The University of Georgia

Amazing Women of UGA

Nancy Whatley


Native to Atlanta, Nancy has a Bachelor of Business Administration in HR Management from the University of Georgia and is an active member of the American Staffing Association and the Georgia Staffing Association, holding several different board of director and committee positions. She is 2009-2010 Chair of the American Staffing Association Information Committee, which was developed to foster better public understanding of the industry and its role in the economy.

Before opening VantagePoint Staffing Solutions, a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, in December of 2006, Nancy spent over 26 years in the staffing business. Joining Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 1987 after spending 6 years with a national staffing company, she was the architect in creating Georgia TEMP, Inc.; a wholly owned subsidiary and in-house staffing company. During her tenure at GP, Nancy became the company’s expert consultant in areas of supplemental staffing and employment. Under her leadership the company grew and assumed additional responsibilities which included acting as the vendor management service (VMS) for all of GP’s IT vendors. She also developed all policies and procedures for the staffing company.

As Chief Executive Officer and Managing Principal for VantagePoint Staffing Solutions, Nancy was a finalist in the NAWBO-Atlanta Women Entrepreneur Awards in the “Rising Star” category for 2008. The Rising Star award represents Women Business Owners who have owned their business for 1-2 years and have achieved exceptional new business start-up results, including projected revenue goals, executing successful marketing awareness, creating business exposure in the market place and demonstrating business leadership in her community.

Nancy is an avid, competitive golfer and is a member of “Women on Course”. She is a member of Vistage, the world’s largest CEO Organization, a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Georgia Alumni Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners. She participates on the Ambassador Council at the 191 Club and was instrumental in establishing the Women of UGA organization.

Lauretta Hannon '92


"Lauretta Hannon is the funniest woman in Georgia." -Southern Living. Lauretta Hannon is the author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life (Gotham Books, April 2009) and a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, where her stories reach 25.5 million listeners. Since 2000 she has also been known for her Georgia Public Radio stories, many of which celebrate strong, authentic Southern women (Cracker Queens). Her memoir became a Southern Indie Bestseller three weeks after its release.

Over the years she has contributed pieces to newspapers across the Southeast. Lauretta has also worked as the vice president of an advertising agency, a university executive, a fortune teller, an independent radio producer, a cocktail waitress, and a writing instructor. As a marketing consultant, she has advised clients as diverse as Drexel University and The League of Women Voters.

Throughout her marketing career she was nationally acclaimed as the most award-winning communications expert in higher education and captured more than 200 awards for her work. In the spring of 2009 she left her day job in order to pursue a fulltime writing career. Today she is in-demand as a speaker and performer and offers writing workshops through her Down Home Writing School.

In her town of Powder Springs, Georgia, she has been active with the Seven Springs Historical Society and Museum. As the author of Images of America: Powder Springs (Arcadia, 2004), she documented the vibrant history of a town in the midst of rapid growth and development. In 2009 she received an award from the State Archives for her work documenting the African-American history of the town.

Lauretta is a 1992 Graduate of UGA with a degree in Comparative Literature.

Nikki Rizzi '09


2LT Nikki Rizzi is one of U.S. Army's first female HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) Platoon Leaders currently assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

She leads and maintains her 20 man platoon's readiness to be able to rapidly deploy in support of the 18th Airborne Corps and Special Operations forces' no-notice world-wide contingency operations. She is slated later this year for a combat deployment to Afghanistan.

Ms. Rizzi is a member of the United States Army Field Artillery Association, Women in Defense, and Association of U.S. Army and was recently selected to represent 82nd Airborne Division at a Senior ROTC Outreach at North Carolina State University sponsored by the Hugh Shelton Leadership Center.

Since departing Athens, she has been awarded an Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. She earned her BA in International Studies from UGA in 2009.

Genie Snyder Chamberlain '86 '02

Genie Snyder Chamberlain Photo

Genie Snyder Chamberlin, "The WedDOC," helps brides and their families with the fun of wedding planning. She is highly regarded for her creativity in event design. However, her other specialty is helping people talk about the least fun, but still creative subject of wedding planning --- the costs and budget! WedED is a series of courses in which she and 25 other wedding professionals teach their bridal "students" how to set priorities, negotiate with vendors, and exactly describe expectations to create a day to remember for a lifetime! Most importantly, she helps brides get the most value for their money - whatever their budget!

Genie is a double dawg alumna with a master's and doctorate from UGA. For more than 25 years, Genie has been a wedding and event consultant and designer. She also has over 25 years experience in organizational development, helping companies and organizations strategically plan to realize their visions. WedED is her brainchild combining her broad background. The WedED faculty and staff help brides, grooms and their families walk through the stressful details related to creating the day of their dreams without the nightmare!

