Piedmont Park Conservancy Welcomes 2021 New Board Members

The Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomes five new members to their board of directors: Bill Bolen, CFP®, CFA of Homrich Berg; Mona Harty of Delta Air Lines; Chandra Stephens-Albright of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company; Reverend Dr. Tony Sundermeier of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta; and local community leader, Lisa Cannon Taylor.

The Conservancy looks forward to working with these new board members to sustain and advance the Piedmont Park Conservancy mission’s to enhance and preserve Piedmont Park for all Atlantans.

Biographies:

Bill Bolen, CFP®, CFA
Bill is an experienced wealth advisor and executive leader who works with ultra-high net worth families to help them navigate the markets and manage their financial lives.  He also leads corporate Marketing and Strategy initiatives for Homrich Berg and serves as a leader in the HB Family Office practice.

Prior to joining Homrich Berg in 2009, Bill served most recently as leader of the Terwilliger Family Office and as the first President of the Atlanta Dream WNBA sports franchise. He started his professional services career as a manager at McKinsey & Company’s Atlanta office before co-founding The DaVinci Group, a strategy and marketing consulting firm based in Atlanta that eventually became TopRight.  During his consulting career, Bill was also responsible for leading the consulting effort for a number of metro Atlanta initiatives to improve the quality of life and economic growth including the creation of the Atlanta BeltLine, the Metro Atlanta Transportation Initiative, and the Mayor’s Affordable Workforce Housing Task Force.

Bill received his M.B.A. with distinction from the Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in marketing where he received the Outstanding Senior Award for the University.  He was chosen as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2008.

An active member of the community, Bill has served on the Board of Directors for the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Board of Directors for the Ansley Park Civic Association, and the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.  Bill has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Board of Trustees for Mount Paran Christian School, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership Board of Directors, and the Community Advisory Board for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  He is an active supporter of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and High Museum of Art. Bill is a member of the CFA Institute and Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals.

Mona Harty
Mona Harty is currently the Director, East Coast Field Operations, and Leader, Diversity Equity & Inclusion for the Reservations Sales and Customer Care division at Delta Air Lines.  In this newly created role, Mona is responsible for the support and leadership of the 2000+ divisional front-line team members across the East Coast, operational performance, excellence in customer interaction experience, as well the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy for the division globally. Prior to this role, Mona joined Delta Air Lines in June of 2016 as the Managing Director for Program / Project Delivery and Quality Assurance for the airline.

Before joining Delta, Mona launched Mona Harty, LLC, a venture that provided management consulting, corporate innovation, mentorship, and public outreach to companies and individuals seeking to drive profit and innovation. Prior to creating her own business, Mona served as President and Chief Executive Officer for PSR Associates, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta Georgia.

Mona also held positions as the World-wide Production Manager, for iXL’s iXstream Division where she was charged with client managing and producing all of the Live and On-Demand streaming events. Prior to iXL, Mona spent five years as the founder, General Manager, and Director for the Cable Television & Multimedia facility at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta

Mona is also highly engaged with the Atlanta community.  She is an alumna of the Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2013, a member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Atlanta and Central Outreach and Advocacy Center.

In 2013, Mona was named Women in Technology’s “Woman of the Year” for Small & Emerging Businesses for the state of Georgia. She also been a profiled member of the National Association of Professional Women.

Mona holds a B.A. in Communications from Pepperdine University, and a M.S. in Information, Design & Technology from Georgia Tech. In 2015, she earned a Mini MBA for Tech Executives Certificate from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

Chandra Stephens-Albright
Chandra Stephens-Albright has been the Managing Director at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company since July 2017. She joined the nonprofit sector following a successful 22-year career at The Coca-Cola Company, where she led consumer-facing elements of the development and launch of Coca-Cola Freestyle®, the game-changing fountain dispenser named a “World-Changing Brand” by Interbrand in 2011.

Chandra is on the boards of True Colors Theatre Company, The Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta Beltline Partnership (Nominating & Governance Committee Chair). She is a past member of the Emory Alumni Board (Development Committee Chair), the Emory College Alumni Board, the Emory Annual Giving Board (National Chair) and Girls Inc of Greater Atlanta (Board Chair). She is a member of the 2019-20 cohort of National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Officers Program, a 2018 alumna of Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2005. She holds a BA in Chemistry from Emory University, and an MBA from the Olin School of Business from Washington University in St. Louis. She is married to Warren Albright.

Rev. Dr. Tony Sundermeier
Tony Sundermeier has been the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, a thriving 2,000-member Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation located in Midtown, since 2014.  He is married to Rev. Katie Sundermeier and together they have two sons, Jonny and Luke.  Tony earned his B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Eastern University; his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary; and his doctorate in Missional Leadership from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia.

