Online Speakers Bureau

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce established this online speakers bureau to provide a list of Nashville-area speakers who have expertise on business-related topics. Speaker participation is limited to representatives of Chamber-member companies at and above our Market Mover investment level.

The Chamber reserves the right to refuse participation by any proposed speaker at its discretion. Please note that this is not a promotional or sales opportunity, but an opportunity to provide education to civic and other organizations that seek speakers for their professional meetings. If you would like to be listed on this page, email Lauren Gregg McWhirter.

Want help finding the perfect speaker? Click below for a quick, easy way to narrow down the options.

Disclaimer: This speakers bureau is provided as a source of information only. The goal is to help connect organizations with prospective speakers. All arrangements must be made directly between the organization and the speaker. The Chamber does not endorse or recommend the speakers listed on this website. The views and opinions expressed by speakers are not necessarily those of the Chamber, and the Chamber is not responsible for any statements or actions of the speakers.

Chris Anderson - Littler Mendelson, P.C.

J. Christopher Anderson counsels business clients on general employment matters and assists them with workplace investigations, disciplinary actions, employee handbooks, employment policies, and terminations. He also advises clients on compliance with state and federal employment law including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. Anderson is also an active trial lawyer. He defends businesses against employment claims and has handled wage and hour, discrimination, non-compete, and retaliatory discharge cases in both state and federal courts. He also assists clients with OFCCP audits and claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and comparable state agencies.

Presentation Topics: employment law update, wage and hour update, employee handbooks, FMLA/ADA

Rick Batson -

Rick Batson started speaking professionally while in law school and continued speaking throughout his earlier legal career. He recently founded RICKBATSON.COM to expand the reach of his public speaking.

He began his legal career in Clarksville, and from 1995 until retiring in 2006, he operated his own practice in Nashville, litigating complex cases involving intellectual property law, employment law and professional negligence.

Using his experience and expertise in employment law, in 2006 he began presenting accredited training programs for human resource management professionals.

Some of his cases have been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (Albert Gore v. Jersey Miniere Zinc Company); USA Today, Court TV Channel, MTV News, Variety, Rolling Stone, National Law Review and Los Angeles Lawyer magazine (Cusano v. Kiss, Gene Simmons, and Polygram) and The Geraldo Rivera Show (DePalma v. Nashville). He holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and earned his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

Presentation Topics: success, leadership, communication and career excellence

Alex Berta - NSG

As a teenager, Alex Berta spent several years as a high-value member of select hacking collectives around the world, which gave him rare insight into the methods and goals of the criminal black-hat hackers. Today, he uses everything he’s learned to educate and protect users and networks across the country.

In addition to the technical brilliance he puts to work for NSG clients every day, Berta is an acclaimed advocate, educator and speaker for groups ranging from the Nashville Technology Council to the U.S. government. His ability to clarify the murky world of online hackers is forcing policy-makers and business owners to rethink their approach to information security for the benefit of their clients, employees and overall business strategy.

Presentation Topics: information security, cybersecurity, data security practices

Staci Bockman - Engadin Hospitality

Since graduating from college in 2004, Staci Bockman has been busy learning skills and gaining knowledge that led to her opening 312 Pizza Company and Tempered European Indulgence. She has worked in the sales and marketing departments for companies such as Marriott International and Anheuser-Busch. She also spent time as a realtor in Illinois, where she earned the title of "Rookie of the Year" her first year in business. She loves creating the customer experience and is passionate about hospitality and sales.

Presentation Topics: sales, customer experience, hospitality, small business ownership

Dan Boone - Trevecca Nazarene University

Dan Boone, the 11th president of Trevecca Nazarene University, had served as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene until his election as president in 2005. He earned degrees from Trevecca, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and McCormick Theological Seminary. He writes about issues related to Christian living and is the author of many articles and 10 books. He and his wife, Denise, have three adult daughters.

Presentation Topics: marketing a university, religion and controversy, end-time eschatology, higher education and ethics in society and culture

​Philip Brewer - NSG

Philip Brewer is the senior technical analyst at NSG. He brings more than a decade of experience in all aspects of business technology used by legal, health care, professional services, education and related industries.

