Chair - Global Human Resources Director, Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation
Immediate Past Chair, CEO/Founder, Sound Healthcare and Financial
Stillwell is a 30-year music veteran (musician, publisher and producer) who founded his healthcare advocacy and insurance organization in 2006 to help artists, songwriters, musicians and other creative types navigate the healthcare and insurance systems, and also offers financial planning services. Clients include Grammy, CMA, ACM, IBMA, and Americana Award winners. In 2017, Stillwell architected the first ever fully insured True Group Health Insurance Plan for Nashville’s musicians and artists, available exclusively through The Nashville Musicians Association-AFM Local 257. Numerous publications have recognized Stillwell among the top-20 individual market health insurance producers in the country, often landing at #1. Stillwell is also a partner in Historic Restorations LLC, a real estate development group focused on development projects in Nashville’s historic downtown core. Member—ACM, AMA, CMA, and The Recording Academy.
Treasurer – Director, Rogers Group, Inc.
Jerry Geraghty is a director of Rogers Group Inc. and a member of Synovus Bank Nashville advisory board. Jerry retired as President and CEO of Rogers Group Inc. in 2016. Rogers Group, with headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, is one of the largest aggregate producers in the industry and the largest privately held company in the industry with approximately 1900 employees across Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In addition the company is a major regional player in asphalt construction and bridge construction in these states with the exception of Indiana, Ohio and Texas.
Prior to joining the Rogers Group in 2003, Jerry was the President of Ingersoll Rand’s Worldwide Construction Equipment Group based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Jerry is a graduate of Fairfield University, and a Certified Public Accountant. Jerry and his wife Susan live in Nashville and have three adult children, Brian, Steven and Alison and five grandchildren.
Jerry has served on the Boys and Girls Club board since 2008. In addition, Jerry has served on the Board of the United Way of Middle Tennessee, holding the position of chairman in 2010, and continues to serve on United Way’s finance committee. Jerry is also a member of Teach For America’s Nashville Advisory board. Jerry’s philanthropic interests are focused on creating opportunities for those Nashville children most in need.
Secretary, Past Chair – CEO, Maverick Properties
Lee W. Schaefer is founder and principal broker of Maverick Properties, and has over 25 years of experience as a broker, developer, and architect. Created in 2009, Maverick Properties is a multidisciplinary real estate firm specializing in brokerage, development, and commercial real estate services. Lee holds a Master of Architecture from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana Experience prior to Maverick Properties includes:
Mr. Schaefer is currently a member of the CCIM Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the Urban Land Institute, and the Urban Design Forum of the Nashville Civic Design Center. He is the past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee.
HR Chair, Consultant/Former EVP Human Resources, Delek US Holdings, Inc.
Donald (“Don”) Holmes retired from his position as Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Delek US Holdings, Inc. in January 2018. Don is currently serving in a Consulting capacity with Delek US.
In his role at Delek US, Don was a member of the Executive Team and brought more than 30 years of experience to this role, serving as a senior advisor specializing in Human Resources strategy and administration. During his career, Don has served in a variety of executive-level roles at both public and privately held entities in transportation, service management, insurance, banking, consumer and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining Delek US, Don served as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Nashville-based Central Parking System, Inc. for nearly a decade. Earlier in his career, he served as Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at CSX Transportation and held various Director roles at Sea-Land Service, Inc. and SmithKline Beckman Corporation. Don also held Human Resources management roles at Aramark Services, Inc., Provident National Bank and Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Don has a Bachelor of Science degree from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina and completed all course work for a Master of Science Degree in Mathematics from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.
Don currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Opera Association, Abe’s Garden, the Nashville Public Library Foundation and Family and Children’s Service. For many years, Don Chaired the Examiners Panel of the MT-SHRM Human Resource Excellence Program. Don is a graduate of Leadership Nashville, class of 2008 – “The Best Class Ever”!
Don is a native of Philadelphia, PA and currently lives in Brentwood, TN. Don is married to Deborah A. Smith-Holmes and has one son, Anthony Holmes, who is 17 years of age.
