Kathy Buckman Gibson

Chairman, Bulab Holdings, Inc

Kathy Buckman Gibson is Chairman of the Board, Bulab Holdings, Inc. and former President and COO, Buckman Laboratories International, Inc. Buckman Gibson first joined Buckman Laboratories International, Inc. in 1993 as Vice-President, Legal and Corporate Secretary.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and an MBA and JD from Emory University. Prior to joining Buckman, she worked as an analyst for Citicorp and at Smith, Gambrell & Russell as an associate in mergers & acquisitions.

Buckman Gibson is respected and recognized as a leader around the world in the industries in which Buckman participates and for her community leadership and dedication. Within Buckman, she leads the company’s global BuckmanCares initiative with community relations, volunteerism and giving activities that impact some 100,000 people each year.

Buckman Gibson serves as Chair of Shelby County Early Childhood Education Plan, and as a member of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Circle, she currently chairs the Circle’s Pre-K Initiative. Buckman Gibson serves as a Trustee of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and as a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum. She is on the national board of directors for Girls Incorporated. Past leadership roles have been held with United Way of the Mid-South, Memphis Talent Dividend, Girls Incorporated of Memphis, Memphis In May International Festival, Mid-South Reading Alliance, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, the Assisi Foundation, and Memphis BioWorks Foundation.

Keith Norman

Vice President, Government Affairs, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation and Pastor, First Baptist Church-Broad

Reverend Keith Norman is vice president of government affairs for Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation. As the pastor of First Baptist Church—Broad, he is leading the revitalization of Binghampton through GREATER WORKS Inc., an organization he founded.

Reverend Norman sits on the board of directors of the Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission, is a Board Trustee at Christian Brothers University, and is a Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Commissioner. He also is immediate past president of the NAACP’s Memphis chapter. He is a 2010 President’s Volunteer Service Award recipient and a member of the 2009 Leadership Memphis Class, as well as the 2010 Memphis Leadership Academy. On April 4, 2012, Pastor Norman was awarded the “Champion of Change” award as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future Initiative. October 2, 2012, Pastor Norman was awarded the Bishop Carroll T. Dozier Peace and Justice Award by Christian Brothers University.

A graduate of Morehouse College, Norman has studied community revitalization and church/corporate partnerships at Harvard Divinity School as well as the Invitation Strategies for Church and Community Partnership at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He is pursuing a doctorate in Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary.

Reverend Norman is an internationally sought-after speaker having delivered addresses in Guyana, South America, Jamaica and The West Indies, Patmos, Ephesus, Delphi, Thessaloniki, Athens, Lagos, Nigeria, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, and Jerusalem.

Gary Shorb

Executive Director, The Urban Child Institute

Gary Shorb is Executive Director of the Urban Child Institute in Memphis, Tennessee – a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health of Mid-South children. Prior to becoming Executive DIrector of the Urban Child Institute, Shorb served as president & CEO of Methodist Healthcare from 2001 through 2017.

Shorb joined Methodist in 1990 as executive vice president. Before his tenure with Methodist, he served as president of the Regional Medical Center in Memphis for four years.

His community service is extensive, serving on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce – where he served as 2005 Board Chairman – the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the University of Memphis Board of Visitors, the Foundation of Evangelism, and St. John’s United Methodist Church Administrative Council. In November 2004, Shorb received the Corporate Leadership Award from Volunteer Memphis’ Corporate Volunteer Council, and in 2005, received the Alexis de Tocqueville leadership award from United Way of the Mid-South. In 2007, he was honored with the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Meritorious Service Award.

Prior to his health care career, Shorb was a project engineer with Exxon and a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Clemson University and a Master of Business Administration from Memphis State University.

Blair Taylor

President, Memphis Tomorrow

Blair Taylor is the president of Memphis Tomorrow, an association of CEOs of Memphis’ largest businesses which partners with government and civic leadership to advance prosperity and quality of life in the Memphis community.

Prior to working with Memphis Tomorrow, she was the founder and president of The Work Place, a not-for-profit workforce development enterprise dedicated to helping low and semi-skilled people learn new skills and gain, and maintain, employment.

She currently serves on the boards of The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, Safeways, Seeding Success, the Memphis Brand Initiative and Tennesseans for Quality Early Education.

Her work has included initiating and leading public-private partnerships, program and policy development, strategic planning and advising, marketing and public relations, fundraising and grants management, issue campaign management, lobbying and advocacy, nonprofit start-up and management and collective impact development and leadership.  Her major topics of engagement have included cradle-to-career education and workforce development, public safety, economic development, health and wellness, government efficiency and performance management, and city brand and marketing.

