Advisory Board

The Playworks Georgia Advisory Board is a group of changemakers who believe in the power of play and are active ambassadors for Playworks. These playful professionals contribute their personal time to share the mission of Playworks: to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.


Leslie Pierson, Board President


Leslie Pierson co-founded MEMI, a wearable technology company. She spent several years as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company. Between Bain and MEMI, she held strategic positions at Staples Inc. and Teach for America.

Leslie served as a board member for five years with 4Moms, a leader in innovative baby products. Leslie studied economics at Stanford University and received an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Hunter, and three children, Margo, Demi, and Hunter.


Corneille Burt Algarra

Principal Consultant
CBA Sports Consulting, LLC

Corneille is a seasoned sports marketing executive and professional basketball coach with more than 20 years of global experience across various areas of the sports industry.

For the past 15 years, Corneille has led International Olympic sponsorships and marketing, first for Meridian Management, the IOC’s former marketing agency, then the International Olympic Committee (IOC) directly, and more recently at Helios Partners and GlideSlope. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Prior to marketing and agency work, Corneille played professional basketball in Germany and Switzerland. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where she captained the women’s varsity basketball team and earned All-Ivy League and team MVP honors.

For the past three years, Corneille has volunteered her time coaching girls and women’s basketball at the high school, AAU, and collegiate levels. She served as an assistant coach for the Emory University Women’s team during the 2015-2016 season.


Patti Austin

Director, Information Technology
Kaiser Permanente

Patti Austin is the Director of Information Technology with Kaiser Permanente in the Georgia Region. Patti has more than 20 years of experience in leading and developing talent as well as developing and implementing major health care changes through strategic technology solutions and planning. After earning her bachelor of arts degree, Patti went on to earn a master’s degree in computer information science from the University of Denver and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health from Creighton University. Patti is committed to giving back to the community and community health in her role. Her community contributions include ongoing participation through Kaiser Permanente community benefit activities across metro Atlanta, the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber Board, North Springs Charter Health Science Advisory Board, Workforce Development Alliance for Fulton County Schools, Technology Association of Georgia, KP Women in Technology, and most recently, Playworks Georgia.


Jeremy Dobbie

Director, Customer Planning

Jeremy Dobbie has been a director of Georgia-Pacific Customer Planning for the Bath Tissue Category since September 2014. In his role, Jeremy oversees the largest category in GP’s North American Consumer Business across all major national accounts (Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, etc.) and supports more than $2B in retail sales across the Angel Soft and Quilted Northern brands.

Jeremy joined Georgia-Pacific in April of 2012 as the Senior Brand Manager on the Quilted Northern brand. In this role, he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the business as well as the national relaunch of the brand with new creative across TV, print, and digital advertising. Prior to joining GP, Jeremy worked for both Kentucky Fried Chicken and Unilever in brand management roles. Before transitioning to the business world, Jeremy’s first career was in education where he taught middle school science for eight years.

Jeremy earned his bachelor of arts degree in human biology from Stanford University in 1996 and his master of business administration from the Kenan-Flagler School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. Jeremy lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Julie, and their two children, Charlie and Brennan.


Torarie Durden

Senior Vice President

Torarie currently leads North American Product Strategy for Fleetcor, a leader in fuel cards and workforce payment products and services. He is revitalizing a brand in the fuel card space designed to serve the unique needs of small- and medium-sized businesses. He most recently led North American Strategy for a division of ADP, a market leading payroll and human capital management software and services.

Torarie has been an entrepreneur, marketer, corporate executive, NASA engineer, McKinsey consultant, sports apparel executive, and farmer.  He created and delivered services via The Durden Group, a consulting and advisory firm, to leverage diversity and high-affinity markets to over-deliver awareness, engagement, and conversion marketing for consumer-focused products and services. His client roster included the #1 ranked US speed cyclist, the Harrah’s and Caesars Entertainment portfolio of properties, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and several consumer-driven and licensed product companies. Torarie previously launched OT Enterprises, Inc., a sports, entertainment, and lifestyle marketing company expanding business, career, and entrepreneurial interests of professional athletes once they transition “off the field.”