Prior to his call to Atlanta in 2014, he served as the Lead Pastor for the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, PA and before that as an Associate Pastor for Preaching and Teaching at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Chester, PA. Tony currently serves as the chair of the board of trustees for the Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, a Christian ministry providing exceptional services to enhance the quality of life for over 1,000 senior adults in the state.  He is a trustee for Columbia Theological Seminary and the chair of their Advancement Committee.  Tony is also on the board of Midtown Alliance, Board of Visitors of Agnes Scott College, and on the advisory board for Day1.  He enjoys coaching basketball, cooking, playing golf, and rooting for the four professional sports teams from Philadelphia.

Lisa Cannon Taylor
Lisa Cannon Taylor is a community leader in Atlanta who is renowned for her commitment, innovation, and wry wit. Today, she continues to work tirelessly, ensuring that more female arts are included and supported, building on her time as chair of the Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). In addition, Lisa serves on the National Advisory Board of NMWA. Recognizing her contributions in arts advocacy, Lisa was tapped to join the High Museum of Art’s board of Trustees in August 2017 and she serves on the High’s Communication committee as well as the Collections committee. Immediately after joining the board, Lisa co-chaired the biennial Collector’s Evening which focused on raising record funds for curator driven acquisitions for the High Museum of Art.

After serving on the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Landmark Luncheon committee as a Co-Patron chair in 2018, Lisa was asked to co-chair the 30th Anniversary luncheon in 2019 with Heather Hallett. Lisa and Heather oversaw a historic success, breaking both attendance and fund-raising records. Lisa helped create a video celebrating the Conservancy’s 30 year history, and instituted new techniques such as in-room text-to-give.

A strong supporter of her neighborhood, Ansley Park, Lisa was the Ansley Park community liaison for the Piedmont Park Advisory Committee, where she focused on gathering critical community feedback for the Piedmont Park Conservancy expansion. Lisa co-chaired Ansley’s Art in the Park numerous times, raising needed funds for greenspace and playground improvements. Lisa also served on the Ansley Park Civic Association Board as well as president of the Ansley Park Garden Club.

Lisa holds a BFA in visual communication from Auburn University, has served as Creative Director for Atlanta advertising firm Camp Communications and has taught at the Art Institute of Atlanta. She currently lives in Ansley Park with her husband, Chuck Taylor. The Taylors have two adult children, Alix and Miles, and two welcoming dogs, Hero and Jack.

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About Piedmont Park Conservancy
The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit organization working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy raises over $3 million each year to enhance and maintain the park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: arisher@piedmontpark.org
P: (404) 480-3758

Seven Ways to Use Piedmont Park in the Cold Winter

As winter rolls around, Piedmont Park transitions from vibrant fall colors to a deep blue and green palette that creates stunning and crisp backdrops for all visitors to enjoy. While most people think of parks with warm weather, Piedmont Park has a lot to offer in the colder months. Check out our recommended list of the top seven things to do in Piedmont Park this winter.

1) Take a Long Walk with a Warm Beverage from Sean’s Heart of the Park

Bundle up and stop by Sean’s Heart of the Park for a coffee, tea or hot chocolate! Then, take some time to explore Piedmont Park’s vast landscapes at your own pace, a perfect way to get your steps in. Explore areas of the Park that you may not have visited before:

You can also try our self guided walking tour! 

2) Look Both Up and Down for Wildlife

During winter, you can spot migratory birds both on the ground and up in the air. Walk around Lake Clara Meer and find the flocks of Waterfowls or bring out the binoculars and find birds perched up in the leafless trees. Make this a family affair with the kids and have a contest on who can count the most birds. If you snap a picture of a cool bird, post it and tag us @piedmontpark. Try our Backyard Birding activity download in English or Spanish!

Photo Credit: Kevin Gaston

3) Jog Around the Active Oval and Surrounding Paths

New year, new you! Whether you are practicing sprints, running for distance or a first time runner, Piedmont Park is a perfect destination for all types of runners. The Active Oval offers a 0.52 mile running track and there are miles of pathways throughout the rest of the Park. Make your run more enjoyable with beautiful views of Midtown Atlanta in the Park’s skyline.

4) Grab a Smile by Visiting the Off-Leash Dog Parks

Set your furry friend free at our off-leash dog parks and watch all their zoomies go away. With over three acres, there is plenty of space to run around! There is a small dog enclosure (<30 lbs) and a large dog enclosure (30 pounds +).  The dog parks also have features such as natural rock seating, trees for shade, agility equipment and water spickets.

5) Practice Photography with Winter Backdrops and Exposed Branches

The cool tones of winter brings unique opportunities for trying new photography. Winter is a great season for abundant lighting and stark tree backgrounds making every photo Insta-worthy. Check out our Photo Guide to Piedmont Park.

6) Meditate or Practice Mindfulness on Quiet Lawns  

Winters tend to be less busy. You can hear more of nature’s sounds. Outdoor meditation enhances your senses, presence and connection to the world. Find your inner yogi, find a spot in the Park and take in the peaceful vibes. Meditate in motion with Tai chi with a series of gentle exercises and stretches. Connect your mind and body by holding a pose with a low-impact yoga sequence. 

7) Learn to Roller Skate or Ride a Bike

Dust off your rollerblades or bike, and brush up on your skills on our spacious pathways. With the Park being much quieter in the winter, it is the perfect place to learn how to ride a bike or skate. Don’t forget to wear a helmet and maybe some knee pads.

