Atlanta | Augusta | Boston | Broward | Capital District | Chicago | Connecticut
Des Moines | Detroit | Houston | Kentucky | Los Angeles | Louisiana | Madison | Maine | Miami | Montana
Nashville | New Jersey | New York City | North Carolina | Oakland | Omaha | Orlando | Palm Beach
Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Rhode Island | Sacramento | San Francisco | Silicon Valley | St. Louis | Tallahassee
Tampa Bay | Washington DC
Eric Brown, Jr., Lead Organizer, Children's Defense Fund Nashville Team
Eric Brown, Jr., is a native of Nashville, TN. He is the Lead Organizer of the Children's Defense Fund Nashville Team and Assistant to the Pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. In 2008, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Theology (Cum Laude) at American Baptist College. Eric continued on to Vanderbilt University and received a Master of Theological Studies Degree and a Master of Arts Degree of Ethics and Society in Religious Studies.
Eric works and partners with many community organizations for social change because of his passion for youth and young leaders, community awareness, and human equity and dignity. Through his work with the Children's Defense Fund, he is a speaker, organizer, and advocate for dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline through Non-Violent Direct Action Organizing. He is also part of organizing the Children's Defense Fund's Samuel Dewitt Proctor Children Advocacy Conference and Practical Theology Summer Course. Eric is a member of numerous organizations, including Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Mt. Nebo #67 Prince Hall Affiliation, Interdenominational Minister's Fellowship, and the Academy of American Religion.
Herbert Brown, Academic Affairs Analyst, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Herbert Brown earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science with a Public Administration concentration from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2009. He obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Tennessee State University in 2012. While pursuing his graduate studies, Herbert served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College.
Herbert is the Academic Affairs Analyst for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the state's coordinating agency for higher education. His work consists of developing policy recommendations, programmatic initiatives, and partnerships that increase educational attainment in the state while improving higher education access and success for all Tennesseans.
Outside of his work at the THEC, Herbert is active with the YMCA of Middle Tennessee Building Futures Mentoring Program, and the Middle Tennessee Council-Boy Scouts of America Scout Reach Executive Planning Committee.
Frank Cardenas, EEO Counselor, United States Federal Government
Frank Cardenas is a community advocate whose passion for serving the public and advancing human rights has led him into a career in public service. He is an Equal Opportunity Counselor for the United States Federal Government, as well as a devoted activist pushing for equal rights for all marginalized individuals. He has a Master's Degree in Public Administration as well as a Master's Certification in Health Administration & Planning and is continuing to advance his education as a Doctoral Candidate working towards his dissertation. Frank was born and raised in a small town in rural west Tennessee. His parents were immigrants from Mexico and at the time were still undocumented. As a child, Frank realized the difficulties his parents faced raising both he and his disabled sister in a country that was foreign to them. Despite their obstacles, Frank's parents became citizens and worked hard to establish themselves in their community. At a very young age, Frank watched and experienced the American Dream, and his grasp of the power of that dream drives him today.
Frank was awarded a full-ride scholarship as an ""Emerging Leader Scholar"" to attend college at The University of Memphis. There he was awarded the title of Mr. University of Memphis, served as Senator for the Student Government Association, and became President of the Hispanic Student Association. He graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. Frank now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Elizabeth and their three young children, Max, Ben, and Vivian. He enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his son's youth soccer team. Frank is actively involved in his community, serving as an Executive Board Member of Directors for The University of Memphis Hispanic Alumni Association, which fosters scholarships for Hispanic students at the U of M to enhance and develop the Hispanic culture within the University. He is also a member of the National Human Rights Campaign and a member of the Nashville Healthcare Council. He is a frequent guest speaker on a local radio station promoting Hispanic community involvement. Frank is also the Chairman and Co-Founder of the "STR8NOHATE" campaign which recognizes the LGBT community in their pursuit of marriage equality. Professionally, he has been awarded the "Deputy Commissioner's Award," the second-highest honor presented in the Social Security Administration, for his dedication and effort in his community. He has been selected to participate in the FBI's 37th Annual Citizen's Academy due to his community leadership. He continues to help promote the opportunities and rights to individuals that he feels so fortunate to have received.
