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Terry Trailblazers

Terry Trailblazers

As part of Black History Month, Terry College recognizes four outstanding African American alumni who are pioneers in their industry. These Terry Trailblazers are business leaders who achieved career success while making a meaningful impact on their organizations and communities.

We are honored to recognize the following alumni:

 Class of 2022 Terry Trailblazers

Heather RipleyHeather Ripley (BBA ’06, MAcc ’06)

Partner, Alston & Bird

Heather Ripley is a partner in Alston & Bird’s Federal & International Tax Group and a member of the firm’s REITs and Real Estate Funds tax team in New York City. She counsels U.S. and foreign business entities and high-net-worth individuals on tax-efficient structuring for their U.S. and cross-border investments and activities. She has advised various charitable and nonprofit organizations on incorporation, tax exemption applications and restrictions, and other tax issues, as well as providing volunteer income tax assistance for low-income individuals. She has been identified as “One to Watch” by The Best Lawyers in America in Tax Law and is a frequent speaker at tax conferences and writes regularly about international tax developments. Heather earned her JD at Harvard Law School. When not lawyering, Heather is a professional artist. Visitors to UGA can see Terrell, a bulldog she designed and painted for the admissions office, and in 2015 her artwork was displayed in the White House. Heather also volunteers with the Read Ahead mentoring program and CityMeals on Wheels in New York. In addition to serving on the Terry Alumni Board, Heather is on the board of Volunteers of Legal Services, an organization providing pro bono services to New Yorkers, and the executive committee of the young patrons' program of Storm King Art Center.

Christian RobinsonChristian Robinson (BBA ’04)

Senior VP, Truist Wealth

Christian Robinson serves as executive director and banker in the Charlotte office of JP Morgan Private Bank, a bank he has worked for since 2011. He manages relationships with high net-worth individuals and families and delivers financial advice across investments, credit and liquidity needs, banking, fiduciary, and estate planning. From 2011 to 2017 he served as a hedge fund due diligence specialist covering event-driven and diversified strategies for the private bank platform which oversees approximately $28 billion in hedge fund assets. He previously worked within Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers. He earned an MBA from the Kenan‐Flagler business school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and serves on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation board of directors, University of North Carolina Board of Visitors, Sugar Creek Charter School board of directors, and University of Georgia Alumni Association Board.

Brandon ShahBrandon A. Shah (MBA 18)

Director of Operations, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, US Army

Brandon A. Shah is a Major in the United States Army and the director of operations for the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade in Savannah. He is responsible for mission execution of brigade and subsidiary elements across eight different military-manned and unmanned aircraft design series and oversees an annual flying hour budget totaling $63 million. He is also responsible for the operational employment and training of approximately 2,700 personnel and assets totaling more than $2.4 billion in aircraft and related support equipment. He attended Army University’s Command and General Staff College and simultaneously earned a master’s in engineering in project management from the University of Kansas. He has also served as an aviation maintenance manager working with Boeing, Sikorsky, and Lockheed Martin engineer and maintenance representatives on scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, managing seven production lines, production control, quality assurance, and aviation maintenance teams across Europe. He has served as a military leader since 2002, and his career consists of multiple deployments, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated with a BS from Old Dominion University and serves on UGA’s Center of International Business Advisory Board and Army Aviation Association Board of Trustees – Savannah Chapter.

Taylor TinaTina Taylor (BBA ’03, MAcc ’05)

EY, Tax Partner, Private Client Services

For more than 14 years Tina Taylor has worked with EY, now serving as the co-leader of the Houston office’s Private Client Services team. She leads our tax professionals in their efforts to provide exceptional client service and build a better working world for the firm’s people, clients, profession and community. She has significant involvement with EY's Gulf Coast Area Entrepreneur of the Year program, which honors and recognizes growing entrepreneurial founders and their executive teams. Her primary focus and experience with the EY include advising private businesses and their owners on how to grow and preserve wealth while in turn dealing with complex tax issues, transactions and investments. She was recognized in 2019 as UGA’s 40 under 40 for her efforts in developing a scholarship program for the students at her former high school. She was also selected as a mentor in the Emerge 2020 Program, which connects high school seniors with experienced Houston-area professionals who help support them with their personal growth and expose them to new cultural, culinary and educational experiences that they would otherwise not have access to.


