizations. Cornelius is renowned for his ability to develop potential leaders, streamline operational processes and create value within organizations. He believes that we all have inspired strengths and gifts that we should maximize in our life’s work, which led him to become an entrepreneur and start The Nelius Strategy LC. Cornelius earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana State University and a MBA from Capella University. He is certified in Everything DiSC, Problem Solving, Leadership and Management Development, Lean Six Sigma and Communication.


Allison Baldwin |    

Allison has over ten years of experience in Learning & Development, focused in LMS Administration, Project Management and Instructional Design. She is an Instructional Designer at the Home Depot, and previously an E-Learning Content Specialist on another team for several years. She joined the ATD Greater Atlanta chapter in 2018 and immediately became an active volunteer. In 2019 she served on the Communities of Practice (CoP) Committee as the Director of Learning Technologies, then as the 2020 VP of Communities of Practice.

The chapter has provided many opportunities for her to step out of her comfort zone and gain knowledge in other areas of Talent & Development, which easily motivates her to cultivate a similar experience for others who are passionate about developing themselves and others.

Allison is a proud wife and mother, Kennesaw State University Alumni, loves cooking and spending time outdoors.

Chief Financial Officer

Sonia Matthews |  

Sonia Matthews currently serves as a Education Analyst II at Emory University for the Department of Anesthesiology and she has been in this role since January 2020. She works with Doctors, Fellows, Residents and Anesthetists to develop training videos, maintains their public facing and Intranet pages. She is also senior administrator for their learning management system.

Over the past 20+ years, Sonia has worked with many organizations focusing on learning and people development. She began her career in Germany developing curriculum for a childcare center’s certification program. As a As a curriculum and testing developer, she successfully implemented new training and certification programs to help achieve growth with new and seasoned child care employees.

Sonia graduated from Webster University with a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development and from Columbia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Sonia has been an active volunteer leader for ATD (Association for Talent Development) in the Atlanta area. After joining the local chapter, she has facilitated a Computer Basics class for Habitat for Humanity and volunteered with the Atlanta Food Bank, Served as co-manager of Member Services, under the direction of Karen Eugenio. She currently serves as CFO.

VP Membership

Buddy Schwenk |  

Buddy has been working in technology within the hospitality, healthcare and human resource industries for over 20 years. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago and making a stop at Northwest Missouri State University, Buddy has spent the last 30 years in Atlanta.

While he has worked with many innovative technologies, it’s engaging with people to show them how solutions can benefit their environment that brings great satisfaction to his work. This same interaction is why Buddy enjoys being involved with the Membership committee of the chapter.

Buddy enjoys all sports and cheering on the Atlanta sports teams. He also an ardent fan of the Kentucky Wildcats and NWMSU Bearcats.

VP Chapter Programs, Professional Development & CPTD/APTD

Shermaine Perry-Knights, APTD |    

Shermaine Perry-Knights is the Founder and Chief Learning Officer at Innovation Consultants of DeKalb. She is an author and workforce development coach with a passion for creating a-ha moments and learning solutions.

Shermaine wears a strategic business partner hat, offering advice to executives for process improvement and employee development in her combined roles of instructional designer, project manager, senior trainer and facilitator.

She has experience designing and delivering nationally-recognized management and workforce development programs. Shermaine has delivered content on topics including career pivots, employee experience, accountability, communicating across generations, leadership, project management, and conflict resolution.

She is a contributor to the ATD community both locally and nationally, volunteering time for ATD initiatives and presenting at workshops. Shermaine is recognized by ATD as the 2020 One To Watch.

VP Strategic Partnerships

Zack Hudson |          

Zack Hudson is a leader that has a heart for developing others. He is a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) through the Association for Talent Development and is the founder of Passing the Baton Leadership Resources. Zack creates weekly leadership content that is read in over 100 countries weekly and the Passing the Baton Leadership Podcast is among the top 5% most downloaded podcasts in the world. He also leads the talent management, leadership development, and career pathing functions for Kindred at Home’s 45,000 associates across the United States.

Striving for and modeling a healthy work-life balance, Zack enjoys life’s adventures. He has skydived, survived a running of the bulls, chest bumped a whale shark, and is an ultra-marathon runner among other things. He also works in the Atlanta film industry in his spare time.

VP Community Relations

Neha Shingane |  

Neha Shingane is an attorney transitioning her practice into Learning and Development. She hosts ATD Atlanta's web series "Building Our Vision" and facilitates the Podcast Bootcamp class. She is interested in producing thoughtful, progressive content that will help you make WORK a better place to LIVE. Neha loves tinkering with new technology, talking about the latest OD trend, and dissecting workplace culture.

Neha got her Bachelor's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a JD from Emory University School of Law. When she's not working or producing content, Neha loves to read, watercolor, and spend time with her dog, Kevin.

