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Board of Directors


Tamara Boyer, Board Chair

Title: General Counsel and Vice President for Advancement, East Tennessee Foundation
Previous: Wealth Management Director, U.S. Bank, NA; Senior Vice President of Operations & Legal Director, Citi Group; General Counsel, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance/Clayton Homes
Education: Juris Doctorate, Samford University, Cumberland School of Law; Bachelor of Arts & Sciences, Florida State University; Lean Management Certification; Human Resources Certification; Rule 31 Mediator
Community Involvement: Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians, Board Chair, Executive Board & Chair Board Development; Junior Achievement of Tennessee, Executive Board & Chair Miss Business; Webb School of Knoxville Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Presidential Search Committee, Chairman Facilities Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Co-Chair Senior Class PAC Committee; Junior League of Knoxville Sustainer Advisor, Education/Training Chair, Membership Pilot Committee, Sustainer Council Director, Strategic Planning Director, Community Council Director, Parliamentarian, TALA Chair, Ways & Means Chair; McClung Museum, Board of Directors; Second Harvest Food Bank, Volunteer; East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Childhood Advocacy Chair, Volunteer; City of Knoxville/Knox County Planning Commission Commissioner, Executive Board; Knox County Industrial Development Board Member & Secretary; Knox County Health, Education, & Housing Facility Board Member & Secretary; East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association Class of 2021; Leadership Knoxville Class of 2016 Graduate & Curriculum Committee Member; University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Associate; University of Tennessee Parents’ Council; University of Tennessee Office of Engagement External Advisory Board.
Professional Member: Knoxville Bar Association; Tennessee Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Section, Elder Law Section, Estate Planning Section; East Tennessee Lawyers Association of Women; Knoxville Estate Planning Council; National Association of Charitable Gift Planners; Association of Fundraising Professionals; Smokey Mountain Planned Giving Council.
Region : East Tennessee

Jennifer Axsom-Adler, Chair Elect

Title: Assistant Director, Roan Scholars Leadership Program, ETSU; Alderman, City of Kingsport
Previous: Adjunct Faculty, Religious Studies, ETSU, Paralegal, Investment Banking, Bear Stearns & Company
Education: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Political Science and Government, Harvard University; Doctor of Philosophy (PH.D.), Religion/Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University
Community Involvement: Officer, Vice Chair, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Board Member, The Inventor Center, Leadership Committee Member, Healthy Kingsport, Council Member, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Board Liaison, Neighborhood Advisory Commission (Kingsport, TN)
Region: Appalachian Highlands 

Cecilia Petersen, Vice Chair

Title: Central Region Finance Manager, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions 
Previous: Financial and Operating Consulting, Financial Management Consultant, Chief Financial Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer, RIVR Media, Vice President Finance & Operations, Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership.
Education: Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction, Economics and Spanish
Community Involvement: Board of Directors, Treasurer and Audit Committee Chair, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, President Board of Directors, Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, Board of Directors, Secretary & Finance Committee, Legacy Parks Foundation, President Board of Directors, Bluff Point Homeowners Association, Class of 2012 Leadership Knoxville, Inc. Career Transition Program Mentor, University of Tennessee, Outcome Based Investment Committee Chair, United Way of Greater Knoxville.
Region : East Tennessee 

Sybil McLain-Topel, Secretary

Title: Author and Marketing & Communications VP, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Previous: Writer in Residence, Lillian E. Smith Center, Piedmont College, Marketing Director, Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC, VP, Spaeth Communications, Corporate and External Affairs Manager, AT&T, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, American General Life and Accident Insurance Company, Editor and Reporter, United Press International
Education: Masters of Fine Arts- MFA, Writing, Graduate Studies, Savanna College of Art and Design, Atlanta, International Relations, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Bachelors of Science, Communications, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Political Science and Government, Middle Tennessee State University, French Language and Literature, Tennessee State University, IOM, Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management, Institute for Organization Management, Master of Fine Arts -MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design
Community Involvement: Officer, Executive Committee, Secretary, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Board of Directors, Secretary, Arts Build, President, Nashville Cable, Member, Leadership Chattanooga, Member, Public Relations Society of America, Member, Rotary International, Committee Member, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Member, Association of Writers & Writing Programs.
Region : Tennessee Valley & North Georgia 


