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VOL. 46 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 22, 2022

Baker Donelson elects 3 Nashville shareholders

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Baker Donelson has elected 11 new shareholders across the firm, including Bert Chollet, Andrew J. Droke and Ryan M. Richards of the Nashville office.

Chollet, a member of Baker Donelson’s construction group, provides clients in all areas of the construction industry with a full range of services in connection with projects throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Before practicing law, Chollet served as a judicial clerk for the Hon. Holly M. Kirby. He is a member of the Forum on Construction Industry and other industry groups.

Chollet is a graduate of Carson-Newman University and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.


As a member of the firm’s health law group and data protection, privacy and cybersecurity team, Droke advises clients regarding complex data use and sharing arrangements, digital health strategies, technology agreements and information privacy and security compliance considerations. A Certified Information Privacy Professional, he also is co-leader of Baker Donelson’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Team.

He is a graduate of the University of Memphis and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Richards focuses his practice on corporate matters and has broad transactional experience that includes mergers and acquisitions in a variety of different industries.

He has a particular focus on representing health care providers, manufacturers and distributors, media and technology companies, and biotechnology and medical products companies.

A graduate of the Emory University School of Law, Richards also earned an LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Legal Aid Society names 2022 campaign co-chairs

Legal Aid Society, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, has named Frank Garrison and Leigh Walton as the co-chairs for its 2022 Campaign for Equal Justice. Garrison will oversee fundraising throughout the community, while Walton will lead efforts aimed at law firms and attorneys.

Walton, a member at Bass, Berry & Sims, has more than 40 years of practice in the areas of corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions and securities offerings. Garrison has more than 40 years of management and legal experience in both private and public companies in the financial and business service sectors, and presently serves as a Director of M3-Brigade Acquisition Corp II, a public company headquartered in New York.

The Campaign for Equal Justice, held annually since 1987, supports Legal Aid Society’s mission to advance access to justice across Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau. This year’s campaign goal is $1 million. In 2021, Legal Aid Society raised $1,133,732, exceeding its $870,000 goal.

McPhee elected again to NCAA board of directors

Conference USA has announced Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee will serve as its representative on the NCAA Division I board of directors through August 2024.

The board of directors is the top governing body for Division I, responsible for strategy and policy and overseeing legislation and management of the division. It focuses on strategic topics in college sports and their relationship to higher education; reviews and approves policies and procedures governing the infractions program; and approves an annual budget.

This is the third stint on the NCAA board for McPhee, who previously served as a director 2003-2007 and 2010-2013.

The 24-member board includes 20 presidents and chancellors, one from each of the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and 10 from the remaining 22 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and Division I conferences.

TPAC names Clark to diversity, inclusion post

The nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center has added Mary E. Clark, Ph.D., as the organization’s first chief diversity & inclusion officer.

Clark comes to TPAC from Belmont University, where she served as assistant dean of students, director of Bridges to Belmont, director of multicultural learning and experience and liaison for the university’s collaboration with Metro Nashville Public Schools under the GEAR UP grant.

Clark has worked in athletics, student involvement, new student programs, academic affairs, student affairs, admissions and multicultural affairs. Her expertise covers post-secondary access programming; academic support services; enrollment management; assessment; campus and community outreach; diversity, equity and inclusion; policy development; student development and engagement; recruitment and retention and strategic planning.

Clark served as the first and youngest African American director of athletic academic services in two different NCAA Division I athletic departments (Marshall University and Saint Louis University).

She holds a degree in mass communication and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling with an emphasis in higher education from at Southeast Missouri State University. In August 2016, she completed her Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University.

Four from Pinnacle named to Forbes list

Four of Pinnacle Asset Management’s advisers, Sam Oakley, Brock Kidd, James Hare and Brick Sturgeon, are among the Raymond James-affiliated advisers named to the Forbes list of “Best-In-State Wealth Advisors” for Tennessee.

The list recognizes advisers from national, regional and independent firms.

The Forbes ranking of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative criteria, mostly gained through telephone and in-person due diligence interviews and quantitative data. Those advisers who are considered have a minimum of seven years’ experience, and the algorithm weights factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and those that encompass best practices in their practices and approach to working with clients.

Oakley, who joined Raymond James in 2017, has 38 years of experience in the financial services industry. Kidd joined Raymond James in 2000 and has 29 years of financial services experience. Hare, who joined Raymond James in 2007, has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry. Sturgeon joined Raymond James in 2002 and has 32 years of financial services experience.

GBT Realty expands development team

GBT Realty has hired Wendy Welch Souris as vice president of diversified development and Kristen Heggie as development manager of diversified development.

While Souris and Heggie will work as team members across GBT Realty’s diversified development footprint, Souris will primarily focus on River North and the former Beaman property on West End, one of the city’s most high-profile redevelopment sites, which is being undertaken in partnership with Monarch Alternative Capital.

Heggie will first spearhead a residential high-rise project in Denver, Colorado, that is in design, while also playing a large role supporting all other Nashville projects.

Souris joins GBT Realty from Brookfield Properties, where she spent the last six years focused on the implementation of mixed-use developments, particularly centered on the delivery of Fifth + Broadway in downtown Nashville. During her 17-plus years in real estate, Souris began her work in Nashville, helping to launch the Gulch delivering the Terrazzo building with Crosland in 2009 and then working with the Atlanta-based office of JLL in Nashville, focused on retail properties.

Next, with Las Vegas Sands Corp., she split time between Las Vegas and Macau, China, before returning to Nashville to work on Fifth + Broadway.

Heggie has been in the real estate industry in Nashville for nearly 15 years, working as an owner’s representative, developer and construction manager with Skanska, Brookfield Properties, DPR Construction and the Nashville Convention Center Authority. She has worked on several ground-up, large-scale and complicated publicly and privately funded projects, including Music City Center, Ascend Amphitheater & Riverfront Park, JW Marriott Nashville and Fifth + Broadway.

Big Brothers Big Sisters adds marketing director

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee has named Martrell Harris to oversee the strategy and implementation of all marketing and communications efforts.

Before joining Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Harris served as the director of digital marketing and promotion for Mount Zion Nashville.

A native of Sweetwater, Harris earned a degree in music business from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in media and communications from MTSU in 2021.

Harpeth Conservancy hires Comm. manager

Frederick Gonzalez has joined the Harpeth Conservancy, a science-based nonprofit organization that works to restore and protect rivers throughout Tennessee, as communications and outreach manager.

Gonzalez previously worked as a social media manager and beverage and teams’ development manager at various coffee shops in Los Angeles.

Gonzalez earned a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and holds a degree in political science from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.

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