Rochelle Carpenter, Senior Policy Analyst, Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Deputy Outreach Director, Transportation for America, Transportation for America and the Nashville Area MPO
Rochelle is the Senior Policy Analyst for the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Deputy Outreach Director for Transportation for America. Rochelle has worked to build a coalition to develop and advocate for national transportation policies that would improve health and advance equity, including funding for public transportation, funding for bicycling and walking projects, health equity performance measures and more. Prior to T4America, Rochelle helped advance local programs and policies to prevent childhood obesity among communities of color and low-income populations in Washington, DC.
She holds a bachelor's degree from Vassar College with a concentration in cultural and medical anthropology. She has played classical violin since age eight, performing as a soloist and ensemble member in a variety of orchestras and string quartets.
Mackenzie Collins , Attorney , Collins Law Firm
A passionate, driven Attorney and Government Relations professional, Mackenzie Collins co-founded the Collins Law Firm with her husband, Grover Collins, in 2013. Mackenzie's practice is devoted to business law, civil litigation, and wills and estate planning. Additionally, she manages the day-to-day operations of the four-person firm. Having worked with all three branches of government, Mackenzie comes to the practice of law with a diverse background and first hand knowledge of how to achieve the desired outcome regardless of the issue. Prior to going to law school, Mackenzie worked as a Government Relations professional representing her clients' interests by advocating on their behalf throughout various government bodies. Mackenzie served as the Government Relations and Marketing Manager for Centerstone for three years. She was responsible for developing and executing Centerstone's Government Relations strategic plan that targeted 30 Middle Tennessee counties and provided direction and supervision of all staff in the achievement of the organization's goals in support of mental health issues. As an Account Executive with AkinsCrisp Public Strategies for two years, Mackenzie created and executed all aspects of clients' business development, government relations and strategic communication campaigns. Additionally, she led multiple lobbying campaigns in Tennessee on behalf of national clients and government entities
While in law school, Mackenzie served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Casey Moreland of the Davidson County General Sessions Court and worked as a Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Jack Butler. Mackenzie serves on the Women in Numbers (WIN) Board and successfully created the WIN Jr. Board in 2012 to foster the organization's succession planning. Mackenzie is an active member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association. She was a Harry Phillips American Inn of Court member from 2012 - 2013. Additionally, Mackenzie was a member of the Nashville Junior Chamber of Commerce for six years, where she was on the Philanthropy Committee, served as the Special Olympics Event Chair, and was awarded the Spotlight Member Award Mackenzie received a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and a Juris Doctorate from Nashville School of Law.
Vincent Dixie, President, Wings Adult Care Services
Born in Chattanooga, TN to Harold and Glenda Dixie, Vincent spent the majority of his life growing up in Nashville. He earned his Accounting and Master's of Business Administration degrees from Tennessee State University. His marriage of 15 years to Ericka has produced two beautiful daughters, Noelle and Hannah Maria. He is also a dedicated member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
During his entrepreneurial career, Vincent has started two successful businesses, A Way Out/ Bail U Out Bonding and Wings Adult Services. He is passionate about the education of healthcare options for all people, especially the elderly and mentally challenged. Vincent has a strong desire to address the growing healthcare needs of the community and the dedication and commitment to finding a long-term solution.
