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UGA Alumni Association welcomes new volunteers to board of directors and leadership councils

The University of Georgia Alumni Association Board of Directors recently welcomed Kevin Abernathy, Elliot Marsh, and Charlita Stephens-Walker as new board members. In addition, 16 new alumni volunteers have joined the Black Alumni Leadership Council, Women of UGA Leadership Council, and the Young Alumni Leadership Council. 

“These graduates reflect the characteristics of a true Bulldog: committed, caring and spirited,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “They are leaders in their communities, and they will bring an important voice to these leadership groups as we seek to foster a supportive and inclusive community for the more than 332,000 living alumni around the world. I’m looking forward to working with each of them.” 

Kevin Abernethy served as president of the Student Government Association before graduating from UGA in 1999. Today, he is an assistant U.S. attorney with the Middle District of Georgia, defending federal agencies and recovering assets for the U.S. Treasury. Abernethy participates in the UGA Mentor Program, was named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, completed the Harvard Kennedy School’s Emerging Leaders program, is on the School of Public and International Affairs Alumni Board of Directors, and serves on the advisory board for UGA’s vice president of student affairs. 


A Statesboro, Georgia, native, Elliott Marsh earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in agricultural leadership from UGA. Today, Marsh is a financial advisor with Edward Jones. He has earned several honors, including the J.W. Fanning Distinguished Young Professional Award from the Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, and was named to the 40 Under 40 lists for both UGA and Georgia Trend Magazine. Marsh is a past president of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association. 



Charlita Stephens-Walker earned an undergraduate degree in public relations from UGA and is now the national director of corporate and cause partnerships for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She is an Alliance Theatre trustee and is on the board of Women in Film and Television Atlanta. She guides students through the UGA Mentor Program and is a charter member of The 1961 Club, a giving society established by the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council. She resides in Decatur, Georgia. 


The following alumni will join the leadership councils for the UGA Alumni Association’s three affinity groups that seek to build relationships with specific alumni populations in the metro Atlanta area:   

Black Alumni Leadership Council  


Ashley Noel Carter (BSA ’10), Army National Guard military officer and contractor, U.S. Army, McDonough, Georgia.  


Stacey Chavis (MSL ’19), managing director, Campaign Academy, Brookhaven, Georgia.  


Corinna Ellis (AB ’92), senior mortgage loan officer in the financial services industry, Sandy Springs, Georgia.  


Extriara Gates (MSW ’11), behavioral health and family support manager, Bobby Dodd Institute; owner, Lavender Grove Psychotherapy, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Sara Hall (BSW ’09, MSW ’11), clinical social worker, hematology and bone marrow transplantation, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Shayla Hill (BBA ’08), assistant director of digital strategy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Tucker, Georgia.

Women of UGA Leadership Council  


Kim Eilers (BSED ’95, MED ’97), real estate agent, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, Smyrna, Georgia.  


Cecilia Epps (BS ’08), freelance sign language interpreter, Lithonia, Georgia.


Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’97), creative director, Colonial House of Flowers, Marietta, Georgia.  


Crystal Ivey (MBA ’14), brand manager for Diet Coke, The Coca-Cola Company, Conyers, Georgia.  


Stephanie Jackson (BBA ’13, MACC ’14), land finance analyst, Ashton Woods Homes, Brookhaven, Georgia.  

Young Alumni Leadership Council  


John Bowden (BBA ’13, BBA ’13), associate broker, Harry Norman Realtors, Atlanta, Georgia. 


Maranie Brown (BSFCS ’12), digital program manager, You Are Here, Smyrna, Georgia. 


Morgan Cook (BBA ’15, MBA ’19), senior risk analyst, Beecher Carlson, Atlanta, Georgia.   


Maxwell Mitchell (BBA ’12, MACC ’13), mergers and acquisitions manager, Deloitte, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Pierce Persons (ABJ ’14), director of operations, Room 422, Atlanta, Georgia.  


To view the full list of UGA Alumni Association board members visit alumni.uga.edu/board-of-directors and alumni.uga.edu/networks for the complete list of leadership council members.

Proudly announcing our new board president and members

On July 1, our 76th UGA Alumni Association president, Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19), and seven members began their terms on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. We’re excited to introduce you to these outstanding alumni and look forward to working with them over the next few years.

Brian has served on our board of directors since 2007 and will serve as president for two years. He succeeds Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), whose term concluded June 30.

Brian is the vice president of external affairs for Tanner Health System and the executive director of the Tanner Foundation in Carrollton, Georgia. He has spent 17 years in corporate and industrial business development and recruitment as an economic development executive in several Georgia communities as well as the COO for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a federal and state lobbyist for the Georgia Farm Bureau.

“Brian has been an especially valued member of our board for a number of years,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of alumni relations. “He has been a strong servant leader among this group of passionate alumni, helping to guide our strategic direction and offering to lend a hand whenever he can. A truly loyal Bulldog—with the passion to match!”

Brian is a native of Irwin County, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was a member of the Redcoat Band. This year, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the Terry College of Business. His wife, Carmen, is a 1995 UGA graduate and a teacher at Carrollton High School. The couple resides in Carrollton with their son, Mason.

