Metro Atlanta Chamber Celebrates 160 Years of Driving Impact, Reflects on Legacy and Reveals Strategic Focus at 2019 Annual Meeting

September 24, 2019

A ‘next generation’ focus will inspire MAC’s ongoing efforts to drive the region’s economy into the future

ATLANTA (Sept. 24, 2019) – The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) kicked off a three-part celebration of its 160th anniversary today. More than 600 influential leaders gathered for its annual meeting in the new Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre to commemorate the occasion, celebrate the organization’s achievements and take in its strategic direction for the future.

Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco and 2020 MAC chair-elect, captured MAC’s mindset for the future in one phrase: next generation. To underscore this assertion, the organization outlined a focus on next-generation talent, next-generation companies and next-generation leadership.

“The phrase ‘next generation’ perfectly captures today’s Metro Atlanta Chamber and Atlanta’s business community more broadly,” said Flanagan. “We have a next-generation mindset that will inspire our work well into the future as we partner across private and public sectors to drive our economy and position metro Atlanta as a top region for careers, community and culture.”

Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of MAC, added, “MAC continues to stand on the firm foundation of business leaders and regional partners who have championed our efforts and worked alongside us throughout our 160 years. As much as our history inspires us, I am equally proud of the progress we have made over recent years. Both businesses and talent are seeing the benefit of a metro Atlanta address. With a commitment to next-generation leadership, we are well-positioned for our next 160 years and beyond.”

Core activities that point to MAC’s focus on next gen include:

  • Launching Project Plato where MAC brought together nearly 100 multigenerational and multicultural leaders representing a cross-section of industries to shape its next strategic plan;
  • Rebooting ChooseATL this fall with a new look, multicultural approach and refreshed message that will be laser-focused on capturing the attention of both Gen Z and millennial talent;
  • Advancing Backed by ATL, an initiative that helps middle-market growth companies accelerate growth and fuel economic impact, by building a strong community of next-gen businesses that will be the future tech leaders of the region and world; and
  • Securing major sporting events like the 2026 FIFA World Cup and driving metro Atlanta’s growing esports ecosystem for continued economic impact and global visibility for the region.

Notable milestones through MAC’s 160-year history include raising $2 million for the Cotton State and International Exposition in the 1890s, being the first business organization to support school desegregation and business integration in the 50s and 60s, and more recently lobbying against discriminatory legislation like religious exemption. MAC has also been instrumental in attracting major sporting events, thousands of companies and countless jobs to our region, fueling Georgia’s position as the top state for business.

A number of MAC’s past presidents and past chairs, including Brad Currey and Dick Anderson (2007) (1974) attended today’s event. The organization also payed homage to past Chamber leaders, including Asa Candler (1908-1909), three generations of Gellerstedts – L.L. Gellerstedt (1944), L.L Gellerstedt, Jr. (1972) and Larry Gellerstedt (2015), three generations of Allens – Ivan Allen (1917), Ivan Allen, Jr. (1961) and Ivan Allen, III (1975), Herman Russell (1981), Ambassador Andrew Young (1996), Jackie Ward (1997), Arthur Blank (2003), Carol Tomé (2012) and many others.

MAC will continue to celebrate its 160 years of driving impact in metro Atlanta through a series it is calling its “deconstructed annual meeting.” Upcoming events will take place at King & Spalding and Zoo Atlanta. In addition, later this fall, MAC will continue to celebrate its 160th anniversary with a historical marker unveiling in conjunction with the Georgia Historical Society.

For a complete overview of MAC’s history and more information on its 160th anniversary events, visit


About the Metro Atlanta Chamber

The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) serves as a catalyst for a more prosperous and vibrant region. To advance economic growth and improve metro Atlanta's quality of place, MAC is focused on starting, growing and recruiting companies to the 29-county metro Atlanta region. The Chamber is also focused on expanding the region's innovation economy by promoting and strengthening connections to drive Atlanta's innovation and entrepreneurial culture. MAC is committed to being an active voice for the business community, serving as an advocate for a competitive business climate and promoting Atlanta's story. For more information, visit