Nadira Freeman, Operations Director, Stand for Children
Dr. King's Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Understanding that this is what "community" could look like, Nadira has spent years advocating for equal opportunities and access to success for those in communities that have been traditionally underserved. It is her aim to see systemic disparities and inequalities eradicated locally and nationally. To this end, she has been involved in several community organizing efforts in Nashville and issue-based organizing on the municipal, state, and federal level. Understanding the value of people power, she envisions seeing diverse groups, working together in unity to actualize the beloved community. Coming from a family of educators, Nadira has a passion for children and a belief in a holistic approach to child development. That has yielded more than ten years of experience coordinating and directing youth enrichment programs. Today, she works as an advocate for effective solutions to the challenges facing children in Tennessee with Stand for Children, where the mission is that all children, regardless of the race or socio-economic status, should have access to a quality education." "
Elizabeth Henderson, Campaign Consultant, Self-Employed
Elizabeth Henderson, Deputy Campaign Manager, David Briley for Vice Mayor A Nashville native, Elizabeth Henderson graduated cum laude from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science. Elizabeth realized her love for working within the community during her time as Philanthropy Chair with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi. She further discovered her interest in social justice and politics while serving on MTSU's Student Government Association as Senator for Liberal Arts. She integrated her two passions in the fall of 2013 when she was awarded a fellowship with Organizing For Action (OFA). There, she discovered her passion for the progressive movement and her hidden talent: grassroots organizing. Upon completion of her internship, Elizabeth was hired on to be a Spring Trainer with OFA. During her time with the organization, Elizabeth recruited and graduated one of the largest fellowship programs across the country. In August 2014, the midterm primary elections called for skilled organizers in Tennessee. Elizabeth served as the Field Director for the Jennifer Buck Wallace for State House campaign. Running a strong field engagement race, Elizabeth identified over 1,500 voters and engaged over 100 volunteers. Following the primary, Elizabeth consulted several political campaigns through the general election.
Outside of work, Elizabeth is an active member of her sorority alumnae. She is an avid reader and dog lover. She now resides in West Nashville and is currently the Deputy Campaign Manager on the David Briley for Vice Mayor campaign in Nashville, TN.
Katharine Heriges, Campaign Consultant/Staff, Self-employed
Katharine Heriges is a native of the great city of Nashville, Tenn., where she works as an independent consultant on local political campaigns. She has served as a Communications Director and Deputy Finance Director for state senate, state house, and US House races. A 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in English - Rhetoric and Writing, Katharine worked as a news reporter after graduating college. She covered crime, courts, state government, and public issues. While writing for a newspaper was invigorating work, she felt trapped by the journalistic ethics of non-bias, when what she really wanted was to be more involved with community as an activist and volunteer. She considers transitioning to political work the best decision she ever made.
Katharine is most interested in advocating for the needs of working Tennesseans from all walks of life, and educating young people as to how they can be more involved in their community's decision-making process. In addition to her work in journalism and political campaigning, Katharine also previously worked as an English teacher at a public elementary school in Busan, South Korea. Her hobbies include reading books on East Asian politics, enjoying Nashville's vibrant music scene, and cooking.
Amanda Hoover, Program Specialist/Community Liaison, Metro Nashville Public Health
Amanda Hoover was born in Tennessee, raised mostly in Louisville, KY, but settled in Nashville in 2005 to attend college. She graduated cum laude with her B.A. in Government and Public Administration with a minor in Spanish from Lipscomb University in 2008. In 2011, Amanda graduated magna cum laude with a Master's in Public Administration from Tennessee State University, where her studies focused on health policy and ethics. Her previous work includes serving as a clerk for the Tennessee House of Representatives' Health and Human Services committee and sub-committee, as well as an assistant to the chief clerk of the State Senate of Tennessee. During her studies, a very formative trip to China, as well as jobs with a medical and research group at UCLA and the State Senate of Tennessee, Amanda developed a passionate interest in health care transformation at grass roots and global levels.
Amanda currently works for Metro Public Health as a program specialist and community liaison in the division of Prevention and Wellness. She greatly enjoys assisting in the development and implementation of policy, systems, and environmental change across the Nashville community, helping to find solutions to health inequities, providing wellness opportunities, and educating the public on pertinent health issues. In her free time, Amanda enjoys cooking, running, traveling, spending time with her husband, as well as playing with her dog, Jonesy.
Leah Kirk, Political Consultant
Leah Kirk, a lifelong resident of Bristol, has been involved in progressive politics since she was 16 where she was actively involved in Youth in Government during high school. Through this program she was able to see first-hand her local government at work. This experience sparked her interest in politics and she joined the Sullivan County Young Democrats and the Sullivan County Democratic Party, later serving as the youngest member of the Organizations Executive Board. Throughout college at Carson-Newman, Leah was actively involved in Student Government, American-Israeli Alliance, and was President of the C-N College Democrats. During this time she was also heavily involved with the Tennessee College Democrats, serving first as Secretary then later as State President. She has continued to work on numerous campaigns in Tennessee starting her professional career with Harold Ford, Jr.'s US Senate Campaign in 2006. Leah worked on President Obama's first campaign in 2008 as a Field Organizer in Bangor, Maine and in 2012 worked on his re-election in New Hampshire. In true political fashion, she ran for State House of Representatives in 2012.