The alumni who joined Brian on the board on July 1 include:

Anne Beckwith Headshot

Anne Beckwith (BBA ’90)

Title/Employer: Retired / Community Volunteer
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Gamma Phi Beta House Corp; UGA Alumni Association Women of UGA Leadership Council
Favorite UGA Memory: I met my husband at a party in my own apartment. He was looking for beer, not his future wife …
UGA in Three Words: Home | Transformational | Dynamic
Favorite Athens Eatery: The National
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Jason Huggins (BBA ’95) – faces challenges with humor and resilience and cares deeply about everyone he meets


Travis Bryant Headshot

Travis Bryant (BBA ’99)

Title/Employer: President and CEO, Coastal Plywood Company
City: Tallahassee, Florida


TJ Callaway Headshot

T.J. Callaway (BBA ’07)

Title/Employer: Founder and CEO, Onward Reserve
City: Atlanta, GA
UGA Involvement: Terry College Young Alumni Board; UGA Alumni Association Young Alumni Council; speaks to students in ILA, fashion merchandising and Entrepreneurship Program; apparel provider for the Magill Society; student mentor; Dinner with a Dozen Dawgs host; 2018 Terry Young Alumni of the Year; UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2012; 5-time Bulldog 100 business
Favorite UGA Memory: Taking my daughter onto the field in Sanford Stadium before a game in 2018.
UGA in Three Words: World Class Institution
Favorite Athens Eatery: Last Resort
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Terry Brown (BBA ’84) – my first investor and a steadfast mentor and friend


Brian Dill Headshot

Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19)

Title/Employer: Vice President-External Affairs, Tanner Health System / Executive Director, Tanner Foundation
City: Carrollton, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA Alumni Association chapter leader; Freshman Send-Offs; class speaker; SPIA supporter; Redcoat Band alumni events; student mentor
Favorite UGA Memory: My first football game as a Redcoat; it was a night game against LSU in Baton Rouge!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Excellence | Class
Favorite Athens Eatery: Peking Chinese Restaurant
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Carmen Dill (BSFCS ’95) – my wife; her ‘service above self’ attitude drives me to give back to the next generation of alumni!


Cathy Fish Headshot

Cathy Fish (BSA ’93, DVM ’96)

Title/Employer: Associate Veterinarian, Georgia Veterinary Associates
City: Flowery Brand, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia football fan; UGA Alumni Weekend attendee
Favorite UGA Memory: Sharing my love for UGA with my children.
UGA in Three Words: Inclusive | Amazing | Life-changing
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15) – a great inspiration!


Kevin A. Gooch Headshot

Kevin A. Gooch (JD ’04)

Title/Employer: Partner-Finance Group, DLA Piper LLP (US)
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia Law Board of Visitors (2005-2008); Transactional Law Curriculum Committee (2008-2010); student mentor; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2015
Favorite UGA Memory: Walking onto North Campus, past Herty Fountain, and crossing the quad for the first time to enter into a law school that has produced some of the best and brightest legal minds in our state and country.
UGA in Three Words: Wisdom | Justice | Connectivity
Favorite Athens Eatery: Inoko Express
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Chester Davenport (LLB ’66), Sharon Nyota Tucker (JD ’74), Justice Robert Benham (JD ’70), Judge Horace Johnson (JD ’82)


Camille Kesler Headshot

Camille Kesler (BSFCS ’94)

Title/Employer: Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Atlanta // Owner, Smallcakes Cupcakery in North Druid Hills
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences Alumni Board of Directors (2014-2018); 2013 FACS Outstanding Service Award; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2012
Favorite UGA Memory: Attending the Pearl Jam concert at Legion Field. It was my first-ever concert!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Family | Connecting
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Mary Frances Early (MMED ’62, EDS ’71)


Mark Mahoney Headshot 1

Mark Mahoney

Title/Employer: Co-founder, Jackrabbit Technologies
City: Cornelius, North Carolina
UGA Involvement: Multi-year Bulldog 100 business; inaugural recipient of the Michael J. Bryan Award


The UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors works with Alumni Association and campus staff to promote, support and advance the programs and services that are offered by the UGA Alumni Association to the university community, especially the more than 324,000 living alumni around the world.

“These new board members represent a variety of alumni experiences at the University of Georgia,” said Johnson. “Their advice and perspectives are invaluable for my team as we work to engage alumni in meaningful ways.”

To view the full list of UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, visit alumni.uga.edu/board-of-directors.

An Interview with ‘Most Engaged’ Kim Metcalf

Kim-Metcalf-at-Alumni-WeekendKim Metcalf’s (BSEH ’93, MS ’96) reputation preceded her. I’d recently witnessed her receive the title of Most Engaged, an award created just for her, during an Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting. UGA Development and Alumni Relations staff members had described her as outstanding, awesome, incredible and every other raving adjective. Well … she exceeded every accolade.

Kim Metcalf Most Engaged Sash and Scepter

In recognition of her outstanding commitment to the University of Georgia, Kim Metcalf was presented with a tiara, sash and scepter during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting in 2019.

