Youth Poet Laureate
Alora Young is the Youth Poet Laureate of Nashville, Tennessee. She is the chief editor of “The Burro Underground,” a recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations and spring Robinson/mahogany red-lit prize. She is the founder of AboveGround, a nonprofit organization seeking to create equity in Nashville elementary schools through a combination of creative writing and black history. She has previously been published in the New York Times, Signal Mountain Review, and Rigorous Mag, she has wanted to be a poet since the age of 2 and hopes to one day serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Business Consultant, Podcast Host & TN Air National Guard Member
Amberlee' Nichole Amiri is a native of Texas and has lived in Nashville since an early age. Amberlee’ has always had a love of people and helping with community issues. She is a major supporter of engaging people of all backgrounds into forming a cohesive and diverse community. She has been a major supporter and volunteer coach of The First Tee of Nashville, whose focus is to give young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship. In 2013, she graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University with a Bachelor's in History and has a Masters in Public Administration. She owns her own business, The Brooks-Amiri firm where she provides virtual office management, bookkeeping, and payroll services and recently launched a series of podcasts including the Umbrella Academy A-Team and Lovecraft's Nightmare that fall under the That Streaming Podcast umbrella.
Oncology Medical Director, Author of No Mess No Message & Owner of the Drifted Drum Company
Dr. April Jones has spent 15 years in healthcare leadership and advocacy efforts, but it's her personal story that highlights her resilience and makes her an authority on overcoming adversity. Her oldest son, Tyler, now a college student, is a cancer survivor, amputee, internationally medalled athlete, and fellow advocate. She turned their pain into purpose by publishing her book, No Mess No Message, and co-founding the Drifted Drum Company with Tyler, a publishing, event, and merch platform to bring hope and encouragement to others.
Through both her professional and personal journeys, she discovered the importance of self-reflection and being authentic and in this TedXTalk, The "Real" Risk: What You Don't Know About Being Authentic, will share a closer look at the role authenticity plays in our pursuit of success and fulfillment.
Chawntia Johnson, BSN, RN
Patient Care Coordinator, Podcaster
Chawntia Johnson is a native of Clarksville, TN. She graduated from Austin Peay State University in 2013 and Middle Tennessee State University in 2016. She is the founder of the Health and Holistic Health Fair and the Jackie Louise Memorial Scholarship. Due to COVID, her health fair idea needed to be adjusted which birthed Tia Talks, a podcast that discusses various topics such as Self-Care, College Preparedness, and other topics. She is passionate about serving others and allowing them to see the win within.
Artist, Author, Rare Disease Patient Advocate
After living a decade with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, Chelsey Tucker’s life was changed in an instant after learning she instead had a rare, aggressive autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder or NMOSD. Repeated attacks and inflammation of her optic nerves left her with minimal color vision, along with permanent damage to her eyesight. It was during a lengthy period of blindness in 2017 that Chelsey began asking her family to describe the people, places and colors she missed seeing so desperately. Recalling the memories of the life she once knew, along with using a bit of creativity, Chelsey felt an urgency to re-create and paint the images that had been reimagined and etched into her mind. Not wasting a single moment of inspiration, she immediately began painting using self-taught methods and emotion to create the artwork that would go on to connect her with others and serve as an expression of how she sees the world through her eyes.
Author, Keynote Speaker, Radio Personality & Intimacy Architect
Christi Anne Bela began her work as a sexuality educator in 2008. She has an extensive background in Tantra, yoga, and wellness, including training at the Autism Center of America and the Kundalini Research Institute.
She is the founder of Intimacy Architecture, which combines self-growth and community building to create safer ways to enjoy and honor the power of our sexuality.
She is currently hosting a weekly radio show on VoiceAmerica, where she talks to a variety of guests from Doctors to Authors on sexuality and wellness.
She has spoken on consent and boundaries at the Sex Down South Conference, Mega Disability Conference, and the Arc Conference for the last 3 years. She is featured in “The Consent Guidebook.”
Ms. Bela has run workshops for Sex Positive World, body-positive Burlesque series, fundraisers for LGBTQ youth, and outreach with the Nashville Pride.
