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VOL. 45 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 17, 2021

YWCA names 2021 Achievement honorees

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YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is recognizing five women and one corporate honoree who have made their mark in Nashville. This group will be officially inducted into the 2021 Academy for Women of Achievement in spring 2022.

The 2021 honorees are:

• Dr. Glenda Glover, president, Tennessee State University

• Diane Lance, department head, Metro Nashville Office of Family Safety

• Wanda Lyle, managing director/general manager, UBS Nashville Business Solution Center (retired)

• Zulfat Suara, Metro Council member at large

• DarKenya Waller, executive director, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

MP&F Strategic Communications will be honored as the 2021 corporate honoree in recognition of their communications work in Nashville.

This year’s honorees join a group of 179 women and 31 organizations previously inducted into the AWA. They are leaders in the education, government, legal, social justice and financial fields. Each year, the judging committee, made up of business and community leaders and the YWCA Executive Committee, chose those individual and corporate honorees from an exceptional list of nominees.

The annual event usually takes place in the fall, YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is moving the event to the spring due to the rising COVID cases in Middle Tennessee.

The Academy for Women of Achievement was launched locally in 1992 to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the workforce and the community.

YWCA adds three to its leadership team

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is adding several members to its leadership team.

Joenell Hardyway, a licensed master social worker, recently joined the nonprofit as the director of residential & crisis services. Hardyway oversees the operation of the 24-Hour Crisis & Support Help Line and Text Line and overall operation of the 65-bed Weaver Domestic Violence Center, the largest emergency domestic violence shelter in the region.

Hardyway joined YWCA from the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, where she spent five years as a psychiatric social worker and treatment planning coordinator. She began her professional career in the U.S. Army.

She earned her undergraduate degree from American InterContinental University and a master of social work from the University of Southern California.

Tara Morgan is the new director of supportive and family services at the Weaver Center. She brings more than a decade of experience in the social services field, most recently serving as the manager of data and finance and as senior case manager at Oasis Center.

Morgan earned her undergraduate degree at Oakland University and masters from Argosy University.

Kate Davis has accepted the newly created role of chief of staff. Davis manages the day-to-day administrative affairs of the office of the president and CEO.

She most recently served as chief of staff to Ashley Judd. The New York native moved to Nashville nearly a decade ago and served as executive administrator to several senior executives at Mars Petcare. Davis earned her undergraduate degree from Franklin & Marshall College.

Stranch joins Harpeth Conservancy as COO, VP

Nashville attorney Grace Stranch has joined the Harpeth Conservancy as chief operating officer and vice president of conservation policy.

The Harpeth Conservancy is a science-based nonprofit organization that works to restore and protect rivers throughout Tennessee.

Stranch previously practiced with the Nashville law firm of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, where her practice areas included environmental law. She will remain of counsel at the firm. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies at Rhodes College and a law degree at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Stranch received the 2020 Nashville Athena Young Professional Award, which honors emerging women leaders who are accomplished in their professions and who work to improve the lives of their communities.

The Tennessee Supreme Court recognized her pro bono work by naming her an Attorney for Justice in 2018, 2019 and 2020. She was selected and participated in the Nashville Bar Association’s 2020 Leadership Forum and she cochairs the Tennessee Bar Association’s Committee for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and is on the Diversity Committee for the Nashville Bar Association.

Stranch has been chair and vice chair of the Sierra Club Middle Tennessee Group and vice president of United Mountain Defense, in which she organized the Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

Farm Bureau president announces retirement

Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation president Jeff Aiken announced he will not seek reelection at the annual meeting in December. Aiken, a third-generation beef cattle, hay, corn and tobacco farmer from Washington County, has served as president for the past six years and is only the eighth president in the organization’s 100-year history.

Aiken and his wife, Carol, first became involved in the organization through the Young Farmers and Ranchers organization where he served as state chairman in 1992, and in 1993 he and Carol were named the Tennessee Young Farmers of the Year. After serving for several years as a board member and president of the Washington County Farm Bureau, Aiken was first elected to the state board as director-at-large in 1998. He then was elected as vice president in 2012 before being elected president in 2015.

A new TFBF president will be elected to a two-year term by the voting delegates of the 100th annual meeting in Franklin Dec. 5-7.

Ozols, Hand earn ownership at Bell

Rebecca Ozols, vice president of growth + strategy, and Sam Hand, senior project manager, building operations, have been named additional owners of BELL Construction.

Since joining BELL in 2018, Ozols has worked across the organization to drive growth and strengthen its position in the industry, including building BELL’s brand as the leading construction company in Tennessee and the Southeast. She collaborates with the executive team to develop key relationships and advance BELL’s strategic priorities in the market.

Hand joined BELL more than six years ago and has managed the completion of several important private and public commercial buildings, including McEwen Northside Class A office and retail space, The Rowen Glenn Center for special needs ministry at Brentwood Baptist Church and the Rutherford County Judicial Center. As senior project manager, he oversees numerous current projects.

Connico names Gowder president

Connico, a national construction consultancy that services the aviation, civil, transportation, institutional, commercial, military and industrial markets, has named E. Rose Gowder, the daughter of the company’s late founder, Connie Gowder, as its president.

Gowder earned a degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Following graduation, she served as an architectural associate at Studio Four, a leading architecture and design firm based in Knoxville.

In her new role as president, Rose will oversee the company’s day-to-day operations and management, including planning, accounting, financing, legalities, licensing and quality control.

Headquartered in Mt. Juliet, Connico has offices in Atlanta and Cincinnati and is DBE/WBE certified in 46 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Battle appoints three to MNPS leadership

Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, has named a new chief of human resources, as well as bifurcation of the chief operating officer position, elevation of an existing position into the chief strategy officer role for the district, and additional leadership overseeing athletics.

Chris Barnes is leaving the district after accepting a position as assistant superintendent of human resources with New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina to be closer to his family.

Melissa Roberge, who serves in the Metro Law Department as the team leader for Metro Schools, will take over for Barnes as chief of human resources upon his departure. In addition to serving as chief of HR, Roberge will also serve as the general counsel for the district to provide legal guidance and act as a liaison with Metro Legal.

Maura Sullivan will serve as the newly redefined chief operating officer for Metro Schools after serving for more than five years in the COO position for the City of Chattanooga for former Mayor Andy Berke. She also brings more than a decade of experience in Memphis and Shelby County as the deputy chief administrative officer for the city of Memphis, as well as the assistant superintendent of planning and student services for Shelby County Schools 2000-2008.

Sullivan will oversee the transportation, security, and facilities and maintenance divisions while providing strategic insight to district leadership on how to improve and streamline operations for enhanced customer service.

Chris Henson, who has been serving as chief operating officer overseeing operations and finances, will return to his previous position as chief financial officer for the district. Henson is one of the foremost experts in Tennessee on school finances and the Basic Education Program funding formula.

Keri Randolph, executive officer of strategic partnerships, will continue her leadership in the district in the role of chief strategy officer. Randolph has overseen the creation and implementation of the Navigator program, Promising Scholars, ESSER planning and the Accelerating Scholars high-impact tutoring program.

The district also will be expanding the athletics division by creating dedicated supports for the elementary and middle tiers along with high school sports. Roosevelt Sanders, athletics director, will focus on supporting and expanding athletic programming at elementary and middle schools, while Mark North, government relations liaison for the district, will oversee the high school athletic programs.

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