More than 700 guests were in attendance to honor Frank Blake and Dan T. Cathy as they were inducted into the Junior Achievement Atlanta Business Hall of Fame.
ATLANTA (February 24, 2018) – Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia inducted Frank Blake, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Home Depot, and Dan T. Cathy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chick-fil-A, Inc., into the JA Atlanta Business Hall of Fame on Sat., Feb. 24, 2018 at the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead. More than 700 guests were in attendance to honor Blake and Cathy as they joined the ranks of 91 influential Atlantans who hold a spot in the hall of fame for their significant contributions to Atlanta’s civic and economic vibrancy.
Blake and Cathy were welcomed by members of the JA Atlanta Business Hall of Fame Laureate Society and Co-Chairs of this year’s Laureate Host Committee, Paul Bowers, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Georgia Power and Hala Moddelmog, President and Chief Executive Officer, Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Since 1989, the JA Atlanta Business Hall of Fame has been held to honor dynamic business and civic leaders who have shaped Atlanta into the vibrant city it is today. This year’s event was marked by poignant introductions and passionate speeches from students at the JA Academy at Banneker High School, that exemplified the compelling momentum that is currently underway at JA of Georgia.
“As a leader and role model for those around him and the next generation, Mr. Blake had some great advice to give,” said Courteciya Price, Junior, JA Academy Student, while introducing Blake. “When thinking about your career and future, try to land somewhere where the following things converge: what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, what you love, and what will people pay you for.”
Frank Blake’s professional career didn’t begin in home improvement, or anything of the sort. But after being named Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot in 2007, his unrelenting focus on their core values during the trying time of the recession helped guide the company out of the economic downturn and into an even better position than before it. Since his retirement from The Home Depot, Blake continues to play a critical role in advancing the economic landscape of Atlanta and the quality of life for those who call the city home. Blake is currently board chairman of two other Atlanta mainstays: Delta Air Lines and Grady Hospital. Frank Blake may be a transplant of Atlanta, but he now calls Atlanta home and we are a stronger city because of it.
“As a future leader, I often look up to current entrepreneurs and marketplace leaders and admire their bold, innovative, and ambitious leadership, all while still holding fast to their morals,” said Logan Crump, Junior, JA Academy Student, while introducing Cathy. “Mr. Dan Cathy is one such individual.”
Dan T. Cathy’s position as Chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A, Inc. came after a lifetime, literally, of working at the company. Decades of watching and learning from his father, S. Truett Cathy, helped to cultivate his own personal drive and entrepreneurial mindset – a characteristic he classifies as one of the most essential elements in keeping the private sector a robust environment. Giving back to the community – or stewardship – is what Dan says gives purpose and significance to the work that Chick-fil-A does. His passion for supporting and lifting up communities trickles down throughout the entire business model, making the impact that much greater. Cathy’s unconventional approach to leadership proves that when you are true to yourself and maintain steadfast focus on the mission, a good business model can flourish; and in the case of Chick-fil-A, become one of the nation’s largest family owned businesses.
The keynote speakers of the evening highlighted their own personal transformation as Juniors in the JA Academy at Banneker High School. The three young men, Apollo Gunn, Octavious Taylor and Daniel Abladey, shared their stories, and reminded everyone in the room to never doubt the capabilities of a driven, empowered and passionate individual.
“The only expectations we have not achieved yet are our own,” said Apollo Gunn, Junior, JA Academy at Banneker High School. “We are all aspiring for a future that is beyond what we once imagined. Before JA Academy I had hope. Now, I would say I have a path to success and friends and mentors who will continue to hold me accountable until I achieve my dreams.”