Tom Cousins, one of the iconic figures of the real estate profession in Atlanta, and Allison O'Kelly, an entrepreneur who started an innovative staffing company for professionals who want to work on a flexible schedule that balances with their family obligations, will present the final two spring lectures of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series.
O'Kelly's speech is set for Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. in room 248 of the Student Learning Center, and Cousins' lecture will take place Friday, April 25, at 10 a.m. in room 120 of the Law School. Both talks, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.
O'Kelly is the founder and CEO of Mom Corps, a nationwide professional staffing company that helps corporations fill their intermittent staffing needs, while enabling professionals who are raising families to engage in challenging work on a flex-time basis. Before founding Mom Corps in 2005, O'Kelly built her own accounting practice for small businesses, was an executive at Toys "R" Us and a certified public accountant at KPMG Peat Marwick.
O'Kelly graduated from the Terry College of Business in 1994 with a degree in accounting and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. She also began serving on the Terry College's Alumni Board last fall. Both O'Kelly and Mom Corps have earned numerous awards, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Terry College, 2006 Working Mother Magazine's "Entrepreneur Mom Award," and The Conference Board's Work Life Leadership Council's "Moving into the Future Award."
Cousins, a 1952 graduate of Terry College, is chairman emeritus and founder of Cousins Properties Inc., which he started in 1958. Today it is one of the larger equity real estate investment trusts in the country and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Cousins Properties developed such Atlanta landmarks as the CNN Center, the Omni Coliseum, 191 Peachtree Tower, Bank of America Plaza and Wildwood Office Park in Cobb County. The company donated the land, provided the preliminary architectural drawings and guaranteed the construction cost for the first stage of the World Congress Center, Georgia's world-class convention and meeting facility. Cousins Properties has other development projects in Alabama, California, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
He has chaired the University of Georgia Foundation and was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Georgia in 1998. He also chaired and is on the board of the Georgia Research Alliance, is a director emeritus of Total System Services Inc., and a trustee emeritus of Emory University. He has previously served on the boards of NationsBank, First Union, Shaw Industries and Inland Container Corp. He also serves as chairman of his family's charitable foundation.
The speaker series brings accomplished leaders from a variety of organizations to the University of Georgia. In these student-oriented forums, guest speakers discuss their leadership styles and experiences. Previous speakers in the spring series were David G. Hanna, chairman and CEO of CompuCredit Corp., and Cynthia Cooper, the WorldCom whistleblower who uncovered the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. Last fall, the lecture series featured Jim Blanchard, retired chairman and CEO of Synovus.
The Institute for Leadership Advancement is a leadership development unit housed in the Terry College of Business. Its programs stress the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasize leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute's ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship, pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity, and defined by purpose.