ACG Atlanta: Access to Talent

Access to Talent Event Photo

Event Details


October 24, 2023 5 PM - 8 PM EDT

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To advance our D.E.I. objectives in 2023, we have developed a theme-centered campaign entitled The Pathways Series. The premise of our event series is to establish a platform for prospective, new, and existing members of our M&A Community to receive and participate in thought leadership, education, and resource sharing historically perceived as inaccessible or isolated to the realm of private equity and capital management elite. We chose this theme as an opportunity to foster heightened educational awareness, visibility, professional connections, and access to fiscal management tools, resources, and asset channels for personal business owners and associated M&A scholars, practitioners, and leaders.

Pathway to Talent

In an increasingly competitive landscape, companies and business owners must reimagine the traditional playbook of business. It is time to think outside of their conventional methods and embrace the forward-thinking approach to diversity and to attract quality talent. 

Our panelists will describe their approaches to practice management on topics such as developing a culture in line with their corporate philosophy, employee hiring, development, and retention. Key topics include:

- Embracing Diversity

- Equity & Fair Practice

- Inclusion as a Competitive Advantage

Engage in candid discussions, ask questions, and collaborate with your peers who are also discovering a new approach to building a diverse organization committed to the success of their team and, therefore, the company.

Join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion on "Pathways to Talent." The program will be moderated by Kirk Wilkerson in addition to a panel focused on talent in the state of Georgia and beyond. Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear from our expert panelists, who will explore the challenges and opportunities faced by middle-market businesses in accessing talent while promoting DE&I within the M&A space.

Register now to secure your spot!

Open to ALL.


Kirk Wilkerson Headshot

Moderated by Kirk Wilkerson

Merit Financial Advisors
Regional Director, Partner

Kirk's key role as Regional Director at Merit Financial Advisors is to identify new strategic partnership opportunities to grow the Atlanta region and to mentor and develop financial advisors. 


With 32 years as a leader in the industry, he is well positioned to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to organizations.  His team then creates custom-tailored succession plans for advisors and firms who are considering partnering with a larger organization. This ensures future growth for both the company and their team members. 


Kirk was a founding member of Consilium Financial Group (CFG) in 2015 under Merit Financial Advisor's RIA partner program. This enabled CFG to outsource many administrative, compliance, and investment complexities to focus on excellent client service. This relationship built organic trust and confidence, which culminated in a partnership with Merit in 2021. 

Fernando de Agüero

Fernando de Agüero

Diversified Energy Supply
Chief Executive Officer

Mr. de Agüero is the Founder and CEO of Diversified Energy Supply. Mr. de Agüero possesses a broad energy industry experience ranging from petroleum commodity supply to regulated utilities to deregulated merchant and retail energy business. He has launched seven privately held energy ventures, was Chairman, CEO and President of a deregulated retail natural gas marketer, Manager and CEO of a deregulated retail electric provider, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of a leading smart grid-enabled prepaid utility solutions and software development company and held various leadership roles spanning strategic planning, finance, business development, commercial operations and trading at AGL Resources (Atlanta Gas Light, Virginia Natural Gas, City Gas of Florida, Elizabethtown Gas, Chattanooga Gas, Pivotal and Sequent Energy Management), Mirant Corporation and Southern Company (Southern Nuclear and Southern Company Services). Mr. de Aguero built and launched Mansfield Power and Gas, the power and natural gas company affiliate to Mansfield Oil Company. Mr. de Agüero previously led the team that designed and built the first prepaid retail natural gas billing platform in North America, the first smart-metered prepaid electric billing platform, as well as other software-based solutions in the utility vertical. He has been involved in several power plant development projects and corporate acquisitions with negotiated valuations totalling over $10 Billion in both the natural gas and electric industries. Currently, he owns and manages a nationwide fuel supplier, an import/export company, an international energy company based in South Africa, and a software company providing supply chain solutions through automated invoice auditing and data management. 

Mr. de Agüero started his career with Southern Company in 1993, working in nuclear plant design engineering and safety as a nuclear engineer and mechanical engineer, as well as a health physicist. He earned a Bachelor in Nuclear Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He speaks Spanish fluently, has a history of faith based and community involvement, and invests most of his personal time with his wife, four children and church family in Roswell, Georgia. 

Nicole Slay Caldwell Headshot

Nicole Slay Caldwell

AT&T Employee Resource Group
Employee Engagement Lead, Software Delivery Services- Innovative Solutions Employee Engagement Lead, Software Delivery Services- Innovative Solutions

Nicole Slay Caldwell is a Professional- Scrum Master at AT&T within the Enterprise Architecture and Service Enablement – Systems Reliability organization, and has worn many technical and leadership hats during her 7-year tenure at AT&T. She has mastered many other roles ranging from Business Analyst, Program Manager, Product Owner, and Employee Engagement Lead. Nicole is a certified Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Agilist and has her Six Sigma Green Belt. 