VP Marketing and Communications

Tashana Thompson, Ph.D. |   

Tashana Thompson, Ph.D., MBA embodies many passions – she’s a motivational coach, a business enthusiast, and a visibility expert. For nearly two decades, though, Tashana has leveraged her knack for entrepreneurship to help business owners establish their brands and increase their incomes.

A graduate of Georgia State University, Tashana is a thought-leader and marketing strategist who is enthusiastic about helping entrepreneurs increase their revenue with personalized blueprints. Using tactical marketing plans, Tashana helps business owners’ products and services thrive online and propel to the next level.

Tashana honed into her own entrepreneurial and relationship-building skills at an early age, selling toys and candy to friends in her Indianapolis neighborhood. In 2007, she launched Beyond Business Solutions to help small businesses, corporations, and nonprofits grow. Through her tailored solutions and focus on business education, she's been able to develop authentic partnerships with dozens of business owners. With a focus on client-centered consulting, building quality connections, and expert marketing, Tashana continues to evolve as a leader to deliver tailored solutions to her clients.

Tashana's background in hospitality, project management, marketing, and human resources makes her a unique business resource. She has executed strategies to generate millions of dollars in revenue, positioning herself as a marketing authority. Tashana has also provided training and certification to thousands of professionals while serving as Director of Education & Training for the Georgia & Alabama Restaurant Associations.

Tashana wears a lot of hats, but probably the ones she’s most proud of are her roles as a wife, mother, and daughter. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, Brian, and their daughter, Addisyn.

VP Communities of Practice

Esther Matthews, M.Ed., PMI-ACP |      

Esther Matthews is an instructional designer and author focused on experiential learning, gamification, and Agile project management and leads digital adoption platform building for Learning Design and Development at The Home Depot. Esther is also the editor of, a blog for new, aspiring, and accidental instructional designers. Her varied background includes experience in post-secondary education, marketing, Agile Methodologies, and digital adoption platform building, all of which combine to create her unique perspective as a leader.

Esther’s commitment to, and passion for, helping others achieve their goals through personal and professional development is her driving force in leading our Communities of Practice to provide top-notch learning experiences for all our members.

VP Special Events

Andrea Goodwin |  

Andrea is a seasoned professional with a M.A. in Training & Development from Roosevelt University. She started off her career as an instructional designer; developing instructor-led and e-learning courses varying from technical and soft skills courses to entire sales curricula. She progressed in her career to such roles as learning consultant, performance analyst, trainer, facilitator, leadership development coach and learning strategist / business partner.

In her current role as a Training Manager, she applies her strategic and critical thinking skills for the implementation of programs designed to develop leaders, sales teams and other employees within her organization.

VP Technology

Stephanie Smith |  

Stephanie is an experienced learning and development leader with a focus on innovative approaches to learner-centric training solutions. She has a M.Ed. in Learning, Design & Technology, a B.S. in Mathematics, and a B.S.Ed. in Mathematics Education from the University of Georgia. She started her learning journey as a high school Math teacher and transitioned into corporate instructional design. She has worked at multiple Fortune 500 companies and other large organizations supporting various training departments, including UPS, Asbury Automotive Group, and Cox Automotive. She has a passion for not only designing and developing training materials, but also for technology.

When she isn't working, she spends her free time entertaining her two young boys.

Administrator for Process and Progress

Nora Cloonan |      

Nora began volunteering with ATD in 2017. She has a master’s degree from the University of Georgia in Instructional Design and Development. She believes being an Instructional Designer is the perfect career for her because she loves being creative and learning about new things. So, every project is a new learning experience that she gets to create! In her spare time, Nora loves to travel, photograph and experience the history of the places she visits. She is also an avid reader. Nora enjoys sharing her journeys with her husband, John.

Nora would like to encourage all members of ATD to volunteer with the chapter. She believes the best engagement experiences come while volunteering. There are opportunities available at all levels! Visit the Volunteer page to learn more.

Chapter Administrator

Glenda Hinz |  

In 1978, Glenda began providing secretarial services from her home office under the name Hinz Word Processing. Today, she provides much more than word processing in a professional, solutions-oriented business environment as HINZtime Virtual Assistance. Although she has worked extensively for small businesses, associations and educational organizations, her skills and services are adaptable to any industry, in any location worldwide. Glenda provides exceptional secretarial and organizational skills, with relentless attention to detail, accuracy and confident efficiency. She has worked with several ATD chapters over the past 25 years.

2021 Board of Directors

In addition to the current President and President-Elect, the chapter's Board of Directors is comprised of the following Senior Advisors, who include elected positions, as well as the immediate Past President.

Senior Advisor - Chairperson

Robert Panetti |      

Robert Panetti has been a Learning and Enablement Consultant in the Atlanta area since 1999. He has done work for a wide variety of clients and industries as consultant for Slalom Consulting, IBM, Beazer Homes, Amdocs, NCR and others. He is currently a Sales Enablement Manager with Salesforce. He firmly believes that the human mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. That learning how to learn, unlearn and learn again is the most valuable skillset one could possess.