Julia Bentley, Treasurer

Title: VP Investor Relations/Communications Vera Bradley
Previous: Senior VP of Investor Relations and Communications for Saks Fifth Ave, Senior VP and CFO of Proffitt’s and Audit Manager of public accounting firm, Ernst & Youn.
Education: B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.
Community Involvement: President, Board of Directors, YWCA Knoxville, Board of Directors, Arts & Culture Alliance, Former President, Board of Directors, Botanical Gardens of Knoxville, Graduate of Leadership Knox, Board of Directors, Urban League, Board of Directors Friends of Literacy.
Region : East Tennessee 


Rachel Buchanan

Title: President and CEO at Ardour Enterprises, LLC
Previous: Director of Economic Development, Blount Partnership, VP Business Development/industrial Engineer Massey Group, Industrial Engineer, Cherokee Millwright and Mechanical.
Education: BS, University of Tennessee
Community Involvement: Candidate, Leukemia and Lymphoma man and woman of the year campaign. Chair, 2015 Blount County United Way Campaign-Industrial Committee. Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians Board of Directors.
Region: East Tennessee

Elizabeth Carroll

Title: Attorney, Office of General Counsel, TVA
Previous: Executive Director of Harmony Family Center, over the span of 12 years holding a variety of rolls including Attorney, COO and Executive Director
Education: University of Tennessee (College of Social Work ‘95) University of TN (College of Law ’97)
Community Involvement: Knoxville and Memphis Bar Association, Community Legal Center of Shelby County, Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, Rotary Club, Youth Leadership Knoxville, and the East TN Lawyer’s Association for Women. Graduate of the 2013 Introduction Knoxville class, 2015 UT Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness class, 2016 Leadership Knoxville class, 2017 Leadership Law class of the TN Bar Association and the 2018 East TN Regional Leadership class.
Region: East Tennessee 

Denise Douglas

Title: Real Estate Specialist at Astute Real Estate, LLC
Previous: President and CEO, Maxwell Reed & Ryne Inc., DBA the Ups Store Hardin Valley, Real Estate Specialist, Realty Executives International, Real estate Listing Professional, Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Manager of Business Development, American Express, Channel Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Sales Manager, MCI Corporation, Sales Representative, BellSouth Mobility
Education: BA, Communications and Media Studies, University of Kentucky
Community Involvement: Board Member, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Board President, The Susannah’s House, Secretary of the Board, The AD Foundation, Gals and Glamour Committee, Second Harvest Food /bank of East Tennessee, Board Member, East Tennessee Technology Access Center, Committee Chair A night in Old Havana and ETTAC Annual Golf Tournament, East Tennessee Technology Access Center, Board Member, Knoxville Volunteer Rescue, Fundraising Volunteer (Knoxville Heart Gala 2019) American Heart Association, Knoxville Heart Gala Planning Committee, American Heart Association, Mento, Tn Achieves, Volunteer, Junior Achievement USA, Board Member, Girlfriends Giving Back.
Region: East Tennessee


Leslie Elmore

Title: Office and Finance Manager at Elmore Stone& Caffey PLLC
Education: Business Administration and Management, HR Concentration, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Community Involvement: Akima member, Founder/Treasurer, Girlfriends Inc., Giving Back, Tutor-hope Central, Mobile Meals Volunteer, Daughters of the American Revolution, Past President, Board Member, Active, Sustainer, Junior League of Knoxville, Southeast Newfoundland Club member,  Past Board Member, James White’s Fort, Past Board Member, Team Manager, Volunteer, Knoxville football Club, Past Board Member, Volunteer, Team Treasurer, Alliance FC Inc., Past PTSO President, Board Member, Volunteer, Bearden High School, Past Booster Club President, Vice President, Board Member, Volunteer, Bearden High School Men’s Soccer
Region: East Tennessee 

