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VOL. 45 | NO. 27 | Friday, July 2, 2021

Baker Donelson hires for real estate practice

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N. Courtney Hollins has joined Baker Donelson as a shareholder in the firm’s Nashville office and a member of the Real Estate Practice Group.

Hollins represents buyers, sellers, developers, investors, landlords, tenants, lenders and borrowers in commercial real estate acquisition, disposition, construction, development, leasing and finance transactions, workouts and restructuring.

Before entering private practice, Hollins was the vice president of legal affairs for a real estate syndication company and was in-house legal counsel for a financial institution, where she focused on legal matters related to real estate and special assets. She is recognized as a leading real estate attorney in Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America.

Hollins is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute, the Greater Nashville Chapter of the Exit Planning Institute, and the Nashville Chapter of Women in Commercial Real Estate. She previously served on the National Advisory Council of the United States Small Business Administration, representing Region IV on its executive committee in 2000.

Legal Aid Society adds reentry attorney

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, has hired Tom Szaniawski as a reentry attorney in the firm’s Nashville office to provide counsel and advice to individuals who encounter civil legal issues while reentering their communities after a period of incarceration.

Szaniawski began pro bono work with the firm in March 2020 as a legal clinic consultation attorney. In that role, he assisted clients with civil legal issues relating to the Middle Tennessee tornadoes and COVID-19, including landlord-tenant disputes, probate/intestacy proceedings, bankruptcy and debt collection. He then joined the firm’s Volunteer Lawyers and Attorney for a Day programs, spending additional time working directly with clients.

Before joining the firm, Szaniawski worked as a sole practitioner for nearly three years, counseling individuals and businesses on a range of matters, including bankruptcy, commercial law, trusts and estates. He began his career 10 years ago in New York state, where he worked in bankruptcy and commercial law and as a contract attorney, both as a sole practitioner and with several boutique firms.

Szaniawski earned his Master of Laws in bankruptcy law and juris doctor from St. John’s University School of Law. He also is a graduate of Colgate University.

Patton named director of AFC-TN

American Federation for Children-Tennessee has a new state director, John Patton, who will oversee AFC’s policy, advocacy, political and grassroots efforts across the state.

Shaka Mitchell, AFC-TN’s previous state director, now serves as the Director of State Strategy and Advocacy for American Federation for Children.

Patton, a native of the Nashville area, has extensive experience in the world of education, having begun his career teaching and coaching high school in the St. Louis area before earning a master of divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and spending six years working in higher education administration. He is also a founding board member of King’s Academy, an independent Christian school in the Nashville area launching later this year.

The American Federation for Children – Tennessee is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for parent choice in education.

Nashville Cable honors community leaders

Nashville Cable has recognized 52 Middle Tennessee women, including two award winners for inspiring leadership

The awards program, which celebrated 31 years and was streamed virtually for those not in attendance, also recognized two men for the organization’s first Community Pioneer Awards for a health care professional and a social justice advocate.

Athena Award winners:

• Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, nominated by Nashville Chapter of The Links, Inc. – Traditional Award Winner

• Tabitha Robinson, nominated by Women’s Political Collaborative of TN – Young Professional Award Winner

Community Pioneer Awards winners:

• Charles Bone, founder and chairman of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC – Social Justice Pioneer

• Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College – Health Care Pioneer

Other Nashville ATHENA Traditional Award nominees included:

• Dr. Alice Camuti, Women in Higher Education in Tennessee

• Dr. Arie L. Nettles, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter

• Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon, Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

• Cheryl Mayes, Davidson County Democratic Women

• Davina Powell, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Upsilon Sigma Chapter

• Deb Varallo, International Women’s Forum – Tennessee Chapter

• Demetria Kalodimos, Nashville Banner

• Dimeta Smith Knight, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Alumnae Chapter

• Jacqueline Hayes, National Coalition of 100 Black Women – Metropolitan Nashville Chapter

• Jenn Garcia, Oasis Center

• Jonica Cowan, Deloitte

• Judith Bright, National Association of Women Business Owners – Nashville Chapter