Chair, Resource Development-Owner and Chief Management Consultant
Jensen Gahagan Sessums is an experienced Management and Employment Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in training, compliance, executive search, coaching, and departmental reviews. Jensen and her team work primarily utilizing psychometric testing, retention reviews, and management assessments to guide them in delivering answers for clients to develop stronger and healthier departments.
Jensen is a graduate of Louisiana State University and enjoys returning home for both LSU and Saints games. In addition to the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs (Resource Development Chair), Jensen also sits on the Board of Directors for The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, The Alumnae Advisory Council for the Vanderbilt Chapter of Pi Beta Phi, The Christmas Village Board (Publicity Chair), is a volunteer with Make a Wish, and sits on various other committees throughout the year.
Co Chair, Operations – Director of Retail Properties, Boyle Investment Co.
Co-Chair, Operations, Executive Director for External Diversity Initiatives, Cummins
Tonya Sisco serves as the Project Director – External Diversity Initiatives, specifically, Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE). This is first step forward in Cummins’ intent to take a leading role to impact police reform, criminal justice reform, economic empowerment and social justice to attain its aspirational goal to create more equitable and inclusive communities.
Tonya joined Cummins in 2005 with a nontraditional career path at Cummins with the opportunity to support 6 different functions which include: Manufacturing, Finance, Human Resources, Quality, Supply Chain Planning and Corporate Responsibility. In each role she took the risk because it involved aspects where she could see her vision for the work quickly while driving transformation and developing talent.
In her most recent role as the Customer Order Management and Aftermarket Operations Director she was responsible for working with customers, business units and internal stakeholders to manage $3.5 billion in order flows through their life cycle. Tonya has also been recognized with a number of awards which includes, the Chairman’s Award which is given to the top one percent of six sigma projects completed for the company and corporate partner of the year through her talent acquisition efforts at Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark-Atlanta University.
Tonya grew up in Antioch, Tennessee where she graduated from Antioch High School. She holds two bachelor degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Lipscomb University in Corporate Finance and Accounting, respectively. In 2017 she graduated from Purdue University and Tias Business School and Society in the Netherlands with a MBA in International Management.
Tonya currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. She enjoys traveling, indoor rock climbing and spending time with her family.
Past Chair – President & CEO, MRCO
Farzin Ferdowsi has a long history of building successful franchises and serving in leadership roles in the banking and finance community in Middle Tennessee. He is chief executive officer of Brentwood, Tennessee-based Management Resources Company. Formed in 1971, MRCO manages more than 40 Taco Bell restaurants throughout the Southeast.
Farzin’s commitment to community service includes participating on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. He currently serves as a board member for the Taco Bell Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee, Community Foundation and the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Board of Overseers. He is a former board member for Nashville Alliance for Public Education, Goodwill Industries, TSU Foundation. Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Trustees for Leadership Nashville. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville. A native of Iran, Farzin immigrated to the United States in 1965 and earned his bachelors of science degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from Kansas State University.
Past Chair – VP of Client Partnerships at Certree
Hunter West is immediate Past Chair after previously serving as Board Development and Resource Development Chair. Hunter discovered his passion for the BGCMT as a founding member and Inaugural President of the Phoenix Club of Nashville over 10 years ago. Hunter is currently the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Thomas & Company, a professional services firm headquartered in Nashville. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife and 3 young children.
Past Chair – Regional President, Tennessee, US Bank Wilson
Wilson, age 58, is the market leader in Tennessee for U.S. Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, a $480 billion asset financial holding company with offices across the United States, Canada and Europe. U.S. Bank, the 5th largest bank in the United States, conducts traditional banking services in 25 states through over 3,100 branches and is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. The bank operates 104 branches across middle and east Tennessee and employs approximately 800 bankers.
Wilson became Regional President in 2005, and has been an executive with the organization since 2000, previously as Senior Vice President, National Corporate Banking. Wilson has 35 years of experience in the banking industry, primarily in corporate and commercial banking. Before joining U.S. Bank, Wilson was Executive Vice President for Corporate Banking for AmSouth Bank and First American National Bank, now known as Regions Bank.
Wilson’s community involvement includes serving as a Board Member and former Board Chair for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee; Advisory Board Member and former Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville; and as an Executive Board Member for the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is also active with a number of other civic organizations including United Way, The Tennessee Wildlife Federation and others. He is a past board member of the Tennessee Bankers Association.
