Growing Leaders Staff: Meet Our Team Members

Tim Elmore

Founder and President

Tim began working with students in 1979 and his passion is still investing in the next generation.  After working alongside best-selling leadership author John C. Maxwell for more than twenty-five years, he founded Growing Leaders in 2003 to focus solely on creating leadership training events and resources for emerging leaders.  Tim is the author & creative visionary behind Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes. Read more about Tim HERE.

Twitter: @TimElmore

Fun Facts:
Who have been your influences in life? Parents, John Maxwell, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell
Favorite Snack: Popcorn
Guilty Pleasure: Watching and discussing movies

Holly Moore

Vice President

Holly began her career as a nurse and went on to serve in an executive leadership position with a Fortune 200 pharmaceutical distribution company.  She left her corporate position because of a desire to use her business skills in a non-profit setting.  Prior to Growing Leaders, she was the Director of Communications for Eagle Ranch as well as the Vice President of Advancement for Mercy Ships where she was responsible for all of the organization’s communications and development work in the US.

Twitter: @Holly_Moore

Fun Facts:
Guilty Pleasure: Coke Zero
Favorite Book: Christy by Catherine Marshall
Favorite Snack: Hot Tamales

Clari Mercier

Executive Assistant to Dr. Tim Elmore & Office Manager

Clari graduated from Bryan College in 2014 with a degree in Corporate Communications. While in college she worked with the Admissions Office to help coordinate student visits and events. She also served as an intern and speaker with the Worldview Initiative, a program that teaches millennials about purpose, faith, and pop-culture. After college, she moved to Knoxville, TN and served as an executive assistant to a financial advisor. Clari joined Growing Leaders in the fall of 2015 and serves Tim, Holly and the rest of the team by keeping everyone organized throughout a busy speaking, traveling and event schedule.

Fun Facts:
Favorite book: A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
Guilty pleasure: Window shopping at Anthropologie
Favorite Snack: Sharp cheddar cheese and crackers

Alysse Whatley

Director of Development

Alysse graduated from The University of Georgia in 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies and a Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership. Her passion for student leadership began in high school with her membership in the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team. While at UGA, she served as Executive Director of UGA HEROs, an organization that raises funds for children in Georgia affected by HIV.  Alysse joined the Growing Leaders team as a summer intern in 2011 and then again full-time after graduation as our Development Coordinator. She uses her communication skills to nurture The Growing Leaders Initiative that supports underfunded schools and organizations with Habitudes curriculum.

Fun Facts:
What is in your coffee? ­Nothing but the grinds!
Favorite Book:  ­Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Best Advice: Tell the story of grace with every move that you make

Jim Woodard

Operations Manager

Jim recognized his passion for developing leaders while working as a General Manager for Chick-fil-A while completing college. His leadership talents were quickly recognized as he began traveling across the country to lead in Chick-fil-A Grand Openings and other special events. Throughout college, his career at Chick-fil-A and now at Growing Leaders, Jim prioritizes weekly breakfast meetings to mentor a group of local high school students at North Gwinnett High School. Jim joined the Growing Leaders team in 2013 as the Resource Coordinator, enthusiastic about developing student leaders on a daily basis.

Fun Facts:
Favorite Movie: Lion King
Superpower: I can cook Minute Rice in 57 seconds.
Best Advice: You miss 100% of the naps you don’t take.

Chris Harris

Director of Marketing

Chris graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. He started his leadership journey on his way to become an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. In June 2013 Chris joined the Growing Leaders team in eagerness to continue serving the younger generation.

Fun Facts:
Favorite Book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Superpower: Uncovering what Jim’s super powers are
Random Fact: I can touch my nose with my tongue

JT Thoms

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Fueled by an appetite of learning from others, J.T.’s mission in life is to make a positive impact by encouraging people to become who they dream to be. J.T.’s professional immersion began at Booster Enterprises, where he spent over five years dedicating his time toward investing in people and developing new markets for the leadership and character building organization. Blessed by a large window of opportunity early in his career, J.T. has developed dexterities in multiple fields including event hosting, keynote speaking, leadership-development, and relationship building. It’s his passion to know and encourage others that he believes will help him fall forward as he pursues his mission in life.

Fun Facts:
What’s on your Bucket List?:  I want to dunk myself in every ocean… still working on the Arctic!
What are you grateful for?: My wife Bethany, my parents Terry and Sandy, and my 12 siblings
Random Fact: I once made a putt-putt shot that went viral on Youtube.

Tyler Yaken

Director of Education Partnerships and Speaking Events

Tyler graduated from Clemson University in 2010 with a degree in Construction Science and Management. It was at Clemson that Tyler realized his passion for developing leaders through Clemson FCA. After graduating he joined the Catalyst team and through this experience received an opportunity to work with Booster Enterprises, an organization geared towards “financially strengthening schools and inspiring students through fitness, leadership and character”. Since the start of his career, Tyler has developed skills in public speaking, event hosting, leader development, and building relationships. These skills have fueled his passion to see people grow into their leadership potential. Tyler now works with our K12 partners to help implement a leadership process on their school campus.

