Jesse Spikes: Accomplished leader and public servant
My story is uniquely American – my career has been shaped by opportunities that only a great city, a great state and a great nation create for their people.
I’m the son of a sharecropper. I grew up on a farm in Henry County, the last of 13 children. In my sophomore year, I left Georgia to attend Hanover High School in New Hampshire in a special program called “A Better Chance.” That opportunity catapulted me to Dartmouth College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Harvard Law School. Instead of taking work in another city, I returned to Atlanta and started a rewarding 30-plus-year legal career supporting corporate business and financial transactions in Atlanta, the U.S., and abroad.
I have served Atlanta as a citizen-leader in many ways, as director, chairman or trustee at Agnes Scott College; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Clark-Atlanta University; The Alliance Theatre; The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; the Atlanta Organizing Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games; The Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, the United Way Annual Funding Allocations Panel; and in the Middle East in service to Mayor Andrew Young’s vision of Atlanta’s economic development through international investment.
I am an active member of my church, First Congregational United Church of Christ. And for years I ran a successful small business – a barbeque restaurant – in College Park. I still make a mean plate of ribs and a great sauce: “The best this side of Heaven!”