Presentation Topics: backup and disaster recovery, information security, infrastructure design, cloud services, VoIP and telephony, technology assessment and planning, CIO consulting

Trudy Carson - Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Trudy Carson joined the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) in October 2011 as the air service development manager. Carson has more than 17 years of experience in airport service marketing and the airport industry. She joined the MNAA from Tampa International Airport, where she was the director of air service development. In her role, Carson helps attract new airlines and air service, as well as retains current service, to Nashville International Airport. Carson has an MBA in finance and marketing from Xavier University in Ohio and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. Originally from El Salvador, she is fluent in Spanish and German. In 2009, she served as the chairwoman for the International Air Service Committee of the Airports Council International. Carson is a member of the board of the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce. She is also a graduate of Leadership Tampa Bay and Leadership Tampa.

Presentation Topics: aviation, airports, air service, transportation, economic development

John Castellaw - Farmspace Systems, LLC

Lt. Gen. John "Glad" Castellaw, USMC (ret), is the president of Farmspace Systems, a precision agriculture firm that uses technology and tactics developed by the military to gather data to improve the efficiency of farming operations. Following his graduation from the University of Tennessee, Martin, Castellaw served 36 years as an aviator in the United States Marine Corps. He held several commands, served with the United Nations during the siege of Sarajevo, led a U.S. joint force in a multi-national security operation in East Timor, and was the chief of staff for the U.S. Central Command at the height of the war in Iraq. His final tours on active duty were in the Pentagon, where he was USMC deputy commandant for aviation and deputy commandant for programs and resources. He retired in 2008.

Presentation Topics: farming efficiencies, veteran employment, national security, food security

Grant Clarke - ServiceSource

Grant Clarke has held numerous sales and operations management positions within the technology industry and recently has been at ServiceSource since 2005. At ServiceSource, Clarke runs the company’s Nashville sales center as vice president of client delivery, focusing on developing great sales teams and delivering results for customers. As part of ServiceSource’s goal of maximizing customers’ recurring revenue, Clarke nurtures a trusted partner relationship with customers and provides an intelligent and creative response to their evolving service business challenges. He has contributed tremendously to the growth and development of the Nashville office since it opened in 2008.

Presentation Topics: sales metrics, sales development, CRM, managing recurring revenue, industry best practices, customer & service adoption

Erin Coleman - Yad Consulting

Erin Coleman is an attorney, an engineer, an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother and a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq. She is the founder and president of Yad Consulting, a project management firm whose consultants have over a century of experience managing large-scale construction projects around the world. She is an expert in government contracts and federal acquisition regulations.

Presentation Topics: the contemporary American woman and the workforce, balancing faith and family, the art of RFP response: how to successfully write and present a proposal

Sam Davidson - Batch Nashville

Sam Davidson is a social entrepreneur, published author and professional speaker who uses storytelling to help companies and communities lead better and make an impact. He has written three books and speaks on college campuses and at corporate conferences all over the United States. Batch Nashville is his fourth company.

Presentation Topics: branding/storytelling, leadership, marketing, travel, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, maker movement

Rob Dodson - Adams & Reese

Rob Dodson has more than 16 years of experience practicing law in the construction and energy industries. Dodson is licensed in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, and he regularly handles matters throughout the country for his clients. He also has significant experience in general commercial litigation and insurance and products liability litigation, and has tried many cases before judges and juries in the Southeast.

Presentation Topics: construction, oil and gas, commercial litigation

​Kimberly Estep - Western Governors University Tennessee

Dr. Kimberly K. Estep is an articulate thought leader in the field of higher education, having spent 25 years in the academy. She earned her doctorate in history from Auburn University and earned a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Georgia. She has quickly become a thought leader in what may be the next great evolutionary leap in higher education. Dr. Estep is the first chancellor of WGU Tennessee, a nonprofit, online university launched in July 2013 by Gov. Bill Haslam to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education.

