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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.

Fun Facts

Who have been your influences in life?
Parents, John Maxwell, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite Snack:

Guilty Pleasure:
Watching and discussing movies

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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.

Fun Facts

Guilty Pleasure:
Coke Zero

Favorite Book:
Christy by Catherine Marshall

Favorite Snack:
Hot Tamales

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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

I can cook Minute Rice in 57 seconds.

Best Advice:
You miss 100% of the naps you don’t take.


Josey Butcher

Program Coordinator

Josey's passion for leadership development began in college at the University of Georgia. Josey graduated in 2012 with a degree in business management and went on to serve in a variety of ministry roles in Athens and Clarkesville. In each position, Josey deepened her passion for leadership development and mentoring young men and women. Josey is excited to serve as the Program Coordinator on the Growing Leaders team.



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

Favorite Food:
Fresh seafood


Joanna Lamadrid

The Growing Leaders Initiative- Development & Event Coordinator

Joanna was born and raised in San Diego, California. In 2014 she graduated with a Communications degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Joanna cultivated an interest in youth development from babysitting and nannying for her church community during high school. In January 2016, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia to intern for The Growing Leaders Initiative and eventually became a full-time member. Fueled by the organization's mission to develop young leaders, specifically from underserved communities, Joanna currently serves as Development and Event Coordinator.

Fun Facts

Bucket list: Cage diving with sharks

Random fact: I've been skydiving three times

Guilty pleasure: rice crispy treats

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.”


Anya Cooper

Onefluence™ Initiative - Director

Anya’s passion is working towards a world where all young people in all nations have an equal opportunity to share their gifts. After studying international politics, Anya worked as a consultant for the United Nations with UNAIDS in Trinidad and Tobago. She then studied law, to become better equipped to intercede for others. While she was an attorney to U.S. and international clients, Anya also continued to volunteer on youth and sustainable development projects. Anya is excited to lead the Onefluence™ Initiative to mobilize 1% of the world’s 3 billion+ young people towards service and servant leadership in their local and global communities.


Favorite snack (and guilty pleasure): Extra salty soft pretzel

What’s on my bucket list: Learning sign language

Favorite places: Rome and sunny beaches



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.


Matt Ward

Director of Operations

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:

Best Advice:
Always be the most prepared person in the room.


Andrew McPeak

Program Excellence Manager

Andrew married his wife Anna and graduated from Bryan College in 2011. Working with non-profits for more than 5 years, Andrew’s experiences have led him to become well versed in communicating to and about the next generations. He has developed multiple conference presentations, curricula, and articles to serve a variety of organizations. Andrew serves as Program Excellence Manager as well as a writer and content developer for Growing Leaders.


Fun Facts

Favorite Food:

Favorite Book:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

What’s on my bucket list:
Watch every movie on the AFI top 100 list


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.


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

The Growing Leaders Initiative - 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.


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


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