Keely Goodwin

Title: Director of Corporate Strategy, Eastman Chemical Company
Previous: Global Business Manager, Product Manager, Hydrocarbon Resins, Account Manager and Marketing &Innovation Manager at Eastman Chemical Company
Education: MBA, Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management, BBA, Marketing, East Tennessee State University
Community Involvement: Board Member, Girls on the Run International, Selection Committee, Roan Scholars Leadership Program, Member Board of Directors, Pine Chemicals Association
Region: Appalachian Highlands

Kathi Grant-Willis

Title: Retired Community Volunteer
Previous: General Counsel, Community Health Alliance and Consumers Choice Health plan, General Counsel, Community Health Alliance, Director of Employment Law and Employee Relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Director of Employee Relations and Employment Law, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Senior Counsel, Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co
Education: J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, Bachelor of Arts, Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
Community Involvement: Board Member, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia

Leslye Hartsell

Title: Manager of Communications and Environmental Stewardship, KUB
Previous: Director of Community Relations, Director of External Relations, KUB, Health educator, Knox County Health Department.
Education: Master of Science- MBA, Business Management and Leadership Development, Bachelor of Science, Public Health, University of Tennessee- Knoxville
Community Involvement: Board Member, Girl Scout of southern Appalachians, Current Board Member of, Leadership of Knoxville, SCHAS (Senior Citizens Home Assistance), United Way Allocations Panel (Co-Chair of Income & Basic Needs Committee), Knoxville Chapter Links, Incorporated (Past Secretary), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority – Knoxville Alumnae Chapter, (Assistant financial Secretary), Federal Bureau of Investigations Citizens Advisory Board.  Past Board Member, University of TN Knoxville Chancellor’s Associates, City of Knoxville Energy and Sustainability Task Force, Knox Count Schools Partners in Education (Past President) United Way Loaned Executive, Leadership Knoxville (Class of 2009), Community Action Committee Community Leadership, Leadership Knoxville Curriculum Committee, Project Help Board, Boys and Girls Club TN Valley Advisory Board (Past Chair), YWCA Board Member, Second Harvest Food Bank Board Member, Knox Area Urban League – shoes for school, YWCA Tribute to Women Finalist.
Region: East Tennessee

Emily Hodges

Title: Director of Marketing Insights, Bush Brothers & Company
Previous: Senior Manager, market research, Bush Brothers & Company, Lecturer, University of Tennessee, Senior Level Research Consultant, Full-Service Healthcare Research Provider, Manager, Consumer & Market Intelligence, Senior Manager, Consumer & Market Intelligence, L’Oréal USA, Associate Manager, ACNielsen BASES, Marketing Analyst, Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Education: Masters of Market Research, The University of Georgia, B.S., B.A., Statistics, Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, General Course, Anthropology, Statistics, The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Community Involvement: Former Girl Scout, passion for understanding people and how that understanding can improve their lives and the businesses that serve them.
Region: East Tennessee

Randy Jenkins

Title: Chief Financial Officer at Partners Development
Previous: Controller, Providers, Inc., Assistant Controller, US Foodservice
Education: Associates Degree in Applied Science, Accounting, Central Piedmont Community College, BBA, University of Carolina at Charlotte, BS Finance, University of Tennessee- Knoxville
Community Involvement: Introduction Knoxville, Leadership Knoxville, 2014, Board Member and Chair-elect, University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Nursing, Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair, Knoxville Chamber, Volunteer Basketball Coach and a full-time Girl Dad.
Region: East Tennessee

Cammy Kromer

Title: Vice President, Sales-Small Format/Club/Foodservice, Ferrara
Previous: Sr. Director Sales-Dollar, Vend, Foodservice& Theater, Director of Sales-Value & Vend, Sales Team Lead supporting Dollar General, Fred’s Pharmacy & 99 Cent Only, Area Sales Manger supporting C-Store, Ferrara, President, Junior League of Knoxville, director of Category Strategy and Insights (Senior Manager), Team Lead/Account Executive for Dollar General, The Hershey Company 
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration, Furman University
Community Involvement: Board Member, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Board of Directors, Girl Talk, Inc. Knoxville, Advisory Board, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Sustainer Advisor, Board of Directors and Member, Junior League of Knoxville, Fundraising, Farragut School, Foster, Adopt a Golden Knoxville
Region: East Tennessee

