6th Annual Bridge Builder Awards

May 3, 2007

2007 Builder Honorees

Dr. Christopher J.W.B. Leggett is a clinical academic interventional cardiologist. He is currently Director of Cardiology at Medical Associates of North Georgia and practices at Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was born the tenth of eleven children to Willie and Ethel Leggett. Dr. Leggett was awarded a four year academic scholarship to attend Princeton University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1982.

His education continued at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine where he received his doctorate of medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the world renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He then completed his cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine. Immediately following his fellowship he remained on faculty at Emory as an attending in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the Veterans Administration Hospital of Atlanta and was offered a prestigious interventional cardiology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the tutelage of world leader and pioneer, Dr. Gary Roubin.

Dr. Christopher Leggett has had the privilege of treating thousands of patients in the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the United States and has remained involved locally and nationally in numerous medical societies and civic organizations. He was principal investigator of the Cardiovascular Learning Partnership, a national community based initiative aimed at educating, increasing awareness and improving access to quality care for African-American diabetics with cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, and National Coalition for the Advancement of Cardiovascular Health among many other organizations. He was appointed by the United States Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to serve on the National Practicing Physician Advisory Council in Washington, D.C. for a four year term that was completed in 2006.

Dr. Leggett has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of America's Leading Physicians. In 2006, he was recognized Who's Who in Black Atlanta and listed as one of America's Top Cardiologists. Dr Leggett readily acknowledges, however, that his most valued and cherished honor has been having the privilege of sharing his life in marriage with attorney Denise Cleveland-Leggett for the past 23 years. He is also the proud father of Alexandria Nichol and Christopher James II.

Dr. Christopher J. W. B. Leggett gives all the praise and glory to God who empowers and fortifies him daily.

Ray RobinsonRUSS LUCAS
Russ Lucas has served as the Southern Regional Aftersales Manager of BMW of North America, LLC, for ten years and counting. In this position, he is responsible for dealer profitability, all center training, parts and accessory sales, and warranty administration. In addition, Russ oversees aftersales facility development and recruitment, all CSI and customer issues, and body shop development. Russ manages a team of 28 field representatives and 9 instructors. Through recruitment and discipline, he has assisted BMW of North America in building one of the best regional fields and training teams in the industry.

Russ has worked closely with BMW’s MetroSTEP diversity technician training program which has helped to place minority automotive students in full-time positions in Atlanta-area BMW dealerships. Russ is also heavily involved with the “Teens and Wheels” career day program for AYES (Automotive Youth Services), a program that prepares young people for entry-level positions or advanced studies in the automotive field. The programs that Russ has been so instrumental in implementing have increased interest in technical education as well as technical careers.

Russ received a B.A. degree in Political Science and History from Lycoming College in 1979 and went on to receive an MBA from Rider University in 1982. He has also completed the Executive Management Courses in Negotiation and Achieving Customer Excellence at Harvard Business School.

Russ and his wife Susan have been married for seventeen years and they are the proud parents of Spencer, 6 and Kent, 3. A daughter, adopted from China, is an eagerly anticipated addition to their growing family.

Sheryl Riley Gripper is Vice President/Community Relations for WXIA-TV, 11Alive, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate. In this position, she creates business solutions for issues that affect the community. With over 30 years of experience in newspaper, radio and television, she has been a frequent speaker on issues related to media relations, women and minorities in the media. Sheryl is Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning 11Alive Community Service Awards, a program that annually honors outstanding volunteers and the 11Alive Holiday Can-a-thon, Georgia’s largest “televised” food-raising event.

Sheryl is a multi-Emmy Award winner and founder of the Black Women Film Preservation Project, an organization that has celebrated the history of women in film since 1997. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), the organization that awards the Emmys, saluted her with the Silver Circle Award in 2001, for a career spanning more than 25 years in television.

Dollars and Sense magazine honored her as one of America’s Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women, and she was awarded the National Commission on Working Women Award in Washington, D. C. Communications Excellence for Achievement to Black Audiences (CEBA) saluted her with awards for the documentaries “Murder by Neglect: The Children’s Story” on the plight of Atlanta’s missing and murdered children cases and “The Dream Lives,” a look at the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. She was named WXIA-TV’s first female vice president in 1982. USA TODAY featured her as an Ortho 21st Century Woman, designating her as one of the women who can lead America into the 21st century. The metro Atlanta YWCA inducted her into its distinguished Academy of Women Achievers and the Governors Advisory Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse awarded her a service award of excellence for a campaign against drug abuse.

In 1971 Sheryl won the Princeton Newspaper Fund scholarship and was hired as a summer reporter for The Houston Post newspaper, where she had several by-lines. In 1972 she received a B. A. Degree from Spelman College and in 1977 Georgia State University awarded her a Master’s Degree in Education. In 2000 she was awarded the M. A. Degree from Georgia State University in Film and Video. A native of Waco, Texas, she is the proud mother of three sons—Edward, Jefferey and Ellis, and the wife of Jeff Gripper, Atlanta’s First World Karate Champion.