Our Team

Cheri Leavy

Co-Founder
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Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs. Constantly on the lookout for the newest talent in the South, Cheri has a passion for helping entrepreneurs create and share their brand storytelling through her endeavors – The Southern Coterie • guide2athensBulldawg IllustratedCoastal Illustrated.

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Whitney Long

Co-Founder
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After a successful career as a scout, stylist and contributing editor for some of the biggest names in print media like Coastal Living, Southern Accents, Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens plus various special interest titles, Whitney took time off to focus on her favorite job – being a mom to four.  After the youngest began school, Whitney longed to again find a creative outlet and the result was the founding of The Southern Coterie.

Whitney draws on her years of curating unique places and people for the lifestyle magazine industry to create connections, find strategic partners and cultivate a talented team for the Southern C Summit and Retreat.  She enjoys working alongside some of the South’s most creative minds while supporting both established and upcoming brands.  “Whitney has her finger on the pulse of the South, old and new, which makes her such a visionary for the network and at our events,” says Cheri. Born in the quintessential southern town of Elba, Alabama, Whitney now calls the quaint seaside village of St.Simons Island, Georgia home.

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Libba Osborne

PR + Brand Strategy
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Over her tenure at Leapfrog PR, Libba guided many of her clients, both large and small, to become prominent brands among the shelves of national retailers. A storyteller at heart, she looks for common threads – pride in the process and an authentic history – in all of the companies she works alongside. Now as a founder of the creative consultancy Add Lib, she focuses on only a handful of carefully selected clients who have a truly great story – business owners in the south who have products and services that are inspired by heritage (a recipe, an orchard, a kettle built to last, kinship) and built on people’s need to gather, connect and foster relationships. She advises some of the South’s best-loved brands including Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Caroline’s Cakes, Sea Island Forge, Schermer Pecans, and The Southern Coterie #tscsummit. She thrives on mentoring entrepreneurs and small business owners. To celebrate these relationships, she offers a pro bono Small Business Mentorship program with three to five women participating each year.

An Atlanta native, Libba found her passion for all things edible as a post-grad student at New York’s French Culinary Institute (International Culinary Center). She segued into restaurant public relations at Baltz & Co. and the Dunn Robbins Group, promoting brands in the food, wine, and spirits industries. Following a move to her husband’s hometown of Charleston, Libba joined Leapfrog to continue her craft, as an owner from 2009 to 2021. She recently founded Add Lib in 2022.

Libba is a graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee. Libba and her husband, Chris, are raising their two sons a stone’s throw from the Ashley River.

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Jenn Agnew

Brand Partnerships Lead
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Jenn Agnew has 20 years of sales and marketing experience. She has developed a knowledge in print and digital marketing strategy as well as sales. She has worked closely with travel and tourism as well as government and business sectors and has a significant background in event management and promotion. Her past involvement includes roles as Senior Director Integrated Marketing and Communications for Atlanta magazine, Marketing Director for Childcare Network, and marketing leadership roles for various resorts including Jekyll Island Authority and Callaway Gardens. 

Jenn is an avid tennis player.  She and her husband, John Agnew, live on St. Simons with their two sons Mason (16) and Kip (13).

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Katelyn Whelan

Digital Media Coordinator
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Katelyn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a dual degree in Marketing & Visual Communication Design. Settling in her hometown of Savannah, GA, she has spent the past 5 years building a career working with female owned small businesses. From events to retail, she has learned the art of translating ideas into action. Specializing in digital marketing, she seeks to bring the passion of her clients to life through the power of social media & e-commerce. She is the digital arm of a design firm founded with her two sisters, The Whelan Girls.

When she is not working, you can find her at the beach. She loves spending time with her family and can whip up a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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Alison Abernathy

MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR + SUMMIT PRODUCER
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Alison Abernathy is a native of Tyler, TX and graduate of Texas Christian University. Prior to children, she worked as a paralegal in Atlanta at King & Spalding and Cashin, Morton & Mullins which ultimately merged into Burr & Forman, LLP. She now resides in Athens, GA with her husband and two sons. Alison enjoys travel, playing tennis and skiing. She has been involved with The Southern Coterie behind the scenes since its’ inaugural yet torrential Summit on Jekyll Island, making this her 11th event!

