Name: Laura Whitaker
Family: Joseph (husband), Owen (10), Finley (6), Tate (1 year)
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
Current Town: Atlanta, Ga.
What Years at UGA: 2003-2007, 2007-2010
School/Degree: Special Education, BAEd, MAed
Profession: Executive Director, ESP
ACCOLADES: Besides being a mom and wife, my greatest honor has been serving as Executive Director of ESP for 13 years. I learned so much serving in the Leadership Georgia class of 2017, on the steering committee for Leadership Georgia and I am happy to be a UGA Alumni 40 Under 40 recipient. I’m also very proud that ESP has been recognized as one of UGA’s top growing business leaders as #12 in the Bulldog 100.
Describe Athens in three words: Dawgs, hope, home
Fave bars and restaurant in Athens: The Place, 5 Restaurant and Bar, South Kitchen and Bar, Mama’s Boy
Fave Shops in Athens: Epiphany, Empire South, Cheeky Peach
Fave Athens landmark: Drinking coffee under a Big City Bread tree on Finley Street, The Tree that Owns Itself
Describe your typical Bulldog game day: Early morning run through campus, comfy red and black ensemble, Tailgate hopping to connect with multiple groups of family and friends, arriving at the Dawg Walk in time to watch the players high-five some of my favorite ESP friends, baking in the Georgia sun with a “G” tattooed face, cheering so loud I’m left with a whisper voice. Home a few minutes before game ends, shoes off, kids all around.
Fave lipstick: Burts Bees blush
Fave mascara: Bare Essentials
Fave skin care line: Rodan & Fields
Fave hair product: Kevin Murphy purple shampoo
Product you can’t live without: Dry shampoo
Best budget buy product: Rosehip oil as makeup remover- it’s natural and lasts forever
Biggest product splurge: Rodan and Fields eyelash boost
Fave fashion designer: Lauren Conrad, totally my style
Fave interior designer: Joanna Gaines
Fave jeans: Rock and Republic Skinnys
Fave tee: Tailgate Dress Down UGA shirts
Fashion idol: My daughter, Finley
Fave flower: Tulips
Fave accessory: Leather (Magnolia Market) earrings
Fave STATIONERY: My 6-year-old daughter’s paper watercolor paintings. I cut them up and use them as thank you notes!
Who inspires you? The mothers of the children with disabilities we serve every day at ESP.
Fave blog: Cup a Jo, imom, Natalie Norton Blog
Fave instagram: @ESP_Inc, @Java Joy, @Faces of ESP
Fave magazine: Southern Living
Fave book: The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Fave song: Testify, Need to Breathe
Fave artist: One Republic
SHARE A TAILGATE RECIPE:
ESP’s JAVA JOY
Makes 1 Dozen
- ½ cup of butter (put in microwave for about 15 seconds to soften)
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- ½ cup of milk
- 2 cups of blueberries or 1 ¾ cups of chocolate chips
- Slivered almonds as a topping
DIRECTIONS: Use the convection oven. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In bowl, mix butter until creamy, add sugar and beat until white and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beat after each. With spoon, fold in half of flour, then half the milk into batter, repeat. Fold in blueberries or chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin cups, sprinkle almonds onto each one. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch.
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