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February 29 2012

Inaugural Class of Global Shapers Chosen in Atlanta

World Economic Forum selects group of emerging young leaders to impact positive change in the Atlanta community

ATLANTA – The newly launched Forum of Global Shapers (GS), Atlanta Hub, sponsored by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, has chosen its founding class.  John Hope Bryant Operation HOPE founder, Young Global Leader, and the Curator for the Atlanta Hub, held the group’s inaugural meeting on February 22, 2012.

Jamail Larkins, CEO Ascension Aircraft and Young Global Leader (YGL) joined Bryant, and other members of the Atlanta Hub Organizing Committee, in selecting and inducting the following individuals as Global Shapers, Atlanta Hub:

  • Dearrah Brustein, Partner/Merchant Services Broker atEquitable Payments
  • LaVasia Bullard, Manager of Teacher Leadership Development at Teach for America
  • Blake Canterbury, Founder and CEO of beremedy
  • Noah Downer, International Affairs Liaison at City of Atlanta
  • Josie Duffy, Harvard Law Student
  • Daniel Gizzi, Chief of Staff  and Director of Operations at Ascension Aviation Services
  • Nicole Rateau, Community Programs Coordinator at Georgia Council for International Visitors
  • Mitchell Reiner, Chief Investment Strategist and COO at Capital Investment Advisors
  • Jocelyn Robinson, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director at Building on Faith, Inc.


“The incoming class of Atlanta Global Shapers will use their talents to foster fresh ideas and entrepreneurial solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing our city,” said Mayor Reed’s Chief of Staff, Candace L. Byrd. “They will also collaborate with other Global Shapers worldwide to share ideas and best practices on tackling issues facing other parts of the world. The City of Atlanta is delighted to be a part of an initiative that will benefit our city and the region while also giving our young, emerging leaders a platform to grow professionally.”

The individuals are selected to proactively and positively impact the global agenda through the Atlanta Hub for the Global Shapers Community. The group is expected to provide solutions to some of the city’s most critical issues.  The Shapers will be mentored by local highly influential leaders, who make up the Atlanta Hub Organizing Committee, including:

  • Mayor Kasim Reed, City of Atlanta
  • Ambassador Andrew Young, Chairman of Goodworks International, LLC.
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE
  • Dennis Lockhart, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., Chairman and CEO of TWD, Inc.
  • Jamail Larkins, Founder and CEO of Ascension Aircraft
  • Judith J. Pickens, Senior Vice President of Boys & Girls Clubs of America


The initiative is targeted at influential individuals 20-30 years in age who possess high moral and intellectual integrity and an entrepreneurial spirit. Selected individuals will serve as members and be mentored by the broader World Economic Forum constituency to focus on issues that affect the Atlanta area and provide strategies for shaping solutions to shared challenges.

About The Global Shapers: The World Economic Forum has successfully established a history of engaging young leaders to positively and proactively impact the global agenda. In addition to its existing community of Young Global Leaders, who are in their mid to late 30s, the Forum is establishing a special community of young people in their 20s. This new community – the Global Shapers Community – will provide youth with a global platform to shape the future. It will enable youth to be a voice for the future in local, regional and global thought processes and a catalyst of entrepreneurship in the global public interest. To achieve its mission, the Global Shapers Community is built on a network of local hubs located in each major city/region in the world.  Visit more information or to apply to become a Global Shaper.

About the World Economic Forum (WEF):It is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. Visit  for more information.