Nicole is currently the Chapter President for The NETwork BICP – Metro Atlanta, an Employee Resource Group at AT&T, with over 1,300 members. Previously, she has also served as the President of Advocates for Women in Tech: Atlanta Chapter- an Employee Network at AT&T, for the last 5 years. 

Nicole graduated from The University of Alabama with a major in Management Information Systems and a minor in French, and completed her MBA in December 2020 from North Carolina A&T State University. 

She was also recognized as a Modern Day Technology Leader at the Black Engineer of the Year Conference (BEYA) in Washington, DC on behalf of AT&T in 2020 and was also recognized as an AT&T Black Future Maker in 2022. 

Shraddha Shaw Headshot

Shraddha Shah

Crawford & Company
Vice President, Corporate Development

As the Vice President of Corporate Development at Crawford and Company, I bring over two decades of diverse experience primarily in the third-party financial services industry to my current role. My professional journey comprises of establishing a new company, new functions, and building high-performing teams. Throughout this journey, I've garnered invaluable insights from collaborative efforts with cross-border and cross-functional teams.

My expertise spans a wide range of areas, including leading offshore operations, managing corporate development, implementing strategic initiatives, and driving operations excellence at publicly listed companies such as WNS, Deutsche Bank and Crawford and Company.

My tenure at Crawford has been significantly exciting. I was appointed to establish the M&A function. Since then, we have completed acquisitions of seven companies and successful divestment of two businesses. More recently, I took on the challenge of stabilizing a 150-person cross-border operations team grappling with performance issues.

One of the most significant lessons I've learned on this journey is the paramount importance of connecting with people, living up to your values and treating people with respect. Beyond my corporate role, I serve as a board member at the ACG (Association of Corporate Growth) Atlanta chapter and contribute as a member of OnBoard Inc, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the growth and development of women in boardrooms and executive suites of Georgia's public companies.

Outside of my professional life, I find joy in spending quality time with my family, exploring new destinations through travel, and maintaining a healthy balance through yoga.

Greg Worthy Headshot

Greg Worthy

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Law Firm

Gregory Worthy's practice concentrates on finance, corporate trust, and general corporate law matters. His practice also includes significant experience in state and local government representation of corporate clients before governmental bodies in Metro-Atlanta, including City of Atlanta and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

He has been involved in a national practice of public finance and has worked on varied types of bond financings, including general obligation and revenue bond financings for municipalities and local governments for various public purposes; industrial development bond financings; and exempt facility bond financings related to airport facilities, solid waste disposal facilities and multifamily housing. He also has significant experience in representing corporate trustees in public bond financings. His experience in representing governmental or quasi-governmental bodies is extensive, including representation on economic development matters, housing matters, and other types of authority representations. In connection with the public finance practice, he has served in the capacity of bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, and special counsel in transactions that have involved fixed rate and variable rate issues. He has also represented numerous public authorities.

Mr. Worthy regularly advises financial institutions acting as indenture trustee on corporate and municipal deals. He has represented corporate trustees on all types of municipal deals on a tax-exempt and taxable basis. His corporate trust experience is also extensive in connection with his representation on corporate note financings, including 144A and Reg S offerings, exchange offerings and global securities matters. In addition, he has also been involved in numerous defaulted securities transactions which may involve bankruptcy proceedings and/or various other enforcement actions to exercise remedies, such as petitions for receivership in state court, litigation or forbearance, and foreclosure remedies.

Mr. Worthy also maintains a general corporate law practice. He has represented companies in servicing their general corporate needs, including addressing financing issues, preparation of contracts, compliance issues, contract negotiations, litigation and settlement matters, regulatory and lobbying efforts in various governmental jurisdictions. Mr. Worthy has also represented companies in
procurement issues before governmental bodies in the Metro-Atlanta region, including City of Atlanta and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Mr. Worthy has represented large energy concerns, a major advertising company, top-tier rental car company concerns, and other concessions operators at a major Airport. Mr. Worthy has also represented various telecommunications concerns, including wireless, wired, and cable interests. He has participated in drafting various contracts, purchase agreements, microwave relocation agreements, lease agreements, and other communications agreements. He has drafted and negotiated cable franchise agreements, negotiated franchise renewals and transfer agreements, and provided general corporate advice for telecommunication companies. He has advised and represented companies in the regulatory process for telecommunications and natural gas providers.

Mr. Worthy has also represented clients in significant privatization projects, including water and sewer operations and major economic development projects, and has experience in advising clients on privatization matters and the regulatory/governmental process.

Mr. Worthy also has significant lobbying and legislative experience at the State and local level, as well as federal legislative experience based on his work on Capitol Hill with Congressman John Spratt as his Legislative Assistant for Banking and Finance matters.

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