Wilson earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s in International Management from Thunderbird – The American Graduate School of International Management. He is a resident of Brentwood, TN, is married and the father of four grown children. His interests include travel, golf and the outdoors.
Executive Director at J.P. Morgan
Brian is currently an Executive Director and Private Banker in J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank. In this capacity, Brian and his team focus exclusively on high net worth wealth
management for individuals and their families, and Brian has a particular emphasis in working with corporate executives of publicly traded companies. Brian recently joined J.P. Morgan’s Nashville Private Bank team after spending the last 11 years with the firm’s Milwaukee Private Bank office where he led the team’s coverage of the corporate executive client segment. He and his team provide proactive guidance on a broad range of wealth management concerns, including executive compensation, multi-generational wealth transfer, philanthropic planning, goal-oriented investment and asset allocation guidance, diversification of concentrated wealth, and liquidity needs. Brian earned his B.S. from Georgia Southern University and his M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. He also is a holder of the Certified Financial Planner designation.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Brian lives in Nolensville, TN with his 2 sons ages 10 and 6. He is active an active member in the Holy Family Catholic Church Parish Community, and he is also active in the Nolensville Youth Athletics program where he coaches his oldest son’s baseball team.
Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), NAI Nashville
Allen has made a splash in the Nashville commercial real estate scene. In his five years at NAI Nashville he closed over $40 Million in transactions. Allen has also managed to record the single largest deal since NAI Nashville’s inception in 2011. His expertise and focus includes healthcare real estate leasing and investments. Allen, a Nashville native, graduated from Lipscomb University. Upon graduation he worked as a bank auditor for top 10 public accounting firm Crowe Horwath. That experience opened up the accounting operations manager role for him at Truxton Trust (formerly Nashville Bank & Trust). Exposure to the real estate finance industry during the Great Recession gave Allen a trained sense for quality deals in commercial real estate as well as unleashing his passion for the industry. In 2018, Allen and business partner, Chris Huskey formed HBRE. In 2019, Allen led the company to close more than $65 Million in sales and leasing transactions.
In his free time Allen still enjoys the game of baseball. He founded the Lower Antioch Dodgers Men’s team. The Dodgers have made it to the championship game their first five years in existence winning the last four. Allen volunteers on the board for the Middle Tennessee CCIM and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee.
A graduate of Lipscomb University, Allen was a 4-year letterman in baseball and obtained joint-degrees as a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy.
President & CEO, Brent Consulting Group, LLC
Warren is inspired by improving the lives of those around him. Warren’s passion has a clear focus as he is an industry leader in organizational health. Warren has over 20 years of experience in developing and strengthening leaders, teams and the culture of companies.
He has worked with companies of all sizes, from publicly traded to non-profit boards, both in the US and abroad. Warren’s organizational health model engages leaders in any industry; empowering them to lead more authentically, resulting in deeply trusting teams, highly engaged employees and healthier work environments.
His methods are indisputably successful because they are truly tailored to the individual client needs. His integrated approaches result in more successful, meaningful and ultimately more profitable companies. His professional, trusting demeanor, along with his relevant interpretations resonate with any audience. As a leader, he has a knack for explaining what you can’t see but can feel.
Warren holds a B.S. from Olivet University, an M.A. from Trevecca University, an M.A. from Vanderbilt, and an M.S.S.W. from the University of Tennessee. He’s looking forward to collaborating on and publishing an upcoming book about Organizational Health.
In addition to serving on the Boys & Girls Club Board, Warren supports the Middle Tennessee community through other Board Memberships and supports various local non-profits that serve the needs of Tennessee youth, veterans, addiction & recovery, trauma, and grief. In his free time, he enjoys SEC Football, fishing and supporting his sons’ busy sporting activities.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance, Vanderbilt University
Eric Bymaster serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt University is a well-respected, highly-ranked private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee with an annual operating budget of $1.3 billion and an endowment of $4.8 billion. With a team of 130, Eric’s responsibilities include financial planning and analysis, developing the annual budget, managing the university’s capital plan, and overseeing the finances of the 10 academic schools, the provost, and select administrative support areas.