Presentation Topics: competency-based learning, higher education, digital technology and online learning; attracting nontraditional students

Drew Fassett - Peak 10

Regional vice president for Peak 10 Nashville, Louisville and Cincinnati. Responsibilities include sales strategy, forecasting, people management, local marketing, operations, customer satisfaction and financial management (P&L). Includes developing a go-to-market strategy and executing that strategy. More than 16 years of sales, management and IT industry experience. IBM: 1996-2009; Peak 10: 2008-Present. Davidson College – B.A. psychology (90-94); Wharton – Master Deal Maker session

Areas of Expertise: datacenter, cloud and IT managed services

Darrell Freeman - Zycron, Inc.

Darrell S. Freeman, Sr., is the executive chairman of Zycron, Inc., an information technology services and solutions firm he founded in 1991 in Nashville, Tenn. Zycron employs more than 350 professionals across the country. Freeman is also the co-founder of two other businesses: Reliant Bank and Pinnacle Construction Partners.

Freeman’s commitment to the community is evident through his numerous service activities, including being a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents and serving two terms as board chairman of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards, and he is a pilot for Angel Flight, an organization that arranges free air transportation for charitable and medical needs. His favorite pastimes include spending time with his wife and four children. Freeman holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

Presentation Topics: entrepreneurship, education, striving for excellence, leadership, business success

Tim Gary - Adams & Reese

Tim Gary serves as the leader of Adams & Reese's health care practice team. He is the former senior VP and COO of a national wellness company, providing population health management services to employers and health insurance companies throughout the United States. Gary also has more than 15 years of governmental relations experience, having served as an assistant attorney general and part of the governor of Tennessee’s legislative team. He drafted and negotiated numerous pieces of major legislation dealing with such issues as health plan liability, mandated benefits, financial reserves, and other major regulatory issues. Gary has held various positions with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, including senior counsel for government relations, director of legal and regulatory affairs, VP and general counsel of the Volunteer State Health Plan, and chief compliance and risk officer for governmental programs. He currently serves on Congressman Diane Black's steering committee on health care reform.

Presentation Topics: health care legal topics, health care information technology sector, Affordable Care Act, Elder Abuse Act

Dr. Jacqueline A. Gilbert - MTSU

Jackie Gilbert is a professor of management and certified online instructor at Middle Tennessee State University. She is a recipient of the State Farm Excellence Professorship, and a Fellow in the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse. Her articles on gender, online learning, diversity, race relations, and international business have been featured in journals like The Academy of Management Executive, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Journal of Business Education, Group and Organization Management, the Journal of Business Ethics, and as a case study ("Formally Shaming White Criminals") by Harvard Business School.

She received her BBA in management from the University of Texas at Austin, and her master's and Ph.D. degrees in management from the University of Houston. Gilbert has been featured in Forbes, Men's Health, Game On® Business Talk Radio | VoiceAmerica™, WMOT radio, WGNS radio, The Tennessean, The Daily Business Journal, The Workplace Bullying Institute website, and The Huffington Post.

She has recently served as member of Tennessee Healthy Workplace Advocates, which worked toward passage of the Healthy Workplace Act in Tennessee, along with TACIR (Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations) Workplace Civility Work Group.

Gilbert has developed courses in organizational development and general management. She teaches two online graduate courses in MTSU's the MS in management program: Organizational Development – MGMT 6660 (offered in spring), and Current Issues in Management – MGMT 6690 (offered in fall), which individuals may audit.

Presentation Topics: civility/bullying, organizing, diversity management 

Susan Gillpatrick - Centerstone

Susan Gillpatrick, M.Ed., LPC, CTS, is a licensed professional counselor and crisis management specialist for Centerstone, the nation's largest not-for-profit provider of community-based mental health and addiction services. She works primarily in the field with clients in critical incident response situations and provides Centerstone’s wellness trainings and presentations. She is a licensed professional counselor, certified trauma specialist, certified workplace conflict mediator, and mental health service provider in the state of Tennessee and a national certified counselor. She is also a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists, the Tennessee Mental Health Counseling Association, and the Middle Tennessee Employee Assistance Professionals Association. She received her M.Ed. in human development counseling from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.

Presentation Topics: health and wellness training, crisis management strategies, group counseling and mediation services

Steve Hayes - The Human Capital Group, Inc.