She holds master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University, and a bachelor of arts degree in Political and Social Theory from Connecticut College.

Lesley Stiles Scearce

President and CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga

Lesley Stiles Scearce is currently President and CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga. United Way is a dynamic and innovative nonprofit committed to addressing critical social service issues to build a stronger and healthier community for all.

Since joining United Way in 2015, Ms. Scearce has partnered United Way with new community collaborators who bring innovation to solve our community’s most critical social issues.

Before joining United Way, she headed On Point: Direction for Life as its President and CEO. Ms. Scearce led the organization to reach 240,000 local youth with skills and support necessary to avoid risky behavior and be prepared for life.

Ms. Scearce was an adjunct professor of nonprofit management at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She led ASCEND, in Washington DC, as Board Chair. She also leads community wide trainings in the 40 Developmental Assets®, the building blocks youth need to flourish.

Ms. Scearce is passionate about nurturing kids and transforming the way adults view and engage with youth. That’s why joining United Way – with its focus on Education and Stability (after school programming, mentoring, and volunteering) – is the perfect professional evolution for her.

When she isn’t wrangling two young boys or watching games at the ballfield, you’ll probably find her on her front porch with her husband Daniel and their friends. She loves fly fishing and folk music. She is an active member of Calvary Chapel and lives in Chattanooga, TN. .

Dave Miller

President, East Tennessee
First Tennessee Bank

Dave Miller is president of First Tennessee Bank’s East Tennessee region. Encompassing Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities, the region is the company’s largest market in Tennessee with $6 billion in deposits, $3 billion in loans, and 450 employees.

During his 23-year career with First Tennessee, Dave has held leadership roles in marketing and corporate strategy and investor relations, where he earned national honors from IR Magazine and Institutional Investor. Prior to his new role, he was executive vice president of consumer banking – the bank’s retail, private client and wealth management segments – where he led a 7-year transformation of the business into one of the company’s most profitable, including growing annual revenues to over $500 million and ROE to over 20%.

He has been a member of the company’s 15-member Executive Management Committee and other key leadership groups including Asset Liability, Credit Risk Management, Operational Risk, and Pension and Retirement Investment committees.

Dave believes strongly in strengthening the community, currently serving on the boards of the United Way of Greater Knoxville, the Boys and Girls Clubs Tennessee Alliance, the Knoxville Symphony, the YWCA Knoxville Foundation, and the First Tennessee Foundation. He also serves on the Introduction Knoxville committee for Leadership Knoxville. Previously, he served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, United Way of Greater Memphis, Better Business Bureau, Families Matter, and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

He is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University. He is married to Sarah Echols Miller and has two children, a daughter and a son. Miller and his family moved Knoxville at the beginning of 2017.

Miles Burdine

President & CEO
Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Miles A Burdine currently serves as the President and CEO of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

Burdine is active and serves or has served in many leadership capacities with many community and state organizations, including the, Governor’s First to the Top Advisory Council, Governor’s Commission on Judicial Nominations, Board of Judicial Conduct, State Collaboration on Reforming Education, Governor’s Energy Policy Task Force; Campaign Chairman and President of the United Way of Greater Kingsport; President of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives; Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry Executive Committee and Board of Directors; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Board of Directors, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Tennessee Economic Development Partnership Board; founder of Someone Who Cares (a private charity); and founding board member of the Tri-Cities ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – Lou Gehrig’s Disease) support team; Tri Cities March of Dimes Board of Directors among countless other civic leadership roles.
Burdine’s “other” career is with the United States Marine Corps and United States Marine Corps Reserves. Having served over 30 years, he retired at the rank of Colonel.

Three of his deployments have been to combat environments. He served as the Executive Officer of B Company 1st Battalion 8th Marines and as a commander of a security task force in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983; commanding officer of L Company 3rd Battalion 24th Marines in Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia in 1991; and he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Ramadi, Al Anbar, Iraq, in 2005 and 2006, where he was the commander of the Governance Support Team of the 6th Civil Affairs Group.

Miles is the husband of Denise and the father of three daughters. Nikki is a television reporter in Nashville. Laura is a logistics and operations director for Adapture Technology Group in Atlanta and Alyce is the Northeast TN Coordinator for Tennessee Achieves.

Tara Scarlett

President & CEO, Scarlett Family Foundation

Tara Scarlett serves as President/CEO of the Scarlett Family Foundation, whose mission is to promote and support high-quality education options for students in Middle Tennessee.

