Our Board & Staff
Dianne Harnell Cohen | Chair
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.
Deborah Griffin | Acting Chair/Incoming Chair
Penny McPhee | Treasurer
Penny is the president and trustee of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Penny joined the Blank Family Foundation in 2004, from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, where she led the $1.8 billion foundation’s grant-making programs. Before entering the field of philanthropy, Penny had a distinguished career as a television producer and author. Her television programs have won five Emmys, as well as other prestigious awards. For seven years she was on the staff of WPBT, Miami’s public broadcasting station, where she launched its cultural affairs department and served as executive producer of cultural programming. Penny has a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and was graduated with honors from Wellesley College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and theater arts.
Tom Reed | Secretary
A Serenbe resident since 2006, Tom is a serial entrepreneur who has spent his working life creating and building successful startups. His businesses have been on the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing companies 7 times. In his volunteer life, he led the incorporation of the City of Chattahoochee Hills, and has been a driving force behind the City’s zoning program, which will permanently preserve over 70% of the 40,000-acre municipality as forest and farm – a national model of conservation-oriented development. He volunteers as Mayor of the City, where he brings his entrepreneurial skills to bear on local and regional issues. In his spare time, he helped found the local charter school, mentors young entrepreneurs, serves on the Boards of several high-growth companies and local volunteer organizations, and on several committees of the Serenbe Institute.
Shirley Mitchell Ferrell
Jennifer Bauer-Lyons | Executive Director
Jennifer Bauer-Lyons is thrilled to join Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture, and Environment as the Executive Director, succeeding Founding Executive Director John Graham. Her career in the arts spans both the creative and administrative, and she has served as a consultant for multiple non-profits focusing on strategic leadership, financial stability, and change management. Jennifer had the honor of serving as the Managing Director for GA Shakespeare, the Managing Producer & Founder/Director of the Apprentice Company for Horizon Theatre Company, Guest Director for Oglethorpe University, as well as Theatre in the Square, Theatrical Outfit, Essential Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, New Jersey Shakespeare, Opera Memphis, having directed over 80 plays and musicals; and administratively with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She holds an MFA from the University of Memphis in Theatre Directing and is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the professional national labor union. Jennifer volunteers with Junior League of Atlanta, having served as the Vice President of Internal Operations, and is an International Officer for Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. Additionally, Jennifer has served as a grant panelist for Georgia Council for the Arts, Fulton County Arts Council, City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, a recommending judge for the Suzi Bass Awards and a panelist for the Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award.
Brandall Jones | Program Manager
With a background in arts administration and performing arts, Jones is honored to join an organization that understands and values the impact of the arts. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Jones has used his personal creative background as an inspiration to create creative opportunities for those who are often overlooked or not provided a proper platform for expression. Before graduating from SCAD in 2015, Jones had completed internships with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Savannah Film Festival, Atv Fest, and the Savannah Stage Company. Since graduating, Jones has worked for People Store (talent agency) in Atlanta and Fulton County Arts and Culture. Jones looks forward to leveraging the artistic, cultural, and environmental strengths of The Serenbe Institute to enrich and uplift the lives of Serenbe residents and visitors, as well as those in the area of our South Fulton community.