As the founder and senior partner of The Human Capital Group, Steve Hayes has more than 20 years of broad-based, multi-industry, and global experience as a human resources executive, with specific skills in guiding leaders and their companies in the following capacities: acquiring high-potential talent; cultural change; developing and aligning vision, mission and values; organizational and management development; performance management and succession planning; domestic and international startups and shut-downs; union management & avoidance. As a retained executive recruiter, Hayes has assisted executives in acquiring leadership talent within virtually every function and industry sector. In addition, he is a sought-after consultant and executive coach/speaker to leaders facing a myriad of organizational and cultural challenges and opportunities. With a relentless focus on "delivering results through people," Hayes is committed to ensuring that the mission and guiding principles of The Human Capital Group are the foundation of every service provided by the firm.

Presentation Topics: executive search, leadership development, executive coaching

Kolin Holladay - Adams & Reese

Kolin Holladay is a practice team leader of the corporate/securities/mergers and acquisitions team at Adams and Reese. He focuses his practice on legal matters including reporting and filing obligations under federal and state securities law, public and private offerings of securities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and contract negotiation and interpretation. In addition, Holladay counsels startup, developmental stage and emerging companies on various matters related to venture capital and other financings. He has extensive experience advising entities on transactions with affiliates and shareholders. Before law school, Holladay served as head assistant baseball coach and assistant athletic director at Lipscomb University. He currently serves on the boards of directors of BCB, Inc., the parent company of the BlueCoast Burrito restaurant chain; the Nashville Sports Council; and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is a member of the Lipscomb University National Alumni Advisory Council.

Presentation Topics: business startups, financing and funding, mergers & acquisitions, securities, corporate boards

Cathy Holland - Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Cathy Holland has more than 30 years of experience in economic and community development management. She serves as director of community affairs and customer service for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA). She serves as the MNAA’s liaison to governmental and civic organizations located in the Nashville region, manages the Flying Aces volunteer program, oversees the Arts at the Airport program and the Airport Information Center, and works with Authority staff and airport tenants in the development and implementation of world-class customer-service programs. Previously, under Phil Bredesen’s tenure as Nashville mayor, Holland served as the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. She is a 2004 graduate of the Leadership Donelson/Hermitage Program. Holland was named as one of the 2011 Nashville Business Journal Women of Influence – Community Support category. Holland is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin with a bachelor’s degree in management.

Presentation Topics: aviation, airports, customer service, tourism, hospitality, economic development

Michael Hudson - Groups360

Michael Hudson, CRME, MBA, is a former Walt Disney Imagineer with more than 20 years' experience in engineering design, data analysis and user-experience development. Throughout his career at Disney, he helped open two theme parks and numerous ride systems across both coasts. He championed using data visualization and predictive analytics to improve ride reliability.

In 2006, he was recruited by Gaylord Entertainment to graft his Disney experience onto hotel development. He created innovative retail and sports bar experiences for hotel guests and brokered strategic partnerships with the MLB and The Smithsonian. From there, he transitioned to help form a new team centralizing revenue management and yield strategies for the brand.

Based on experiences yielding group business during the 2009 downturn, Hudson founded Grouponomics to help bring event-performance transparency to the sales and revenue management teams within the hotel industry. After successfully growing for five years, Grouponomics was acquired by Nashville-based Groups360 in 2015.

Hudson remains dedicated to continuing to deliver transparency to both sides of the hotel/meeting planner equation. When data is transformed from an ugly tabular system to a format that tells a story, that’s when you truly unlock the potential of a collaborative sales process. Effective communication only happens when data is set free; knowledge for both sides creates efficiency and maximizes profits for all.

Presentation Topics: "Data Rich - Insight Poor"; "Decision to Buy is Emotional"; "Science the $#^! Out of Your Data"; "Vox Populi - Wisdom of the Crowd; Crowdsourcing Customer Behaviors to Improve Performance"; "Competing in a Data-Driven World"; "Lowest ADR Does Not Always Win the Bid"; "Creative Problem Solving: Imagineering Solutions"; "Work the Real Problem: Lessons Learned from Best Practices at Disney"

Mike Jones - Axios, LLC

Mike Jones is CEO and a co-founder of Axios, LLC, a veteran-powered diversified-services company. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a veteran of multiple deployments in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Axios, LLC operates four sub-companies operating in logistics, Internet technology, project management and precision agriculture.