Kim Leffew

Title: Director of Auxiliary Programs at Girls Preparatory School
Previous: Summer Camp Director, Girls Preparatory School, Physical Education Teacher, Girls Preparatory School,
Education: Tusculum College, University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Community Involvement: Heart Ball Auction Committee Member, American Heart Association, Style-Works Co-chair 2018, Siskin Children’s Institute. Board Member, Downside up Inc., President, Alpha Delta Kappa, Tennessee Chapter, Co-chair of WAMS Luncheon, National MS Society, Mid-South Chapter, Co-chair of Witches and Wine for MS, National MS Society, Mid-South Chapter, Run Aid Station Captain, IRONMAN, President-Elect, Alpha Delta Kappa, Sorority, Zeta Chapter
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia 

Emily Mack

Title: President and CEO of River City Company
Previous: Director- Department of Metropolitan Development City of Indianapolis, Project Leaders/Business Development Director, CORE planning Strategies, LLC, Deputy Director-Department of Code Enforcements, City of Indianapolis, Real Estate Development Manager, Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., Mayor’s Neighborhood Liaison, City of Indianapolis, Preservation Planner, City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.
Education: Master of Science in Historic Preservation, Architecture, Urban Planning, Ball State University, Bachelor of Science, History, Bradley University
Community Involvement: Board Member, Chattanooga Tourism Company, The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Center, Board Member and Chair-Community Building & Training Committee, President, Friends of Ellenberger Park, member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Chapter Advisor, Chi Omega (Upsilon Lamda Chapter) Hanover College
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia  

Paula Masters

Title: Vice President for Health Programs in the Department of Population Health for Ballad Health
Previous: Assistant Dean of Student Services and Director of the Tennessee Public Health Training Center-LIFEPATH at East Tennessee State University for seven years. She is also Co-founder of the Center for Rural and Appalachian Health at ETSU, former employee Tennessee Department of Health.
Education: Doctorate in Community and Behavioral Health, Masters of Public Health in Health Services Management and Policy, graduate certification in Health Care Management
Community Involvement: Active member of the Tennessee Public Health Association, where for the past 16 years she has served as both a member and chair of many committees and served as President in 2014. She currently serves on the board of the Virginia Health Catalyst and Appalachian Mountain Project Access
Region: Appalachian Highlands 

Karen Officer-Bell

Title: Senior Project Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
Education: Electrical Engineering degree, Tennessee State University, Master of Business Administration, Belmont University, International Project Management Professional Certification and currently working to complete the MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership
Community Involvement: Co-Developer of a mentoring partnership program between TVA and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Beautillion XII Chair: The making of a Gentleman with the Chattanooga Chapter of the Links, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Chattanooga CARATS, Inc., and RiverCity Tennis Association.
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia  

Jennifer Podhajsky

Title: CEO Yee-Haw Brewing Company
Previous: Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, Corporate Team-Marketing Director Vice President at The Hershey Company, Sales and Marketing at Kraft Foods, Managed the Tufts Club, a non-profit, alumni organization with two club sites and 75 events annually. She was also a cook aboard Schooner American Eagle- baking and cooking for passengers and crew along the Maine coast.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Tufts University and MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University)
Community Involvement: Board of Directors of King Arthur Flour, a 100% employee-owned company based in Norwich, VT. Jennifer is currently working with Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, a local Knoxville pie shop that is in early stages of franchising.
Region: East Tennessee

Karen Rowell

Title: Principle at Rowell Consulting
Previous: Chief Improvement Officer at Holston Medical Group, Health, Safety, Environment, Security and Global Quality at Eastman Chemical Company’s flagship location in Kingsport, TN.
Education: BS in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University. While at Eastman she completed extensive MBA level continuing education coursework.
Community Involvement: Senior member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. She has served as the leader of the local Workforce Investment Board Youth Council, Junior Achievement and Goodwill Industries. She serves on the Northeast State Community College Foundation Board and the Auburn University College of Engineering Alumni Advisory Council. Karen is a Master Gardner and leads the local Master Gardener organization.
Region: Appalachian Highlands