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Jackie Thomson

PR + BRAND STRATEGY
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Jackie Thomson founded of Counsel in early 2022 after co-owning and expanding the Charleston-based lifestyle pr firm, leapfrog, for 13 years. Her consultancy focuses on promoting female founders in the design and style space with a focused approach on brand development through media and influencer relations, events and strategic partnerships. The term of Counsel refers to her team’s hands-on approach to brand building and the partnerships that she builds with long-term clients.

Jackie earned her undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston, then moved to New York for a buying position at GUCCI, and then to grow the wholesale business for bridal and evening wear designer Reem Acra. She later returned to Charleston to join, and later take over leapfrog’s design-related projects. Her wide-ranging interests in lifestyle-related categories drives of Counsel’s expertise in the fields of fashion and design. Beyond the realm of traditional PR, Jackie enjoys honing brand strategy, content creation, and developing market positioning for her clients.

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Allison Skinner

DEVELOPMENT & TECHNOLOGY
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Allison Skinner runs Allison Skinner Design & Development from Athens, GA. She has been a tech partner for over one hundred brands and organizations over the past 10 years. Allison provides expert web design, web development, IT support and more for her clients.

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Cissy Thompson

Summit Support
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Having a passion for charity work and helping to raise funds for those in need, Cissy Thompson has been both behind the scenes and front and center as Chair for many Golden Isles philanthropic events including the American Cancer Society Victory Board and Gala and Hospice of the Golden Isles Wine, Women and Shoes fundraiser. She is also founder of “Girls and Pearls”, an annual Christmas dinner charity event where ladies gather to dine and celebrate but also help a local designated charity.  Professionally, Cissy has worked as an executive assistant and office administrator for the Sea Island Company and also in the home healthcare/physician industry. Currently, she is the Membership Director at Sea Palms Resort on St. Simons Island, GA.  In her spare time, Cissy enjoys reading, cooking, gardening and the outdoors.

 

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Carson Ratley

Digital Media & Summit Intern
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Carson Ratley is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in Marketing with a keen interest in Business Law. She hails from the lively town of Augusta, Georgia. You’ll often find Carson whipping up delicious creations in the kitchen or jetting off on new adventures to satisfy her travel bug. Music runs through her veins, and she’s always up for a good concert. Of course, Carson is also a die-hard Dawgs fan – you’ll spot her cheering passionately for her team. Life’s all about savoring these moments, and she is making sure to relish every bit of it!

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Ellie Watkins

Digital Media & Summit Intern
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Ellie Watkins, a University of Georgia junior, is pursuing a Marketing degree with a focus on digital marketing. As a Saint Simons Island, GA Native, Ellie holds a great fondness for her native hometown. She operates her own small business specializing in original works of art and watercolor. Concurrently, she collaborates with female-led businesses on freelance marketing projects. Ellie thrives on connecting individuals through social media and applying creative flair to enhance corporate designs. In her free time, Ellie enjoys strolling on the beach, or on the weekends, enjoying a game day in Athens!

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Molly Lloyd

Summit Support
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Molly Lloyd began her career in New York City working in the fashion industry for Trina Turk. About 8 years ago, she made the move south to work in the wedding industry as a Graphic Designer for Paper Daisies Stationery. Molly has returned to her true love of fashion and is now in the process of opening an online clothing boutique, Hampton Point, set to launch in February of 2021.

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Ashley Jackson

Summit Support
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If you were to look up the definition of “Mompreneur” you would see a fabulous picture of Ashley Jackson, plastered right there. Vibrant, and unique, Corporate America wasn’t enough for this creative. After years of being a banker, Ashley trusted herself, took a leap of faith, and started working her business full time. One of her most notable passions is helping small businesses achieve their branding goals, and motivating others to muster up the same trust in themselves, take that leap of faith, and become an entrepreneur in their own right.

