MEET THE TEAM
Jen Soong – Founder + Curator
Jen is a communications strategist with more than two decades of media, marketing and brand strategy experience. Inspired by London weekend markets, she set out to unite local makers across the city and transform urban spaces into vibrant marketplaces. A graduate of Cornell University, Jen co-founded the Atlanta and Boston chapters of Room to Read and has served on the advisory board of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). She lives in Decatur, GA with her husband and two kids. She loves homemade lemonade stands and Swedish fish.
Shannon Kroll – Director
Shannon is a project manager with a passion for Atlanta and community. Following more than a decade in the counseling industry, she tried many careers - admin support, retail, sales - before falling in love with Atlanta and public transportation. This led to work in Atlanta’s burgeoning tech industry and with local small businesses. Shannon’s passion and ability to connect people makes Root City Market a perfect fit. Shannon lives (mostly) car-free in Old Fourth Ward with her husband Ben and their blue heeler Chef. She does yoga, meditates and avoids eating animals.
Laura Gosnell – Graphic Designer
Laura is a graphic designer and illustrator. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a BA in fine arts, she moved to Atlanta to study graphic design at Creative Circus. She's currently Design Director at Unboundary, a design-based strategy and corporate communications firm. When not working on design, she can be found doing historical reenactment and bookbinding.
Allison Song – Event Stylist
Allison is an Atlanta-based stylist and florist, specializing in weddings and events. She graduated from Northeastern University in 2010 with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Graphic Design. She has worked for various industries ranging from a non-profit in South Africa to one of the largest accessories wholesalers in America. She is passionate about creative community, pursuing dreams and all things local.
Jess Smith – Event Photographer
Jess, aka Lady Flashback, is a freelance photographer and blogger, also working full-time at Indigo Studios. Since moving to Atlanta in 2009, she has gone from modeling to having a more behind-the-camera role shooting events and photos for her blog all over the city. She has been contributing to her blog since 2007 and had collaborations with brands such as Free People and West Elm.
Sarah Lawrence – Installation Artist
Sarah is a graphic designer born and raised in downtown Atlanta. She works at Paste Magazine as a lead designer and design section editor. She volunteers for Good Thinking ATL, a creative agency that provides pro bono work for Atlanta nonprofits, and blogs about design, food, and travel. She currently lives in Cabbagetown with her cute boyfriend and even cuter puppy.
Jill Walker – Production Coordinator
Jill is an account manager at a design firm in Atlanta, GA. Hailing from the great state of Texas, she earned her B.S. at a private liberal arts school in Virginia. After cramming four years of study into six, Jill earned her Masters and made her way down to call Atlanta, GA home. She enjoys being creative and loves small businesses, community development, and exploring all that Atlanta has to offer.
Justin Smith – Logistics
After achieving his B.F.A. at Columbus State University, Justin has only recently had the opportunity to explore the Atlanta area. When he is not professionally involved as a product specialist at Bacon's Heir and a product technician at DSI Fitness, Justin is a practicing fictional writer, a music devotee and occasional volunteer for various non-profit organizations around Atlanta.
Sarah Brown – Social Media
Sarah is a photographer, writer and chronic doodler who has been proud to call Atlanta home for the past 28 years. She graduated from Freed Hardeman University in 2007 with a B.A. in English. Having spent time in many different fields, Sarah has come to value authenticity, humor and creative expression. She can usually be found in the company of her husband and her very squeaky cat.
Butler Raines – Insights + Analytics
Butler is a co-founder at The Bitter Southerner. His team at The Bitter Southerner was recently named by Southern Living as “50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015.” He is also a product manager at NDN specializing in data and analytics. In addition to BURNAWAY’s Board of Directors, he serves as a Georgia College & State University Foundation Board Trustee and as a GC Alumni Board member. He usually can be found about Atlanta doing yoga or drinking whiskey.
Mary Dixon - PR + Marketing
Mary is a writer, editor, and content strategist who, despite Midwestern roots, has called Atlanta home for most of her life. She graduated from The College of Wooster in rural Ohio, and now works for Dragonfly Editorial, an agency that help businesses in complex industries communicate with clarity. Mary lives in Inman Park and can often be spotted on the BeltLine.
Laura Cost - Creative Placemaking Coordinator
Laura is a community engagement specialist and grant writer who is passionate about empowering people to help their communities grow stronger through creativity. With a background in arts education and community organizing, Laura recently returned to the South after receiving her master's degree from Boston University. She also loves yoga and traveling and is working on her yoga teacher certification and is always planning her next trip.
Kurt Ronn – Advisor
Kurt is the founder and president of HRworks, a national recruitment firm specializing in large-scale talent acquisition projects. Most recently, Ronn founded AGD Ventures bringing lean startup methodology to socially responsible businesses. He currently is president of Technical College System of Georgia Foundation, an active angel investor, ATDC mentor at Georgia Tech, supports causes through the CHARITYworks Foundation and would like to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Kim-Thu Bui Barnett - Advisor
Kim is Senior Director & Executive Producer for CNN Special Projects, a founding member of TurnerAsia, and an active member of the CNN Diversity Council. A member of the AAJA-Atlanta Chapter, she has served the group in every position from secretary to president and is currently an advisor. She also served as Board President for Refugee Family Services.