Leadership Tennessee Announces New Class featuring Chamber Staff and Members

Now more than ever, bringing leaders together for constructive conversations is critical to state’s future success and opportunity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Leadership Tennessee today announced Class VIII, comprised of 38 talented leaders from rural and urban communities across Tennessee who will spend the next year engaging in collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of statewide importance.

Each year, Leadership Tennessee chooses a new class of members who represent each geographic region of the state as well as a variety of professional industries, from healthcare, tourism, and education to economic development, government, and agriculture. The goal is to bring together leaders with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, thereby helping to ensure members can learn from each other, build new relationships, and foster productive discourse.

To accommodate travel and group size restrictions across the state, Leadership Tennessee Class VIII will convene in January 2021 and complete the program with an accelerated yet fully comprehensive schedule. Leadership Tennessee is committed to providing the same high-quality experiences and conversations offered to previous classes while also taking necessary steps to help ensure the health and safety of class members and hosts.

Now in its eighth year, Leadership Tennessee has built a network of 305 leaders across the state. In recent months, in response to the ongoing pandemic, Leadership Tennessee hosted several virtual town halls in an effort to continue its mission of connecting ideas and solutions that bring leaders together to build a stronger Tennessee. Archived videos from the “Leadership in Crisis” virtual town halls are available here.

Leadership Tennessee has also been working to encourage productive discussions around issues of racial equity and civil justice following the killing of George Floyd that sparked protests nationwide. The organization has started a new series of webinars about racial inequality that covers issues such as criminal justice, voting rights and access to the ballot, education, and health care. Learn more about the series here.

In 2019, the organization commenced Leadership Tennessee NEXT, a new program designed to provide early-to-mid career professionals in-depth personal and career development while fostering a better understanding of Tennessee. Class II of Leadership Tennessee NEXT was announced earlier this year and Leadership Tennessee is currently accepting nominations through September 15, 2020 for Class III, which will begin in March 2021. Additionally, in April 2019, Leadership Tennessee launched “Vote Tennessee,” a statewide effort to increase voter registration in advance of the 2020 election cycle. More information on Vote Tennessee can be found at votetennessee.org.

Leadership Tennessee Class VIII members

Jacky Akbari, managing principal, Worthington Advisory (Nashville)

Michael J. Banks, attorney, Banks Law Firm, P.A. (Brownsville, Tenn.)

Julie Bennett, vice president and general counsel, Bristol Motor Speedway, LLC (Bristol, Tenn)

Jerri Bryant, chancellor, state of Tennessee (Athens, Tenn.)

LaTanya Channel, Tennessee state director, US Small Business Administration (Old Hickory, Tenn.)

Marshall E. Crawford, Jr., president and CEO, The Housing Fund (Nashville)

Adam Dickson, director, Langston Centre, city of Johnson City (Jonesborough, Tenn.)

Tracy Guarino, CEO, Guarino Advisors (Nashville)

T. Ryan Hughes, executive director, Tennessee Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs (Knoxville)

Dr. Jim Lancaster, senior medical director - midSouth, Cigna Healthcare (Franklin, Tenn.)

Linda Latimer, MD, self-employed (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Linda C. Martin, vice president academic affairs and student success, University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

KeeKee Mathis, supplier diversity manager, Volkswagen Group of America (Chattanooga)

Jeannette Mills, executive VP and chief external relations officer, TVA (Knoxville)

Sara H. Morrison, executive director, Tennessee State Board of Education (Nashville)

Jennifer Nichols, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (Nashville)

Robert Pack, associate dean and professor, ETSU College of Public Health (Johnson City, Tenn.)

Carey Parker (Curtsinger), CEO, LHP Capital (Knoxville)

Mandy Pellegrin, policy director, The Sycamore Institute (Nashville)

Reginald Porter, Jr., SVP corporate social responsibility/chief diversity officer, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis)

David Roddy, chief of police Chattanooga Police Department (Chattanooga)

Jason Schmitt, chief executive officer, Old Time Pottery (Murfreesboro)

James E. Shamiyeh, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief quality officer, University of Tennessee Medical Center (Knoxville)

Jonathan Skrmetti, chief deputy attorney general, Tennessee Attorney General’s Office (Franklin, Tenn.)

Laura Smith, vice president - general counsel, Nashville Electric Service (Nashville)

Zulfat Suara, assistant controller, Meharry Medical College (Nashville)

Deniece Thomas, deputy commissioner, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.)

John Tolsma, president and CEO, Knowledge Launch, LLC (Knoxville)

Brad Turner, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (Smyrna, Tenn)

Nancy VanReece, councilmember, Nashville and Davidson County Metropolitan Council (Madison, Tenn.)

Kevin Vaughan, principal, Township Development Services (Collierville, Tenn.)

Laura Ward, senior vice president talent development, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce (Nashville)

Bo Watson, senator, Tennessee General Assembly (Hixson, Tenn.)

H. Alan Watson, FACHE, chief executive officer, Maury Regional Health (Columbia, Tenn.)

R. Marie Webb, Sr., vice president human resources, EPB (Chattanooga)

Craig L. Weiss, vice president/CEO, Tower Ventures/Central Defense Security and Staffing (Memphis)

Andrea D. Willis, SVP chief medical officer (Chattanooga)

Joe Woolley, chief executive officer, Nashville LGBT Chamber (Nashville)

To learn more about Leadership Tennessee, visit www.leadershiptennessee.org.

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