This page contains speaker bios for the 2018 LGBT+ College Conference
Coming from a theater and improv background, Holly started performing stand up ten
years ago. She has appeared in numerous theater productions, commercials and independent
films as well as voice over work. She has produced and hosted several middle Tennessee
shows such as "Bohemian Circus," "Comedy at Mel's," "Outfront on Main comedy," and
"Ignite," as well as being one of the original members of Nashville based "Girl on
Ron in a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Information Technology Services (ITS). His duties
include leading teams who are responsible for Deloitte’s data management across numerous
technology platforms. Ron is also a member of the ITS Inclusion Council, Hermitage
Inclusion Council and sponsor of the Hermitage GLOBE & Allies (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
& Transgender Employees and Allies). Ron holds a Bachelors of Mathematics from the
University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa.
Ron moved from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Nashville 22 years ago and has been with
Deloitte for 14 years. Ron is the Fund Development and Marketing Chair for Nashville
Cares and serves on the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program Community Advisory Board.
Keith recently joined the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) to educate the public about
the hunger crisis in our state and to protect and improve federal nutrition safety
programs. He is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumnus and has seven years of experience in food
security from the grassroots to government. Immediately, before joining TJC he directed
the state's Older Adult Nutrition Program, a $14 million program that funds meals
Judge Rachel Bell
Judge Rachel Bell has been in the legal profession thirteen years, six of which she
has served in the capacity of General Sessions Court judge in Nashville, TN. Judge
Rachel is the founder of the Music City Community Court which focuses on prevention,
rehabilitation and restoration. Married in 2017 to Dr. Dorsha James, they have founded
the “i am . . . just human” movement and currently own Solutions Now, Inc. along with
The Ring the Bell Foundation.
Georgiann Davis is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas. Her research and teaching is at the intersection of sociology of diagnosis
and feminist theories. She is the author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis (NYU Press). She is also the board president of interACT: Advocates for Intersex
Youth (2017- present) and the former president of the AIS-DSD Support Group (2014-2015).
Trish Davis is the Special Projects Manager for the Nashville-Davidson County’s Office
of Family Safety where she is overseeing the Office of Family Safety’s new initiatives
focusing on increasing domestic violence and sexual assault victim’s safety and offender
accountability. Previously, Ms. Davis was the Director of Domestic Violence Services
at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. Ms. Davis has 12 years of experience in management,
both working in residential settings with domestic violence survivors and in for-profit
corporations. Ms. Davis holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Middle Tennessee
State University. She currently serves as President-elect of the Nashville Coalition
Against Domestic Violence and on the board of the Tennessee Respite Coalition, which
provides relief to families and caregivers from the extraordinary and intensive demands
of providing ongoing care.
Diane Easter is a Senior Manager at Deloitte, and for the last four years has led
strategic, talent focused programs for Deloitte’s Information Technology Services
(ITS). She is currently working on the launch of ITS’ first Inclusion Council as well
as a program to help professionals intentionally chart their professional development
across key competency areas. During her career at Deloitte, Diane has led numerous
other efforts, including Web Hosting, Application Operations, Service Management and
Deloitte’s National Operations Center, as well as multiple diversity and inclusion
initiatives. Her involvement with diversity and inclusion at Deloitte began in 1994
when she started Deloitte’s first group for LGBT employees. “I am proud of Deloitte’s
long-standing inclusion journey and our commitment at the national level and in our
local communities.” She and her wife have four children and live in Hendersonville,
Tennessee. Diane holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee
Carnell has been at Dell for nearly 11 years, starting his career as a University
Recruit for the Consumer Sales Organization in June of 2007. Carnell has held multiple
leadership roles within the organization and has a passion for developing people.
He currently serves as the Site Lead for the Small Business organization for Nashville
as well as the Dell Nashville co-site director with Nikki Gibson. Carnell currently
serves as an executive member on the Board of Directors for S.T.A.R.S. (Students Taking
A Right Stand), a nonprofit that serves over 160 schools in the Middle TN area that
specializes in student assistance programs dealing with literacy, bullying, abuse
cases and anything else that prevents students from being able to have a focused education
experience. Carnell graduated from MTSU in 2007 with a degree in political science,
but more importantly this is when he outkicked his coverage and met his now wife of
nearly 9 years, Tiffanie. They now have two children and live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee
and are in the process of building a home.
