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Release Date: 06.23.2016 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: Freelance writer Echo Garrett

"4 Questions Journalist Spotlight" with Freelance Journalist Echo Garrett

Leff's Atlanta Media's Weekly Feature Conversation with an Atlanta Journalist


Each week, in partnership with Leff’s Atlanta Media (, Atlanta Daybook presents our "Journalist Spotlight." Mitch Leff offers a conversation with a journalist in the Atlanta market, asking them four questions that'll help you learn more about local Atlanta media. What makes them tick? What's new at their media outlet? What drives them?

This week we’re talking with freelance writer Echo Garrett. But writer doesn't really do justice to all the different things that she's got on her plate and all that she's done. Writer, Author, Speaker, Advocate.  All of those descriptors apply. You'll read more about her Orange Duffel Bag initiative below, but over the years she's also written for a range of national media outlets, including Parade magazine (ask her about her interview with Denzel), Delta Sky, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and so many more!

What kind of story makes you proud to be a journalist?
I love writing stories that spark social change or help people in some way. For example, a lot of my work in the last few years has been focused on helping people understand the barriers facing teens and young adults who have experienced foster care or homelessness. A lot of people are shocked to learn how few young people graduate high school who have been in foster care or how many homeless college students we have on our campuses.

I wrote a book called “My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change,” a true story of Sam Bracken, who came to Georgia Tech as a homeless teen when he got a football scholarship. Everything he owned fit in that orange duffel bag. Sam and I cofounded The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, a nonprofit that does life-plan coaching with youth who have been homeless, in foster care or poverty. ODBI is the youngest nonprofit to win Emory’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award.

When I spoke at LSU a few years ago about many homeless students going unnoticed on our college campuses, the administrators didn’t think they had any students in that category. About a month later, I learned that after my talk LSU identified 47 students on campus who were homeless

What’s new and exciting about what you’re doing?
I’m working on four book projects right now — all books that will help people. I am co-authoring a book called “Step Out, Step Up” with Lt. Col. Mark Green, which tells his remarkable story of 33 years of service from enlisted man to an officer. The second half of the book offers military personnel help with transition. Green is committed to helping his fellow soldiers and their families transition successfully.

Another book I’m working on is with Dr. Carl Amodio, who holds a diplomate in applied kinesiology and is a chiropractor and certified in neuroemotional technique. Dr. Amodio specializes in unraveling health mysteries using noninvasive techniques and then treating the root of health challenges rather than medicating symptoms.

Another project that I’m excited about is a book with Ruben Perczek called “ZONE14: Redefining Excellence Helping Youth Engage and Sustain their Highest Potential."

I’m also writing a memoir about my late father Bob Montgomery, who had a 60-year music career, and growing up around Nashville’s Music Row. 

What's the best and worst thing about your job?
The best thing is that I constantly get to learn about a wide variety of topics that capture my interest and imagination. The worst thing is having to chase down payments after you’ve done your best work on a project.

What’s the coolest thing people should know about you?
I’m named Echo after my dad’s best friend Buddy Holly’s old girlfriend. Dad and Buddy had a little rockabilly duo when they were teens. Dad was going to name me either Echo or Holly to commemorate their friendship and chose Echo, which I now like since I echo other people’s stories through my words. 

About Echo: 

  • Last Book Read: Advanced reading copy of Robert Hicks’ “The Orphan Mother.” He is keynoting the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ regional conference in November that I am co-chairing with Mickey Goodman.
  • Favorite Atlanta Restaurant: Seed
  • Favorite Guilty Pleasure: A glass of a terrific wine I haven’t tasted before
  • Local Getaway: Barnsley Resort
  • Favorite Non-Work Hobby: Organic gardening
  • Twitter: @echogarrett

Mitch Leff is the president of Leff & Associates Public Relations (, an Atlanta-based PR agency. Leff also operates Leff’s Atlanta Media ( an online database with contact info for thousands of Atlanta-based journalists, and Mitch’s Media Match (, a service that connects Atlanta journalists with local experts and sources. Contact him at, (404) 861-4769, on Twitter (@mitchleffPR), or on Facebook at Leff & Associates.

Contact Info

Contact Name: Mitch Leff

Company: Leff & Associates PR

Phone: 404-861-4769