Rohit Malhotra, Executive Director and Founder

Rohit Malhotra is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta, his hometown city. His background is in social entrepreneurship, digital communications, open data and community organizing. Most recently, he served as an Ash Innovation Fellow in the White House Office of Management and Budget, focused on the administration’s efforts around social impact bonds and pay for performance. In 2015, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where he is the youngest serving member in recent history. Rohit was named as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 30 Under 30 and in June 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Echoing Green Global Fellowship. Rohit earned his B.A. from Emory University and Master in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Rohit is a self-appointed expert on pizza and hip hop.

Melonie Tharpe, Programs Director

A native of Atlanta, Melonie brings experience from a number of local and international nonprofits, including EARTH University and most recently Sustainable Atlanta. She spent several years as a consultant for small nonprofits and social enterprises, helping to develop program strategies on topics such as sustainable agriculture, job creation, and education. Projects span the globe including Costa Rica, Ethiopia and South Africa, giving her an international frame in supporting locally-based work. She has volunteered with community-driven organizations such as Community Farmers Markets, Georgia Organics, Code for Atlanta, and Wonderroot Arts Center and also served with global social enterprise groups such as SOCAP and Atlanta+Acumen. Melonie earned her B.A. in Political Science and Anthropology from Georgia State University and a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from George Mason University.

Dayle Bennett, Creative Director

Dayle Bennett drives the look and feel of the Center and is responsible for building the Center’s membership base. Dayle has over 25 years of experience in branding and design. Dayle’s creative mind shaped companies like Hallmark, where she drove the Product (RED) Campaign, West Elm, and Neiman Marcus. Dayle is a graduate of the prestigious Atlanta Portfolio Center and hails from Baltimore, Maryland.


Kyle Kessler, Community Program Manager

Kyle Kessler is a licensed architect and a leader in organizations that combine arts, culture and history with community development. He has been awarded the Jenny D. Thurston Memorial Award by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and was the named the Best Grassroots Guardian of Old Atlanta by Creative Loafing. Kyle earned his Master of Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has also studied at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Ecole d'Architecture de Paris – La Villette, Glasgow School of Art, and the Charles E. Daniels Center for Building Research and Urban Design in Genoa Italy. 


Bem Joiner, Community Relations Manager and Creative Culture Curator

Bem Joiner has managed and consulted on numerous lifestyle and cultural immersion projects for a variety of clients such as Sprite, the Mississippi Department of Education, truth.com, the National Black Arts Festival, Nissan, Jack Daniels, Vitamin Water and many more. He also has experience in the music industry booking "early-adopter" shows for musicians such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and the Goodie Mob. He is one of the founders of Creative Call, an artistic collaboration and cultural exchange organization between Atlanta and Stockholm. Bem earned his B.A. at Jackson State University in Mass Communications.  


Erin Oakley, Partnerships and Operations Manager

Erin Oakley joined Team CCI as the Partnerships and Operations Manager in April 2016. She comes to the Center from state government and community development sector, where she focused on developing collaborative solutions for social change. In public service, she was instrumental in forming the Judicial Council Access and Fairness Committee, convening a multi-disciplinary team of community members, judges, and advocates to address human trafficking, immigration, and biases within the courts. A native of suburban Atlanta, Erin is deeply committed to this city and to creating compassionate, local communities. She studied at the beautiful Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and delights in a well-executed pun.


Rachel Stanley, Membership and Communications Manager

Rachel Stanley serves as the Membership and Communications Manager at the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI), where she works to build systems that help make CCI as inclusive, diverse, and accessible as possible. An Atlanta native, her background is in nonprofit development, fundraising, communications, and events. She comes from the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit law office in Atlanta, where she served as the Development Assistant. Prior to SCHR, she worked as the Program Coordinator at the Global Village Project, a middle school for newly-arrived, refugee teenage girls in Decatur, Georgia. Rachel earned her B.A. in International Studies from Elon University in North Carolina. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Atlanta.

Raina Turner, Program Manager, Westside Innovation Lab

Raina’s passion for creating healthy, sustainable communities by alleviating economic disparities shifted her career focus from merely advertising the issues to engaging in grassroots education and solution generation. Her unique professional background is a culmination of marketing (digital & traditional), partnership development and urban education. In these various roles, she has personally expanded her accountabilities to include strategic consulting and educational program evaluation and management.

As a Georgia native, Raina’s work always circles back to asking the community for input and applying local and global best practices to challenges. She has worked in Partnership Development with the Department of Commerce, conducted research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa; China and Colombia and most recently served as Program Coordinator for Georgia State University’s AmeriCorps STEM education program. She has continued enhancing the development of marginalized communities through culturally relevant education, innovation in community design and small business development.

Raina obtained her B.S. in Marketing and International Business from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is certified in Conceptual Selling (UAB – Miller Heiman), Food Bank Nutrition Policy (UC Berkeley), and Biomimicry – Sustainable Solutions (US EPA).


Nate Jones, Venture Development Manager

One of Nathan’s life missions is to help create and stimulate sustainable micro economies in under resourced neighborhoods through understanding and implementing financial innovations. He is a Co-Founder of the Village Micro Fund, an incubator and micro lender that lends to entrepreneurs in Metro Atlanta via equity and debt based crowd funding. Before the Village, Nathan was a valuation analyst at a distressed debt private equity fund. Nathan started his career at Goldman Sachs and is a graduate of Morehouse College.


Howard Connell

Senior Manager, Accenture Strategy

Duriya Farooqui

Executive Director, Atlanta Committee for Progress

Eloisa Klementich 
President & CEO , Invest Atlanta

Brian McGowan

Principal, Dentons

Val Porter
Head of Domestic Strategy and Innovation, Foundation Center - Atlanta

Rohit Malhotra
Founder and Executive Director, Center for Civic Innovation

Peter Floyd

General Counsel, Center for Civic Innovation; Partner, Alston & Bird LLP