Prior to Vanderbilt, Eric spent 15 years at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His most recent position was Associate Vice President for Finance & Operations in the Division of Campus Life with financial, administrative, and operational responsibilities for housing, dining, bookstore, and university center operations, as well as financial, budgeting, human resources, and IT management for athletics, student health, dean of students, career center, and the counseling center. During his career at Emory, the university built six new residence halls, adding 1,450 beds and renovated four residence halls encompassing another 600 beds. Additionally, he spearheaded the planning and development of the new $100 million Campus Life Center, the one-day Summit on Race, and the Student Affairs Certificate program.
Before Emory Eric spent seven years at Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation, in West Lafayette, Indiana in a variety of roles including managing commercial and residential real estate as well as serving as a business and contracting officer in the world-renowned School of Engineering and School of Agriculture.
Eric has given numerous presentations at regional, national and international conferences including the Canadian Economic Conference, the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the Association of University Real Estate Officials (AUREO).
Eric received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and earned a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration also from Purdue University.
Outside of work, Eric enjoys boating, running, and real estate investing. In addition to serving on the Board for Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, he also serves on the International Executive Board as Treasurer of FarmHouse Fraternity.
Sr. Director, Mars Petcare
Attorney, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
James concentrates his practice in the areas of labor and employment law, business and corporate law, litigation and dispute resolution, and entertainment and media law. As an active member in the Nashville community, James is committed to providing excellent legal representation for his clients.
Mr. Crumlin is a well-known Nashville employment lawyer. His legal counsel is regularly sought out by management on issues arising from the employment relationship. James’ experience includes union and non-union arbitration and all forms of employment discrimination litigation. In addition, he conducts in-house training sessions on compliance with the numerous federal and state laws affecting employers — from the Americans with Disabilities Act to the Fair Labor Standards Act to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
James serves as outside general counsel for several small and midsize businesses. He helps clients navigate the corporate legal landscape and avoid costly mistakes. His experience includes business formation and strategy, funding and investor relations, contracts, employment compliance issues, risk management, litigation and dispute resolution. James represents a variety of Tennessee-based businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up ventures.
In the area of entertainment and media law, he represents artists, songwriters, authors, managers, and producers in the production, ownership, marketing, and sale of creative works. He also represents television anchors/reporters in contract negotiations with local and national media outlets.
From 1997-1998, he served as a judicial clerk to retired United States Chief District Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., (former United States Magistrate Judge) for the Middle District of Tennessee. Prior to joining Bone McAllester Norton in 2002, James served as an attorney with King & Ballow.
Encouraged by his mother, and following in his father’s footsteps, James says he wanted to be a lawyer for as long as he can remember. What he enjoys most about the profession is, “helping employers resolve their employee issues and assisting small businesses in maximizing their potential by focusing on the bottom-line and not legal problems.” One of the proudest moments in his life was accepting the National Bar Association’s induction of his father into its Hall of Fame, posthumously.
Vice President, JE Dunn
Past Chair – Retired, J.J.B. Hilliard W.L. Lyons Investment Firm
Amanda C. Farnsworth of Nashville, Tennessee, is recently retired from the investment firm of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons Inc. Ms. Farnsworth graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a BS degree in Mathematics. She also earned a Masters degree in Computer Science with related work in Business from Vanderbilt. She has previously served on various corporate and charitable boards. Currently she serves on the boards of Optimum Solutions Software, an Inc. 500 Company, Precision Energy Solutions, the Metro Nashville Airport Authority, and AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Washington. Additionally, she is Chairman of Consumers Insurance Group. She is a Past Chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee and is a trustee of the Ensworth School. In her spare time, she is an avid pilot.
Audit Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
John has been with EY for over 28 years, serving audit clients across a wide array of industries with a focus on multi-national companies in the automotive, manufacturing and energy sectors. Prior to his move to Nashville in 2018, John worked in EY’s offices in Philadelphia and Chicago, with a 4-year international assignment in between working with the firm’s affiliates in Seoul, South Korea and Shanghai, China, utilizing his US GAAP and SEC regulatory reporting expertise to assist foreign SEC registrants through initial public offerings and other cross-border transactions. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Tennessee.