Prior to joining Scarlett Family Foundation, she spent 20 years in marketing leadership roles for two of the largest consumer packaged goods companies worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company North America and Mars Petcare North America.

Scarlett is the co-founder of Digital Divas Atlanta – a network of visionary women dedicated to helping build stronger female leadership in digital marketing and advertising. She is also a member of the start-up team for BPT Partners.

Scarlett pairs her ability to visualize possibilities with innovative leadership to achieve bold results in both the public and private sector. Most recently, her dedication to transform education in Middle Tennessee led her to serve on Mayor Megan Barry’s Nashville Literacy Collaborative, as co-chair of the Tennessee Learning Circle and Children’s Champions.
Scarlett is also an active public speaker and has served on the boards of the American Marketing Association in Atlanta, US Mobile Marketing Association, AT&T US Customer Carrier Forum, Customer Relationship Marketing Association, LEAD Public Schools, Project Renaissance, and the Scarlett Family Foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the Leadership Nashville 2017/2018 cohort.

Nancy Dishner

President & CEO
Niswonger Foundation

Dr. Nancy Dishner serves as President and CEO of the Niswonger Foundation in Greeneville, Tennessee.  She previously served as Vice Provost for Enrollment Services and Director of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program at East Tennessee State University.

She was a tenured professor in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Prior to her position at ETSU, she was a public school teacher in Unicoi County.

Nancy is an alumna of East Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education, Masters in Supervision and Administration; and a Doctorate in Administration.  She is the recipient of the ETSU Outstanding Staff Award, and was placed in the ETSU Clemmer College of Education Hall of Fame.  She was named the ETSU Outstanding Alumna in 2013, and has a street named in her honor on the ETSU campus.

She served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Johnson City/Jonesborough/ Washington County Chamber of Commerce, establishing and serving as chair of the Partners in Education program for Johnson City and Washington County Schools.  Served as an initial member on the Johnson City Public Building Authority, as secretary and chair of the public relations committee. She served as President of the ETSU Staff Senate, and two terms as President of Phi Kappa Phi national honor society.

Nancy is a Commissioner on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC); on the Board of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA); Steering Committee member on the State Collaborative for Reforming Education (SCORE); Steering Committee member of Complete Tennessee, and on the Board of the Tennessee College Access and Success Network (TCASN).  She serves on the Board of Trustees at Tusculum College, and is a Niswonger Foundation Board Member.  She serves on the Executive Council for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

Dakasha Winton

Senior Vice President and Chief Government Relations Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Tara Scarlett serves as President/CEO of the Scarlett Family Foundation, whose mission is to promote and support high-quality education options for students in Middle Tennessee.

Prior to joining Scarlett Family Foundation, she spent 20 years in marketing leadership roles for two of the largest consumer packaged goods companies worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company North America and Mars Petcare North America.

Scarlett is the co-founder of Digital Divas Atlanta – a network of visionary women dedicated to helping build stronger female leadership in digital marketing and advertising. She is also a member of the start-up team for BPT Partners.

Scarlett pairs her ability to visualize possibilities with innovative leadership to achieve bold results in both the public and private sector. Most recently, her dedication to transform education in Middle Tennessee led her to serve on Mayor Megan Barry’s Nashville Literacy Collaborative, as co-chair of the Tennessee Learning Circle and Children’s Champions.
Scarlett is also an active public speaker and has served on the boards of the American Marketing Association in Atlanta, US Mobile Marketing Association, AT&T US Customer Carrier Forum, Customer Relationship Marketing Association, LEAD Public Schools, Project Renaissance, and the Scarlett Family Foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the Leadership Nashville 2017/2018 cohort.

Proven Results

You're Making a Difference

We’re proud to champion Tennessee’s Early Childhood Education needs and we’re making a difference! Take a moment to review the results form our recent poll. There’s always more to be done so we thank you in advance for joining us and helping strengthen further!

VIEW THE RESULTS OF OUR RECENT POLL

PreK Quality

Preserved PreK for xx,000 4-year olds while insisting on quality in EVERY classroom.

Parent Engagement

Launched new academic parent-teacher partnerships.

Accountability

Defended aligned assessments and kindergarten portfolio as critical tools for monitoring and improving student progress.

Great Teachers & Leaders

Initiated two vital and actionable studies with Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Department of Education to drive improvements in early grades instruction.

#MyEarlyEducation to support the Tennesseens for Quality Early Education
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