Entrepreneur, education advocate and author Michael J. Coles. CREDIT: AIVA GENYS
Photo: Aiva Genys
Photo: Aiva Genys

Entrepreneur Michael Coles to receive Billi and Bernie Marcus Visionary Award

Michael J. Coles, founder of the Great American Cookie Company and former president of Hillels of Georgia, will receive the Billi and Bernie Marcus Visionary Award for his work in the Jewish community.

Coles, who was also CEO of Caribou Coffee, will be honored during the “A Salute to Michael Coles: The Impact of One Tough Cookie” event at 7:30 p.m. March 24 at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way in Sandy Springs.

Hillels of Georgia is a nonprofit that supports Jewish students on Georgia’s college campuses. 

From 2012 to 2019, Coles served as president of Hillels of Georgia during a period that saw a rise of anti-Semitism and bias.

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After nearly two decades in the clothing business, Coles and Arthur Karp co-founded the Great American Cookie Company in Atlanta in 1977, according to his bio on the website of Kennesaw State University, which has a business school bearing his name.

He is the author of “Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life,” co-written with Catherine M. Lewis. 

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