Our Board & Staff



Dianne Harnell Cohen | Chair

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One of the first two homeowners to purchase a lot in Serenbe, Dianne has served on the Serenbe Institute Board for five years.  She has chaired the Governance Committee which developed Serenbe Institute’s Strategic Plan, the nominating committee, and has served as Chair Elect. Dianne has served on many boards including chairing United Way Allocations, Park Pride, Piedmont Park Conservancy, the Atlanta Urban League, Leadership Atlanta and Success by Six. Dianne previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Roy Barnes, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs for Mayor Shirley Franklin and currently is proud to be affiliated with Atlanta Fine Homes/Sotheby’s International Realty.

Lynn Merrill | Immediate Past Chair

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Lynn moved to Serenbe in 2007 and joined the Institute board in 2008, serving as vice chair from 2009 to 2013 and chair from June 2013 to December 2015. She holds a masters degree in community development from the University of Louisville having served her communities both professionally and as a volunteer.  Most notably she was co-executive director of Leadership Atlanta and chair of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Lynn currently serves on the strategic planning committee of the Chattahoochee Hills Charter School and is excited about MADO and the initiatives surrounding well being and a compassionate community emerging in Serenbe. 

Peter Vantine | Treasurer


Peter Vantine is a Lecturer at the College of Management at Georgia Tech where he teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in marketing, international business, management, and sales and sales management. Prior to joining Georgia Tech as Associate Dean and Director of Executive Programs, he held similar positions at Carnegie Mellon University and Emory University. Before moving to academia, Vantine spent twenty years in industry, with PepsiCo and other consumer products companies, and lived and worked in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. He led two start-ups, three major turnarounds, and served as CEO of three different operating companies. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, with a BA in sociology, and he earned his MBA in marketing at the Wharton School.

Maria Rey | Secretary


Maria is a partner at Ernst & Young where she leads transformational projects in supply chain and operations for the consumer goods and retail sectors in the Americas. Prior to her work with EY, she founded and managed MRM+ Partners, an Atlanta-based consulting firm. Other professional experiences include The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, and the Science and Technology Financing Fund COLCIENCIAS. She has taught and worked at Georgia Tech, Georgetown University, Los Andes University, Coca-Cola University and Universidad Latina in Panama City, Panama. Maria holds a Ph.D from Cranfield University, an MS from Georgia Tech and an MA from Javeriana University in Conjunction with Paris IV.




Janice Barton
Phyllis Bleiweis
Doug Cloud
Lynn Eden
Julie Klappas

Garnie Nygren
Cindy Peters
Tom Reed
Diane Sandifer
Shelton Stanfill
Karen Windham



John Graham | Founding Executive Director

A current resident of Serenbe, John has served the Institute since 2005 and has overseen it's incredible growth to a $1m+ regional leader on the issues of cultural and environmental sustainability. He has held executive positions at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Southern Methodist University's Center for Arts Administration and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. John currently serves on the City of Chattahoochee Hills Parks Commission

Jamina Cole DAmico | Director, Strategy & Resource Development

Jamina joined the Serenbe Institute in 2015 and is responsible for creating and implementing strategies that will grow the Institute's programmatic and regional impact. Previous experience includes Teach For America - Metro Atlanta, Synchronicity Theatre, Horizon Theatre Company and Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Jamina holds a BFA in theater from California Institute of the Arts, and is studying to earn her Master's of Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University.