Meet Your Georgia Bio Team

Russell Allen HeadshotRussell Allen, President & CEO
[email protected] | 404-920-2043

Russell Allen is president and CEO of Georgia Bio. Allen directs programs and initiatives that contribute to the positioning of Georgia as one of the leading locations for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, health informatics and medical device sectors. Major responsibilities include strategic and business development and issue management related to capital formation, workforce development, education and commercialization. Allen also leads the affiliate advocacy organization, the Georgia Life Sciences Coalition, and the angel network, Bio/Med Investor Network.

Previously, Allen was President and CEO of Florida’s bioscience association, BioFlorida, and led one of the nation’s largest industry growth periods from 2006 to 2013. Prior to BioFlorida, Allen led BioSouth, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to support commercialization, licensing and partnering efforts for the bioscience industry throughout the southern U.S. There, he instituted member programs and produced the organization’s annual conferences, BioFusion and the CDC Technology Forum.

Allen began his professional career in sales of laboratory research equipment and supplies in the San Francisco Bay area. He moved from biotech sales into Atlanta’s high-tech industry in 1996 when he co-founded Newton Park, one of the region’s most successful marketing, development and interactive strategy firms. As CEO, Allen led the organization from start-up to one of the area’s fastest growing companies and top five digital marketing agencies in Atlanta. In 2001, Russell founded BioQuotient, a bioscience business consulting and marketing firm before taking a position as a vice president of biosciences at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he led the strategy to support and grow the Georgia bioscience industry and served on the board of directors for Georgia Bio.

Allen received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pepperdine University and a certificate in Biotech Enterprise Management from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for Georgia Bio, Bio/Med Investor Network, Georgia Life Sciences Coalition, Council of State Bioscience Associations and Southeast BIO; and serves on numerous industry advisory boards and councils.

Maria Thacker HeadshotMaria Thacker-Goethe, Vice President of Operations;
Acting Executive Director, Georgia BioEd Institute

[email protected] | 404-920-2042

Maria Thacker-Goethe joined Georgia Bio April 2006. She oversees the general office operations for Georgia Bio and the Georgia BioEd Institute. Maria is responsible for programs and events, purchasing programs, member outreach and engagement, as well as new member development. Additionally, she is responsible for conceiving, developing and executing a comprehensive internal and external communications strategy.

In addition to her work with Georgia Bio, Maria is Executive Director of the Georgia Global Health Alliance which strives to advance global health equity by promoting and facilitating collaboration amongst business, academia, non-profits and government organizations within Georgia and linking them with partners in the US and other countries. Officially launched in late 2016, GGHA is working with the global health community in Georgia, local community business leaders, and national partners to develop strategy and organize the sector to embrace collaboration and speak with a collective voice. GGHA is housed within Georgia Bio.

Maria has a diverse background including environmental health, women’s health and health communications and marketing. Prior to joining Georgia Bio, Maria participated in a fellowship at Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in environmental investigations, working closely with the National Center of Environmental Health in Chemical Demilitarization.

Maria received her Master in Public Health in health education/communication, and maternal and child health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Sweet Briar College. She is a 2009 recipient of the Power 30 Under 30 Award for professional and community excellence. Maria currently sits on the CJD Foundation Board of Directors and previously served on the Supervisory Committee for the CDC Federal Credit Union. Additionally, Maria has volunteered for more than 9 years with the Junior League of Atlanta Estrellitas program which works to empower Latina teens.

Stephen MacDonald HeadshotStephen MacDonald, Ph.D., MBA, VP of Member Relations
[email protected] 404-221-0617

Stephen MacDonald is the VP of Member Relations for Georgia Bio and is responsible for member engagement and development activities for the organization. He is an industry liaison and a primary contact for member outreach and relationships for Georgia Bio. 

A long-time member of Georgia Bio, Dr. MacDonald came to Atlanta in 2000 for a post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University. He has spent most of this career as a registered patent agent and patent consultant with 15 years of experience in the life sciences sector. His experience includes evaluating and prosecuting early stage intellectual property and advising small to large sized companies on patent prosecution, due diligence and commercialization strategy. His unique background speaking the languages of science, business and law, positions him to engage with Georgia’s life sciences industry and be a highly effective member of the Georgia Bio team.

Dr. MacDonald was an original founder of Georgia Bio’s Emerging Leaders Network and was awarded Georgia Bio’s Emerging Leader of the Year award in 2008. He has chaired the Southeast BIO sponsorship committee since 2014, and has been a board trustee of the Ron Clark Academy and chair of their Board governance subcommittee since 2011. 

Additionally, Dr. MacDonald serves as the Managing Director for the Bio/Med Investor Network, a Georgia-based angel investor network. In this role, he oversees network-wide projects ranging from planning and executing numerous events, marketing campaigns, and coordinating all logistics for the network and its members.

Dr. MacDonald received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Manitoba, and conducted post-doctoral research at Emory University School of Medicine. He has an MBA from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business. He also has certificates in non-profit fundraising and governance from Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

Kristen Pappaterra HeadshotKristen Pappaterra, Marketing and Events Manager
[email protected] | 678-213-2405

As the Marketing and Events Manager for Georgia Bio, Kristen is responsible for creating valuable programs and events for Georgia Bio and its members. Additionally she assists with developing and implementing key marketing and communications strategies for all aspects of Georgia Bio. Kristen is responsible for e-marketing, social media, and the website management.

Kristen joins Georgia Bio with a background in marketing, events and public relations. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations and Minor in Marketing from Georgia Southern University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family.