As Chair of the Georgia Prevention Project, Larry Connolly brings a wealth of business and non-profit management experience to the organization. After a long and successful career as head of his own financial services companies, Mr. Connolly now serves as President of the Connolly Family Foundation and on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations. Most notably, he serves as president of CURE Childhood Cancer, headquartered in Atlanta.
In his business career, Mr. Connolly was the founder and CEO of Connolly LLC, serving healthcare payers and retailers. Connolly, LLC was sold to Advent International in 2012 and then merged with Atlanta-based iHealth Technologies in May of 2014.
Mr. Connolly earned his undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee University and an MBA from Tulane University. He serves on the boards of two initiatives at Washington and Lee – the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty, and the Entrepreneurship Program. Additionally, he serves on the boards of Connolly iHealth, LLC of Atlanta, The Bleachers Corporation of Stamford, CT, and Cherokee Town and Country Club of Atlanta.
Lee Shaw serves as Chairman of the Georgia Meth Project, which he helped found in 2009. He also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Asset Management and Chairman of The Shaw Family Foundation. Previously, he was an executive for 19 years at Shaw Industries in Dalton, GA, prior to its purchase by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001. Established over 30 years ago, his family foundation focuses on programs that support education, healthcare, underprivileged youth, religion, historic preservation and strengthening local communities. In addition, Shaw serves on the Board of Directors of the Partnership at DrugFree.org, a national organization dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Shaw also currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Marist School, and he has served on the board of St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Foundation and the board of the Cartersville/Bartow Community Foundation.
James B. Langford serves as Executive Director for the Georgia Meth Project. Well-known to many elected officials and policy makers, he has been appointed by five governors of Georgia over a 35-year period to several state-wide commissions and boards.
Mr. Langford has a long career in non-profit, public service programs that benefit communities and the state of Georgia. He is a former member of the Georgia Board of Natural Resources (DNR), the Governor’s Environmental Advisory Council and the Georgia Humanities Council.
From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Langford served as Georgia State Director of the Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization that creates parks and preserves open space. At TPL, he led the effort to design the connected park and greenspace system of the Atlanta BeltLine, and he directed the acquisition of more than $40 million of land to be converted from commercial and industrial uses into parkland.
A native of Calhoun, Georgia, he is the founder of two successful non-profits: the MillionMile Greenway, an organization that helps communities throughout the eastern United States preserve and connect greenspace, and the Coosawattee Foundation, an organization that concentrates its efforts on the study and protection of archaeological sites and environmentally sensitive areas.
For many years, Mr. Langford carried on a business career in parallel to his non- profit work. From 1985 to 2004, he was a co-founder and senior executive of successful high technology companies that focused on electronic commerce. One of those companies, Harbinger Corporation, became a publicly-held company in 1995. Early in his business career, he held positions with The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, New York City, Argentina, and the Caribbean.
Mr. Langford also serves on the Board of Councilors of the Carter Presidential Center, and he is a member of the Downtown Atlanta Rotary Club. He earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School.
Kaitlin Merchen is the Director of Programs for the Georgia Prevention Project. She provides oversight of the Georgia Meth Project, Georgia Rx Abuse Project, and all community outreach programs.
Before joining the Georgia Prevention Project, Kaitlin was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She spent two years in Mozambique, Africa working on education and community development projects that emphasized sustainability and community empowerment. She has many years of experience working with teens and young adults. Kaitlin gained invaluable knowledge about the Georgia Prevention Project during her time as the Community Outreach Specialist.
A native of Kennesaw, Georgia, Kaitlin earned her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Georgia. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University with a concentration in Community Partnerships. She is passionate about working with youth and using advocacy efforts and education to strengthen communities. She believes that prevention efforts and changing attitudes about substance abuse will make for a healthier Georgia, where young people can thrive.
Allie Winkleman is the Program Coordinator for the Georgia Prevention Project. As Program Coordinator, she is responsible for raising awareness and educating youth and young adults on the dangers and consequences of prescription drug misuse and abuse.
Prior to joining the Georgia Prevention Project, Allie interned at the Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center in Rome, Georgia. She helped plan and implement the Student Health Gladiators program. The SHG program was created to increase interest and provide resources for high school students who are interested in the medical field or health professional field. Throughout her college career she gained valuable experience doing mission work in Guatemala, studying abroad in Europe, and volunteering with the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Rowan County Sexual Assault Task Force. Allie brings an understanding of the necessity of collaborative partnerships between organizations and across sectors in creating healthier and more sustainable communities, families, and individuals.
Allie grew up in Morehead, Kentucky and attended Morehead State University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Promotion from the College of Kinesiology, Health, and Imaging Sciences. Allie was also honored with the 2016 Outstanding Kinesiology, Health, and Imaging Sciences Undergraduate Student award. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Wellness Promotion through Morehead State University. Allie is thrilled to begin her professional career working in a role that combines two of her greatest passions: youth and community education.
Brigitte is the Community Outreach Specialist for the Georgia Prevention Project. In this role, she is responsible for creating and maintaining community partnerships, providing education on substance misuse in schools, and overseeing our Teen Advisory Council (TAC) Program.
Before joining GPP full-time, Brigitte interned at the Community Education and Outreach Department for WellStar HealthCare System. She helped organize many of the department’s health prevention programs and worked on research projects that focused on sponsorships and community resources. Upon completing her internship, Brigitte began two roles within WellStar as a Lifestyle Instructor (Health Educator) and as a Women’s Health Associate. In her role as a Lifestyle Instructor, she educated elementary school students on different health education and prevention topics. In addition, she promoted WellStar’s programs at community events throughout the Atlanta area. As a Women’s Health Associate, she educated and provided postnatal care resources, educated on car seats, and conducted prenatal tours for future patients. Brigitte is also certified as a medical interpreter since she realized the importance of communicating in Spanish within the Hispanic population.
Brigitte is originally from Bogota, Colombia. She grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia and attended Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Kennesaw, Georgia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education. During her time at KSU, Brigitte was a Peer Health Outreach & Wellness Leader (OWL) as part of Kennesaw State’s University’s Peer Health Education Program. In this program, she taught multiple health topics through events and presentations including alcohol and drug abuse awareness. During her senior year of college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic emphasizing health prevention and community empowerment. As a result, Brigitte proudly received KSU’s Global Engagement Certification. She is passionate about working with various populations, so she is excited to continue her health promotion role through the Georgia Prevention Project. She believes prevention is key and is eager to enhance her career working with youth on prevention efforts!