John, his wife, Terri, and two teenage boys live in Franklin and in their spare time, when not running around to the boys’ hockey, golf and tennis events, they enjoy spending time exploring the historical sites, restaurants and music venues in and around Nashville area.
Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, CoreCivic
Grande is Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for CoreCivic, a diversified government solutions company that specializes in corrections and detention management, criminal justice real estate services and residential reentry centers. In addition to serving on the Boys & Girls Club’s board, Grande actively supports the Middle Tennessee community through board memberships and support for various local non-profits that serve the needs of victim rights, ex-offender reentry, and underserved youth.
Grande previously served as Tennessee’s Commissioner of Economic and Community Development (ECD). In that role, he led the recruitment and expansion of business to the State, managing an $85 million budget and 200 employees. Having worked in Tennessee government since 1998, Grande served as Assistant Commissioner and later as Deputy Commissioner of ECD. He previously led a publishing and database marketing company and served as a political speechwriter in Washington, DC.
Grande earned his Masters of Education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and his Bachelor of Arts from the American University in Washington, D.C.
Vice president of human resources, Groups360.
Marion previously served as a director within the human resources team at SmileDirectClub. With more than ten years as a human resources consultant, Marion’s expertise will steer Groups360’s acquisition and on-boarding of new talent.
Cushman & Wakefield
Whit is a client focused, solutions-oriented commercial real estate consultant who specializes in office leasing, representing both tenants and landlords, and investment sales. He has participated in over $580 million of lease transactions and $347 million of sales transactions since 1996. Whit is also a member of Cushman & Wakefield’s National Legal Sector Advisory Group.
Vice President of Strategic Growth, Bell & Associates
As Vice President of Strategic Growth at BELL Construction, Rebecca works across the organization to drive growth and strengthen BELL’s position in the industry. Rebecca collaborates with the executive team to develop key relationships and advance strategic priorities in the market. She is dedicated to building BELL’s brand as the leading construction company in Tennessee and the Southeast.
BELL has led more than 1,000 construction projects, and are best known for landmark projects that make up the iconic Nashville skyline.
Audit Senior Manager, Bridgestone America
Katie Payne, CPA, is a senior manager in the Deloitte audit practice with nine years of experience serving a variety of public and private clients focused within the manufacturing and healthcare industries. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Katie has been in Nashville for almost 15 years watching the city boom. She lives in East Nashville with her husband and daughter and enjoys walks down to Shelby Bottoms and exploring the neighborhood.
Vice President, Envision Healthcare
Attorney, King, Turnbow, Smith & Vanzin, PLLP
Derek K. Smith was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam in 2011 as Circuit Court Judge and Chancellor for the 21st Judicial District, that includes Williamson, Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties. The Circuit Court Judge has the responsibility for trying all types of civil and criminal cases. With respect to criminal cases, the Circuit Court Judge hears mostly felony (more serious) offenses. Regarding civil matters, the Circuit Court Judge hears and renders decisions on civil causes of action, including divorce and post-divorce matters, contract disputes, probate issues, personal injury cases, and orders of protection. The Judge also is responsible for hearing appeals from the juvenile court and general sessions court.
Prior to his appointment as Circuit Court Judge, Derek was a prosecutor for the 21stJudicial District for close to 20 years. During this time, Derek was the DUI Prosecutor, Drug Task Force Prosecutor, Tennessee Child Fatality Team Prosecutor and Child Protection Investigation Team Prosecutor. As prosecutor, he served as an Assistant District Attorney General and the Deputy District Attorney General for the 21stJudicial District. As an Assistant District Attorney General and Deputy District Attorney General, Derek acquired extensive litigation experience. He has handled thousands of criminal cases, including cases ranging from homicides, sex offenses, narcotics, violent offenses and white collar thefts. Not only has Derek “handled” innumerable cases, he has tried cases before juries and judges in the 21stJudicial District, as well as in a multitude of other counties in Tennessee.
Additionally, Derek has served as Special Prosecutor—District Attorney General Pro-Tempore–for numerous districts and counties within Tennessee.
Derek is in private practice in the law firm of King, Turnbow, Smith & Vanzin, PLLP. Derek handles all criminal and DUI cases, divorce and post-divorce cases, juvenile cases and other family-related cases.
