A diverse group of entrepreneurs share the secrets to their success on this edition of DeKalb Business Today. Husband and wife team Alan and Terri Thornton talk about their areas of expertise – computers and public relations – as well as the key to staying relaxed in their home office. Author Annelle Elder discusses her new book, as well as her family’s real estate appraisal business. Business consultant Bridget Lewis describes her journey from an educator in Antigua to president of her own company in Atlanta.
Alan Thornton/Decatur Computer Help
Alan Thornton began helping small businesses, individuals and non-profits with their computer issues in 1995 and still serves the first clients he had at that time. He has built and maintained computer labs for the Decatur Housing Authority for the last decade. Alan earned an Angie’s Lists award for the being among the top five percent of all service contractors in the market five years in a row. He is a partner with Terri Thornton in Thornton Communications which includes Decatur Computer Help. He has served on the board of the Dekalb Enterprise Business Corporation (Debco.org).
Alan was the musical director of a political satire troupe for five years around the time of the Atlanta Olympics until he became redundant in that position when politicians began satirizing themselves. Alan and Terri Thornton are the members of the Throckmorton Ukulele Band.
Terri Thornton/Thornton Communications
Terri Thornton founded Thornton Communications in 1998 to serve the communications needs of businesses, organizations and institutions in the Southeastern U.S. Her skills include strategic public relations, content marketing, social media, media relations and crisis communications. She wrote a chapter on crisis communications in a 2014 “PR News” Guidebook. She is also a long-time contributor to MediaShift.org, described as “Your Guide to the Digital Revolution,” and serves as a freelance editor for two prominent accounting publications.
Public speaking engagements include presentations to groups including two MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forums, three SoCon social media conferences, the Legal Marketing Association, the Association for Accounting Marketers, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, the National Arthritis Foundation and Independent Counselor’s section of the local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter.
She has won several national and local awards for her work. She is also dedicated to “giving back,” and has been an active public affairs volunteer with the Red Cross, which included social media strategy and implementation for the Atlanta chapter’s 100th anniversary celebration.
Annelle Elder/Elder’s Real Estate
Annelle Johnson Elder is a wife, mother of two daughters, with two grandchildren and a grandpet Yorkie, Jaxs. She has served the community for many years and continues to volunteer in her community. She has been the president and vice president on the welcoming committee and a community safety liaison. She has a small real estate company handling appraisals and home inspections. She has appraised property in nearly every county in Georgia.
Annelle recently wrote a book entitled “Purple River“, written to inspire, motivate and encourage young women and all women to make better life choices. The book also contains a heartfelt message for the men, fathers and husbands in our lives: we need them.
Bridget Lewis/Workplace Learning Solutions
Bridget C Lewis is a workplace learning professional with more than 30 years of combined experience in education and training. She is passionate about developing the workforce of the future. Much of her early experience was gained working as a school teacher in the Caribbean. Today she is a seasoned professional development consultant and training provider. Since being in the US, she has contributed to organizations like Mercer University and InterContinental Hotels Group. In early 2010, she established Workplace Learning Solutions LLC, through which she works with local government agencies like DeKalb County, nonprofit agencies like DeKalb Workforce Development and DeKalb Medical Center, and other local small businesses. Ms. Lewis is passionate about the professional retooling of the long-term unemployed.
Her company, Workplace Learning Solutions LLC (WLS), is an Atlanta-based small business. They work with small and mid-sized businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits, providing performance consulting and professional development services. Their clients are organizations that need an outsourced resource to manage their people performance improvement strategies. They collaborate with clients to identify and implement the best approaches for improving performance in the workplace. As WLS continues to grow, they believe in making a valuable contribution to our areas’ economic development by adding jobs and working with non-profits that support a holistic approach to the professional development of long-term unemployed citizens. Their mission is to help create an engaged and productive workforce.