Gabrielle “Gabby” Sanders

Title: Sr. Regulatory and Reporting Specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
Previous: Business Analyst, Health Care Reform and Exchange Compliance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Director of Health and Quality of Life Programs, The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, Appeals Consultant, River Trust Solutions, Inc.
Education: Doctor of Law (J.D.)/Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.), Louisiana State University, Paul M. Herbert Law Center, Master of Health Services Administration, Health Policy, The George Washington University, Bachelor of Science, Biology, General, Howard University
Community Involvement: Member, The Links, Incorporated
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia

Kim Shumpert

Title: Executive Director, Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute
Previous: Director of Development, Bethel Bible Village, Director of Business Development, Baldwin& Shell Construction Co., Executive Director, City Youth Ministries, Coordinator of Community Development, e-Stem Public Charter School, Executive Assistant, Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, PACES
Education:  Arkansas University, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Harding University
Community Involvement: Board Member Southeastern Chapter AFP, Board Member Rotary Club, Board Member Craighead County Community Foundation, Board Member Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance, Board Member JETS
Region: Tennessee Valley & North Georgia 

Lisa Skinner

Title: Independent Consultant/Strategic Writer Contractor, Co-owns Knoxville Animal Clinic
Previous: Director of Development, Sertoma Center Knoxville, Community Relations, Tennessee Valley Authority, subject Matter Expert/Consultant, Innovation Valley Based at Knoxville Chamber Partnership, Vice President of Market Strategy, Fee/Hedrick Entertainment, Senior Vice President, Ackermann PR, Director of Public Relations, Coordinator, Assistant Director, PR, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, director, Marketing and Public Relations, St. Francis Medical Center, Honolulu Hawaii, Account Executive, Honolulu branch, The Nerland Agency, Marketing Manager, Aagana, Guam plant, Foremost Foods, Vice President for Marketing, NAVMAR Federal Credit Union, Public Relations Director, Elkman Advertising, Editor/Media Specialist, University of TN office of University Communications, Reporter/Education Writer, Knoxville News Sentinel Daily newspaper
Education: B.S. Communications/Journalism, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Bachelor’s Degree, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Certified Tourism Ambassador, TN Department of Tourism Development.
Community Involvement: Vice President of CityPeople, the association of downtown residents, a founding member of both the Women in Entrepreneurship Knoxville and Women in Entrepreneurship Blount. Serves Mayoral appointments on the Knoxville Downtown Design Review Board and Knoxville Animal Control Board. Former Vice Chair of the Knoxville Development Corporation’s Fairview Technology Center (entrepreneurial) Advisory Board, Trustee on the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation Board of Directors, Leadership Knoxville graduate, Class of 2015, and a mentor in the Leadership Knoxville Mentors program. 
Region: East Tennessee 

Kayla Smith

Title: Development Director, American Heart Association
Previous: Regional Director, Governor’s Foundation for Health & Wellness, Marketing Manager for Economic Development, Marketing Coordinator and Membership Services Intern at Knoxville Chamber
Education: Graduate of the University of Tennessee with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Business
Community Involvement: Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Leaders for Readers, Great Schools Partnership, Young Leaders Society, United Way of Greater Knoxville, Mentor, TN Achieves, Knoxville Chamber Campaign Manager, United Way of Knoxville
Region: East Tennessee 

Kathryn Vinson

Title: Executive Oncology Specialist, Merck
Previous: Analytical Chemist, Dry Branch Kaolin Company
Education: BS, Chemistry, Physics, Wesleyan College
Community Involvement: Officer, Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, Bearden Elementary PTSO, Leadership Knoxville Class of 2013, 40 under 40 2014, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 2017 Women of the Year, American Cancer Society Hope Gala Committee, Junior League Community Advisory Board
Region: East Tennessee

Lynne Lawson Fugate, CEO (ex efficio member)

Title: CEO, Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians
Previous: Knoxville Market Executive, Smart Bank
Education: BS Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Community Involvement: Knoxville Rotary Club: Executive Women’s Association; Leadership Knoxville; East Tennessee Regional Leadership; Junior League of Knoxville, and Akima Club
Region: East Tennessee