Beginning her UGA involvement

Kim joined the environmental health science club during her second year of college, then represented the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the University Council. Kim helped found Epsilon Nu Eta, the Environmental Health Science Honor Society. Her favorite extracurricular activity, though, was Arch Society, a student organization that serves as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors on behalf of the university. As a charter member, she still feels immense loyalty and connection to UGA because of it.

Mentee to mentor

Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in environmental health in 1993. “I always stayed in touch with my professors,” Kim mentioned. In fact, she had the opportunity to earn her master’s degree because of Phillip Williams, her professor and mentor who later became the founding dean of the UGA College of Public Health. He asked her to be the “guinea pig” for a new academic program. In 1996, UGA awarded her its first ever Master of Science in environmental health. Williams also opened doors to help launch her career. In describing their friendship, Kim said, “He came to my wedding. He’s always been a constant in my life.”

Since graduation, Kim has found herself on the other side of many mentorships with UGA students. “Sometimes kids just need someone to be there,” she said, “It’s not always about career paths and internships. Sometimes they just got dumped and need a new perspective! I love being a port in the storm for kids.”

Kim Metcalf and her mentee Briana Hayes

Kim Metcalf meets with her mentee, Briana Hayes, during the pilot phase of the UGA Mentor Program.

One of her mentees is now considered a “bonus brother” to her four children. They met during an alumni luncheon and she discovered his family had recently moved away. “I gave him my card and told him to call me for a home-cooked meal. Now he’s like my fifth child.”

I’d guess most of Kim’s mentees feel like part of her family.

“Me” time

Kim runs her own environmental consulting business, Riverbend Environmental, a four-time Bulldog 100 honoree. It’s safe to say she doesn’t have a ton of free time and yet she spends it volunteering; she considers it her “me” time. She speaks to UGA classes regularly and she has served as vice president for the Athens Alumni Chapter for several years. At the time I spoke with her, Kim was planning an Arch Society reunion, too.

Kim Metcalf at Bulldog 100 in 2015.

Kim Metcalf’s company, Riverbend Environmental, was recognized as a 2015 Bulldog 100 fastest-growing business owned by a UGA graduate.

Perhaps one of Kim’s greatest volunteer roles at UGA has been with the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. She was a member in the early 2000s for four years, and then came back to serve again in 2015. When we met, she had just finished her second two-year term. Being on the alumni board is prestigious and time-consuming – serving twice speaks volumes about Kim’s commitment to her alma mater.

Predictably, Kim has said the most rewarding experience during those terms has been working with the other board members. “They are all selected for a particular reason and they all bring unique leadership perspectives. It’s given me the opportunity to form foundations of friendship that will last forever,” she said.

Kim Metcalf at UGA Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

Kim participates in a strategic brainstorm session during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors Meeting.

When asked to describe the work they’re doing, Kim said, “We are a working board that is actually making a difference. We are ‘friend-raising’, guiding decisions, bringing people in, reengaging them and networking.” UGA will only continue to improve with exceptional board members who are dedicated and excited–people like Kim.

A love for people

Kim’s passion for UGA cannot be overstated. Her fourth child was baptized at the Chapel on campus. While planning an Athens visit from Atlanta when her first child was just a few months old, the hotel asked if her reservation was for a prospective student. She answered without hesitation, “Absolutely!” But Kim’s consistent involvement is cultivated by a deeper love for connecting with others.

“People always say everyone has a talent,” she told me. “I just love people. I love helping people.”

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow attendees during the 2019 Alumni Weekend

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow Bulldogs during the 2019 Alumni Weekend in Athens.

Meeting Kim was delightful. She lived up to her reputation of being truly outstanding, awesome, incredible and more. Her commitment to the University of Georgia is impressive and I’m sure anyone she’s met would agree!

One might say she’s a #DGD.

Meet new alumni board member Truitt Eavenson (BSAE ’83)

When Truitt Eavenson transferred to the University of Georgia from Emmanuel College, he was not sure about which career path to take. Eavenson, who grew up on a farm in Carnesville, Georgia, began looking through the course catalog and was fascinated with agricultural engineering. Once he met with the department head, Robert Brown, he committed to studying agricultural engineering.

Now, more than 20 years later, Eavenson is the vice president of Georgia Power in the Southeast region thanks to the education he received at UGA. To that end, he is dedicating his time to giving back to the place that helped shape him by serving on the board of the UGA Alumni Association.

“No matter what your career is or where you go in life you really don’t get there alone. There are always people helping you,” says Eavenson. “I think that we have a responsibility to go back and help people who are behind us be successful.”

Prior to joining the alumni board, he served on the College of Engineering and College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences advisory boards. He often returns to campus to speak to undergraduates, and hopes to prepare students for life after graduation.

“I really just want to make a difference. When my service is finished with whatever I am doing, I want people to say ‘I’m really glad he was here; he really did make a difference.’”

Eavenson offered advice to students preparing for life at UGA and beyond: “You can go to college for four years, and you can graduate with a degree, and go get a great job,” he said. “Or you can come to Athens and really get involved in the university. Look for the opportunities that are available to you and have an experience that you’ll always cherish and always be glad you did.”