Atlanta Business League recognizes top leaders at annual CEO luncheon (photos)

Leona Barr-Davenport
Leona Barr-Davenport

The Atlanta Business League recognizes local CEOs for outstanding participation in minority vendor development and community investment

During its 36th Annual CEO Appreciation Luncheon, the Atlanta Business League honored six  “leading executives dedicated to take on work, despite their busy schedules, to carry forward the agenda of the Atlanta Business League – that is, establishing and building economic equality for minority enterprises.”
“The Atlanta Business League is thrilled to honor these exceptional individuals who constantly uphold and embrace the mission of the Atlanta Business League,” Leona Barr-Davenport, ABL president and CEO offered in a statement to press. “This group of honorees will join a rich history of previous winners such as Mayor Kasim Reed, Congressman John Lewis and Kent Matlock.”

Honorees from left to right: Dennis Boyen, Doug Shipman, Cynthia Day, Bill Bolling, Ceasar Mitchell, and Emanuel Jones
Honorees from left to right: Dennis Boyen, Doug Shipman, Cynthia Day, Bill Bolling, Ceasar Mitchell, and Emanuel Jones

The impressive list of honorees included Cynthia Day, president & CEO, Citizens Trust Bank who was bestowed CEO Of The Year; Bill Bolling, executive director, Atlanta Community Food Bank for Distinguished Service; Dennis Boyden, regional director, external affairs, AT&T for League Leadership; Emanuel Jones, president, Legacy Ford crowned Entrepreneur Of The Year; The Honorable Ceasar Mitchell, president, Atlanta City Council crowned Catalyst; and Doug Shipman, CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights for his Visions of Excellence.


During his moving acceptance speech, Shipman paid homage to the late Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery and shared, “It is very humbling to stand up here among these awardees [and] to look through the book of those who have won the award before. I don’t stand here because of myself. I stand here because Evelyn Lowery came to Shirley Franklin and said, ‘We need to something new.’ I stand here because Shirley Franklin said, ‘I’ll do it.’ I stand here because Jesse Hill Jr. took a trip to Cincinnati to [visit] the Underground Railroad Museum to help envision what this would be. I stand here because C.T. Vivian has shared with so many of us what it means to hope for the future when the present doesn’t look so glorious.

“I stand here because so many people in this room. My team members, our donors, our media partners, individuals have said, ‘This is important to me. It’s important to my kids. It’s important to this city. I stand here because when the center opens, it won’t be about thousands of people who come, it won’t be about the exhibitions. It will be about the fact that we envisioned that one day a 12-year-old will visit and because what she experienced, she will go on to become the next Ghandi … the next Martin Luther King Jr. that we need in our world today. That’s the vision that’s coming to Atlanta.


The august affair was held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.

Proceeds from the event were used to expand the work of: ABL’s Student Business Shadow Project for high school students; The Bridge, for young professionals and entrepreneurs between 21 and 40; and, the Business Enrichment Seminar Series for entrepreneur and personal development.

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