Presentation Topics: entrepreneurship, veteran employment issues, capital raises

Jennifer Kovalcik - Stites & Harbison PLLC

Jennifer Kovalcik is an intellectual property and technology service attorney. She concentrates on designing and implementing intellectual property protection plans, enforcing intellectual property assets, and drafting and negotiating software licenses and a variety of technology agreements.

Kovalcik prosecutes trademark and copyright registration applications and handles domain name and Internet content disputes, as well as negotiates and drafts contracts that implicate intellectual property or technology rights, including software licenses and subscription agreements, software as a service (SAAS) agreements, technology development agreements for the creation or modification of software, website, or mobile application development agreements, website terms of use and privacy policies, hosting agreements, and transfer and assignment documents. Enforcement actions also include trademark opposition and cancellation proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and interacting with U.S. Customs & Border Protection to protect trademarks through seizure orders in both federal and state courts.

Presentation Topics: trademarks, copyrights and patents; intellectual property law

Doug Kreulen - Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Doug Kreulen is senior vice president of operations & maintenance for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA). At the MNAA, he is responsible for leading the operations, facilities maintenance, public safety and community affairs & customer service departments. Kreulen joined the MNAA from Huntsville International Airport, where he served as director of operations since 2008, handling airside and landside operations, facility and fleet maintenance, public safety, grounds maintenance and environmental affairs. Kreulen served in the Air Force in a variety of highly responsible positions. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Auburn University and master’s degrees from Troy State University and the National War College.

Presentation Topics: aviation, airports, air cargo, transportation, general aviation

Liz Laubenberg - Camp Gladiator

Liz Laubenberg is a former collegiate athlete with a background in exercise science. She has been working with Camp Gladiator, an award winning outdoor fitness program that was founded by EY’s entrepreneur of the year for Central Texas Ally Davidson. Liz has worked her way up from a partner trainer to an Area Director and Elite Leader with the company. Her expertise ranges from health and wellness to leadership development. Her speaking is engaging and informative. History of events include several corporations in Dallas TX including the American Heart Association, American Airlines and more.

Presentation Topics: Leadership development, Recruiting, Eating Healthy on a Budget, Stress Management, Pillars of health, Goal setting. Health and wellness topics can also be customized based on the need.

Armand Lauzon - Belle

Armand Lauzon is the founder & CEO of Belle, a Nashville-based business that provides beauty and health services on demand. Prior to founding Belle, Lauzon spent four years in business strategy consulting and more than two years in private equity and venture capital, where he oversaw a venture portfolio of more than 2,000 companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College's Carroll School of Management.

Presentation Topics: entrepreneurship, capital raises, sharing economy, building key partnerships inside and outside your company

Keith Leimbach - ServiceSource

Keith Leimbach has been with ServiceSource since 2007 and has focused his efforts on helping his customers manage recurring revenues and optimize renewals to increase their overall profitability. He has held several executive positions at ServiceSource, and currently serves as senior vice president and general manager of the ServiceSource business across the Americas. His organization consists of more than 1,500 people located between Nashville and Denver, and manages more than $5B of recurring revenue for ServiceSource customers. He has helped lead the growth of ServiceSource internationally, the creation of more than 800 jobs in downtown Nashville, and the recent addition of the ServiceSource Tower (formerly the SunTrust Building) to the Nashville skyline. Leimbach graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in mechanical engineering and has completed multiple graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley Walter A. Haas School of Business. He moved to the Nashville area with his family in 2008.

Presentation Topics: sales, leadership, CRM, managing recurring revenue, renewal optimization

James Mackler - Axios, LLC

A partner in the Nashville law firm Bone McAllester Norton, PLLC, James Mackler founded the first practice in unmanned aerial systems law in Tennessee. He began practicing law in 1997. Following the events of September 11, 2011, Mackler became a military aviator and earned an Air Medal and Combat Action Badge during his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Iraq, he transferred to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He currently serves in the 118th Air Wing of the Air National Guard, a unit focused on cyber-operations.