Genie will be hosting our Women of UGA WedEd event-Back to School for Brides on May 20th at the 1420 room. To register for the event visit the Alumni Association website at

Laura Loving '93

Laura Loving Photo

Laura Loving was born in Charlotte, N.C., in 1970 and grew up in the Atlanta area. She earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia in 1993. Painting with oil enamel on canvas, Laura has developed a distinctive style consisting of bold lines, dramatic surface patterns and pure color that result in vibrant paintings with strong poetic energy.

Laura describes her work: "I take everyday images and recreate them into my own animated version of the world. I consider my art to be an invention of reality rather than purely an exact imitation. I exaggerate color and shape to create art that is humorous, alive and uplifting. The evolution of my style has its roots in American Folk and Pop Art. Having lived and worked in Nice for two years, the rich artistic heritage of the French Riviera has also had a strong effect on my work."

"I want my art to create a positive bond with the viewer. Without question, making a connection with someone through my paintings is the best part of being an artist."

Laura has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States and abroad. In New York, she has shown at Lincoln Center's Cork Gallery, Pratt Institute, Strut Gallery, Anthem Gallery, and Trunkt Gallery. In 2005, Laura was commissioned to create the artwork for the Fall Cabaret Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In Atlanta, Laura was commissioned to create the official serigraph for the 1998 Music Midtown festival. In 2007 and 2008, her work was featured in Saks Fifth Avenue's Spotlight on Art for emerging southern artists. Laura has also shown with the Wonderwall Gallery in Cirencester, England, and Chaleurs du Sud in Nice, France.

Laura's work hangs in homes and businesses around the world, including Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, King and Spalding, Troutman Sanders, BT Radianz, The NYSE, NASDAQ, D/A Capital and Ash Hollow Winery. Her work has been showcased at the Atlanta Alumni Center and currently has artwork on display at the One Live Oak Center in Buckhead.

Laura also donates her work to charities in New York, North Carolina and Georgia each year. She was recently commissioned by the New York City Parks Department and the Junior League of New York to create two murals for Tony Dapolito Recreation Center in Greenwich Village.

Laura currently resides in New York City with her husband Peter. She finds the energy of the city makes it a dynamic and exciting place to live and work. Check out to see her portfolio, newest additions that include scenes of UGA and Paris France as well as information on future exhibits.

Kimberly Bearden '87

Kimberly Bearden Photo

Kimberly Bearden is the co-founder, executive director, and language arts teacher at the Ron Clark Academy, an innovative teacher training facility and middle school for Atlanta's inner-city youth. Ms. Bearden was selected from over 70,000 nominations to be honored as the Disney American Teacher Awards Outstanding Middle School Humanities Teacher. The Milken Family Foundation selected her as one of 155 teachers from across the nation to receive the Award for Excellence in Education, and she was the chosen from among 7,000 teachers as Teacher of the Year in Cobb County, Georgia.

Ms. Bearden is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2008, and she received the Phoenix Award from Mayor Shirley Franklin for her dedication to the education. Kimberly is a former Finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year and the Phenomenal Woman of Character Award. Over the past twenty-two years, she has been a teacher, instructional lead teacher, curriculum director, school board member, staff development trainer, and middle school principal. She earned her BS in Education from UGA in 1987.

Kimberly Nungesser '00

Kimberly Nungesser Photo

Kim graduated from UGA in 2000 with a Bachelor's of Business Administration in International Business. She is the Recruiting Coordinator at Dixon Hughes. In her free time, Kim owns and manages Fancy, a gift and stationery business.

In addition to being an active member of the UGA Alumni Association, she is an outstanding Women of UGA volunteer. She hosted Women of UGA lunch groups in downtown Atlanta in February and March. Kim also initiated the Women of UGA group on Linked-In and currently promotes events and helps to recruit new hosts for the lunch groups. Her passion for empowering fellow UGA Alums is invaluable to the

Maxine Clark '71

Maxine Clark Photo

Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her 30-year career, her rare ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and insight into the desires of the American consumer generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy-bear themed experience retail store. At year end 2006 there were over 300 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom and franchised stores in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Maxine Clark Photo

In 2006 Clark was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame and received the 2006 Luminary Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement from the Committee of 200. She was named a Customer-Centered Leader in the 2005 Customer First Awards by Fast Company. Clark was one of the Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys, and was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year, it was named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers "Hottest Retailers of 2004" and the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001 by The National Retail Federation.

Clark is a member of the Board of Directors of The J.C. Penney Company, Inc., and serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Washington University in St. Louis. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Chapter of Teach for America and a member of the Committee of 200. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. In 2006, her first book "The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart" was published.

Maxine leads her company and encourages creativity in all aspects of her business. She is a role model to young children, and even includes them as key advisors. She stays close to customers with a "Cub Advisory Board," a group of 20 boys and girls 8-17 years old who review new products and suggest additional ones. It meets with Clark and her team 3-4 times per year. "They are fearless and honest," she says. "If they approve of something, we are pretty certain to have a winner."