In 2022, the MAX Board of Directors created the MAX Wendell Dallas Excellence in Leadership Award in honor of founding board chair Wendell Dallas.
The Wendell Dallas Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond in providing leadership in workforce development through the Metro Atlanta eXchange for Workforce Solutions (MAX) and/or MAX partners. An individual recognized through this award is known for leading with integrity, devotion, and selflessness in service to others in the workforce development sector.
Karen Leone de Nie, Vice President, Community & Economic Development and Community Affairs Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and MAX board member, has been named the second recipient of the MAX Wendell Dallas Excellence in Leadership Award. Leone de Nie was recognized during the MAX 2023 Annual Meeting.
2022-2023 MAX Board Chair John Helton, President & CEO of CareerRise, first paid tribute to Wendell Dallas and our inaugural award recipient, incoming 2024-2025 MAX Board Chair Jenny Taylor, Vice President and Chief Missions Officer for Goodwill of North Georgia.
Helton then recognized individuals who, along with Leone de Nie, were also nominated by their peers for excellence in the field (listed in alpha order by last name):
- Sonya Grant, Executive Director, WorkSource Cobb (nominated by Donna Robinson with WorkSource Cobb)
- Dana Inman, President & CEO, Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (nominated by Amelia Nickerson with First Step Staffing)
- Nate Marsh, Director, Workforce Development, MUST Ministries (nominated by Greg Elder with MUST Ministries)
- Joe Paolini, Vice President, Bobby Dodd Institute (nominated by Gigi Wallace with the Georgia Department of Human Services)
Leone de Nie was nominated by Taylor with Goodwill. In honoring Leone de Nie as the 2023 MAX Wendell Dallas Excellence in Leadership Award recipient, Helton quoted Taylor in saying:
“Karen was one of the founding members of MAX, identifying a need and working to provide a solution. She continues to lead in workforce development through her role at the Fed, not just as a researcher and convener, but in looking for progressive and meaningful ways to connect experts and practitioners with policymakers and workers. Worker Voices series, the CLIFF Tool work, the listening series for the Board of Governors, just to name a few. Karen stays engaged with her ear to the ground for the latest trends, while keeping the very big picture in mind.
Karen continually strives to connect the dots, bringing in new people and new concepts to MAX regionally, and nationally. She brings insights, resources, ideas, and tools to our workforce development ecosystem, and she brings herself. She is at the table, serving MAX on the board consistently and having her team engaged in many and varied ways.
Karen is one of the OG, who continues to be relevant and fresh as if she were a new eager professional. She is a deeply engaged and well-versed expert, though humbly supports others to shine. She lifts up best practices and connects people to be more effective, keeping decision-makers informed and smarter for her efforts, without garnering the spotlight for herself. For this reason, I think we should shine the spotlight for a moment on her to receive this award.”
MAX congratulates Karen Leone de Nie as the 2023 MAX Wendell Dallas Excellence in Leadership Award recipient! And MAX congratulates award nominees Sonya Grant, Dana Inman, Nate Marsh, and Joe Paolini for their recognized excellence as well!
ABOUT THE MAX WENDELL DALLAS EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP AWARD
Wendell Dallas and partners launched MAX in 2014. Says Wendell about the development of MAX: “Not only are we committed to the workforce system, and we’re working together and supporting each other, we know each other, we trust each other, and we like each other.”
In 2016, Dallas accepted the invitation to serve as MAX’s founding board chair and continued to develop the board of directors and MAX organization in the years that followed while also serving as chair of Georgia’s State Workforce Development Board, in leadership roles with the National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs, and in many other civic leadership capacities. Dallas is well-known for going above and beyond in providing leadership in workforce development and for leading with integrity, devotion, and selflessness in service to others in the workforce development sector.