Meet our Board of Directors, our Staff, and our Alumni Advisory Board: the leaders who support our development, run our operations, power our passion, and spark the spirit of our Foundation.
Board of Directors
Claude Nielsen joined Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc. in 1979 holding a variety of operational and managerial positions until 1991 when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer. Under his direction as CEO, Coca-Cola UNITED has become the largest privately held Coca-Cola Bottler in the United States, the 3rd largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation and is the 7th largest privately held company in Alabama. A native of Evergreen, Alabama, he earned a B.A. in Economics from Sewanee: The University of the South in 1973 and received his Masters Degree in Business from the Colgate-Darden School of Business at The University of Virginia in 1975.
Hendrik Steckhan was appointed president of Coca-Cola’s U.S. operations in December 2015. He previously served as president of Coca-Cola's North American still beverages unit. He was head of Coke’s German business from 2010 to 2014, and oversaw carbonated brands in North America from 2007 to 2010. Hendrik has over 20 years of international business experience in strategy, marketing, commercial and general management roles with The Coca-Cola Company and formerly with Kraft Foods in Europe. He holds a degree in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Saarbruecken, Germany.
Morgan H. Everett has been a Vice President of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated since January 2016, and previously served as its Director of Community Relations since January 2009. She has been a Director of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated since 2011 and has been its employee since October 2004. Morgan has experience in the operations of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and serves as a member of the founding family of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Communications in 2003.
Julie Hamilton joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1996 and has held a variety of sales, marketing and operational positions including her current role as Chief Customer and Commercial Leadership Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Previously, she served as Executive Assistant to Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. Before that, she served as President of the Global Wal-Mart Group, responsible for leading Coca-Cola's relationship with Wal-Mart around the world. Julie grew up in Genoa, Italy, Seattle and St. Louis. She attended high school in Le Mans, France, studied at Vanderbilt University and London's Imperial College of Science and Economics. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism.
Vicki Palmer joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1983, before joining Coca-Cola Enterprises’ initial leadership team as Assistant Treasurer when the company formed in 1986. She was then elected Corporate Vice President and Treasurer in 1992; Senior Vice President and Special Assistant to the CEO in 2000; and Executive Vice President, Financial Services and Administration in 2004. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from Rhodes College and an M.B.A. in Finance from The University of Memphis.
John E. Pelo, also known as Jack, has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Swire Coca-Cola USA, a subsidiary of Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc., since 1996. From 1984 to 1996, Jack served as General Manager of one of Swire's soft drink operations in the United States. At Swire Coca-Cola USA, he served as Division Manager of the Northwest Division based in Walla Walla, Washington. In addition, he serves as director of the American Beverage Association and the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Washington State University.
As Coca-Cola’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Beatriz Perez advances a global sustainability strategy designed to help grow the business while making a lasting positive difference for consumers, communities and the environment. She also directs the efforts of the Coca-Cola Foundation – the company’s global philanthropic arm. Beatriz joined the Company in 1996 as an Associate Brand Manager and has held various roles of increasing responsibility prior to establishing The Office of Sustainability in 2011, including Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola North America. She holds a degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland.
Sue is Chief Talent Officer at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. Previously, she served with the U.S. Departments of State and Defense in Washington DC, New York, and Tripoli, Libya, managing issues such as nuclear nonproliferation, UN sanctions, public affairs and overall U.S.-UN relations. Sue holds a degree in Politics from Princeton and a degree in Political Science from Columbia, and was grateful to earn a Fulbright award to South Korea and a Presidential Management Fellowship with the U.S. federal government. Sue is a former member of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s Alumni Advisory Board. Currently, she is also pursuing a PhD with Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Clyde C. Tuggle is Senior Vice President and Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Clyde joined the Company in 1989 in the Corporate Issues Communications Department. He has previously worked as Executive Assistant to Roberto C. Goizueta, then Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Region Manager for Austria and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Productivity. He holds a Bachelor's degree in German Studies and Economics from Hamilton College and a Master of Divinity from Yale University. He studied at the Ludwig-Maximillian Universität in Munich, Germany and completed The Executive Program at the University of Virginia's Darden Business School.
