Executive Director of the Year Award Past Winners
Debra Jones – 2016 (Barbara Mason Award) As native of Warner Robins and having worked with city, county, state, and military officials for over 27 years, Debra began her career with Keep Warner Robins Beautiful as a part-time employee, steadily moving up the ladder to the position of Executive Director. For the past 12 years, Debra has continued to excel at building relationships and coalitions. Her deep love for the community has aided in the renewal of aging neighborhoods around the city. She’s successfully collaborated with Houston County’s Habitat for Humanity on cleanup efforts, proven instrumental to the improvements of the First Street/Armed Forces Boulevard corridor, and was a proven partner with the city’s housing initiative program. Debra has guided KWRB through highs and lows, and continues to partner with neighboring KAB affiliates in litter prevention, recycling, and beautification efforts.
LeaKing Badyna – 2016 (Lynn Cobb Award) Since joining Keep Golden Isles Beautiful in 2013, Lea has been a proven leader in helping the organization thrive with the addition of new programs, the recruitment of new and influential board members, and securing key funding for a number of projects, including the Cigarette Litter Campaign. Working closely with Glynn County on deliverables such as a litter ordinance revision, inventive marketing for litter prevention, and community cleanups, her infectious enthusiasm is evident with every project she is a part of. Lea’s determination and passion have garnered KGIB extensive news coverage recognizing the organization’s innovative programming and bringing widespread awareness to the issues of litter, recycling, and beautification throughout the Golden Isles.
Joan Ellers – 2015 (Barbara Mason Award) With over 29 years’ involvement with Keep Marietta Beautiful and KAB, Joan holds widely valued talents, including overseeing a historic cemetery! In that time, she has cultivated an extremely broad circle of influence, allowing KMB to function professionally, efficiently, and economically. Some highlights of Joan’s work include: establishing the first affiliate-coordinated, volume-based garbage program in the state; leading Marietta in coming a Tree City USA; creating the first affiliate sponsored Geo-Cache in Georgia; establishing litter-free events for Marietta; creating a used book library for City employees; and helping to found the Teachers Supply Storehouse. KMB states that Joan’s ability to get so much done with limited resources is a tribute to her work ethic and character.
Pam Carswell – 2015 ((Lynn Cobb Award) In the three years since Pam has joined Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, she has left a permanent mark on the organization and community. With 30 years’ experience in the school system, Pam draws on her knowledge of the community and her extensive list of contacts to help KMBBC make an effective impact. One of the most visible impacts is the revitalization of Third Street Park in downtown Macon. With unused SPLOST funds designated for beautification, the County Commission Chair came to Pam for her input. The result was a plan to revitalize the park for KMBBC’s 40th anniversary (Georgia’s first affiliate), including the addition of plants, trees, a sprinkler system, and park benches. KMBBC notes that Pam is well-grounded and a consummate professional with enthusiasm, confidence, experience, and resources through which she is accomplishing great things in Macon!
Stacee Farrell – 2014 (Barbara Mason Award) This Director’s board chair wrote, “In the time that I have known her I have always been greeted with a smile, enthusiasm, and another great idea”. Over the last eleven years Stacee Farrell’s creative thinking has built Keep Athens Clarke County into one of the nation’s premier local affiliates. A master at creating public awareness campaigns Stacee has developed snappy, interesting and effective messages that have resonated with her community and been copied across the country including: The Cigarette Fairy, you know, the mythical creature that cleans up after smokers?; Seriously, Y’all Still Litter?; Buck, a cartoon deer that hunts human litterbugs and the newest “Littervention” campaign. Stacee follows up on this catchy messaging with solid programming. Introducing specially designed cigarette litter receptacles to downtown, growing the Adopt Athens program to include 85 groups and starting the Schoolyard Litter Gitters program.
Kathy Reed – 2014 (Lynn Cobb Award) Described by her board as a strong and innovative leader focused on developing “customer driven,” solutions for the communities she serves. But most of all it is Kathy Reed’s enthusiasm that causes her to stand out and inspires others to support the efforts of Keep North Fulton Beautiful. Kathy is a frequent speaker at civic organizations, is a member of Keep America Beautiful’s Professional Development Class and a graduate of Leadership Sandy Springs. She has developed close personal relationships with community leaders and is respected in all circles. As an independent, nonprofit affiliate, one of Kathy’s greatest successes came when she navigated the organization through the incorporation of several new cities, maintaining support for the program and developing service agreements with the new municipalities.
Gloria West-Smart - 2013 (Barbara Mason Award): Gloria been a loyal advocate for the KAB system and her community for fourteen years. She is described by members of her Board as “poised, persuasive and articulate she represents our organization with grace and style”. Ms. Weston-Smart of Keep Columbus Beautiful is definitely all of those things. She is also the driving force behind a very successful affiliate. With Gloria’s leadership KCBC has received multiple awards – especially recognizing their strong partnerships with local organizations like Columbus Water Works. After identifying the need for more effective enforcement she was instrumental in building the coalition needed to bring Columbus an environmental court; it now meets twice weekly.
Jacqueline Dost - 2013 (Lynn Cobb Award): Jacqueline has been actively involved since the beginning of her affiliate Keep Carroll Beautiful, serving on the original pre-certification team. She immediately embraced the KAB 5 Step Process and quickly became a fixture both in her community and in the statewide network; eager to support all efforts to make the system better. Ms. Dost understands that she is not the affiliate and has worked hard over the past eight years to build a solid organization from the ground up. Jacqueline’s leadership has been instrumental in securing the funding needed to make this brand new nonprofit organization successful. She has grown the operating budget almost three-fold since her start in 2005 and has secured $120,000 in funding to support community projects.
Sara Swida – 2012 Executive Director of the Year: When Sara Swida joined Keep Liberty County Beautiful the affiliate was in disarray. She brought all of the important community players to the table and recruited an entirely new advisory board. As a new resident to the community, Sara was largely unknown when she started, but she has become a household name as she has built Keep Liberty County Beautiful into one of the premier affiliates in the state and nation. Sara exemplifies the ideals of the KAB and KGB programs in her commitment to educating the public through various projects and opportunities to learn for all ages.
Lynn Cobb - 2011 Executive Director of the Year: Lynn was nominated by the Board of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Executive Directors’ Association saying, “We were all taught by her and learned from her example.” Lynn Cobb started as a volunteer with the Keep Georgia Beautiful program in 1978 and eventually became Manager until retiring in 2011. Lynn remains involved as a Board Member for the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.
2010 - Cindy Reed, Keep Hall Beautiful