About Jay

Don't trust your business to just anyone

With over 40 years of experience as an Atlanta business advisor, serial entrepreneur, CEO, and owner in multiple venues and industries, Jay McDonald has mastered the art of learning by "trial and error." With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands-on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve better business results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives.

As a Vistage Master Chair for five Atlanta groups, Jay shares his deep knowledge and personal experiences with business leaders looking to maximize their potential. As a results-oriented leader and proven executive leadership coach, he knows how to combine keen business strategies, common sense, and personal touch to build trust and authentic relationships with every client - helping them become better leaders, make better decisions and live happier lives.

Jay has held many leadership roles over the years including CEO and Co-owner of Solare Solutions, LLC; President, CEO and Co-Owner of Network Communications, Inc.; Chairman and Co-founder of Middleton McDonald Group, Inc.; Principal at The Breckenridge Group, Inc.; President and Co-owner of The Wayne Watson Company and Senior Vice President at The Citizens and Southern National Bank. As CEO, co-owner, chairman, president and principal, Jay managed thousands of employees, achieving success in commercial banking, investment banking, distribution, sports related marketing, sales and administration, technology, software, real estate, light manufacturing, publishing, printing and the commercial sign industries.

Jay co-authored Corporate Banking: A Practical Approach to Lending, which was published by the ABA and used to train commercial lenders and credit professionals throughout the country. He also created and managed internal and field-training programs for commercial banks and lenders that was used to train lenders and credit professionals across North America. He is a national keynote speaker, he has spoken to over 35,000 people in industry associations, corporate groups and leadership groups. His latest book, Strategic Jaywalking: The Secret Sauce to Life & Leadership Excellence will be released in 2021.

Jay currently serves as Chairman of the Board for ECI Group in Atlanta and also Chairman of the Board of Stafford Development Company in Tifton, GA. Jay was a founding investor/Board Member of Buckhead Investment Partners in Atlanta; Compliance Depot in Dallas, Texas; and the Frabel Art Foundation in Atlanta. He was a 12-year board member of the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. He is a licensed real estate professional and a nationally recognized trainer for commercial lenders, credit administrators, and leads Finance for Non-financial Leaders workshops. In 2002, Jay was pleased to serve as an official Olympic torchbearer in Salt Lake City. Jay is a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council.

Jay has an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia where he received the prestigious Samuel Forest Hyde Memorial Fellowship and was the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982. He received his BS in Industrial Management from Georgia Institute of Technology graduating in the top 10 percent of his class and is a 2022 recipient of the Joseph Mayo Pettit Distinguished Service Award, the highest award conferred by the Alumni Association, honoring alumni who have provided outstanding support of the Institute and Alumni Association throughout a lifetime and who have provided leadership in their chosen professions and local communities. Jay completed the Stanford Executive Leadership Program in 2018, where he was a co-facilitator and continues as its facilitator.

In 2012, Jay was named a Vistage Rookie of the Year, also receiving the Chair Excellence Award, which he's received numerous times. He is Past Chairman of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, Past President of the Cherokee Town & Country Club, an original member of the Georgia Governor's Council for Science and Technology Development, a Registered Neutral, Supreme Court of Georgia in General Mediation, and a Leadership Georgia alum. Jay's interests include golf, skiing, reading, wine and music. He is also an avid sports enthusiast. He has two adult children, and a grandson.

Speak with Jay

I'm excited to learn more about you, your business and how we may work together.