Derek is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law and Pepperdine University. Aside from practicing law, Derek believes in giving back to his community. Derek served in the United States Navy Reserves, and he stays involved in numerous civic and political organizations.
Vice president, Regional Planning, Nissan North America, Inc
Peter Smith is senior vice president, Regional Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. He was appointed to this position in September 2019. In this role, Smith is responsible for all product planning, program management office, market intelligence, and strategy and business development activity in North America.
Previously, Smith was program director, INFINITI Motor Company, Ltd., based in Japan. He joined Nissan North America in 2003 and moved to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., in 2005 as manager for Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Product Strategy & Product Planning. Over the course of his career at Nissan, Smith has held roles of increasing responsibility in Product Planning, Corporate Planning and INFINITI Program Management.
Prior to joining Nissan, Smith held positions in strategy, business development and marketing for various companies, starting his career based in Seoul, Korea.
Smith holds a MBA from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of California-Irvine. He is fluent in Japanese and Korean.
Senior Vice President, Capitol Christian Music Group/Capitol Music Group
Because he wears so many hats, there are plenty of words that can be used to describe music industry executive and television producer, Phil Thornton. But there is one word in particular that also comes to mind: fearless. And that’s because Thornton has proven that he can confidently and consistently create projects and content that successfully goes against the grain.
After graduating in 2003 from Norfolk University, Thornton started his first company, Bright Star Entertainment, an artist management/consultant firm where he represented artists such as 112 and Lil’ Mo. In 2007, he partnered with Marcus Spence and Paul Coy Allen to form the successful Ten2One Entertainment, a multimedia, television production, and artist management conglomerate. In October 2016, Ten2One, along with Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media, released the made-for-TV Lifetime Network film, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Miche’le, which garnered an impressive average of 2.3 million viewers. Thornton served as executive producer on the eOne-created hit show “It’s a Mann’s World,” starring David and Tamela Mann, which originally aired on BET, but returned for its third season on TV One. In 2018, Thornton and his team celebrated an NAACP Image Award win for “Outstanding Reality Series” for the show.
Overseeing the artist management side of Ten2One, Thornton has guided the careers of Faith Evans, Kenny Lattimore, and Mack Wilds. In 2016, he was named senior vice president and general manager of RCA Inspiration, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, where he works with a wide range of inspirational artists including Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene, Marvin Sapp and Donnie McClurkin. Prior to his position at RCA, Thornton served as vice president and general manager, Urban Inspirational at eOne Music, where he oversaw a diversified list of Gospel and R&B artists such as Lalah Hathaway and Shirley Caesar.
Thornton has a bunch of exciting television projects in the works with some incredible entertainment powerhouses, including Jay Z, Brian Grazer, and Kelly Rowland. On the film side, in addition to executive producing the Sundance picture A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night, starring Omari Hardwick and Meagan Goode, Thornton also produced the movie Same Difference, starring Essence Atkins and Terrence J., which will be screened at the upcoming American Black Film Festival.
He has also thrown his hat into the podcast arena with We Sound Crazy, alongside Tamone Bacon, Claude Kelly, and Chuck Harmony, a new show that focuses on R&B and hip hop and is guaranteed to draw a large, loyal following due to its amusing and fresh spin on music.
So how does Thornton balance everything? “Ever since I stepped on this earth I believe my steps have truly been ordered for me,” he says. “I’m fearless because I know that I’ve got God on my side. That’s why I continue to walk in faith and believe that He’s giving me the foresight and the vision so that I’m never afraid.”
Chief Executive Officer – The General
Steve is chief executive officer at The General, bringing extensive insurance experience, and new and innovative approaches to business.
Steve has been a part of American Family Insurance (parent company of The General) for more than 30 years, starting as an agent in 1988 and advancing in the organization in product and sales leadership roles. He became a sales vice president in 2014, and was named agency strategy vice president later in 2014. In 2017, his role expanded as he took on leadership of sales support as well.
Prior to American Family, Steve was a successful entrepreneur, owning and operating a clothing store, and holding a patent and trademark on a consumer product. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in business management, an MBA, a Masters certificate in project management, and multiple insurance designations. He also served in the U.S. Air Force.
