Signature Luncheon - CEO of Goodwill, Keith Parker
Keith will share the mission of Goodwill of North Georgia to put people to work and what that tangibly means for our business community and for our local economy. Goodwill operates 3 stores and donation centers in our community that in turn supports the development of a pipeline of talent that sustains our local workforce needs of today and tomorrow, like the newly launched Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Technician training program. Keith will also touch upon services Goodwill provides to the business community directly, through its Employer Supports Services, which include Staffing and Facility Support Services.
In honor of Black History Month, Keith will also share lessons and guidance he learned from his relationship with the late Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Keith T. Parker is president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Goodwill of North Georgia (GNG). One of the largest retail and nonprofit organizations in the southeast, GNG spans a 45-county territory, operating 69 stores, 49 attended donation centers and 14 career centers. GNG employs over 3,000 team members, each of whom play a direct or supporting role in the organization’s donated goods retail operations and its free-to-the-public career services. Annually, GNG serves more than 7 million shoppers. Through the revenue generated in its stores, the organization trains and connects tens of thousands of North Georgians to employment annually - establishing GNG as the #1 Goodwill in the nation (among its 158 affiliates) for connecting people to jobs. Parker took the helm at GNG in October 2017. Prior to transitioning into his leadership role at GNG, Parker has served as CEO of the largest transit systems in several cities, including San Antonio, Charlotte and most recently, Atlanta.
Parker’s five-years of leadership at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) won widespread acclaim. He helped transform one of the most beleaguered transit agencies in the nation - with huge budget deficits and major public image issues - to a fiscally sound, award winning organization. Parker’s leadership established MARTA as an important player in Georgia’s economic development efforts, helping to attract/retain major employers.
Throughout his career, Parker has received numerous awards and accolades as a transformational leader and transportation visionary. He’s won multiple CEO awards in multiple states. He was recognized as the nation’s Outstanding Public Transportation Manager by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2015. METRO Magazine named Parker as one of its 20 Most Influential People of the Decade. In 2016, Parker was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). In November of the same year, he was named one of eight Public Officials of the Year by Governing Magazine. Georgia Trend Magazine has recognized Parker as one of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential leaders on multiple occasions. He has been named for the fourth consecutive year as one of the City’s Most Powerful Leaders by Atlanta Magazine (2019 - 2023). Parker was selected as one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs by Atlanta Business Chronicle in August 2017 (as CEO of MARTA) and in August 2021 (as CEO of GNG), establishing him as the only person to win the award with two different companies.
Parker’s commitment to one of his alma maters, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), has been notable. Parker received the VCU Alumni Star Award in 2015, followed by successive appointments to the VCU Board of Visitors by Governor Terry McAuliffe (2016) and Governor Ralph Northam (2020). More recently, Parker was unanimously elected Rector and Chairman of the VCU Board of Visitors.
Parker has a long history of service to nonprofit, charitable, and corporate boards. He remains active and engaged with the Rotary Club of Atlanta, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Fire & Rescue Foundation, Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Learn4Life, and Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Parker serves on several prominent national boards including The Eno Center for Transportation and continues his work with NIAC. On the corporate side, Parker serves on the Fifth Third Bank Advisory Board as well as the VHB Architecture and Engineering Board of Directors.
Parker and his wife are natives of Virginia and have 3 children. Parker holds an MBA from the University of Richmond, as well as a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a BA in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Parker is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Atlanta.