Maria Balais has worked in both the public and private sectors. After receiving her BA from Agnes Scott College, she began working with the Hispanic community in metro Atlanta, beginning with The Latin American Association and The Mexican Center of Atlanta.
By 1998, she started working for Ketchum Public Relations Worldwide, where she honed in communications and public relations skills. Not long into her career in communications and PR, Maria was noticed and recruited by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to oversee the cultural affairs department and became the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council.
Her time at the Chamber exposed her to the civic and public policy sector, and by 2001, she was recruited to manage Sam Zamarripa’s first Campaign for State Senate. Zamarripa won and served two terms in the state senate, and was the first Hispanic elected to the State Senate in Georgia.
After working briefly in politics, she was recruited by ING Americas to manage their corporate foundation. At ING, she was responsible for implementing the national corporate citizenship strategy. She developed, integrated and executed a national volunteer program and employee-giving program. She oversaw corporate charitable sponsorships and foundation grants totaling $5 million. By 2007 Maria was recruited to be the community relations manager for Troutman Sanders, LLP, ranked one of the largest law firms in the U.S. with offices in London and China. At Troutman, she managed charitable contributions and sponsorships, an attorney and staff-giving program to United Way and strategic community partnerships with large nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association.
Maria is deeply involved in the community in which she thrives. Here’s a list of some of Maria’s public service:
- League of Women Voters Atlanta-Fulton Chapter, Board Member 2009 – Present
- Provost Academy Georgia, Board Member 2009 – Present
- Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2006
- Anti-prejudice Consortium, Advisory Board Member (2006 and 2008)
- Atlanta Commission on Women, Commissioner, (2005)
- Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association, Board Member (2005 and 2006)
- Founder, Atlanta Downtown Festival (2002)
Maria is fluent in Tagalog and Spanish, and has a B.A in Theatre and Spanish from Agnes Scott College. Maria lives in Downtown Atlanta with her husband Tony and son, CJ.