6 Williamson Countians named to Leadership Tennessee class | Local News



Leadership Tennessee has announced its 45 Signature Program Class IX members, 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.

Entering its ninth class year, Leadership Tennessee selects a new class of leaders annually to take part in statewide study while visiting different areas of Tennessee, learning best practices and analyzing important issues faced by Tennesseans. 

Class IX represents each Grand Division. The anonymous selection committee, chaired this year by Class VII members Christy Gillenwater, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mike Keeney, lawyer with Lewis Thomason in Memphis, built the class from over 300 nominations and 100 applications. 

“Each year, we are amazed by the caliber of leaders applying for the Signature Program,” Keeney said.

“Our goal is to fill the class with a diversity of professional roles and geographic locations,” Gillenwater added. “Class IX is truly representative of the state of Tennessee, and we look forward to participating in critical conversations with them as they learn more about the state.” 

Amongst the class are Williamson Countians Jeff Ballard, LaMel Bandy-Neal, Dave Briggs, Liz McLaurin, Ken Moore and Tess Stovall.

Since 2013, Leadership Tennessee has developed a network of nearly 450 members, including its Signature Program and Leadership Tennessee NEXT program for emerging leaders, which announced its fifth cohort last week. 

The ninth cohort of Leadership Tennessee’s Signature Program will meet for the first time in August under the leadership of newly announced President and CEO Alfred Degrafinreid II.

The full class includes:

Blount County

Bryan Coker, President, Maryville College

Davidson County

Laurel Graefe, Regional Executive & Senior Officer, Federal Reserve Bank – Nashville 

Blake Harris, President, Leverage Public Strategies

Erin Merrick, Deputy Counsel to the Governor, State of Tennessee

Mary Cypress Metz, Vice President of Strategy, SCORE

Clifton Peay, Director, Customer Focused Government, State of Tennessee

Terry Vo, External Affairs Manager, Comcast

Hamilton County

Candy Johnson, President/CEO, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga

Sharon LawBusiness Development Manager, Thompson Engineering, Inc.

James McKissic, President, ArtsBuild

Dan Pratt, Sr. Vice President/Regional Relations, Tennessee Valley Authority

Shannon Burger Stephenson, CEO, Cempa Community Care

Tamara Steward, Chief Equity Officer, City of Chattanooga

Nicole Watson, Partner/Attorney, Waller Law 

Dalya Qualls White, SVP & Chief Communications Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Charles Wood, VP, Economic & Talent Development, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Knox County

Kimberly Ciukowski, Senior Vice President, Pinnacle Financial Partners

Indya Kincannon, Mayor, City of Knoxville

Matt Ryerson, President/CEO, United Way of Greater Knoxville

Joshua Smith, Founder/CEO, Fourth Purpose Foundation

Mark Mamantov, Member, Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC

Putnam County

Les Dolente, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Safety

Shelby County

Jen Andrews, CEO, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Karen Camper, State Representative, Tennessee General Assembly

Ursula Madden, Chief Communications Officer, City of Memphis

David McKinney, VP Communications & Public Affairs, AutoZone

Demar Roberts, SVP & Chief Growth Officer, First Choice Sales & Marketing Group Inc.

Kandace Stewart, Sr. Director of External Affairs & Business Operations, Memphis Grizzlies

Rory Thomas, President, Memphis Medical District Collaborative

Russ Wiggington, President/CEO, National Civil Rights Museum

Sullivan County

Vanessa Bennett, Executive Director Operations & Talent Development, Kingsport Chamber

Sumner County

James Pond, President, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

Washington County

Paula Bulcao, Director, Global Public Affairs and Executive Director, Eastman Foundation

Steve Darden, Managing Partner/Attorney, Hunter, Smith & Davis LLC

Stephen Dixon, Senior Vice President, Bank of Tennessee

Andy Dietrich, Owner/VP, Champion Chevrolet Cadillac

Kimberly McCorkle, Provost/Senior VP, East Tennessee State University 

Weakley County

Melinda Goode, Executive Director, Northwest Tennessee Development District & Human Resource Agency

Williamson County

Jeff Ballard, President, Delta Dental of Tennessee

LaMel Bandy-Neal, Sr. Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Meharry Medical College

Dave Briggs, Tennessee Regional President, Fifth Third Bank

Liz McLaurin, President/CEO, The Land Trust of Tennessee

Ken Moore, Mayor, City of Franklin

Tess Stovall, Executive Director, Tennessee Public Charter School Commission

Wilson County

Kimberly McCormick, Executive Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, Tennessee Board of Regents


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