Presentation Topics: unmanned aerial system law, veteran entrepreneurship

Joseph Meyer - BKD, LLP

As a member of BKD National Financial Services Group and BKD National Manufacturing & Distribution Group, Joe Meyer has more than 28 years of experience serving business clients with accounting, auditing and consulting services.

Meyer is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He graduated with distinction in 1981 from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, with a B.S. in accounting. He is currently involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville and Riley Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Presentation Topics: strategic planning, profitability improvement, governance structure best practices, organizational development and coaching, building a prospect and referral list

Joe Morgan - siY, LLC

Joe, the Founder and Chief Strategist at siY, believes that if you are relentless in building the right environment for people, then extraordinary outcomes can result. People and curiosity are always at the core of his leadership approach. Having spent his career serving as a CEO or Member of the Board for large public as well as start-up and growth companies, Joe brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated leadership in transformational business environments. He has been successful in driving value and achieving strategic growth objectives in many industry sectors, including service, technology, and manufacturing.  Joe has a proven track record for improving performance by integrating the strategy, culture, and customer within an operational framework.  In 2016, he founded siY, LLC (Be safe. Be Inspired. Be YOU), a company that helps leaders achieve strategic objectives in an environment where people can thrive.

Presentation Topics: transformative leadership, inspirational thinking, culture as a spark for growth, safety, health and wellness, the power of curiosity, decision-making

Paula Mosley - Village Consults - Village Real Estate Services

Known for her lighthearted, enthusiastic approach and endless energy, Paula Mosley is a dynamic and resourceful leader with a track record of successfully engaging and attracting talented real estate professionals and educating and coaching them into the highest levels of productivity and profitability.

Her ability to engage, influence and lead was apparent early on when she was instrumental in turning a struggling real estate office into a profitable, fierce competitor in its rural Nashville market. During that time, Mosley perfected her skills in engaging, attracting, retaining and developing talented real estate entrepreneurs and business owners.

Mosley has been instrumental in assisting and consulting both new and experienced real estate professionals, real estate boards, their leadership teams and focus groups. As a result, she has built a strong reputation as a caring, respected, trusted servant-leader, consultant and coach.

Presentation Topics: mindset, business development, sales, leadership, social media, team building, inspiration/motivation, making unprofitable businesses profitable (flipping)

Jena Nardella - Blood:Water

At the age of 22, Jena Nardella founded Blood:Water alongside the band Jars of Clay, and has worked to build and grow the organization for the last 10 years. Nardella continues to lead the overall vision and strategy for the organization while traveling often to Africa. Her collaborative writing includes Hope in the Dark, Zealous Love, The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World, and A Thousand Wells. She served on the boards of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Nardella is a graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in political studies. She and her husband, James, live in Nashville.

Presentation Topics: "Teachable Leadership"; "Slowly by Slowly: Waging the Long Defeat in an Unjust World"; "Vocation: Finding Your Calling"

Bill Nigh - The Bank of Nashville

William R. “Bill” Nigh is president and CEO of The Bank of Nashville, a division of Synovus Bank. Nigh also serves as Synovus regional CEO for the Tennessee markets including The Bank of Nashville, Chattanooga-based Cohutta Banking Company and Trust One Bank in Memphis, all divisions of Synovus Bank. Nigh most recently served as president and CEO of Trust One Bank in Memphis. In 1992, Nigh joined Synovus as a vice president and commercial banking manager with Columbus Bank and Trust Company in Columbus, Georgia, now a division of Synovus Bank. He also served as the COO and senior credit officer of Synovus’ First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, Alabama, from 2006 until 2008. Nigh was named president and CEO of Trust One Bank in 2008. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a BBA in finance.

Presentation Topics: banking and finance

Michael Poe - ServiceSource

Michael Poe is a proven executive leader of sales and sales operations with a successful track record of driving innovation, delivering revenue, and building strong leadership teams and organizations that collaborate to win. He has extensive knowledge of recurring revenue in tech-enabled industries, with emphasis on the creation and execution of strategic plans, sales team transformations, revenue and margin growth models, and development of competitive strategies to drive increased sales execution and effectiveness. He is skilled at establishing senior-level customer and partner relationships. 