Author, Advocate, and Activist
Cyntoia Brown Long was sentenced to life in prison for killing a forty-three-year-old man after he bought her for sex when she was only sixteen years old. In January 2019, after she served nearly fifteen years at Tennessee Prison for Women, Tennessee governor Bill Halsam granted her full clemency. During her time in prison, Cyntoia earned an associate’s and bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University. While incarcerated, she counseled other inmates and lawmakers on juvenile justice reform and started the GLITTER (Grassroots Learning Initiative on Teen Trafficking, Exploitation, and Rape) Project. Since her release in August, 2019, Cyntoia has become a powerful voice for justice and victims of sexual violence, was a 2020 Nominee for the NAACP Literary Image Award and has been a featured guest columnist for the Washington Post. She lectures on many university campus and on behalf of anti-trafficking organizations.
Author, Podcast Host & Nonprofit CEO
Danielle has over 15 years of experience in the corporate world and holds several degrees in science and math. Danielle attended the University of Texas at Arlington where she graduated with a Bachelor of Physics degree in 2007. Danielle began her career as a Geophysicist, processing seismic data for global oil giants. She decided to return to college to fulfill her childhood dreams and continued her education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where she graduated with her Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Science with a concentration in Space Studies. Danielle also holds an MBA in Global Management which she received from Strayer University. She is a wife, mother and enjoys swimming, biking, and traveling. Mrs. Meggoe is the CEO of Sistas Talk, LLC, and founder of Creating Our Community Enrichment Program. Her nonprofit initiatives are giving back to families in need through donations, clothing, and food.
Executive Director of the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga, Consultant & Advocate
Erika R. Burnett is the founder and principal trainer for The Burnett Group, LLC whose mission is to inspire professionals, deepen impact, and challenge the status quo of service delivery in Middle TN
and surrounding areas. She enjoys serving as a master trainer, consultant, and facilitator across a variety of topics including strategic planning and board development, civic engagement, youth development, leadership exploration, and understanding and working across lines of difference. Most recently, Erika alongside Co-Conspirator Nicole Kemp, launched the Women of Color Collaborative. The Collaborative serves as an intentional incubator for women, curating supportive spaces and opportunities for collaborators to work, play and build together while centering their identity. Erika received her B.A. in English Education from Tennessee State University and her M.Ed. in Community Development Action from Vanderbilt University.
Public Health and Communications Consultant
Jamie Means is a graduate of Meharry Medical College where she earned her MS degree in Public Health and a certificate in Health Policy. Prior to her academic career at Meharry Medical College, she attended Converse College, where she earned a BA in Chemistry and a certificate in Business Professionalism.
Jamie uses her background in Chemistry and Public Health to educate health professionals on how to transform healthcare with an equity lens. She has been successful in marrying her passion for social media and public health to consult with organizations on how they can improve their online presence in a manner that promotes diversity and inclusion. Jamie's focus areas are health disparities, health policy, and professional development for health professionals.
Jamie is an inspirational, thought-provoking leader who uses her experiences to lead others. She is very authentic in her approach to delivering informative messages about confidence-building and professional development.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Author
Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, author, and full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Dr. Scarlet is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association for her work on Superhero Therapy. Her work has been featured on Yahoo, BBC, NPR, Sunday Times, The New York Times, Forbes, BuzzFeed, and many other outlets. She currently works at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management in San Diego.
She authored Superhero Therapy, Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, Dark Agents, Super-Women, and many other books.
President & CEO of Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
Jessica has dedicated the last 15 years working for nonprofits helping to bring awareness and hope to individuals and communities. Be it autonomy, safety, or access, the drive toward progressive social change has been her calling card and personal brand.
Today, Jessica is the President and CEO for the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. For Jessica, joining the Transit Alliance in 2017 was a vital step in growing into her full potential. Access to effective and efficient transit options is key to sustaining growth in the region as well
as preserving the quality of life we all strive toward. Jessica recognizes that even with the best schools, jobs, healthcare, parks, etc. a city can provide, if a person is not able to get from where they are to where they are going, living a good and happy life can seem like an insurmountable
challenge. The mission of Transit Alliance is to build support for funding a regional transit system.