Torarie is also involved in two startups: Campid and Myaderm. Campid is a sports data tracking and online portal to help young people and parents find trainers, coaches, camps, and sports facilities to fit their athletic training goals. Myaderm is a CBD-infused pain cream for individuals seeking natural wellness products.

Following his own passion for education, Torarie currently serves on the Board of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Playworks Georgia. He also held previous board or advisory roles with The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the College Football Hall of Fame, and KIPP Metro Atlanta Charter Schools.


Shawn Hickey

Director, Data & Analytics Technology

Shawn is a director in PwC’s Data & Analytics Technologies Practice with more than 12 years of experience providing data management consulting services to Fortune 100 companies across industry sectors. He currently serves as the lead for the U.S. Advisory data quality, governance and migration practice focused on the TICE sector. Shawn is a highly accomplished professional with an excellent track record delivering technology solutions to support business transformation initiatives. He has significant experience leading the design, development, and implementation of a wide range of data management solutions including data governance operating model design, data quality and cleansing, data migration, business intelligence, master data management, vendor tool evaluations, and data analysis for risk and compliance.

Shawn graduated from the University of Florida with a BS/BA and an MS in decision & information systems.


Gabrielle Kreisler Sheely

Independent Consultant
GKS Consulting

Gabrielle Kreisler Sheely has more than 10 years of experience working in senior leadership positions in the nonprofit and government sectors, focusing on the development and implementation of public policy and programming for at-risk children and youth. Among other roles, Gabrielle had the opportunity to work in senior positions at the NYC Department of Education focusing on the support services the school system provides to at-risk students, in Mayor Bloomberg’s office as the lead for the development of the Integrated Human Services Project, and as a senior staff member at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services to promote the agency’s neighborhood-based services initiative. She has written extensively on the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in NYC.

For the past 10 years, Gabrielle has worked as an independent consultant, providing strategic planning, risk management planning, accreditation preparation, talent search, organizational planning, and project management to nonprofit and government agencies in the child and youth services fields. Her clients range in size from 10–15 staff/budget $1.5 million to more than 4,000 staff/budget $250 million and are located in New York City, New Jersey, and most recently, Atlanta, Georgia. Gabrielle also served as an Affiliate Consultant at the TCC Group and served on NJ State Education Commissioner Cerf’s Transition Team in 2012.

Gabrielle is a graduate of Skidmore College and holds a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.


Emily Anne Vall, PhD

Director of Child Health and Wellness
Georgia Shape, GA Dept. of Public Health

Emily Anne Vall, PhD, is Child Health and Wellness Director over Governor Nathan Deal’s childhood obesity initiative, Georgia Shape. She serves under Commissioner Patrick O’Neal at the Georgia Department of Public Health. In this role, she provides leadership in the management and coordination of this statewide, multi-agency, multidimensional initiative that brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic, and business communities to address childhood obesity in Georgia. Emily coordinates policy efforts in all aspects of the program, including strategies designed to impact childhood obesity from birth through the school years.

Emily completed her undergraduate degree at Florida Southern College before attending the University of South Florida and the University of South Carolina, where she received her PhD in physical education and health pedagogy with a cognate in diversity studies.  


Marianna Whitehurst

Writer, Inspirer, and Philanthropist

Marianna Whitehurst is a 15-year resident of the City of Atlanta. She currently serves on both the Foundation Board of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Advisory Board. She is the first woman in the country to do both. Marianna will be honored as a “Trailblazer” by Atlanta Women in Sports the week of the Super Bowl.

Marianna has been the representative for the family scholarships her family sponsors at Georgia Tech for over a decade and mentors those students throughout their college and professional careers, be it in sports or another professional endeavor.

She is a Davidson College graduate and has drafted two book series: one for student-athletes and one for children (and their families) impacted by an autism diagnosis.



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