Poe leads a team of 1,000 millennials in ServiceSource's Nashville sales center, driving $4 billion of recurring revenue for top tech companies like Cisco, Red Hat, MSFT, EMC, and several health and life science companies. He previously held sales and operations leadership roles at Cap Gemini, GE/Genpact and Perot Systems. Poe served seven years as an officer in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from the University of Mississippi, which he attended on an ROTC scholarship.

Presentation Topics: sales, leadership, CRM, managing recurring revenue, renewal optimization

Duke Porter - Raymond James | Morgan Keegan

Duke Porter serves as a financial advisor in the Nashville office of Raymond James | Morgan Keegan, where he provides investment consulting advice for large institutions, nonprofit organizations, employee benefit plans and high-net-worth individuals. Porter has earned the Certified 401(k) Professional™ designation, which represents the pinnacle of achievement for the professional retirement plan advisor, recognizing a combination of substantial practical retirement plan management experience. Porter has also earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, which is associated with the University of Pittsburgh. This designation represents a thorough knowledge and ability to apply fiduciary best practices and standards of care.

Presentation Topics: employer 401(K) or 403(B) retirement plan consulting, retirement plan fiduciary responsibilities, employee retirement plan education, investing

Brad Pray - Axios, LLC

In 2012, Brad Pray retired from the United States Air Force as a brigadier general. He served 32 years in a variety of command positions. His final assignment was as deputy director of plans and policy for Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, FL, where he was responsible for the development and coordination of existing and emerging issues as related to cyberspace operations policy, doctrine, organization, capabilities, and requirements. He also maintained cyberspace contingency and operational plans and the Cyber Capabilities Registry.

Presentation Topics: cybersecurity, veteran employment and training issues

Samantha Pyle - Green Apple Strategy

Samantha Owens Pyle is well known for strategic vision and communications expertise acquired during a successful career in the marketing and media relations fields. As the owner and chief strategist at Green Apple Strategy, LLC, Pyle uses her expertise in marketing and communications to walk brands through the process of defining their core objectives, developing a message that will resonate with their target audience, determining the appropriate channels to reach their audience, and implement an effective strategy that strategically positions brands and products to maximize revenue potential and increase customer appeal. Her ability to identify the core needs of a brand and execute a comprehensive marketing and communications solution have made a tangible difference on the bottom line for brands in a variety of industries and growth stages. Working alongside both startups and multi-million-dollar businesses has given Pyle the ability to understand how to effectively develop a message and strategy that is going to move your target audience to act.

As a gifted speaker and hands-on problem solver, Pyle has the unique ability to coach entrepreneurs and business professionals through the various marketing and communications challenges many are facing today. She has presented on numerous topics in the marketing and communications fields for organizations such as the Nashville Business Journal, PRSA Nashville and the Nashville Area Chamber.

Presentation Topics: marketing, strategic planning, messaging strategy, media relations, social media, event planning, communications, email marketing, content creation

Nancy Reece - The Human Capital Group, Inc.

Nancy Reece is a senior consultant with The Human Capital Group, specializing in developing leaders who gain competitive advantage and deliver sustainable results. She is a highly requested speaker with several national and international conferences in her portfolio. Prior to joining Human Capital Group, Reece was the first woman elected national board chair of the Association of YMCA Professionals in its 130-year history. Her career includes service as senior vice president for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee and national consultant for YMCA of the USA. As adjunct faculty, she teaches a leadership perspectives course at Lipscomb University’s Graduate School of Business. Reece writes the "Integrity First" column for the Nashville Business Journal and authored The Dichotomy of Power® - Using Power with Intelligence and Integrity. Her board service includes the Brentwood Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce, the National Speakers Association of Tennessee, Mercy Health Services and International Christian Ministries.

Presentation Topics: conflict resolution, leadership, integrity

Jennifer Robinson - Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Jennifer Robinson has extensive experience defending employers against wage and hour class and/or collective actions involving claims of misclassification, minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime, and missed meal and rest breaks. She also counsels, trains and conducts audits for clients to ensure compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws. In addition to her wage and hour practice, Robinson has defended employers in more than 100 single and multi-plaintiff lawsuits involving claims of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate and breach of contract.