Most recently, Leah was the Regional Field Director for Aaron Woolf in Upstate New York where she worked with the Capital Region of the 21st Congressional District. While working in New York, she was able to work with three other campaigns to coordinate resources with labor unions, local progressive organizations, and community groups where the districts overlapped. Currently, Leah serves as National Committeewoman for the Tennessee Young Democrats and Secretary of the Young Democrats of America's Rural Caucus.
London Lamar, Memphis Organizer, Stand for Children
London Lamar is the Chair of the reestablished Young Democrats of Shelby County, the premier Democratic organization for young voters in Shelby County focusing on getting the youth active in civic engagement and the political process. London received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with double minors in Sociology and Intercultural Studies from Saint Mary's College and is currently working on her Master Degree in Public Administration at the University of Memphis. London is the Memphis Organizer at Stand for Children Tennessee and works to ensure all students have access or prepared for college through parental and community advocacy and engagement.
As an independent political and non-profit consultant, she not only consults to ensure that progressive political candidates have the advice, resources, and strategies needed to run efficient and effective campaigns; but also, advocates and lobbies for progressive issues and policies that benefit Memphis and the State of Tennessee. As a strong advocate for youth civic engagement, London also sits as the Director of Programs for the Tennessee Federation of College Democrats, Vice-President of University of Memphis College Democrats, and Executive Committee Member of the Shelby County Democratic Party. Just recently, London ran her first campaign for the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committeewoman District 33 and was the youngest candidate on the largest ballot in Shelby County history.
Betsy Mason, Intern Architect, Smith Gee Studio
Betsy Mason is an intern architect with Smith Gee Studio, urban farmer and organic, non-GMO food enthusiast and educator. Having been in Middle Tennessee since 1995, the region is near and dear to her heart. She served as a Design Fellow at the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC), helped organize and brand Middle TN's first Green Homes Tour, and co-founded the NCDC's Young Urbanist group. Active with the American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, Nashville Civic Design Center and Urban Green Lab, she is very passionate about environmental stewardship and equitable development.
Tracking professional licensure for 2015, she is excited to continue pursuing issues, projects and policy related to high-performance buildings, productive green infrastructure, urban ecology, affordable housing and innovative mixed-use urban infill projects. Deep concerned with how a just and sustainable food system feeds into larger urban development opportunities, she and her boyfriend Austin Littrell launched Green Leaf Aquaponics in the fall of 2014 as an incubator for experiments in urban agriculture and urban infill development. In addition, their urban homestead was featured on Volunteer Gardener and they co-founded Sweet Swarms Apiary, a bee hive collective, to promote awareness of pollinator importance and decline. Their hive is pollinating Blackstone Brewery's urban hops farm and Soundforest's urban orchard -- a synergistic collaboration between the three entities.
Leticia Mayberry Wright, Assistant General Counsel, GCFA
Leticia Mayberry Wright works as an attorney in-house. She graduated law school from the University of Indiana - Bloomington. Before attending law school, she lived in South Korea and taught English in the public school system. She has a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Missouri.
Deddrick Allen Perry, Owner, Nashville Mixed Martial Arts
Deddrick Perry Jr. is an entrepreneur, consultant and professional coach in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his BA in English, from Tennessee State University and is a proud alum and President's Society Donor. After a successful career in the advertising industry in and Chicago he decided to pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur in 2010.
In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Deddrick is a non-profit consultant and an enthusiastic Mixed Martial Arts fan. He recently opened Nashville MMA East in February 2014, Nashville's newest MMA and Fitness training facility. He lectures on ethical innovation, mentors entrepreneurs, and resides in Nashville, Tennesse. Recently, he was recognized as Nashville's Black Top 40 Under 40.