The Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series brings Atlanta’s great business minds to Coles College of Business students, faculty, staff and alumni. Through this interactive event series, you’ll be able to hear personal stories of success over setbacks, gain insight on what makes a great leader and talk one-on-one with industry role models in an accessible atmosphere.
The series began in 1990 thanks to the vision of KSU supporter Jack Dinos along with
a generous endowment from Hank McInerney, then CEO of Tetley, Inc. Since its inception
the series has inspired, created business relationships and helped students network
their way to top internships and jobs.
Many faculty allow students to earn extra credit for attending a Tetley, or bring
their class to the events - be sure to ask your professor.
Tetley Leadership Series Schedule
Stephanie Stuckey, Chair, Stuckey's Corporation
Everybody loves a comeback, and that’s Stuckey’s. It was America’s first roadside retail chain and once dominated the nation’s highways, becoming synonymous with the American Road Trip. But the company was sold and trashed for decades by outside ownership that didn’t appreciate a quirky Southern brand that sold rubber alligators and pecan log rolls. Stephanie shares the story of how she spent her live savings on reviving her family’s business in 2019, and their incredible journey from 6-figures debt to over $13M in sales in three years.
"Revival and Resilience: The Stuckey's Comeback Journey"
Stephanie Stuckey is CEO of Stuckey’s, a brand known for generations as a highway oasis serving up pecan log rolls and kitschy souvenirs. Founded in 1937 by her grandfather, W.S. Stuckey, Sr. in Eastman, Ga., Stuckey’s grew to 350+ stores nationwide. The company was sold in 1964 and languished for decades under a series of corporate owners until Stephanie purchased it in November 2019.
Stephanie received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia. She worked as a trial lawyer, was elected to seven terms as a state representative, ran an environmental law firm, served as Director of Sustainability for Atlanta, and taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. Since purchasing Stuckey’s, she has been named one of the Most Admired CEOs of 2022 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine.
The Stuckey’s story has been featured recently in the New York Times Sunday Business Section, the TODAY Show, and The Washington Post.
When she’s not running Stuckey’s, Stephanie enjoys traveling by car to explore the back roads of America and pulling over at every boiled peanut stand and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
The Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series has attracted more than sixty leaders from the private and public sectors all honored to speak to our students and all simply for the opportunity to share past experience and wisdom for the future to the next generation of global leaders at the Coles College of Business. The series has also created the opportunity for great liaisons with senior business leadership often leading to career opportunities for graduates, master’s candidates and undergraduate students.
Over the years, Tetley speakers have adopted various themes for their lectures. For example:
Mark, Lauren, and Ryan Wilson hosted our first panel discussion on "Generational Perspectives
Michelle Gethers presented "The NEXT Level: Perspectives on Leadership Now and into
Shane Jackson shared his insights on "Healthcare During COVID: Lessons from a Leadership Crucible"
H.P. Rama spoke on "Journey of Realizing the American Dream and Lessons Learned"
Lee Rhyant taught us that "You're Not Failing, You're Soaring: Turning Challenges
J. Larry Stevens spoke on "Building Relationships and Becoming Extraordinary"
Michael A. Leven discussed "Can't Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to
Andy Puzder shared his thoughts on "The American Dream Must Be Alive and Well - Or
I Wouldn't Be Here"
Pat Flood gave us his perspective on what he calls "Destination: BEST"
John Stossel explained his thoughts on "Work Hard or You’ll Freeze in the Dark”
Brian Pendley told us about “Setting the Tone: How to Be a Leader Others Want to Follow”
Hector Padilla presented "Know Where You’re Going: Career Planning for Leaders & Individuals"
Rob Hale explained to use that "Now is the Time"
Michael J. Coles shared his experience with "Taking on Goliath"
Debbie Pike discussed "Beyond Marketing: Why Purpose-Driven Brands are Thriving!"
Steve Koonin gave us his thoughts on "Connecting with the Next Generation Atlanta"
Bob Kilinski presented on "Turning a Service into a Business"
Will Alexander spoke on "The One Constant on the Road to Becoming a Leader"
Scott Pederson told us "How I Turned My Love for Sports into A Career"
Carol B. Tomé presented "The Power of a Values Based Business"
Mark Kaplan taught us about "Creating your Personal Brand"
Jennifer Van Buskirk gave us her best advice - "Ban the Word Can’t"
Ralph Stokes shared his "The Success of Your Dreams"
Life Lessons from the "Gridiron to the Boardroom"
Shan Cooper discussed "I Was Going to Be a Doctor, But Decided to Build Airplanes
Tony Charaf presented on "The Servant Leader"
Eric Wilhelm shared his thoughts on "Day to Day Innovation"
Brad Kehm spoke on "Leading the Nike Way"
Mitzi Moore shared her story and keys of success
Keith Schroeder took us on "A Journey From Idea to Reality"
Virginia Hepner examined "The Art of Leading a Nonprofit"
Mark Wilson spoke on "The Confidence to Succeed"
Steve Gross discussed the "Language of Business"
Genevieve Bos spoke on Networking and Your Net Worth
John Dewberry shared his vision for a greater Atlanta
Jim Jacoby discussed past and future developments in Atlanta, Marine Studios, and
the apprenticeship program at the Jacoby Group
Daymond John shared the Secrets of His Success
Governor Sonny Perdue networked with attendees and shared insights on global business
Frank Belatti focused on turnaround strategies
Arthur Blank examined the trauma of downsizing and starting a new venture
Ronald Bruno looked at the dynamics of a family held business
Tom Cousins shared insights from a family held business
Jerry Dempsey talked about refocusing a 100 year old enterprise
Donald Hess concentrated on customer service and competitive positioning
Irwin Lowenstein examined managing through a leveraged buyout
Mary Madden looked at starting a niche technology-based venture
Harry Maziar commented on the importance of sales and marketing
Peter Spirer talked about the history of the tufted carpet industry
Carolyn Stradley shared her vision of the 'Great American Dream'
Erwin Zaban talked about family mergers and acquisitions
Topics varied dramatically and some speakers employed videos, slides, overheads, handouts
or samples. All brought a passion to the Series that has made them distinguished leaders.
The Coles College of Business Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series will be held on the campus of Kennesaw State University in the Burruss Building, adjacent to the KSU Commons and Prillaman Hall.
Directions Kennesaw State University Burruss Building 560 Parliament Garden Way NW Kennesaw, GA 30144