Steve is a member of the board of directors at Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee, a past board member of Habitat for Humanity in Dane County Wisconsin, an honorary board member of the Wisconsin USO, and an active volunteer for Living Water International, leading multiple well-drilling projects to bring clean water to Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Rwanda and Kenya.
Advise Insurance, CHRO
Chief Development Officer, CapStar Bank
Ken has been a banker for 42 years with the past 33 years in the Nashville market. In 2007, he was part of the management team brought together to form Capstar Bank. Prior to Capstar Bank, he was with First Tennessee Bank for 14 years and prior to that was with Commerce Union Bank and successor banks for 17 years through its acquisition by NationsBank. Ken is a native of Lawrence County, Tennessee. He is a 1976 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Ken has been involved in various community activities over the years. In addition to being a BGCMT board member since 2001, he is currently serving on the TSU Economics & Finance Advisory Board and as a Trustee for the Sertoma Club of Nashville Foundation. Ken and his wife, Christy, live in the west Nashville area.
Partner, Palmer & Wallace Insurance Brokerage LLC
A 1981 graduate of the University of Alabama, Jack has amassed broad experience as a Senior Client Advocate for large and complex insurance programs.
After graduating from college, Jack spent time in London with a major Lloyd’s broker working on a wide range of insurance placements involving all aspects of the London market. He then joined CIGNA Special Risk where he was an underwriter for large national accounts. Jack joined Willis Towers Watson as an Account Manager in 1984. Jack is a ten-year member of Willis Towers Watson’s prestigious National Exceptional Producers’ Council and serves as the team leader on a number of Willis Towers Watson high profile accounts.
Jack is active in managing insurance programs for clients involved in healthcare, education, private corrections, manufacturing. He has been published in major trade journals and also serves as a member of the Healthcare Practice Regional Resource and is a recognized leader in the area of Behavioral Healthcare and Private Corrections.
A member of the Insurers of Tennessee and Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Jack also serves on the Board of Directors for Centerstone Mental Health Center, where he is past Chairman, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee where he is past President and is on the Board of Men of Valor Prison Ministries and is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Harpeth Hall School. He is an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church and a member of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. Jack has four children and has been married for the past 31 years to Elizabeth Hunt Wallace.
Jack’s knowledge of the insurance industry, the underwriting community and his enjoyment in working with clients provides him a solid background for his role of Account Executive and industry resource for CEC’s brokerage team.
Chief Executive Officer, MidSouth, UnitedHealthcare, Employer and Individual
Stephen (Steve) currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for UnitedHealthcare, Employer and Individual, for the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, and SW Virginia. In his current role, Stephen has P&L, strategic, sales, operational, and financial oversight for commercial operations in the three states for employer groups up to 3,000 employees, serving 500,000 commercial members with revenue over $1 billion.
Previously, Stephen served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Southeast Region Employer and Individual business. In this role, Stephen had strategic, operational, financial oversight for the Southeast Region, which includes six Healthplan businesses with 22 offices located across the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Stephen joined UnitedHealthcare in 2006 in Network Contracting for the States of Tennessee and Virginia. Stephen has also held responsibilities as Chief Financial Officer Tennessee/Arkansas and Chief Financial Officer Florida. Prior to his time with Unitedhealthcare, Stephen worked for John Deere Health Care from 1997 to 2006.
While at Unitedhealthcare, Stephen has completed both the Executive Development Program and Network Contracting Certification Program. In addition, Stephen has participated in the Finance Development Program as a mentor for rising Finance professionals.
Stephen graduated from Illinois State University, earning a BA in Biological Science and an MBA with a focus in Finance. Stephen is married with two children and is active within the community coaching youth athletics. He currently resides in Franklin, TN.
Strategic Risk Consultant, Lockton Companies
While clients know him as a trusted advisor, consultant and broker, the true value he brings to them is as a knowledge provider and connector. As a partner at Lockton, Chase helps clients make informed decisions about managing risk and human resources with the ultimate goal of increasing enterprise value and decreasing the cost of risk. Chase creates predictable results by employing knowledge with a systematic and disciplined process that is centered on client objectives. His belief is that successful, long-term relationships are achieved through problem-solving counsel, rather than a transactional mentality.
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