Psychologist, Author, Speaker, Podcaster
Jill Stoddard is a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management. She is the author of two books: Be Mighty: A Woman’s Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance and The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.Dr. Stoddard is an award-winning teacher, peer-reviewed ACT trainer, and co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. Dr. Stoddard enjoys being a frequent podcast guest and has appeared on popular shows like The Art of Charm, What Fresh Hell, Not Another Anxiety Show, and The Mental Illness Happy Hour. She is a co-founder and vice-president of the non-profit San Diego Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Consortium. Dr. Stoddard is regular contributor to Psychology Today; her writing has also appeared in The Good Men Project, Mindful Return, Scary Mommy, and Thrive Global.
Traditionally Published Author of Upmarket Fiction
A former teacher and journalist, Johnnie Bernhard is passionate about reading and writing. Her work(s) have appeared in numerous publications.
Her third novel, Sisters of the Undertow (2020) was chosen for discussion at the 2020 national AWP Conference, the Pat Conroy Literary Center of South Carolina, the Southern Book Festival/Humanities
Tennessee, and Words and Music Literary Feast of New Orleans. It is an official selection for the 2020 International Pulpwood Queens Book Club and a recommended read by Deep South Magazine and Bookshop.org. It was named “Best of the University Presses, 100 Books” by the Association of University Presses. Sisters of the Undertow is a finalist in the national Kindle Book Awards for literary fiction.
Executive and Leadership Coach, Facilitator, and Trainer
Kacey Cardin, PCC, is a dynamic Executive + Leadership Coach, facilitator, and trainer whose work has impacted leaders at companies including Google, Etsy, ABC, and Fox. Passionate about integrative leadership, Kacey created a framework called the 7 Wheels of Leadership and the concept of Energetic Intelligence for coaches and leaders. Her workshops and keynotes have been presented at Vanderbilt University, CreativeMornings, Conference for a Cause, and the County Music Association, among others. A former opera singer who also studied energy healing for over 20 years, Kacey fused chakra balancing, burlesque, and transformational coaching into a wellness class called Chakralesque. She specializes in coaching leaders who struggle with Imposter Syndrome and the “Not Enoughs”, cutting straight to the heart of who they truly are and helping them create a more powerful, authentic, fully expressed life and career.
Holistic Image and Branding Consultant, Leadership and Business Coach, Podcast Host, & Author
Karen K. Bannister, Founder and CEO of Karen K. Bannister International LLC, and is a holistic presence & image consultant, business & mindset coach, author, speaker, creator of KKB Soft Skills Academy®,
and Partner, Conscious Choice Living, a lifestyle brand inspiring families to live more sustainably. With 25 years of corporate experience, I work with creative female executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners to develop their executive presence, professional image, and personal brand. My business coaching services are designed for personal service providers, including image and beauty professionals, interior designers, photographers, and health coaches. I am a certified image consultant, certified life coach, and hold a degree in Business Administration,
Organizational Leadership, from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating Summa Cum Laude.
Speaker, Coach, Trainer, Entrepreneur, Consultant, Nonprofit Executive Director, & CPR Instructor
Dr. Katherine Y. Brown is an international inspirational speaker, coach & consultant with over 25 years experience adding value to people. As founder of Learn CPR America, LLC she teaches CPR for individuals, organizations (nationally & internationally) and she’s committed to developing global leaders & transforming lives through The Dr. Katherine Y. Brown (KYB) Leadership Academy. Her CPR journey began in Chicago. Known by many as “The CPR Lady,” she personally trained over 300,000 people free in CPR and explains, “Your zip code should not determine whether you live or die. Everyone should know CPR.” She has appeared in print, radio, television and other media outlets increasing awareness of CPR. She is a national CPR spokesperson for American Heart Association, Learn CPR America, and is an entrepreneur and humanitarian. Dr. Katherine is skilled in strategic planning and is frequently called upon to guide organizations in the national implementation of grassroots CPR initiatives.