Jamie joined the LGBTQ Resource Center as the first program coordinator in June 2016.
She holds a B.A. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin and a M.Ed.
in Higher Education Administration from The University of Houston. Jamie prides herself
on being the first Graduate Assistant for UH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion
which she claims to be a life altering experience. She looks forward to the opportunity
to make a lasting impact on the UH community. Go Coogs!
Kayla's organizing work includes assisting in several campaigns with the Mid-South
Peace and Justice Center, including fighting for housing equality for all people who
are chronically homeless and advocating for the just treatment of transgender people
by law enforcement. She works to connect transgender people to core OUTMemphis services,
including HIV testing, HIV+ support services, sexual reproductive health needs, emergency
services, and peer-led groups. She is excited about expanding transgender decriminalization
programming at OUTMemphis and building legal support services to meet the needs of
transgender people in the Mid-South.
Tabitha is the owner of a local computer repair business. This year marks working
for herself as long as she has worked for other people. Self-employment has its own
challenges with regards to LGBT issues. In her off time, Tabitha enjoys unique hobbies
like ghost hunting, chasing bad weather, and travel photography.
Sandi Hoff is the Nashville Technology Council’s Vice President of Education and Talent
Development. Before joining the Nashville Technology Council, Sandi directed the Research
and Policy programs for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Her work and studies
prior to relocating to Tennessee included teaching public policy, nonprofit and public
management, and nonprofit fundraising as an Assistant Professor at the University
of North Texas.
Jeffery Humble has established himself as an active and respected community volunteer
in Middle Tennessee. His efforts, fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit and love of
service, have allowed him to be honored by the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM)
and The Tennessean for a "30 in their 30s” Award, a finalist for Nashville’s LGBT
Chamber of Commerce Mark Lee Taylor Community Service Award, and the Tennessee Ambassador
of Goodwill awarded by Governor Bill Haslam. Jeffery is representing the State of
Tennessee for his exceptional talents and significant contributions for all communities,
even beyond the LGBT community.
Dr. Dorsha James
Dr. Dorsha James has been practicing emergency medicine since 2005 and is an Emergency
Room Physician at Jennie Stuart in Hopkinsville, KY. She is the co-Founder of Campus
Rx, a telehealth company. Married in 2017 to Judge Rachel Bell, they have founded
the “i am . . . just human” movement and currently own Solutions Now, Inc. along with
The Ring the Bell Foundation.
Dr. William Langston is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research
program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted
places in the world. Dr. Langston is also the advisor to MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive
LGBT+ student organization) and serves on the Provost’s Access and Diversity Advisory
Keven is a masters student at Middle Tennessee State University. His studies are within
the academic study of religion; specifically, American Christianity. Keven's current
research examines the way that words as they are spoken, written, and sung serve as
both a transformative medium by which believers are made, remade, and replicated and
how these same words function as intermediaries between the mundane and the divine.
Keven is also interested in the way that gender and sexuality are understood and problematized
by religious communities more broadly.
Paula is MTSU’s Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships. She works
with companies in the Middle Tennessee region to inspire successful collaboration
and act as a catalyst to create meaningful, valuable and sustainable partnerships.
She connects great companies with bright minds sparking innovation and change through
collaboration with results driven outcomes. Previously, she worked for First Tennessee
for over 21 years and in the financial services industry for over 30 years. She is
originally from Nashville and earned her BBA from Middle Tennessee State University.
She has lived in Murfreesboro since college and where she has raised her 3 children.
Paula is involved in the community and serves on numerous non-profit boards. She is
married to Mike Leslie.