Presentation Topics: discrimination and harassment, social media employment law update, wage and hour update

Andrew C. Sloss - Thomas & Company

Andrew C. Sloss is vice president of tax credits and incentives for Thomas & Company (T&C), a locally headquartered company that has been doing business in Nashville for more than 35 years. Prior to joining T&C, Sloss worked as an executive for Ernst & Young in New York and St. Louis, where he worked with clients to negotiate incentive packages totaling more than $65 million. In addition, he has helped his clients save millions of dollars through federal, state and local incentive programs, and many other hiring, investment and other types of credits and incentives.

Sloss is also a public speaker and has written several articles for The Journal of Multi-State Taxation and Incentives. He has received several outstanding awards for his public service, mentoring, leadership and business development skills.

He earned an undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University, a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law and a master’s degree from Crown College.

Over the last 20 years, he has also volunteered for faith-based organizations, working with youth, teen, young adult and men’s ministries, and has led several inner-city mission trips. He has presented and taught at church conferences and seminars across the country.

Presentation Topics: success, leadership, mentoring, economic development, tax credits & incentives & business development, Christianity, Biblical teaching, men’s issues, faith-based counseling

Warren Smith - Cushman Wakefield | Cornerstone Commercial

Warren Smith (BA University of the South, MBA Duke University) is currently CEO of the Cushman and Wakefield Alliance firm, Cornerstone Commercial, with offices in Knoxville and Nashville. Cornerstone is a full-service commercial firm with brokerage, management, investment sales and finance. Smith is also a principal with Q10 Vista Commercial Mortgage, a commercial real estate finance company. Past work experience includes time with MassMutual's real estate investment division and Bank of America's energy investment banking unit. Smith lives in Nashville with his wife of 25 years and three children.

Presentation Topics: office market dynamics, commercial real estate investment activity, commercial real estate finance

Tony Swafford - Adams & Reese

Tony Swafford chairs Adams & Reese’s transportation and logistics team. He concentrates his practice in complex litigation including transportation, labor and employment law, ERISA/employee benefits, and disputes related to non-competition and trade secret issues. Swafford represents national and regional clients in both litigation and transactional matters in transportation and logistics, including class litigation related to the Motor Carrier Act exemption; commercial litigation on behalf of shippers, carriers, brokers and supply chain logistics companies; and negotiating various transportation and logistics agreements.

In his employment practice, he has experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements, labor arbitrations, employer counseling, developing policies, mediating and settling disputes, responding to administrative charges of discrimination before agencies, employment litigation, labor and employment audits and in house training. He has successfully defended union organizing attempts in 14 states.

Swafford serves on the executive committee of the Transportation Lawyers Association. He is listed in Chambers USA for Labor and Employment Law.

Presentation Topics: transportation and logistics law, labor and employment law

Brian Tolbert - Bernard Health

Brian Tolbert leads the employer advisory division of Bernard Health. Rising premiums, tax law changes and health care reform have created a need for employers and individuals to reconsider their health plan strategy to ensure they have the best benefit at the most affordable cost. With locations in Nashville, Indianapolis and Cleveland, and through the strength of their 81 percent HSA advisory and retail stores, Bernard aims to become the world's most trusted advisor when it comes to helping people plan to pay for both expected and unexpected health care expenses. 

Originally from Indianapolis, Tolbert earned both his BS and MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Presentation Topics: health care reform, health savings accounts, building a sales culture and/or process

Rob Wigington - Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

A native Californian, Rob Wigington graduated from Pomona College with a bachelor’s degree in government and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. In 1980, he was recruited by the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, and held various positions involving LaGuardia, Newark and JFK International Airports, seaports, transit, economic development and world trade. He was executive vice president, COO & CFO of the Airports Council International in Washington, D.C., when he accepted a position in 2000 leading the airport financial consulting practice with Booz Allen Hamilton, and then joined Fleischman Hillard. In 2003, Wigington was named director of marketing and route development for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and was deputy director of the Houston Airport System (Bush Intercontinental, Hobby and Ellington Airports) until July 2011, when he joined the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority as executive vice president/COO.

Presentation Topics: aviation, airports, air service, transportation, economic development

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