Kirk Tyler is a third generation owner of Atlantic Bottling Company serving southwest, central and south central Iowa. He spent the last 36 years working in the family-owned business. Kirk grew up in the sales side of Atlantic Bottling Company and has served as president since 1991. He also serves as Treasurer and Director at The Coca-Cola Bottlers' Association, Inc. and as a Director of The American Beverage Association.
T. Martin Williams was named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works in December 2015. He was previously the Director of Sales Information for the company from 2009 to 2015. He began his career with Coca-Cola as an account manager for Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. in 1998 before becoming a Sr. Financial Analyst there from 1999 to 2003. He has a degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.
Mark Davis has been a part of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation since 1987, helping Scholars by supporting their dreams of higher education. As President, he provides guidance throughout the selection process and manages Foundation resources. When he’s not in the office, Mark enjoys backpacking, books, movies and history. See his proud posts about Coca-Cola Scholars on Twitter at @scholarola.
“The most fulfilling thing about my job is seeing the amazing and far-reaching accomplishments of Coca-Cola Scholars. I am privileged to work with an incredibly talented team that is committed to our mission and I’m proud to be the only person who has met every Coca-Cola Scholar.”
Jane Hopkins joined the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation in 2001, and is responsible for advancing the Foundation’s efforts to develop an influential community of socially conscious and service-minded leaders who positively shape the world. Outside of the office, Jane is an avid runner whose best days begin with an early excursion through one of Atlanta’s parks. She also loves to read, particularly Southern fiction on the beach, and travel as often as possible. Read what Jane’s tweeting at @janehalehopkins.
“I get to work with seven people who challenge me, and over 5,700 Scholars who inspire me to continue to grow, explore the world and see no limit to what my own contribution can be. We are lucky to celebrate young people who push themselves beyond what they have been given to achieve great success.”
Jamie Williams joined the foundation in 2015 after almost 20 years advising high-achieving undergraduate and graduate student leaders at Clemson, Emory and Georgia State Universities. He focuses on engaging current undergraduate Scholars with each other and developing leadership and professional development opportunities. Jamie tries to read at least one book a week and see at least 40 new movies a year – recommendations for both are welcome on Twitter @JamieCCSF.
“My goal for my first year in this role is to hear from undergrad Coca-Cola Scholars how the Foundation can complement their campus-based programs to support their personal, professional and intellectual enrichment; and from alumni Scholars, the real-world lessons the younger Scholars should learn while still in college.”
Carolyn Norton has been a part of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation since 2001 and maintains a dynamic relationship and connection between the Foundation’s over 5,700 Coca-Cola Scholar alumni across the country and the Foundation. Carolyn implements engagement opportunities that enrich the lives of our alumni and connects them to each other to further increase their impact. She also provides oversight of the Alumni Advisory Board, helping to align their goals with the Foundation’s strategic priorities. Prior to her work at the Scholars Foundation, she was a second grade teacher. Outside of work, Carolyn enjoys photography, poetry, being an aunt to her five nieces and nephews, traveling, and being involved in her church as a mentor and small group leader.
“I am blessed to be in a job that I love. Working with our alumni board, connecting with Coke Scholar alumni and finding ways to engage them is always exciting and fun. They are doing amazing things around the world, and I am grateful to be involved!”
Ericia Ward-Williams has been a part of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation since 2002 and manages the operations of the Foundation. When Ericia is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and experiencing all of the great wonders life has to offer. She is always ready for a new adventure.
“There is something very fulfilling about seeing a Scholar grow from a teenager making an impact in his or her local community, into a young man or woman making an impact on a greater scale and knowing that the work that you do on a daily basis helped facilitate their success in some small way.”
