Plywood People honor entrepreneurs, activists

Plywood People is giving local entrepreneurs and activists the opportunity to make the vision a reality. On August 15 and 16, Plywood People will host its 2nd annual event, “Plywood Presents.” The conference, which serves as a platform for leaders to come together and cultivate creative answers to complex social problems, will feature a competition called the “Problem Solving Competition.” Five presenters will have five minutes to pitch their ideas using only five slides or less. The grand-prize winner will receive $5,000; the two runner-up winners will receive $2,500 each.

“Plywood People is an organization that fosters conversations and collaborations between those with ideas and those in need,” said Jeff Shinabarger, founder and creative director of Plywood People. “By supporting educational environments, sustainable ventures, community places, social experiments, storytelling projects, cause marketing campaigns and new consumption patterns, our organization continues to live by our mantra: ‘We will be known by the problems we solve.’”

This year’s “Problem Solving Competition” brings together five different people from the Atlanta community. The social issues targeted in their presentations include neighborhood crime and defense, child poverty in America, employment of women in refugee communities in Atlanta, empowerment of people to meet needs and create solutions for local issues and the power of music to uplift a nation.

Competitors Include:

Sharath Mekala, founder of Village Defense, a communication tool (via text message and voice call) to alert neighborhoods of any occurring crimes in real-time.

Jarrett Helms, founder of Cradle&Thread, a for-profit baby apparel company that donates an entire set of baby clothing to a child in need for every $100 of goods purchased.

Jennifer Soong, founder of SOMA Goods, a company that employs women from refugee communities in Atlanta to recycle saris and other global fabrics, repurposing them into pillows, scarves and other home accessories.

Scott Tanksley, founder of Meals with a Mission, a company based on dinner with friends; all proceeds from each meal will go towards a person-in-need or local non-profit based on group votes.

Erin Levin, filmmaker, “The African Children’s Choir”, a film sharing interviews of Ugandans throughout America and the power of the African Children’s Choir.

A panel of judges will consist of local business and non-profit leaders, including Jim Reese, president of Atlanta Mission, Lisa Cremins, director at Atlanta Community Foundation, Eric Strickland, venture capitalist and others.

Plywood Presents is business as unusual, where places are different by the implementation of ideas. More than 400 influencers and problem solvers will gather and hear from presenters who are creating in their industry. These leaders carve a name for themselves in history as problem solvers.

Presenters include Stefan Sagmeister, Grammy-Award winning graphic designer; Neil Blumenthal, founder of Warby Parker; Lee McKeown, bestselling author of Predictable Success; Chido Govera, mushroom cultivator and inspring leader; Zack Arias, problem solving photographer; Asha Chaudhary, visionary and president of Jaipur Rugs; Doug Shipman, National Center for Civil and Human Rights; Sajan George, CEO of Matchbook Learning; Zach Williams & The Bellow, emerging musician out of Brooklyn; Gleb Polyakov and Igor Zamlinsky, inventors of ZPM Espresso; Danielle Laporte, business strategist and author and Jeff Shinabarger, founder of Suffered Enough Inc., and host of Plywood Presents.

WHERE: Buckhead Theatre

3110 Roswell Road Northeast

Atlanta, GA 30305

WHEN: August 15, 2012 – 5:45 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

August 16, 2012 – 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information on the event, please visit

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is the editor of Atlanta Intown.