Bethany Mason joined Dollar General as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in
2016. In this role, Bethany leads all internal and external diversity initiatives
and is focused on strengthening Dollar General’s culture of inclusion and commitment
to diversity. Bethany has also assumed responsibility over Dollar General’s employment
branding strategies. Bethany started her career holding operational positions with
national and international organizations and prior to coming on board at Dollar General,
Bethany worked for Macy’s, Inc. as the Diversity and Inclusion Strategies Manager.
Bethany grew up in Mexico City and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications
from Pine Manor College. Bethany enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family
and friends. She and her husband recently relocated to the Nashville area from Cincinnati,
Dr. Patrick McCarthy, J.D.
Dr. Patrick McCarthy, J.D., received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
from George Mason University and his J.D. from the Nashville School of Law. He is
a licensed attorney and a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment
Law Division. Dr. McCarthy has previously served as Director of MTSU’s Center for
Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE). Besides his consulting experience,
Dr. McCarthy has also served on the Leadership Development Executive Board for the
Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education.
Dr. Janet K. McCormick
Dr. McCormick earned her Bachelor and Master degree’s in Speech Communication from
Eastern Illinois University (’87, ’88) and her Ph. D. in Communication from Southern
Illinois University at Carbondale (’93). She taught at Spalding University in Louisville,
Kentucky before spending 7 years teaching abroad in London, Buenos Aires, and Singapore.
She joined MTSU in 2002 as an Intercultural Communication Specialist and is the recipient
of the "Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award," the "Outstanding Academic Advisor Award,"
the "Distinguished Educator in Distance Learning Award," and twice the "Outstanding
EXL Faculty Award," and "Outstanding Teacher Award" for the rapidly growing Organizational
Communication (ORCO) major/minor at MTSU. Dr. McCormick conducts seminars regionally
on such subjects as Intercultural Communication, Gender and Communication, Listening
Jeffry Porter joined MTSU as Director of the Office of Research Services in August
2014. With over 25 years of experience in public policy, public administration and
research administration, Porter is dedicated to facilitating the higher education
mission (create and disseminate knowledge, educate the public, and serve public need)
by acting across the continuum from direct support to individuals, to ensuring effective
institutional policy, procedures and infrastructure to enable a robust research enterprise.
Dr. Marisa Richmond currently teaches history and women’s and gender studies at Middle
Tennessee State University. She is also a member of the Metro Human Relations Commission
in Nashville, and the only openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee.
Previously, she served many years as the President and Lobbyist for the Tennessee
Transgender Political Coalition. She is a prolific author and speaker on transgender
rights, and has served on many boards at the Local, State, and National levels. She
has been recognized for her work with many awards. She has three degrees, all in U.S.
History. Her A.B. is from Harvard University, her M.A. from the University of California,
Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from George Washington University.
Joshua Rigsby graduated MTSU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational
Communication. While attending MTSU he served as the MTSU Lambda Association President
from 2012 to 2014 and established the LGBT+ College Conference with the goal of creating
a statewide network of LGBT+ collegiate students across the state of Tennessee. Since
graduation, he has served as the Alumni Advisor for the MTSU Lambda Association from
2014-2017, and has served as a member of the LGBT+ College Conference Advisory Board
from 2013-2017. Beginning in 2013, Joshua served three consecutive years as a member
of the Board of Directors for OutCentral, Greater Nashville’s LGBT+ Community Center.
While a member of the board, he oversaw student engagement and outreach, served as
a member of the Executive Board as Vice President, and was responsible for volunteer
outreach, recruitment, and training. Currently, Joshua is the Middle Tennessee State
University LGBT+ Program Assistant.
Patrick Sammon has a mix of political, journalism, and film production experience.
He is President of Story Center Productions, a film production company in Washington,
DC. He is the Creator and Executive Producer of CODEBREAKER. Previously, Sammon spent
three years as the President of a leading LGBT political organization in the U.S.
Sammon started his career as an award-winning television news reporter. He’s a native
of Seattle, Washington.
Lorraine Schroeder, M.A., L.P.C.