Lauren has been a part of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation since 2007 and showcases the inspirational work of Scholars, alumni and the Foundation in our marketing efforts and on our website. She creates, executes and manages all communications, including the Foundation’s digital presence and social media channels. Away from the office, she enjoys teaching classes at a local dance studio and going for walks on the Atlanta BeltLine with her husband, Matt. Connect with Lauren on Twitter at @laurbrien.
“The most fulfilling thing about being a part of the Foundation is playing a small part in helping such deserving students realize their dream of going to college. The determination of Coca-Cola Scholars to make this world a better place for everyone is truly inspiring.”
LaQuanda Prince came to the Scholars Foundation in 2014 and helps Scholars use their award in a way that best suits their unique situation. A mother of three children, she enjoys attending their many sporting events and volunteering at their schools when away from the office.
“I am excited and blessed to be a member of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation team, doing what I love and interacting daily with these extraordinary Scholars.”
A Washington and Lee University graduate, Teach for America alumna, and former Bonner Scholar, Kathryn is looking forward to building relationships with Scholars and stakeholders of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Her passion for increasing access to educational resources led her to the Foundation. Born and raised in Connecticut, Kathryn has spent the last three years teaching middle school in Metro-Atlanta. Outside of work, Kathryn is well versed in Netflix series and loves to explore the many hiking trails and parks that Georgia has to offer.
Alumni Advisory Board
TJ Abrams is the Global Brand Director for Holiday Inn, IHG. Previously he worked for The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia, having various roles at the company including Global Senior Brand Manager on Sprite & Adults, Brand Manager on Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and Vault brand. He joined Coca-Cola with previous experience working in marketing at Lowe's Home Improvement. In 2013, TJ was named to Forbes' 30 under 30 list for Marketing and Advertising. He currently serves as a co-chair on the Alumni Advisory Board for the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. He earned a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2005 and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing from Duke in 2009. TJ lives in Atlanta with his wife Bianca and their two children.
Jolene Loetscher graduated as the top broadcast journalism student from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received her M.B.A. in Global Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Starting at age 19, she worked as a television reporter/anchor for KTIV-TV (NBC) in Sioux City, Iowa, and KELO-TV (CBS) in Sioux Falls, receiving regional and national awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award, for her writing and live reporting. Jolene moved into public relations, working in media relations at Sanford Health. An entrepreneur at heart, Jolene and her husband, Burdine, started DooGooders®, a dog doo removal and dog waste DNA testing business, in 2007. They also run Mud Mile Communications, a marketing and video production company. In 2011, Jolene first spoke publicly about being sexually abused by a family friend. She founded Selfspiration, an organization which holds day camps for children who have been sexually abused. In 2014, the state of South Dakota passed Jolene’s Law, to create a task force to look at child sexual abuse in the state.
Kevin Chung is the Director, Corporate Compliance and Employment Law, Legal and Business Affairs at Sony Computer Entertainment America (aka PlayStation). He is responsible for ethics and compliance programs, trainings and policies, as well as employment law matters. He also assists with government and regulatory affairs. Prior to PlayStation, Kevin worked as an attorney at two national law firms based in Northern California. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the National Asian American Bar Association. Kevin also serves as Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee and Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the S.F. Bay Area Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Kevin graduated from Stanford University (B.A. with Honors and Distinction; M.A.) and the UCLA School of Law.
Marc Eichenbaum serves as the Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives. Marc is a licensed attorney who specializes in public policy, strategic communications and governmental affairs.
First appointed by former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and subsequently by Mayor Sylvester Turner, Marc manages the City's involvement in The Way Home, Houston's nationally recognized homeless housing initiative. Since 2012, The Way Home has housed more than 7,500 homeless individuals, effectively ending veteran homelessness and reducing overall homelessness by nearly 60%.
Previously, Marc oversaw external affairs for the City's Housing and Community Development Department - serving as the Department's spokesperson while overseeing community and legislative relations. In addition to successfully advocating for the passage of over 200 pieces of local legislation, Marc worked on a variety of transformative community revitalization and economic development initiatives.
Marc's prior endeavors include managing a multi-million dollar political campaign and working on a national political convention.
