Two from UC selected for Leadership TN

l to r: Cameron Sexton and Kevin Christopher

NASHVILLE – Cookeville attorney Kevin Christopher and State Representative Cameron Sexton from Crossville were among the 46 leaders from rural and urban communities chosen to participate in the Leadership Tennessee Class VII. They will spend the next year engaging in collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of statewide importance.

Entering its seventh year, Leadership Tennessee selects a new class of leaders annually to take part in a statewide study course while visiting different areas of Tennessee, learning best practices and analyzing important issues faced by Tennesseans. To date, Leadership Tennessee has built a network of 246 leaders across the state.

The new class members represent each Grand Division, cities from Athens to Dyersburg to Memphis to Nashville. See below for the extended list of Class VII members.

“Tennessee has a lot of momentum right now, but Tennesseans continue to face significant challenges that require new and innovative partnerships to overcome them. Each class brings its own unique perspective and insight to the conversation, and we’re excited about Class VII joining the Leadership Tennessee network,” Leadership Tennessee Executive Director Cathy Cate said. “Each class comes together during the course of the year, having difficult conversations that challenge their points of view on issues in their communities, and we’re looking forward to Class VII and developing our seventh cohort around their chosen focus areas.”

In April Leadership Tennessee announced it would lead “Vote Tennessee,” a statewide effort to increase voter registration. More information on Vote Tennessee can be found at And in January Leadership Tennessee announced the first class of Leadership Tennessee NEXT, its program offering early-to-mid career professionals in-depth personal and career development while fostering a better understanding of Tennessee.

The seventh cohort of Leadership Tennessee will meet for the first time in August and includes:


  • C. Seth Sumner, City Manager, City of Athens


  • Bethany Flora, President, Northeast State Community College


  • Damon T. Hininger, President/CEO, CoreCivic


  • Dr. Kelly Arnold, Founder and Medical Director, Clínica Medicas
  • Dr. Rebecca Ashford, President, Chattanooga State Community College
  • Christy Gillenwater, President/CEO, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Bryan Johnson, Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools
  • Scott Pierce, EVP & Chief Operating Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
  • Marcus K. Shaw, CEO, CO.LAB
    Britt Tabor, EVP & CFO/Treasurer, Erlanger Health System


  • Mayor Chaz Molder, City of Columbia


  • Kevin Christopher, Principal, Rockridge Venture Law


  • State Representative Cameron Sexton, Tennessee General Assembly


  • Chad Davis, Owner, Davis Wealth Services


  • Ryan Porter, COO & General Counsel, Jackson Chamber of Commerce

Johnson City

  • Eric Deaton, Senior VP for Market & Hospital Operations, Ballad Health
  • Lottie Ryans, Director, Workforce & Literacy Initiatives, First Tennessee Development District
  • Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University


  • Heath Guinn, Founder, Sync Space


  • Dr. Jerry Askew, President, Alliance for Better Nonprofits
  • David Brace, Deputy to the Mayor and COO, City of Knoxville
  • Senator Richard Briggs, Tennessee General Assembly
  • Claudia Caballero, Executive Director, Centro Hispano
  • Tyvi Small, Interim Vice Chancellor Diversity and Inclusion, University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Avice Evans Reid, Senior Director, Knoxville City Government
    Patrick Wilson, President, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority


  • Tammy Wilson, Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Risk Officer, TVA


  • Jason Farmer, Founder/CEO, Black Lens Productions
  • Mike Keeney, Attorney, Lewis Thomason
  • Justice Holly Kirby, Tennessee Supreme Court
  • Commissioner Mickell Lowery, Shelby County Government
  • Billy Orgel, President, Tower Ventures
  • Lauren Taylor, Vice President of Programs and Learning, Hyde Family Foundation
  • Amy Weirich, District Attorney General, 30th Judicial District


  • Jessica Bliss, Storytelling Columnist, The Tennessean
  • Michelle Gaskin Brown, Manager, Public Policy, Amazon
  • Commissioner Beth DeBauche, Ohio Valley Conference
  • Alfred Degrafinreid II, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Relations, Vanderbilt University
  • Margaret Dolan, President/CEO, Launch Tennessee
  • Bradley Jackson, President/CEO, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Julie McPeak, Former Commissioner, TN Department of Commerce & Insurance
  • Hugh Queener, Chief Administrative Officer & EVP, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc.
  • Dr. Sharon Roberts, Chief K-12 Impact Officer, TN State Collaborative on Reforming Education
  • Patrick Sheehan, Director, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
  • Stephen Smith, Deputy Director/Chief of Staff, TennCare
  • Commissioner Marie Williams, TN Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services

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