Kat Cannella
The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University

Kat Cannella is the Assistant Director for Leadership / Facilitation at The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Business Administration from Columbus State University and is a Certified Program Planner (CPP). She has spent six years with the Continuing Education division of Columbus State University. As Program Coordinator, and later Program Manager, she expanded the breadth and scope of the personal and professional development programs offered in an open-enrollment format to the community, with an emphasis on developing professional certificate programs. As a part-time faculty member for the Communication Department at Columbus State, Kat teaches Public Speaking and Mass Communication.

A passionate and tireless community volunteer, Kat shares her talent serving with a number of organizations: Columbus Georgia Young Professionals (Boardmember-at-Large), CSU Alumni Association (President), Columbus Jaycees (VP Management), Phi Mu Fraternity for Women (Faculty Adviser, Public Relations Adviser) , American Mensa (Member, Test Proctor), and several others. She is a graduate of Columbus Regional’s Young Leaders program (2012), as well as Leadership Columbus (2013).  Kat immensely enjoys her role at the Leadership Institute facilitating experiential learning and leadership training. Her enthusiasm for people is contagious, and evident even in her hobbies as a group fitness instructor and Beachbody coach. 

Craig Dominey
Georgia Department of Economic Development

Craig Dominey is the creator and manager of the State of Georgia’s Camera Ready Communities program - a groundbreaking initiative enabling county representatives to promote their unique shooting locations and other production assets directly to film and television producers. Craig oversees a network of over 150 Georgia counties, manages the state’s online location photo database, and trains Camera Ready county liaisons on how to work with the entertainment industry. Thanks in part to the Camera Ready program, numerous Georgia counties have seen significant economic impact from the entertainment industry, as well as returning visitors via “film-induced tourism.”

Craig also serves as the Senior Film Location Specialist for the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office. For over 12 years, he has successfully promoted Georgia as a shooting location to film and television producers, bringing millions of dollars of economic impact to the state. Craig scouts and photographs a wide variety of potential shooting locations throughout Georgia.

Outside the office, Craig is the founder and producer of The Moonlit Road.com, a Southern storytelling website, podcast and radio show available on iTunes and recently broadcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Craig graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Speech Communication – Radio/TV/Film. He has served on the board of directors of Atlanta Film Festival 365, a media arts center devoted to independent film, and worked as a scriptwriter for numerous commercials and corporate videos. Craig has also served as a contributing writer for regional websites, magazines and newspapers.

Lindsay Isaacs
Georgia Department of Economic Development, Tourism Division

Lindsay is content manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division, focusing on ExploreGeorgia.org, MarketGeorgia.org and their companion email newsletters. She joined the tourism team in 2012 after she caught the travel bug while working as a magazine editor and now strives to inspire a love for travel in others. A TMP graduate of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College and a lifelong Georgia resident, she always packs her running shoes on trips and finds that some of the best travel stories involve taking a wrong turn.

Lisa Love
Georgia Department of Economic Development, Tourism Division

Lisa Love recently began a new role as Division Director for the Tourism Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) overseeing operations. Prior to that, she spent six years managing music marketing and development initiatives for both Tourism and GDEcD’s Film, Music & Digital Entertainment division. For more than 12 years, she served in successive capacities, including executive director, at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame museum in Macon, and she spent two years as Director of Marketing and Communications for the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Love is the guiding force behind the Georgia Music Foundation’s Board of Directors and is a member of the governing board for DREAM Academy, a music- and arts-integrated charter school.

Taryn Scher

Taryn Scher, “The Sparkle Boss”, started TK PR in 2008, and has spent the past 9+ years building the Public Relations firm representing clients in the travel & hospitality industries.  Taryn’s clients have been seen on Fox and Friends, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, as well as features in Travel + Leisure, O the Oprah Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and thousands more.  Taryn was named the Small Business Administration’s 2011 South Carolina Young Entrepreneur of the Year and one of Greenville Business Magazine’s Best and Brightest under 35 in 2012. In 2013 Taryn was selected as one of PR News’ People to Watch in PR and GSA Business’ 13 Visionaries. 

TK PR is a boutique lifestyle PR firm that represents clients in the travel, hospitality, and consumer industries. TK PR places emphasis on National media coverage on behalf of its clients. Based in South Carolina, TK PR strives to bring “New York Results” to its clients, with a touch of Southern charm. Since 2007, TK PR has been making brands sparkle.

In 2016, TK PR received a gold Adrian Award from HSMAI- the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition which honors excellence in hospitality, travel, tourism and media. In 2017 TK PR received The Award of Excellence in Media Relations from the South Carolina Public Relations Society of America.

Ryan Thompson

Ryan Thompson began his lifelong journey as an entrepreneur at age 11. At 14, he was a part-time shipping clerk at a technology company. At 18, he was handed control of that company's $3,000,000 worldwide trade show budget. At 25, he went out on his own starting Aria, a digital marketing agency serving the tourism industry. In 2015, Aria was acquired by The Atkins Group and Thompson serves the organization as Partner & VP, Growth. He founded Odyssey in 2016 and serves as the CEO.  

In 2013, Ryan partnered with Outskirts Press to publish his first book Disruption: Destination Marketing in the Post-Advertising Age.  Ryan is recognized as an expert in tourism subject matter and he speaks nationally on marketing and tourism topics to organizations including DI, ARE, TTIA, DMA West, AAF, TACVB, STS & more.

Stella Xu
Georgia Department of Economic Development

Stella Xu is the Director for Greater China Region Initiatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). As the Director for China Initiatives, she promotes Georgia tourism to Chinese market, recruits Chinese investors to locate in Georgia, maintains government relationship between Georgia and China, and contributes her endeavor on culture exchange. Ms. Xu joined GDEcD team since 2008. Prior to her work in state government, she served as Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University teaching International Business.



Shana Young
The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University

Shana joined Columbus State University as an Assistant Professor of Communication in 2004. Prior to returning to academia full time she worked as a Corporate Trainer for Vital Processing Services now known as TSYS Acquiring. In addition to teaching for CSU Shana has also taught for Auburn University, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, The University of Phoenix Online and The Art Institute Online. Her background includes broad knowledge in the field of communication, public speaking, and training and development.

Shana is a certified Human Behavior Consultant focusing on helping individuals to understand theirs and others personalities in order to improve communication and become a more effective leader. In addition, Shana is certified in Basic Behavioral Studies, the DISC Self Assessment Tool, the EQ-I Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory, and consult/coach on 360° Assessments. She has received specialized training in DISC to work specifically with those in the field of Education to improve relationships and communication between all levels of administration, teachers and students. Shana is also very involved in the research, development, and writing of strategic plans for CCLD clients. Recently completing the ‘City of Columbus’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness’ and with several other clients in process.