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the Great chatt

Join Emerging Leaders United – Take a seat at the table!

This event is now sold out.

The Great Chatt seeks to connect young leaders with 10 influential community leaders. Through these conversations, we hope to foster powerful dialogue around philanthropic and civic engagement – and how giving back to our community can positively influence your career. Tickets to the event will include a three-course meal and a drink ticket. Come take a seat at the table!

  • Thu, December 01, 2022 @ 06:00 pm – 09:00 pm
  • Bibb Mill
    3715 1st Ave
    Columbus, GA 31904

This event is now sold out.

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Honorary Guests

Katie Bishop 

Co-Founder & Chief Buzz Ambassador, Yalla Public Relations 

Katie has more than 9 years of industry experience in Public Relations, along with an education from one of the top five Public Relations schools in the nation. Katie has worked with clients that surround tourism, adventure and the hospitality fields. She also has had her hands in some of the largest and well-known events in the Chattahoochee Valley area. Katie’s interest is in strategic development and implementation of thought provoking campaigns that deliver extreme engagement and a ROI. Katie’s background in PR gives her strength in the messaging and writing behind strategic marketing campaigns. Her current role at the company is strategy, media buys, team leadership, and anything it takes to keep a small business successful. 

On a personal note, she has a love for travel and her dog Hauk, a dire need for communication, and a passion for community involvement. 


Pace Halter 

President and COO, W.C. Bradley Co. 

Pace Halter joined the Real Estate Division of the W.C. Bradley Co. as President and COO in June of, 2017. He brings a broad base of real estate and finance experience to the company. For the 16 years prior to joining the company, he was the President and CEO for The Halter Companies, a development and investment company he founded in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that, he worked for both BB&T and Bank of America as the Assistant Vice President managing a significant real estate construction and development loan portfolio. Pace graduated from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Business. He earned an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate and Finance from Georgia State University. He served as the 2020 & 2021 Chairman of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, is the current Chair of Uptown Columbus Inc., Chairs the Columbus Museum Building & Ground Committee and holds a seat on the Synovus Bank Advisory, Columbus Economic Development Corporation and Columbus Film Fund Board of Directors.


Norman Hardman 

Realtor, Prestige Property Brokers

Norman, born in Columbus, is a native of west Georgia. He is the husband of Anna Hardman and father to three children: Victoria, Matthew and Isaiah. Norman is a graduate of Columbus State University and Troy University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and an MBA, respectively. Norman stems from a family of ministers, and he is continuing the legacy of ministry started by his mother, The Late Dr. Ann L. Hardman, and father, Dr. Norman Hardman Sr. Norman served six years in the banking industry, providing financial services to families and small businesses. Norman later became a full time outreach minister and entrepreneur to better serve the needs of his community. As an outreach minister, he has established partnerships to form a community based GED & Job Readiness program, as well as coalitions geared toward poverty reduction and community development. As an entrepreneur, he teaches financial literacy and promotes home ownership as a licensed realtor. Norman seeks to empower others through faith and economics.



Ben Moser

President and CEO, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley

Ben Moser began his role as President and CEO of the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley in August of 2019. Before that, Ben served as the Director of Major Gifts for the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County and held several positions at the United Way of Forsyth County (NC).

After receiving his JD in 2004, Ben practiced law in New York City for 7 years before returning to NC and beginning his career with United Way. Ben graduated with a BA in History from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a devoted Tar Heel fan. Ben lives in Columbus with his wife Stephanie and son Jackson (9).


Crystal Pendleton Shahid 

Market President, Truist

Crystal Pendleton Shahid is native of Columbus, Georgia where she is active in her community through Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Junior League of Columbus (Sustainer), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Historic Columbus Board of Trustees, CSU Friends of Art, Columbus Technical College Board of Directors, City of Columbus Pension Fund Trustee, and Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  She also supports her two alma maters, Fort Valley State University and Albany State University, through her work with the Fountain City Classic.  She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Georgia and served as the Board Treasurer for that organization from 2017-2019.  In 2015, she was recognized in Georgia Trend Magazine’s “40 Under 40”.  She has also been recognized as a Girl Scout Woman of Achievement and with the Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Award. 

Professionally, Crystal is the Market President for Truist Bank, having joined the company in October with a career spanning over 16 years in the banking industry.  She serves as the Georgia DE&I Champion and her work previously focused on environmental, social, and governance strategy in commercial banking.   

Crystal is the eldest daughter of Howard and Jeanella Pendleton. She is happily married to Zaki Shahid, a native of Washington, D.C., and they have two sons; 11-year-old, Zaki, Jr., who is affectionately known as “Deuce,” and 5-year-old Zion.   She has one sister, Christine, who resides in Chicago, Illinois, and works as an executive search consultant in the education and nonprofit sectors. 


Heath Schondelmayer

Division CEO, Synovus

With 25 years of banking experience, Heath leads a regional team committed to building the Synovus brand throughout Columbus and beyond. Since joining Synovus in 1997, he’s been a tireless leader in Columbus, as well as a champion for growth and prosperity across the region. “I love Columbus and the people here,” says Heath. “We have so much positive energy and momentum. I’m honored to play a small part in shaping our community’s future.”

A native of Augusta, GA, Heath earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Georgia and his MBA from Columbus State University. He’s also a graduate of Stonier Banking School at Georgetown University. Heath and his wife, Carter, have one son and can be spotted at the ball field cheering him on whenever possible.


Will Thompson

Senior VP, Commercial Banking Manager, Synovus

A native of Columbus, Will has been with Synovus Bank since 1999. Starting on the ground floor as a teller, he transitioned into financial analysis in Synovus’ Family Asset Management Group. He has also served as a credit analyst and a commercial banker, and in 2010 was named commercial banking manager. Will has considerable experience in developing financial solutions for our business and commercial customers’ needs. Outside the office, he’s actively involved in helping the community thrive.

Work in our community:

  • Treasurer, Russell County Child Advocacy Center
  • Phenix City Rotary Club
  • Past President, East Alabama Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member, Phenix City Housing Authority
  • Treasurer, Northern Little League
  • Chairman, Troy University Advisory Council

Audrey Tillman

Executive Vice President; General Counsel, Aflac

Audrey Boone Tillman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Aflac Incorporated, directs Aflac’s Legal division and functions related to Compliance, Government Relations, Federal Relations, State Government Relations, Corporate Communications, and the office of the Corporate Secretary, including oversight functions of the General Counsel and Compliance offices at Aflac Japan, where the company earns more than 75 percent of its revenues. 


Chris Woodruff

Founder and CEO, The Cotton Companies

With 20+ years of real estate experience, Chris has worked in every facet of both residential and commercial real estate- from property management and marketing to business development, investment, and asset acquisition. Development isn’t just a profession for Chris… it’s in his blood – literally.  His ancestors arrived in Columbus in the late 1840s and have long standing real estate development and entrepreneurial roots that reflect a love and commitment to the community. To date, his cumulative development, constructions, management, sales, leasing, investment is associated with over $175 million in developmental investments in the Columbus, Georgia region.