From hosting seminars and workshops, assisting people with becoming entrepreneurs, and being heavily involved in the branding for local and nationwide nonprofits. Ashley is also well known in her community as she serves on the Selden Park Advisory Board in Brunswick, GA.  During the summers, you can find her assisting a local youth nonprofit, Team Next Up. As she builds her empire, Ashley enjoys spending quality time with her husband and toddler, doing photoshoots, and taking family walks.

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Elizabeth Cook

Summit Social Media Support
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Elizabeth has a background in publishing and lifestyle public relations in New York City, combined with a successful history as an entrepreneur. Her first business, Elizabeth Heard, a line of carefully crafted hair accessories for women to find their finishing touch by adding a dose of flair to the hair, led her to be named a 2017 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 finalist. The brand was later acquired and you can read about the company sale, here.

While working on her first business, Elizabeth founded Domino Media Group in the Spring of 2016. Domino Media Group is a nationally-recognized public relations and brand strategy firm specializing in the growth of lifestyle-based businesses. The firm was established with the belief that access to the right tools and team will create a Domino effect for your brand. As such, Domino offers resources for everyday businesses to build their buzz and work as a strategic partner for those under their umbrella by providing fresh out of the box strategies to successfully generate a national presence. While president of Domino, Elizabeth, represented dozens of home decor e-commerce clients from San Francisco-based home décor brand Hudson Grace to Weezie Towels to local Atlanta businesses from St. Regis Atlanta to Jamestown Properties’ Ponce City Market. In February 2021, Elizabeth left her role at Domino to pursue other creative passions.

Today, Elizabeth lives in Columbus, Georgia with her husband, Travis, and toddler, Louisa. She self describes as a solution-oriented, curious creative, with a love for elevating businesses and brands. In her spare time, she loves to hunt for unsuspecting gems online via Live Auctioneers or in-person at local estate sales.

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Caroline Borders

Summit Social Media Support
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Caroline C. Borders, a native of Tallahassee, Florida, has made her mark as a dynamic creative professional who has called Alabama her home for over a decade. She attended the University of Alabama, where she graduated with a degree in Interior Design. With a diverse background in advertising, graphic design, and interior design, Caroline’s career journey has been a testament to her relentless pursuit of excellence and her ability to adapt to new challenges.
Upon graduating, Caroline took a unique path into the realm of advertising, working as an account manager. During her time in this role, she discovered the significance of client relations and honed her skills in collaborating with creative teams to bring forth compelling visual marketing strategies. Caroline transitioned into graphic design, spending six years designing paper for a luxury wedding planner. During this period, she capitalized on her background in advertising and design to create unique products that spanned from paper to fabric. In 2020, Caroline joined a residential architecture firm. Here, she skillfully combined her formal education with her past experiences to create warm and inviting spaces for three transformative years in this field.
Today, Caroline has found her calling as she skillfully translates the brand stories of designers, artists, and retailers into captivating social media marketing designs. Her trifecta of talents, attention to detail, a creative background, and extensive client services experience, allows her to excel in this new avenue. Her work is instrumental in helping other business owners build intentional and compelling brands that leave a lasting impression. While Caroline thrives in assisting others in building their brands, she also enjoys collaborating with fellow brands and tastemakers, nurturing her own platform and making her presence felt in the creative landscape.
Caroline resides in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Brett, their daughter, Pearce, and dog, Jake.
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Kelli Boyd

Photographer + Summit Photographer
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A classic and skilled photographer – whether documenting engagements or weddings, lifestyle or commercial shoots, Kelli Boyd exudes a relaxed and fun sensibility while preserving memorable moments in a precise, yet artful, manner.

Kelli’s sincere client dedication means that your important days are also her important days. Her discerning eye coupled with great attention to detail will create timeless images, making your celebration feel like it was just yesterday.

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Sirena White-Singleton

Summit Photographer
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Sirena White-Singleton captures intentional visual stories for creative entrepreneurs, authentic love stories, and organically candid moments between the ones you love…your family. She believes life is a beautiful story and she’s here to capture it. Sirena loves trying new locations, finding amazing light in clients’ homes or offices, and documenting families in situations that they typically do! She’s all about capturing the REAL you! Every creative, couple, and family is different and the goal is to not only create art, but memories that they will have forever.

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