Class of 2021

Dr. Harold Black

Harold BlackDr. Harold Black (BBA ’66)
Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee

Dr. Harold Black enrolled at UGA in 1962, the fourth African American student and the first African American male freshman to attend the university. He earned a BBA in economics, then went on to receive master’s and PhD degrees from the Ohio State University. During his career, he served on the faculties of the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina, Howard University, and American University, culminating at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Black received numerous awards for his teaching and research, as well as honors from the U.S. Treasury Department, National Credit Union Administration, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from UGA in 1986.

Angela Tolliver

Angela TolliverAngela Tolliver, (BBA ’92, MBA ’14)
Engineering Data Governance Leader, Cox Communications

Angela Tolliver has held various leadership positions at Cox, including serving as the director of information services governance and the only woman in the office of the CIO. She has led several large-scale technology implementations for Cox Communications, Cox Enterprises, Cox Media Group, and Manheim. In 2020, Tolliver was a finalist for Advocate of the Year by Women in IT (New York), where she was recognized for going beyond the call of duty to pioneer women in IT initiatives. She is active in her community service sorority, co-chairing the LEAD (Leadership Excellence, Achievement, and Development) mentoring program.

George Azih

Georga AzihGeorge Azih (BBA ’03)
Founder & CEO, LeaseQuery

A financial authority specializing in technical accounting and accounting research, George Azih has served as an auditor for banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms. Before founding LeaseQuery, he performed research and technical accounting for a Fortune 500 company. A leading expert on lease accounting, Azih has been quoted in Bloomberg multiple times and spoken to numerous groups, including the Georgia Society of CPAs, Institute of Management Accountants, Financial Executives International, Technology Association of Georgia, CoreNet Global Summit, and the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance.

Kiana Morris

 

Kiana MorrisKiana Morris (MBA ’14, CMCP)
Director, Office of Planning, Budget and Legislation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As one of the CDC’s senior leaders, Kiana Morris serves as the acting director for the Office of Planning, Budget and Legislation in the National Center for Health Statistics, where she leads strategic planning initiatives. In this role, she also serves as the associate director for policy and provides expert advice to the NCHS director on policy development and implementation. She also coordinates evaluation efforts, external stakeholder engagements, and leads preparation for briefs and testimony to Congress. Morris received the Young Government Leaders’ “40 Under 40” award in 2018 for her leadership as a public servant and was named a “40 Under 40” honoree by UGA in 2020.

Class of 2020

James C. Jackson

James JacksonJames is a former Senior Financial Services Executive with extensive experience in several aspects of banking, including distribution, strategic planning, sales management, process improvement, corporate integrations, and customer experience.

James began his career as a credit analyst and since then has held progressively responsible roles in two of the nation’s top financial institutions, Bank of America and Capital One. At Capital One, James was the Executive Vice President (EVP) for North America Branch Distribution (1,000 bank network) and the Mid-Atlantic Market President (Washington, DC MSA). Prior to Capital One, James served in EVP leadership roles at Bank of America in several businesses, including Premier Banking & Investments, Home Lending and Retail & Business Banking. Also, he served as President of the Virginia Bank, where he led the state-wide transition from NationsBank to Bank of America.

Most recently, James was the Sales EVP for Credit Services and Decision Analytics at Experian North America. He led the largest business to business (B2B) sales organization, representing ~50% of revenue in North America. Also, James was responsible for leading sales transformation and implementing new go-to-market client coverage models. James earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Kenan Flagler). He is a CPA and has a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.

James is a member of The UGA Board of Visitors, The UNC Kenan-Flagler Board of Advisors, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and The Park Church. He is the founding and current Board Chair of The Park Community Development Corporation, focused on Affordable Housing, Workforce Development, and Healthy Living. James and his wife of 35 years, Nina, reside in Charlotte North Carolina.