It’s too easy to let “dreary” weather keep us from spending time outside. Beat the winter blues by making the most of this season. What other ideas do you have to enjoy Piedmont Park during the winter season?

Looking Back at 2020: A Breath for Piedmont Park

In most ways, 2020 was a bleak year for Atlanta, our country and our world.  COVID-19 jumbled our daily routines and daily pleasures.

While 2020 will be forever known for its challenges and disruptions, one of the bright discoveries last year was the deep recognition of the value of our public parks. For Atlanta, Piedmont Park remained open throughout the entire year for anyone to come and escape their homes, exercise and connect with nature and other people, all at a safe distance.

Piedmont Park remained a top destination in 2020, but in many ways the Park looked different. Instead of visitors flocking from all over to attend one of the many festivals, our neighbors, residents and local explorers re-discovered this beautiful, passive greenspace. We saw more roller skates, picnic blankets and kites, the classic items that pull our heartstrings and inspire us to play. Visitors did not necessarily congregate in any one area, and the impact on the grounds were minimal.

The Park is known for the plethora of activities and events it provides to our city. Some festivals attract upwards to 100,000 people while many others are much smaller. However, cumulative wear and tear occurs when events are set up in the same areas week after week.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy and the City took advantage of the break in events to deep clean and rehabilitate some of the worn areas to both improve the visual appeal and resiliency of the grounds, particularly for the more trafficked areas in the Meadow and Oak Hill. The timing and execution of aeration, fertilization, mowing and other maintenance tasks were based on ideal horticulture and agronomy schedules instead of avoiding events. Many of the areas that had been worn down to dirt are once again covered with beautiful Hybrid Bermuda grass.

The weather also made a big impact. In contrast to the distress of so many other parts of 2020, the weather was near perfect for improving the grounds. Rainfall came in intervals that was frequent enough, but not too much at one time. Thunderstorms helped with nitrogen fixation which is nature’s way of helping to fertilize the Park.

This past year, I have been struck by the physical beauty of Piedmont Park.  The beautiful condition of Piedmont Park is stunning, maybe the most beautiful I have ever seen.

The Conservancy has been able to cultivate Piedmont Park’s landscape in a way we never have before. We hope 2020 will serve as a case study of how beautiful and valuable Piedmont Park’s greenspace can be when provided proper recovery, great weather and a lot of love. Even in festival use areas, proper land rest and turf recovery periods can help the Park stay vibrant and green all year.

Parks are not passive investments, they’re active investments. The festivals and events will eventually come back. We will see a day, maybe not so far away, where Piedmont Park once again attracts festivals, concerts and other large events. We will use what we learned this past year to work with our friends at the City on caring for Piedmont Park for both events and our local citizens. We are proud to be a city partner and know that when conservancies and government work together, public spaces will thrive.

Until then, we are thankful to see Piedmont Park experience a much needed rest, while also serving such a critical role in our daily lives.

Author: Mark Banta, President/CEO, Piedmont Park Conservancy

Learn more about the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Affordable Outdoor Wedding Venues in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park, in the heart of Atlanta can transform into the special wedding location of every couple’s dreams. The Park’s three historic venues can accommodate a variety of budgets with a range of wedding packages. In addition to providing an amazing backdrop for your wedding, Piedmont Park Conservancy has affordable and flexible beverage packages along with a wide range of catering partners to fit any budget.

Dockside

Dockside is perfect for an outdoor ceremony, intimate reception or micro-wedding. Lake Clara Meer provides the perfect natural setting as your ceremony backdrop. You can bring in additional decorations, or rely on the natural beauty. The Dock and Lawn are secluded behind the Visitor Center building making the area your own private wedding oasis.

Magnolia Hall & Lawn

Magnolia Hall and Lawn has the perfect balance of indoor and outdoor space, comprised of the original blacksmiths forge, a beautifully landscaped lawn and a large private courtyard. Magnolia Hall offers basic audio/visual, making this wedding venue even more affordable. The mission style lanterns and functional historic fireplace enhance any decor and bring charm to any event.

Greystone

Greystone is perfectly perched between the breathtaking views of the Midtown Atlanta skyline and the natural view of Lake Clara Meer. This historic Atlanta wedding venue is ideal for large wedding parties. Greystone provides room to spread out between the outdoor terrace, South Wing and Main Hall. The neutral color palette can help make any couple’s vision come to life. All you need are candles and florals to create an intimate, glowing wedding reception.

Other Perks for Your Budget

The Conservancy offers affordable rental rates along with flexible beverage packages so couples can budget more for other wedding necessities. All three venues include tables, Chiavari chairs, security guard and a venue event manager to help make your wedding day a breeze.

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park and the Conservancy would love to be a part of your special day to create memories that will last forever. Don’t wait to book your venue as dates fill fast.

For more information about the Conservancy’s wedding venues, contact Jane Rollo at: jrollo@piedmontpark.org.