Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Member Services

Next Generation Mentoring Testimonials

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the program. And as someone who has a very hectic schedule with events, I loved how the Chamber offered a lot of support, but left it to us to set times. You did a great job choosing mentors, because each of the mentees I spoke with outside of the events talked about how patient, instructive and giving their mentors were. I would absolutely suggest this program to others in Cobb looking to forward their career and/or looking to grow as an individual.”

  • Andy Gaines, Director of Facilities and Events at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre
    (Mentor: Mazi Mazloom, The Mazloom Law Firm, LLC)


“My mentor and I hit it off from the very first meeting. We picked a spot monthly to meet up, which ended up being a local favorite of ours. During our meetings, we developed a friendship which allowed us to share professionals and personal experiences. These stories and life lessons taught during this brief time helped encourage me to harness my strengths in my current career and improve on my weaknesses. My mentor also introduced me to many people familiar with my own career, who gave me expertise and advice. I have enjoyed this program so much. I encourage anyone looking to add value to their professional career to seek involvement in this program!”

  • Mimi Grachek, Staff II Auditor at Mauldin & Jenkins
    (Mentor: Rob Garcia, Bank of North Georgia)


“The Next Generation Mentoring Program has been a fantastic experience! The program provided an opportunity for me to learn from a member of the local community that I may not have met otherwise. I am a firm believer that you and your mentor can tailor the program to be more beneficial to your individual relationship. My mentor and I set a schedule and stuck to it…we even had some time for extra events along the way. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience with the NGMP, not only do I feel like I gained an exceptional mentor, but a lifelong friend!

  • David Ward, Senior Market Manager at Genuine Parts Company
    (Mentor: Al Martin, Georgia Power Company)


“This program has given me an opportunity to grow and engage with people outside of my profession. The time I spent with my mentor has been invaluable. He has always been willing to listen to me and help me by providing feedback, ideas and guidance. The program has also taught me about leadership, decision making, becoming task oriented, and organized. I already see the benefits form the mentor program in my day-to-day professional life, and I’m sure that the skills I have learned will continue to grow as my career progresses, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this program.

  • Zach Buffington, Project Engineer at Croy Engineering
    (Mentor: Chris Fields, MUST Ministries)


“I have had a great experience with this program. During my time in the program, my mentor has helped me transition though a career change, expand my network, and cultivate a friendship that will far exceed the term of the program. I would recommend this program to any individual who is young in their career. The experience and friendships will be instrumental for overall success.”

  • Greg Allen, Assistant Vice President, Commercial Banker at First Landmark Bank
    (Mentor: Greg Morgan, Mauldin & Jenkins)


“One of my main goals in participating in the program was to get more involved in the community and balance this with the growing demands of career/home. I could not have asked for a better mentor than Ellen Smith. Ellen has helped me to focus and identify things that I could do and decisions that I needed to make in order to meet my goals. I also had some personal goals that I wanted to achieve. One of the most important lessons that I learned is to make time for myself. It was great to see how Ellen is a mom, a wife, an amazing lawyer yet still serves her community and took the time out to mentor me. Her drive inspires me to continue to push forward.”

  • Alyssa Blanchard, Attorney at O’Dell & O’Neal
    (Mentor: Ellen Smith; Holt, Ney, Zatcoff & Wasserman, LLP)


“The Next Generation Mentoring Program has been an excellent experience for me, and I have been able to gain great insight from my mentor. She gave me great guidance during a time when I needed it most. During the mentorship, I was in the midst of a very competitive interview process for a promotion against a number of peers. I leaned heavily on the experience and guidance of my mentor and I truly believe I got the job because of her.”

  • Jonathan Ingram, Boy Scouts of America
    (Mentor: Cheryl Hungerford, Cobb County School System)


“The Next Generation Mentoring Program was one of the most rewarding and immensely valuable experiences of my life. It was such an honor to be selected to participate as a mentee in this program and my mentor, Cobb County Public Safety Director Sam Heaton, was phenomenal. He not only dedicated time from his schedule to mentor me, but he devoted each meeting to new learning opportunities, goal planning, networking, and numerous other memorable experiences that allowed us time to invest in a lifelong personal and professional relationship. I was able to share freely my goals and future aspirations with him and he willingly shared his wisdom, knowledge, and personal successes and failures. I am confident that through this mentorship, I have not only gained a trustworthy advocate and ally who will continue to encourage me as I strive toward personal and professional achievement, but I have gained life changing knowledge that will continue to shape me into a better professional and, more importantly, a better person.”

  • Danielle Chaney, Police Records Technician at Cobb County Police Department
    (Mentor: Sam Heaton, Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services)


“My mentor gave me such a fresh perspective on how to move my career forward and accomplish personal goals. Working in a family business, it was crucial for me to have that outside perspective. I work with my father and oldest brother, which is great, but as a young female (who is a mom), I have my own set of challenges that my mentor coached me through and is a constant encouragement. I know that our relationship is going to continue to grow and I am very thankful for my time with such an inspiring mentor!”

  • Laura Higginbotham, Vice President, Insurance Services at The Bottoms Group
    (Mentor: Nurdan Cornelius, Cobb EMC)


“The program is a great stepping stone to become more involved in the Chamber and community. I truly enjoyed the time I spent with my mentor, discussing professional development, family, and ways to become more involved. The structure of the program provides great flexibility, allowing both the mentor and mentee to work around their scheduled. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who may be interested.”

  • Josh Portnoy, Associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP
    (Mentor: Carmen Chubb, Georgia Department of Community Affairs)


“What a great experience! My mentor, Dena Rodrigues, truly taught me what it means to be a woman in the professional world. Through her guidance, I have grown both professionally and personally. I am thrilled I got this opportunity and excited to say that my mentor is more than just my mentor – she is a friend.”

  • Lindsay Gardner, Senior Assistant District Attorney at District Attorney’s Office, Cobb Judicial Circuit
    (Mentor: Dena Rodrigues, SK Commercial Realty)