Rachel Perry

Rachel PerryRachel Perry is the resident managing director for the Aon Atlanta office. She provides strategic direction and growth of the office, talent recruitment and development and ensuring that Aon delivers on its service commitments to our clients. She also works closely with the team to bring the depth of Aon’s commercial risk, health, retirement and human capital solutions to clients.

Rachel joined Aon in September 2012 as the southeast region casualty leader and became the account executive practice leader in January 2017. As the account executive practice leader, Rachel led a team of account executives focused on strategic advice, client service, and growth. In January 2018, Rachel became the resident managing director for the Atlanta office. Before moving to Aon, Rachel spent 19 years with Marsh in their New York, New Jersey, and Atlanta offices. While at Marsh, she held several roles including senior client executive, Atlanta casualty practice leader and senior casualty advisor for large multi-national firms responsible for overall program design, marketing strategy and negotiations of their insurance programs.

Rachel’s expertise includes working with multinational clients with complex program designs, including captives and integrated risk in various industries, including retail/wholesale, food and beverage, chemicals, manufacturing, and higher education. Rachel earned her MBA from Coles Business School at Kennesaw State University. She received her Bachelor in Business Administration, majoring in risk management and insurance, from the University of Georgia.

She also holds a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) designation. She is an advocate with the OnBoard organization and she sits on the University of Georgia Terry College of Business Alumni Board.

Dasha Walker

Dasha WalkerDasha is a partner in the Atlanta office of KPMG. She has over 18 years of experience providing financial statement audit services to a variety of higher education, not-for-profit, real estate, and industrial manufacturing clients. Dasha has experience with accounting and reporting frameworks, such as US GAAP and IFRS. She regularly interacts with KPMG offices abroad to coordinate the audit of international groups.

Dasha earned her bachelor degree in business administration with a major of accounting and masters in accountancy with a concentration in auditing and auditing information systems from The University of Georgia. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Black Accountants. Dasha serves as a KPMG national instructor, chair of the KPMG Atlanta African American Network, and is on the board of Synchronicity Theatre and Keris Kares.

Chris Ward

 

Chris WardChris is a Principal with Ernst & Young LLP and serves as the National Leader for Markets and Industry Sectors for the People Advisory Services (PAS) practice. He previously served as the PAS Southeast Region leader; and the Americas sector leader for both consumer products and retail (CPR) and government and public service. With more than 25 years of management consulting experience, Chris has advised C-level executives at Fortune 1000 companies, public sector organizations, and higher education institutions.

Chris works with many organizations in the areas of leadership transitions, business readiness, and workforce empowerment programs. He is a deep practitioner in digital strategy, organizational change management, employee engagement, business integration, customer experience, organizational design and new operating and governance models.

  • Chris has served clients including:
  • Consumer products and retail companies
  • U.S. federal, state and local government organizations
  • Media and entertainment companies
  • Diversified logistics, transportation, and digital and innovation companies
  • U.S. based higher education institutions and U.S. public transit authority
  • Financial services organizations (including capital markets, banking, and insurance)
  • International companies based in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America

Chris started his career with a leading management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company. He focused on large-scale transformation initiatives and served several Fortune 500 and large public sector clients.

In 2007, Chris founded CharAge Group, Inc. (CGI), a management consulting, corporate services, and product innovation company. CGI’s primary offering is Character PerformanceTM, a unique offering that allows CGI to deliver character-based and performance-driven solutions to corporate, retail and public sector organizations; as well as to teams and individuals.

He was recognized and listed on the “Top 50 under 50 Executives” list by a national business magazine. The magazine described the 50 individuals on the list as “exceptional executives who have reached the pinnacle of success within the highly competitive corporate environment.”

Chris is an Advisory Council member for the Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Atlanta. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Chris holds a Master of Education degree from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology. He also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a B.B.A. in Management Science from the University of Georgia.