Committed Partners in Creating Connections

The Council staff is essential to achieving the goal of bringing the development community and policy makers together to focus on long-range community planning, encouraging adequate government services, catalyzing consensus on growth issues, and advocating for a sensible and efficient regulatory environment.

Michael E. Paris

President & CEO
Michael Paris, a Cobb County native, took the Council’s helm in late 2003 and has worked to expand the Council and to spread its mission of promoting balanced and responsible growth throughout the metro region and the state. With a degree in real estate from Georgia State University, Michael has more than 45 years of experience in real estate development, brokerage, land-use planning, and association management. Michael is involved in numerous community and professional activities. His affiliations include the Board of Directors for, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the Urban Land Institute, an Association Member of the Board of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, and a graduate of both Leadership Cobb and Regional Leadership Institute. Michael and his wife Kim live in Marietta and have two grown children.

Joseph Santoro

Director, Policy & Government Affairs
Joseph Santoro serves as the Director of Policy & Government Affairs for the Council for Quality Growth. In his role, he analyzes and interprets local and state policies related to infrastructure planning, legislative initiatives, regulatory issues, land use, transportation, and environmental planning. As Director of the policy team, he works with local and state elected officials to promote balanced and responsible growth in metro Atlanta and Georgia. Joseph thrives and is most passionate when connecting with new people and working closely with elected officials, member organizations, and other stakeholders to solve challenging policy issues that positively impact his business community. Prior to joining the council, he worked as head of external affairs at Georgia Bio to unify and align corporate leaders in all aspects of the organizations programs and policy initiatives. He worked with several large committees and working groups to discuss strategy, develop project scopes and objectives, and communicate it effectively to get all corporate leaders onboard to advance the life science industry in Georgia. Additionally, Joseph brings over six years of government affairs experience supporting the innovative strategic direction of large-scale policy programs and managing risks while achieving overall company goals with his roles at the Technology Association of Georgia, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Invest Atlanta. Joseph received a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Kathryn Jones

Manager, Marketing & Communications
As Manager of Marketing & Communications, Kathryn is responsible for strategizing, creating, and implementing marketing efforts and communication pieces for the Council. In her role, she works to create a uniformed voice for the Council through brand management, internal member communications, external marketing efforts, press relations, and social media presence. Kathryn also leads the membership effort to grow the Council’s Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) program for young professionals. Prior to joining the Council, Kathryn worked in media, marketing, e-commerce, and sales in both the publishing and interior design industries. She transitioned to the non-profit sector with the Council in January of 2021 to pursue meaningful work in her hometown community. Kathryn was born and raised in Atlanta, leaving only to attend college at UGA in Athens. She received her bachelor’s degree in advertising and communications from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism. At work, Kathryn enjoys writing and graphic design projects. Outside of work, she values time spent with her husband and their two dogs, trying new foods and restaurants, and cheering on the Dawgs. She currently resides in Lilburn, GA.

Belle Jones

Membership Services & Operations Manager
Belle Jones serves the Council as Membership Services & Operations Manager. In her role, Belle works to develop the Council's membership, increase member engagement, and manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. Belle has a long-term passion for the non-profit sector. She previously she held a similar role as Director of Member Experience at the Buckhead Club for Invited (formerly ClubCorp), focusing on member relations and retention. Her experience with member engagement proves vital as the Council continues to deliver high value to its members. Belle grew up in Snellville, but attended high school right here in Atlanta. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Arts in Emerging Media from UGA's Grady College of Journalism. On the weekends, Belle enjoys hanging out with friends, trying new recipes, and snuggling up on the couch with her Kindle.

Kristen Martin

Programs Coordinator
Kristen serves as the Council’s Programs Coordinator, where she is responsible for planning all the Council’s many annual programs and other events. Prior to joining the Council for Quality Growth team, Kristen worked as a paralegal in both real estate law and family law. In her free time, she pursued her passion for event planning by working part time for an event company in Savannah, as well as designing and coordinating weddings for family and friends. What once was a hobby for Kristen has now turned into an exciting transition to the non-profit sector where she can use her skills and talents to make a difference in the greater Atlanta community. Kristen grew up just a little south of Atlanta in Forsyth, Georgia, but also spent a good amount of her life in Statesboro. She enjoys spending her time outside of work with her husband and their two dogs. They are both graduates of Georgia Southern University and die-hard Atlanta United fans.

Terrie Ward

Membership Development Executive
Terrie Ward serves as the Council’s Membership Development Executive where she is responsible for membership recruitment and retention efforts. Prior to joining the Council for Quality Growth team, Terrie worked as Director of Sales & Marketing in both the healthcare and hospitality industries.  She is a native Atlantan, and she received a Degree in Journalism from Georgia State University. Terrie is a graduate of Leadership Cobb, she has served as a Pace Leader with the Atlanta Track Club, and she has been a board member on several non-profit boards for children. Outside of work, Terrie is an avid marathon runner having completed 21 marathons, and counting, as well as a golf enthusiast.

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