Fun Facts:
What are you most grateful for? My wife Anna, my family and the opportunities I have received to travel.
Random Fact: I ran my first Marathon in 2015!
Best Advice:People grow into the conversations you create around them.”

Matt Ward

Market Research Manager

Matt graduated from Cedarville University in 2009 with a degree in Theology. He spent the next 5 years managing various Chick-fil-A restaurants where he was most energized by developing and mentoring his team members. Matt joined the Growing Leaders team in 2014, excited to combine his passions for leadership development and service.

Fun Facts:
Favorite Movie? A Few Good Men
I have never been seen without: Coffee!
Best Advice: Always be the most prepared person in the room.

Hannah Pratt

Program Coordinator

Hannah graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2014 with a degree in Business, focusing on Entrepreneurship and Marketing. As a college student, Hannah worked as a Cast Member at Disney World, where she had the opportunity to interact with diverse groups of people. Hannah joined the Growing Leaders team as an intern in 2014, eventually working her way through a Marketing Apprenticeship into the full-time position of Program Coordinator in Summer 2015. She serves as the project coordinator for customized curriculum plans and is responsible for cultivating relationships with key partners.

Fun Facts:
Favorite Food: Breakfast, any time of day.
Guilty Pleasure: Stripes and Overalls
Best Advice: Live less out of habit and more out of intent.

Andrew McPeak

Program Excellence Manager

Andrew graduated from Bryan College in 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he served as the Coordinator of the Worldview Initiative, an outreach arm of the College that spoke to Millennials about purpose, faith, and pop-culture. In 2013, Andrew transitioned to work with Medici Project in Atlanta, GA where he served as a director with the Urban Missions program, which helps young people learn about social justice issues through hands on service experiences. Through the years, Andrew’s experiences have led him to become well versed in communicating to and about Millennials. Utilizing this growing knowledge, he has developed multiple presentations, curricula, and written pieces for a variety of organizations. Andrew serves now as a writer and content developer for the Growing Leaders creative development team.

Twitter: @AndrewMcPeak

Fun Facts:
Favorite Food: Chinese (the American kind)
What’s on my bucket list: Watch every movie on the AFI top 100 list

Cody Braun

Partner Relations Coordinator

Cody graduated from Georgia College & State University in 2015 with a Business degree focusing on Marketing. As a college student, Cody served as a Young Life Leader at a local high school in Milledgeville, Georgia. Cody joined the Growing Leaders team as an apprentice in 2015 eventually working his way into a full-time position in the summer of 2016. He currently serves as the partner relations coordinator and oversees all of our customer service initiatives as well as some of our marketing efforts.

Fun Facts:
Guilty Pleasure: Fantasy Football
What’s on my bucket list: Go to every MLB stadium
Random Fact: Was an extra in a few movies and tv shows, including The Blind Side

Ricky Warren

Marketing Graphic Designer

Ricky graduated from University of West Georgia in 2008 with a degree in Fine Arts, focusing in the area of  Graphic Design. His career path has allowed him to perform design work in the realms of fashion, marketing, public relations and several other professional spheres. Ricky attended Georgia State University in 2012 to pursue his master’s degree in Fine Arts, also concentrating in Graphic Design. During his time as a grad student Ricky also served as a teaching assistant, in which he instructed undergraduate graphic design courses at the beginner and intermediate levels. Once he graduated 2015, he then went on to become a part-time instructor in the graphic design department at Georgia State. Ricky now works as our graphic designer in the Marketing department and aspires to visually impact young generations through doing what he loves to do best.

Fun Facts:
Guilty Pleasure: Hunting for New Nike/Air Jordan Sneakers
What’s on My Bucket List: Win a Man vs. Food challenge
Best Advice: “A rubber band will not be useful if it is never stretched.”

Mary Steves

Programs Coordinator

Mary was born and raised in Northern California in the rural town of Escalon, famously known for its abundant almond orchards and the place to get gas before Yosemite National Park. Mary’s interest and love in leadership began as a member of the Future Farmers of America organization. Through the California Association of FFA she spent one year serving as an intern with the California Department of Education. Mary recently graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Science and Education and a concentration in Communication. While at Chico State she served as the Freshman Leadership Opportunity Coordinator, paraprofessional for the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, founding member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity and was a member of the Wildcat Leadership Institute. She also spent a semester studying abroad in Stirling, Scotland. Mary is looking forward to using her passion and strengths in program development to serve our grant recipients as The Growing Leaders Initiative Programs Coordinator.  
Fun Facts:
I love 70’s music, 80’s movies and 90’s TV shows
I love polka dots
Favorite food: avocado toast

Guilty pleasure: Anything Scottish
Favorite quote: “The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyways.” ~ Mother Teresa