Lorraine was hired as the first director of the LGBTQ Resource Center in May 2010
when the Center opened. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Education and a Masters Degree
in Clinical Psychology. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Dr. Debra Sells serves as MTSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost
for Enrollment Services. She came to MTSU as the director of Housing and Residential
Life twenty-one years ago, after working previously at Arizona State University, California
Polytechnic San Luis Obsipo, and Grinnell College. During her time at MTSU, she has
also served as Associate Vice President of Academic Support Services, and was appointed
as Vice President in 2009. Dr. Sells has authored or co-authored several chapters
and articles, as well as co-authoring with colleague Dr. Robert Eaker the book A New Way: Introducing Higher Education to Professional Learning Communities at Work, published in 2015 by Solution Tree Press.
Forrest Smith is the Chief Information Security Officer at Nissan. For the last several
years, he had led the Nissan organization in developing a world-class cybersecurity
capability. He is an executive sponsor of Nissan’s GSAN (Gay Straight Alliance at
Nissan) Employee Resource Group. Forrest received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration
from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently splits his time between San
Francisco, California and Melbourne, Florida.
Sis St. Clair
Sis St. Clair is a Middle Tennessee State University graduate. Sis is a member of
Rainbow Rutherford, an author, poet, storyteller, and a long-time advocate/activist
for LGBTQ rights/civil rights/equal rights. Sis is originally from Kansas City, Missouri,
and is a former musician and entertainer.
Allie Sultan has her degree from San Francisco State University. She is a filmmaker
and video/sound editor with over 12 years of experience in visual storytelling. She
teaches filmmaking to people of all ages and believes in the power of creating over
consuming. She has expertise in video editing, sound editing, cinematography, screenwriting,
directing, and timelapse photography.
Kimberly Stephan Tate has been passionately driving an inclusive work environment
for years. She worked diligently to create an LGBTQ employee resource group framework
at Asurion that would be the model for others to follow. She has been a driving force
for all ERGs as a critical member of the ERG collaboration counsel and as a Diversity
& Inclusion committee member. Through her work with Asurion’s LGBT ERG – Pride – she
made Pride Month a massive success for the company by leveraging “ally” tags, localized
events, social media, participation and participation in the Nashville Pride walk
and event. She has also been instrumental in pushing for policy changes to ensure
LGBT language was included in Asurion’s handbook, and ensuring LGBT team members could
self-identify in the HR system to provide better data for shaping policy/programs
in the future. Prior to Asurion, Kimberly led the middle Tennessee Pride ERG at Dell
Technologies for many years.
Dr. Candace Warner is a professor of sociology at Columbia State Community College
and Department Coordinator for Sociology & Social Work. Her master's degree is in
Sociology and Ph.D. in Public Administration. Dr. Warner’s dissertation centered on
understanding diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout Tennessee municipalities.
Warner has taught sociology courses in South Africa and India, and currently serves
as the Director for the India study abroad program through the Tennessee Consortium
for International Studies. Warner is the Founder/CEO of people3, Inc. People3 is a
benefit corporation that provides cultural competency-centered research, inclusion-centered
consulting, and diversity training services to organizations to assist in the navigation
of diversity and cultural differences among organization members and employees, as
well as the customers or population groups they serve.
Nashville native Beverly L. Watts was appointed the Executive Director of the Tennessee
Human Rights Commission in July 2007. She has more than 30 years of experience in
civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sector. Beverly is
the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the being a 2016 YWCA Nashville
Athena Nominee, the ECHO 2014 Dreamers Award, the 2014 Frances Dancy Hooks Award,
the YWCA 2014 Carrie Hull Award, the City of Louisville Martin Luther King award,
and the 2005 induction into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. She is a graduate
of Tennessee State University, Southern Illinois University, and has completed Executive
leadership programs at Duke University and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy
School of Government.
Kamah (Asha) Wilson
Asha joined the LGBTQ Resource Center as the Graduate Student in August of 2016. She
holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Southeastern Louisiana University and is pursuing
her Masters of Social Work here at UH. Asha is creative and passionate about human
empowerment, social justice, and spirituality. She is eager to learn and always willing
to listen. She loves to meet new people and try new things. Asha is excited to be
involved in empowering the UH LGBTQ community.