Robert is a proud graduate of Florida State University and an avid follower of their football program. He is also a big fan of the UFC, fitness and improvisational comedy.

When he isn't geeking out over some new technology or posting on Twitter, Robert enjoys spending time with his two daughters and crazy dog at their home in Woodstock, GA

Senior Advisor

Leighanne Lankford |            

A leader in the Learning and Development (L&D) field for more than 29 years, Leighanne, a three-time Telly Award winner, started her career as an instructional design consultant. Working for companies such as GE, ADP and the Federal Reserve System, she specialized in building blended learning and custom eLearning solutions.

Most recently she worked as a Relationship Manager and now owner and President of TrainingPros, an award-winning staffing agency. Named one of Atlanta’s “Best Places to Work,'' her company connects large organizations with specialized L&D contract professionals offering custom eLearning development, training and consulting services.

Under Leighanne’s leadership TrainingPros was named to Training Industry’s Training Outsourcing Watchlist and most recently one of their Top 20 Custom Content Development companies. They also won a Training Magazine Choice Award and received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

A longtime advocate for volunteering, Leighanne believes education and community service are the best ways to engage with people and help others.

Her experience with ATD includes CoP volunteer, CoP leader, ELW Chairperson, VP of Marketing, VP of Member Services, VP of Marketing & Communications, and a three-year term on the Board of Directors. In addition, she has presented for several ATD Chapters as well as at the ATD Chapter Leaders Conference (ALC).

Leighanne has an M.S. in Human Resource Development from Georgia State University where she won an Outstanding Contribution award and a B.B.A. from West Georgia University.

Senior Advisor

Brett Campbell |  

Brett Campbell serves as a trainer with Northside Deli Provisions, an authorized local purveyor of the Boar’s Head brand. He is the owner and president of True North to Grow LLC, which focuses on leadership development, dynamic communication, and increased productivity. Brett is also a certified Dale Carnegie trainer, regularly facilitating courses both live and online.

Brett honed his skills in public speaking, leadership training, life coaching, and conflict resolution during the two and a half decades he functioned as a pastor in several medium-to-large churches from Georgia to Virginia. His commitment to equipping others to thrive (both in their professional and personal lives) is fueled by a passion for learning and driven by his ideal of servant leadership

Brett’s introduction to ATD started with assisting on the membership committee. In 2020 he stepped into the role of chapter president. The experience of volunteering in the chapter was catalytic for his growth as a Learning and Development professional.

Brett graduated from Radford University with a B.S. in Business Marketing. He put that degree on hold while he served in the United States Army, as an Infantry officer and an Airborne Ranger with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He also holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University School of Divinity. Brett and his wife have been enjoying the dance for 36+ years. With two kids out of the house and one still at home, life for them in Atlanta continues to be a fun-filled adventure!

Senior Advisor

David Adelman |      

David Adelman has more than 30 years of experience as a Training Leader, Instructional Designer, Facilitator, e-Learning Designer, Key Note Speaker, and Project Manager with world-class companies including Disney, Merck, and is currently the Director of Training Services for Leadership Strategies. He is an experienced consultant to senior leadership with deep experience in assessing training needs, identifying performance improvement opportunities, and delivering performance improvement interventions.

Dave's experience includes creating comprehensive, branded, measurable training processes for the organization that are integrated with the talent management process, address performance gaps, and minimize costs while maximizing return on investment. Dave’s experience with Greater Atlanta ATD include Past-President, Director of Employee Learning Week, VP of Community Relations, and several other roles.

Dave is a Brother with the Knights of Columbus, Third Degree, was a member of the 2018 Catholic Charities Atlanta Leadership Class, is a Certified Beer Judge and award winning homebrewer. His hobbies include hiking, travel, disc golf, and reading.

Special Senior Advisor - Appointed

Lakisha Brooks |  

LaKisha C. Brooks, M.Sc., M.Ed., is the Chief Learning Officer at Brooks Enterprise and Consultants and the former President-Elect for the Greater Atlanta Chapter of ATD for 2020. LaKisha has also worked for the Adidas Group under the Reebok brand, managing the field retail training and serves as a Coaching and Mentoring Advisory Board Member for

An internationally recognized leadership expert, LaKisha, has been featured on ABC, FOX, CW, and NBC affiliates across the country, as well as, The Denver Post and The Miami Herald. She was also recognized by Atlanta Business Chronicle as a “Person on the Move.”

As a leader for ATD chapters, LaKisha was the 2018 Trainer Showdown winner for the Central FL chapter while she served as VP of Programming and Professional Development. Additionally, in 2019, LaKisha implemented a trainer showdown for the Greater Atlanta chapter. In 2020, LaKisha designed and implemented the chapter’s inaugural mentoring development program which graduated five mentees.

 Chapter ChIP Code CH9047

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