Licensed Physical Therapist
Dr. Kiaana Howard, DPT is a native of Nashville, TN, and works as a licensed physical therapist in the Metro-Atlanta area. As a physical therapist, her interest lies within outpatient orthopedic & sports physical therapy. Kiaana’s primary passion is being a key advocate for her patients and aiding to diminish health disparities among minority groups through avenues of mindfulness and optimizing health & wellness. Kiaana is also a member of the nationally recognized American Physical Therapy Association and the National Association of Black Physical Therapists.
International Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Podcast Host & Author
Kishshana has an 18-year background in fundraising, marketing, and talent management. She’s a supernova on any stage due to her charismatic and candid delivery. It doesn’t matter if she’s speaking about philanthropy, living your most authentic life, or diversity, the energy she brings to the stage is always entertaining and edifying.
Kishshana is the founder of The Rooted Collaborative - a global online community for Women of Color in Fundraising. She's the author of "Hey, I'm New Here", and the host of the podcast Take it Offline. When an organization wants to grow, find and retain people on their team, and raise money, she is the philanthropic fairy godmother they have on speed dial. She is a NYC girl and mother of one wonderful teenage daughter. She is the epitome of your classic 90's Queens homegirl and quintessential corner office executive. She is your daily dose of Claire Huxtable with a side of Blanche Devereaux.
Founder & Chief Brand Curator of MOJO
Monchiere' is the Founder and Chief Brand Curator of MOJO, a Nashville, TN based advertising/marketing agency known for amplifying great brands. MOJO thrives on market takeover media exposure, energetic integrated marketing campaigns, and ideating memorable branded events!
Monchiere's seasoned 17 years of experience in blend of agency and in-house experience with corporate brands in major industries like tourism, automotive, gaming, healthcare, wireless, higher education, tech, quick service restaurants.
Her current claims to fame after founding her own agency in 2014 includes curating brand campaigns and brand experiences for clients like Tennessee State Parks, New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, The Cupcake Collection, MetroPCS, United States Postal Service, HCA Healthcare, Hiller, Mr. Roof, and many more.
Monchiere' is a trusted entrepreneurial advisor at Nashville's Entrepreneur Center and guest lecturer around the Southeast at colleges and universities.
Chief Business Development Officer, Soles 4 Souls & Founder/President, Curves with Purpose
Nancy Youssef currently serves as Chief Business Development Officer for Soles 4 Souls, a not for profit organization based in Nashville, TN. Ms. Youssef is also the founder and President of award-winning Curves with Purpose, a women’s e-commerce marketplace. Youssef is an adjunct professor of Fashion Entrepreneurship and Retail Management at Belmont University. Ms. Youssef served as senior vice president, international business development for Canton, MA-based Destination XL group, the largest omni-channel specialty retailer of big and tall men's apparel. Prior to joining Destination XL, Youssef was vice president, international business development for NYSE-listed Genesco, Inc. where she pioneered the Fortune 1000 footwear and apparel retailer’s portfolio of brands outside the U.S. In this role she successfully directed the entry of the Fortune 1000 company into more than two dozen countries around the world and was pivotal in acquisitions, partnerships and licensing relationships.
Speaker, Model, Musician, Former Junior Olympic Athlete & Miss Redondo Beach USA 2020
Natalie encourages others to be brave in the pursuit of chasing their dreams. In 2019, Natalie graduated from Chapman University and was presented with the Dean’s Award of Excellence for earning the highest GPA in the School of Communication. An avid Disney lover and entertainer, Natalie prides herself on being a “magic maker”. To further her career with The Walt Disney Company, Natalie is currently studying for the GMAT exam to obtain her MBA. As the founder of Chemo Courage®, a patient-empowerment resource for people undergoing
chemotherapy treatment, Natalie spoke about the necessity of following our curiosities, and how doing so led her to creating this cancer-centered support system. Natalie has also been featured in Ride the Battle, a documentary series about cancer patients and caregivers. Wherever Natalie finds herself, she ultimately hopes that she can inspire people to live by her personal mantra: Dreams may be delayed, but not denied.