• Dr. Julie Gray, Hendersonville Area Links Chapter

• Karen Thompson, Parthenon Links

• Karen Y. Johnson, Alpha Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

• Kimberly Stephan Tate, Asurion

• Laura Smith, Lawyers’ Association for Women – Marion Griffin Chapter

• Leticia Alvarez, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

• Megan McCall, Vanderbilt Health

• Monica Fawknotson, Women in Sports/Nashville Sports Council

• Nikki Gibson, Advancing Women in Nashville

• Nita Smith, Upsilon Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

• Olivia Flakes, Top Ladies of Distinction

• Paula Farmer, Cable

• Rita Johnson Mills, YWCA of Middle Tennessee

• Sabina Mohyuddin, Islamic Center of Nashville

• Sharon Reynolds, Women Business Collaborative

• Sondrea Tolbert, Les Gemmes, Inc., Nashville Chapter

• Stephanie Williams, Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee

• Tiffany Whitley Lee, National Hook-up of Black Women

Other Nashville ATHENA Young Professional Award nominees included:

• Angelica Dotson, Women in Higher Education in Tennessee

• Anna-Vija McClain, Piccolo Marketing

• Ashley Harrison, Deloitte

• Brittany Irby, Junior League of Nashville

• Courtney Rogers Perrin, Frost Brown Todd

• Domonique Townsend, Pathway Women’s Center

• Dr. Kellee Hill, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Upsilon Sigma Chapter

• Dr. Jessica Brown, Upsilon Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

• Jolie Grace Wareham, Davidson County Democratic Women

• Katie Braddy, Cable

• Katie Radel, National Association of Women Business Owners – Nashville Chapter

• Lacie Dunn, Parthenon Links

• Maliyah Bass, Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

• Meredith Fortney, Asurion

• Mieah Turner, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter

• Nakeisha Micheaux, Alpha Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

• Dr. Rahwa Mehari, Hendersonville Area Links Chapter

• Shellie Handelsman, Lawyers’ Association for Women – Marion Griffin Chapter

• Shia Handricks, Music City Links

• Tequila Johnson, Equity Alliance

Lipscomb selects Watts as director of Spark

Nashville business leader Dr. Deborah Watts has been appointed executive director for Spark, Lipscomb University’s idea center, with locations in downtown Nashville and Franklin.

Spark is a learning and meeting facility that offers corporate training and education opportunities, as well as gathering and meeting spaces as the university seeks to serve the Middle Tennessee community.

Watts is founder and CEO of Hayde and Company, a talent optimization consulting firm. She also serves as a certified partner for Predictive Index and is the executive director and senior consultant for the Leadership Pipeline Institute. Watts also helped launch the Nashville startup America’s PowerSports and is a national speaker on topics regarding leadership and emotional intelligence.

In addition, she has worked with several local and international universities, and is an adjunct professor at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Watts holds a degree in organizational communication and an MBA from Lipscomb University, as well as a doctor of education degree in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Bank expands wealth management

Britt Woods has joined Bank of Tennessee as president of wealth management and will expand the division into the Knoxville and Nashville markets.

Woods has worked in the financial services industry since 2003. Before joining Bank of Tennessee, he was a leader for the largest broker-dealer in the U.S..

Southeast Venture Design adds two to the team

Nashville design services company Southeast Venture Design has added two new designers, Matthew Crow and Spencer Lowe, to its growing team.

Crow recently graduated from the University of Tennessee with a master’s degree in architecture. He previously worked as a field supervisor and operations manager for Thompson Consulting Services in Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico.

Before that, he spent three summers as an architectural intern at Watermark Design Group in Mobile, Alabama. He earned a degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado, where he also worked part-time as a construction worker.

Lowe recently earned a degree in architecture and design from the University of Tennessee. He spent two summers working as the assistant to the principal architect at River Street Architecture in Chattanooga.

In addition, he worked as a graphics department assistant at Praters Hardwood Flooring, also in Chattanooga.

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