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Leadership DeKalb | Learn. Connect. Advance.

Leadership DeKalb Videos

Latest videos from Leadership DeKalb.

About Leadership DeKalb

A respected leadership development program in DeKalb County, Leadership DeKalb was founded in 1986 by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce to educate community leaders and to address issues facing the growing population. In 1994, Leadership DeKalb became an independent nonprofit organization. Since then, more than 1,000 community leaders have completed the program. Graduates of the program include CEO’s of top public and private companies, as well as a large number of DeKalb’s elected officials, educators, judges, entrepreneurs, volunteers and nonprofit leaders.

Leadership DeKalb convenes and connects leaders, informs them on matters vital to the county and enhances their leadership skills. This strengthened pipeline of talent immerses in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, thereby advancing quality of life in DeKalb.

With focus on the entire county, we position current and emerging leaders – reflecting the area’s rich diversity – to unite, commit and act to make DeKalb a premier place to live, work and enjoy life.

Class members learn about history, diversity, government, justice, arts and culture, education, health and economic development in the county. Classmates and alumni gain access to other leaders in all of these sectors. With over 1,000 alumni, we facilitate long-term leadership sustainability.

Leadership DeKalb Team

Leadership DeKalb is coordinated by a staff that is committed to bringing a positive impact to the community.

As a volunteer-driven and membership-oriented organization, members have the opportunity to shape Leadership DeKalb by participating as a member of the Board of Directors, who oversee the organization, or as a committee member, who assist in the planning of various programs.

Maria Balais

Leadership Team
Executive Director

Maria Balais

Maria Balais

Executive Director



Board Of Directors

Brent Adams ‘17 (Executive Committee, Treasurer)

Senior Vice President and Area Executive

Marquetta Bryan ’16 (Executive Committee, Nominating Committee Chair)

Of Counsel

Marshall Guest ’15 (Executive Committee, At-Large)

Vice-President of Business Climate

Toni Hannah ‘15 (Executive Committee, At-Large)

Area Manager

Paul Jacxsens ’12 (Executive Committee, Program Chair)

Director of Specialty Care Operations & Strategy

Mitchell King ’14 (Executive Committee, Immediate Past-Chair)


Anne Lerner ’14 (Executive Committee, Secretary)

Senior Communications Strategist, Jackson Spalding

Corregio Peagler ’98 (Executive Committee, Board Chair)


Andrea Arnold '01

City Manager

John Bayalis ‘17

Manager, Intergovernmental Affairs

Sonja Brown ‘15

Director, Community Affairs, Deputy Chief District Attorney, Crime Strategies & Community Partnerships Unit

Tarsha Calloway ‘18

Vice-President of Advancement

Tremese Davis ‘15

Director, Supplier Diversity

Dorian DeBarr ‘18

Interim President

Jim Forstner ‘13


Allyson Gevertz ‘07

District 4 Board Member

Matt Hicks ‘02

Vice-President of Governmental Relations

LaTisha Dear Jackson ‘06

Superior Court Judge

Mike Jacobs ‘16


Martha Pacini ‘15

Senior Associate

Mindy Pillow ‘11


Alecea Quintyne ‘16

Implementation Manager

Monica Richardson ‘17

Senior Managing Editor

Shara Garwood Sanders ‘17


Melvin Washington '19

Founder and Owner

Joshua Williams ‘15

Deputy Chief Operating Officer

Sandy Zayac ‘15