Central Atlanta Progress Begins 80th Year with Virtual Annual Meeting, New Leadership

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) hosted their 2021 Annual Meeting & Awards Tribute virtually this morning. The hour-long special, called Good Morning Downtown and presented by PNC Bank, featured informative and entertaining segments by CAP/ADID leadership, staff, and special guests.

The program began with an energetic opening from CAP/ADID President A.J. Robinson, show host, and attendees received words of welcome from Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Outgoing CAP Board Chair Eddie Meyers—PNC Regional President for Greater Georgia—presented the Dan & Tally Sweat Award to Alicia Philipp, the recently retired President & CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, then introduced CAP’s incoming Board Chair, Donna Hall, Publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2019.

“My time as chairman is coming to a close, but don’t worry—I still plan to keep a seat at the table,” said Meyers. Adding, “There is much work left to be done, especially as we look ahead to Downtown’s recovery, so stick with us.”

Hall is a veteran media executive with more than 30 years of experience with Cox Enterprises’ radio, TV, and newspaper brands, and Cox Enterprises is a legacy CAP Member. Hall will be the first woman in CAP’s history to serve as Board Chair.

“It’s an honor for me to represent and help lead Central Atlanta Progress, especially at this time,” Hall said. “I think of the name of the organization: Central Atlanta Progress, a word that itself means to move forward. That’s exactly what we must do as Atlanta reshapes, recovers, and reinvents itself.” 

Following Hall’s appointment and the installation of CAP’s 2021 leadership slate, the Marcus Downtown Economic Impact Award was presented to Tony Ressler, Principal Owner and Chair of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena.

CAP/ADID’s own Vice Presidents of Marketing and Planning & Economic Development, Wilma Sothern and Jennifer Ball, then took viewers on a deep dive into the organization’s recent accomplishments, which range from the inaugural year of Arts & Entertainment Atlanta programming to the launch of ADID’s Social Impact Safety Team (A.S.I.S.T.) that provides outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness in the Downtown district. Ball’s segment focused on the real estate development news shaping the Downtown core.

ADID Board Chair Craig Jones provided commentary on behalf of the Improvement District and lauded ADID’s annual award recipients: Ambassador of the Year Lorne Coleman, Clean Team Member of the Year Eric Ponder, and Atlanta Police Department Zone 5 Office of the Year Jamie Wallace.

CAP and ADID Board Member Lisa Harris, Senior Vice President at WarnerMedia, introduced the WarnerMedia Downtown Community Leadership Award – a tribute to Downtown Atlanta’s healthcare workers for their incredible bravery and commitment to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video presentation included special remarks from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN.

The final segment of the show, “Perspectives,” featured host A.J. Robinson in conversation with Dr. Lynn Paxton, District Director of the Fulton County Board of Health, Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, National Center for Civil and Human Rights President & CEO Jill Savitt, and Sweet Auburn Works Executive Director LeJuano Varnell. Robinson discussed the issues uniquely impacting these local leaders and their institutions, as well as what they anticipate in the year ahead.

Materials from the event, including the Good Morning Downtown recording, CAP’s 2020 Annual Report, and the 2021 CAP leadership slate, can be viewed and downloaded at AtlantaDowntown.com.

The 2021 CAP/ADID Annual Meeting & Awards Tribute is presented by PNC Bank and made possible through the generous support of Gold Level sponsors The Coca-Cola Company and Georgia-Pacific. Silver Level sponsors are Grady Health Foundation, Integral, Novare Group, and tvsdesign, and Bisnow Atlanta and Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG) are Bronze level sponsors.