Marketer, Strategist, Founder & International Speaker
Nekasha Pratt is a marketing leader who has helped lead campaigns that have won over 20 creative awards, including 3 international Cannes Lions awards. She is the Founder of the boutique marketing firm Bright Advisory Group and is also a Senior Marketing Director with HarperCollins. Throughout her 18-year marketing career, Nekasha has held leadership positions at global organizations, marketing agencies, and worked with Fortune 500 companies. She has spearheaded national and international promotional campaigns in industries such as financial services, tourism, nonprofit and consumer goods. Nekasha is considered a marketing thought-leader and regularly shares her experience in marketing, strategy, branding and leading teams by speaking at events and through features in podcasts and articles.
Sarah Willey, CFRE, SMS
Associate Director of Annual Giving at the University of Missouri – St. Louis
Sarah Willey is an award-winning nonprofit fundraising professional and social media strategist. Sarah holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as certifications as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Social Media Strategist (SMS), and has extensive experience working and volunteering for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Sarah was the recipient of AFP St. Louis’ Outstanding Young Professional award at National Philanthropy Day 2018 and is a graduate of the FOCUS St. Louis Impact Fellows Program. She is now pursuing a doctor of business administration at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and expects to complete her dissertation in 2023.
Award-Winning Business Owner, YouTube Influencer, Thought Leader, Transformational Teacher & Trendsetter
Dr. Shamieka Dean is known for teaching transformational truth in a thought-provoking way. She believes to change the world, you have to challenge the norm. Her approach to marketing and the marketplace is that there is always a different way even if you’re the one who has to develop it.
Dr. Shamieka Dean is the #1 Profit Strategist for business owners, organizations, and corporations. With over 60,000 followers across multiple social media platforms, she's made her stamp as an influencer, innovator, and income strategist.
In just 3 years, she’s taken over 4,000 people through her courses and programs helping them to create profitable products and scalable services. She is wildly known for her signature framework, the 90/10 Formula ™ where she helps her clients automate 90% of their profit so that they can work only 10% of the time and her Cash before Creation™ methodology that shows her clients how to prove the profitability of their product before they produce it.
Entrepreneur, IFBB Pro Athlete & Olympian, NPC Judge and Promoter, & Certified Trainer and Nutritionist.
I’m passionate about EMPOWERING people, especially women, to live their best life through fitness! I’m a Tennessee native who is an Entrepreneur, IFBB Pro Athlete & Olympian, an NPC Judge & Promoter, and Certified Trainer and Nutritionist.
Growing up, sports such as basketball fueled my competitive nature and taught me the ability to work with a team toward a common goal. My interest in weight training kicked off in high school. After college, it then became a gateway to opening doors within the fitness industry from competing in over 30 Bodybuilding Bikini competitions, including the most prestigious stage in the world, The Olympia, to signing contract(s) with top Sports Nutrition companies to helping people transform their physiques and reach their overall health and fitness goals. My belief is that anything you want to achieve, physically or otherwise, starts with a strong mindset. A resilient mindset has to be cultivated first because where the mind goes, the body follows.
Social Entrepreneur & Legal Business Strategist
Yaminah Childress, J.D., is a Social Entrepreneur who holds three degrees including an AA in Education, BS in Business Administration, and a Juris Doctorate in Law. She is the CEO of Childress Group LLC (CG), and IAmYaminah Inc. She is also the founder of Dream It Forward
Foundation. Childress Group LLC is a conflict resolution consulting firm. In CG, Yaminah is the CEO and Senior Conflict Engagement Specialist who provides mediation, arbitration, negotiation and training services for small business and individual clients. Yaminah founded and is passionate about her work with the Dream It Forward Foundation. Finding herself a single mother at age 19, and once high-school dropout, she knows how important mentorship is for children in under-served communities, and strives to be that for all youth and women she encounters. The IAmYaminah Inc. brand is the culmination of everything she loves about women’s empowerment, and youth and women’s personal and professional development.
Founder & Owner of Open Arms
Yvrande is a wife and a mother of four. She worked in the area of legal and compliance for over 20 years. It was laid on her heart to start a new chapter in her life. She envisioned a place where mothers and their baby(ies) can come rest and heal after being discharged from the hospital. She established Open Arms Bed & Breakfast, a home, and online-resource, where mothers can receive valuable information and education about mental healthcare, postpartum care recovery.