Marc received a dual B.A. in Government and American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Houston College of Law. He serves on the board of the Holocaust Museum Houston and on leadership committees for various organizations, including the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Alley Theatre, and the Jewish Federation of Houston. Marc is a Leadership Houston Fellow, New Leaders Council Fellow, and member of The University of Texas Friars Society.
Michaella Gallina is the Director of Investor Relations for Spectranetics, a publicly traded medical device company. She was previously an analyst at a hedge fund and also worked in investment banking. Michaella is a Boettcher Scholar and summa cum laude graduate of the University of Denver. She holds both a B.S. in Finance and an M.S. in Finance with an emphasis in Not-for-profit Management. Michaella also sits on the national selection committee for the Barron Prize for Young Heroes and the board for the Temple Grandin Equine Center. She is a national champion equestrian and resides in Denver, Colorado.
A 2014 Harvard Business School graduate, Lindsay Hyde is an avid entrepreneur, most recently launching Baroo, a company that establishes dog daycare centers inside corporate office buildings. While in school, she served as a research associate to Professor Janet Kraus on a study of women entrepreneurs who had risen $25M or more in venture capital financing. Prior to starting business school, Lindsay was the President and Founder of Strong Women, Strong Girls, a nationally recognized mentoring program that fosters high aspirations among girls and provides them with the skills they need for success. Headquartered in Boston, Strong Women, Strong Girls impacted over 10,000 constituents and grew to provide mentoring services in 5 cities globally under Lindsay’s direction. Her leadership of Strong Women, Strong Girls has been recognized in Seventeen Magazine, Glamour Magazine and Harvard Magazine.
Akbar Khan, a 2014 Coca-Cola Scholar, is the founder of Bags to Riches, a nonprofit organization that has collected 30,000 conference bags and redistributed them to schoolchildren in the developing world. Akbar took a gap year to work for the ONE Campaign, a political advocacy group aimed at fighting preventable disease and ending extreme poverty. He’s currently a student at UC Berkeley where he consults for Berkeley Consulting. Through BC, he’s worked on creating solutions for companies in a variety of industries, from educational technology to autonomous vehicles. Originally from Salt Lake City, Akbar enjoys hiking up mountains in the summer and skiing down them in the winter.
Greg Melia, CAE, is an innovator passionate about connecting people through networks and associations. He currently serves as U.S. Vice President of Industry News Program Development for ITN Productions, a leading British news and television company. Previously he held executive roles with the American Society of Association Executives and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Greg holds degrees from The College of William & Mary and London School of Economics, and has completed additional studies in creativity and change leadership at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. He is a 1989 Coca-Cola Scholar, and was named an Association TRENDS "Young & Aspiring Association Professional" in 2009 and an honorary member of Farmhouse Fraternity in 2016. Greg lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife, Amy Bartow-Melia and daughters Francecsa (11) and Marguerite (8).
Heidi Koester Oliveira recently joined the Global Human Rights team at Mars, Incorporated, focused on innovative approaches to human rights across key agricultural supply chains. She has built her career at the intersection of business growth and societal benefit. During nearly nine years with The Coca-Cola Company, Heidi managed partnerships, communication and engagement around economic development, human rights and shared value strategies. She also focused on health partnership and policy, including the expansion of Project Last Mile, a groundbreaking initiative to enhance health systems in 10 African countries. Previously, Heidi worked in international development with the U.S. Peace Corps in rural Costa Rica. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Masters in Sustainable Development from Escuela Organización Industrial in Spain. While her roots are in Iowa, Heidi has lived in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Spain. She and her husband, Augusto, live in the Washington, D.C. area.
