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Juanita Baranco is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Baranco Automotive Group, consisting of Baranco Pontiac-GMC Trucks in Lilburn and Baranco Lincoln-Mercury in Duluth, Georgia. On June 2, 2003, Mrs. Baranco and her husband, along with former Ambassador Andrew Young opened Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Born in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Baranco was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she earned her Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University.
A member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar Associations of Georgia and Louisiana, Mrs. Baranco enjoyed a successful career in law including a turn as assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia before she and her husband founded the first Baranco dealership in the metropolitan Atlanta area in 1978.
Mrs. Baranco has been involved extensively in civic and community affairs, with a significant portion of her time and energy dedicated to education-related topics.
In addition to teaching business courses at local middle and high schools, she served as chairman of the DeKalb County Education Task Force. She was a member of the Georgia State Board of Education, 1985-1991; she was named by former Georgia Governor Zell Miller to serve on the Board of Regents, and in 1995 she became its first African-American female chair. During her tenure, the board experienced increased national preeminence for its sweeping reforms and innovative higher education policies.
Mrs. Baranco also served as chairman of the Education Committee for the 1996 Olympics and established a scholarship program for high school seniors seeking careers as automobile technicians.
An active business leader, Mrs. Baranco has been featured on several occasions in Georgia Trend magazines annual list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Her business appointments have included director positions with the Federal Reserve of Atlanta and the John H. Harland Co. She also served as a member of the Governors Human Relations Committee and on Clark Atlanta Universitys National Business Advisory Board, a board member of the Atlanta and DeKalb chambers of commerce, and a director for First Union Bank.
Currently, Mrs. Baranco is chair of the Board of Trustees for Clark Atlanta University and serves on the board of directors of Georgia Power Company. In addition, she serves on the executive committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.
Mrs. Baranco has received numerous awards for her business and community activities, including recognition by the Dow Jones Company for entrepreneurial excellence; the first Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting System for entrepreneurial excellence; Entrepreneur of the Year by the Atlanta Business League; the DECCA Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle; the YWCAs Women of Achievement Award; and the Atlanta History Centers Defining Women in Atlanta Life Award. Mrs. Baranco also has been featured in Essence Magazine as one of Atlantas women on the move. In addition, she was finalist for the 2003 Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award.
Mrs. Baranco and her husband, Gregory, live in Lithonia. The mother of four children, Mrs. Baranco is active in her community through her support of the Scottsdale Child Development Center, Project Impact DeKalb County, Partners in Education, the Pierre Toussaint House and the Saints Peter & Paul Church, where she sings in the choir. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Inc. Mrs. Baranco is a much-sought-after inspirational speaker and serves as a mentor and role model for young women in her community.
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