Alice Park created Alice Park Photography, which was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for being one of the top grossing studios in the city. In 2009, she co-founded the National Association of Professional Child Photographers with her husband, Kyu, which is represented in over 60 countries and has become the most recognized photography association within the industry. As the Co-Founder and Creative Director, Alice continues to grow their educational platform and strengthens their global membership community. Alice is highly involved in her community, serving on the board of Haiti Babi, a nonprofit social enterprise whose mission is to bring families together and end the cycle of poverty in Haiti. She also serves on both school boards of her son Lyon’s pre-schools, spending many volunteer hours creatively helping with school events and photography-related projects, while spearheading fundraising efforts. Alice graduated from Georgia Tech.
Justin J. Pearson attends Bowdoin College where he concentrates primarily on Government and Legal Studies. Justin is the Founder and Executive Director of Camp Hope Memphis, a summer enrichment program for underserved teenage students in his hometown. Since 2013, this program has impacted over 100 students and has added a new location. Camp Hope teaches lessons in social advocacy, college access and global citizenship.
He currently serves as an associate board member of State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board, which allocates 5 million dollars in grants to neighborhoods and nonprofits across America.
An advocate for equity in education, he aspires to invest in others as many people have invested in him.
Daron K. Roberts is the Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation at the University of Texas. He is also CEO and Founder of 4th and 1, Inc., a nonprofit that provides free SAT/ACT prep, football training and life skills development to at-risk youth in Texas, Michigan and Florida. To date, 4th and 1 has transformed nearly 400 student-athletes into independent thinkers and self-sufficient young men. Daron has spent the past seven years as a football coach with the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. He earned his B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from The University of Texas in 2001. He holds an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School (2004) and J.D. from Harvard Law School (2007).
Mary Kathryn Covert Steel is a 2003 Coca-Cola Scholar from Meridian, Mississippi. Named one of the "PR Stars to Watch" by PR News, Mary Kathryn serves as the Director of Corporate Communications for AbbVie, and was previously the US spokesperson for Sanofi, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. She graduated summa cum laude from Samford University in 2003. Prior to Sanofi, Mary Kathryn worked at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta and FTI Consulting in Washington, DC. She currently serves as a co-chair of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation's Alumni Advisory Board. Mary Kathryn and her husband, Michael, split time between their homes in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL.
Deborah Stine, a 1991 Coca-Cola Scholar, is Director of Development for Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She has promoted and facilitated philanthropy for over 20 years in a variety of roles including major gifts, grant writing, events, workplace campaigns, communications and program development. Previously, she served for 10 years as vice president of a national school dropout prevention and intervention organization and managed fundraising, volunteers and communications for the Combined Federal Campaign in Washington, D.C. and United Ways in Houston and Nashville. She has served as a consultant and volunteer to College Bound St. Louis and other nonprofit organizations working to increase positive outcomes for youth. Deborah earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt and a Master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, Greg, and their twins, Aubrey and Aidan.
Sheel is a Principal at NEA, the world's largest venture capital firm with portfolio companies including Uber, Coursera, Buzzfeed and Clovis Oncology. As an angel investor, Sheel has invested in Andela (Board of Directors), Casper, IfOnly (Board Observer), Mark43, One University Network and Robinhood (Board Observer). He was previously on the business development team of Skybox Imaging, which was acquired by Google in 2014. Sheel graduated from Stanford University in three years, at the age of 19. He is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was on Forbes' 30 under 30 list in 2013. In 2016, upon invitation of the White House, Sheel was part of the U.S. delegation with President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba.
Nola Weinstein is Head of Executive Engagement at Twitter where she focuses on brand storytelling and amplifying corporate influencers. In her role, Nola works with business leaders from around the world to help them better understand the power of the platform and optimize their personal Twitter presence to drive meaningful messaging and impact. Prior to joining Twitter, Nola was Editor-in-Chief/VP of Content at Mode Media (formerly Glam Media) where she oversaw content creation and curation strategies across multiple sites and platforms for the top 10 comScore property. Nola was previously Associate Fashion News Editor at IMG’s The Daily and her work has also appeared in Women’s Wear Daily, The Huffington Post and Seventeen. Nola, an expert in digital content strategy, content marketing and scaled influencer activations, also advises a variety of brands and startups. She is a graduate of Emory University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.