Leadership Tennessee, the state’s preeminent leadership education organization, today 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.

Leadership Tennessee NEXT is the state’s only statewide leadership program focusing on Tennessee’s existing and emerging leaders and spanning geographic and industry boundaries. The first class has 25 members representing Tennessee’s diversity across the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee.

The class will meet three times across the state in Memphis, Nashville and Greeneville. Each session will feature engagement with Leadership Tennessee Signature Program members, highlight issues and opportunities specific to Tennessee, and promote personal skill development.

“At Leadership Tennessee we want to build a network of problem solvers and engaged citizens to come together on issues of statewide importance, and Leadership Tennessee NEXT is the first step in extending that network to the state’s emerging leaders,” Leadership Tennessee Executive Director Cathy Cate said.

“Cohort members will be educated, engaged, and inspired to make Tennessee a better place while expanding their personal, professional, and community networks, and we are very excited about the high level experience this first class brings to the table as they come together over the course of the next three months.”

The first cohort of Leadership Tennessee NEXT includes:


  • Jamie Ballinger, attorney, Baker Donelson

  • Moise “Mo” Baptiste, executive director of experimental education and social impact, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

  • Brandon Bruce, COO and co-founder, Cirrus Insight

  • Jonathan Butler, manager of neighborhood services and development, City of Chattanooga, Department of Economic and Community Development

  • Dana Glenn, director of marketing and business development, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

  • Hannah Hopper, chief of staff, Emerald Youth Foundation

  • Micah Johnson, COO and senior vice president, Bridge Public Affairs

  • Jonathan Sexton, COO, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

  • Bo Wilkes III, vice president of corporate administration and governance, Ballad Health


  • LaToya Anderson, literacy teacher development specialist, Metro Nashville Public Schools

  • Lindsey Cox, director of operations, government relations and 36|86, Launch Tennessee

  • Mary Darby, external relations director, ThinkTennessee

  • Kate Derrick, director of leadership communications, Vanderbilt University

  • Corinne Gould, assistant commissioner for public affairs, Tennessee Department of Agriculture

  • Troy Grant, associate executive director for college access, Tennessee Higher Education Commission

  • Tim Hughes, HELP4TN program manager and staff attorney, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services

  • Jeremy Jennings, area coordinator, YMCA of Middle Tennessee

  • Janalee Miller, agency relations manager, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

  • Alexandra Sollberger, principal, Stones River Group

  • Graham Thomas, deputy director of outreach, tnAchieves

  • Marieta Velikova, associate professor of economics, Belmont University


  • Hayley Isaac, senior program manager, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

  • Nikia Johnson, senior director – operations, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

  • Andrew Long, regional president, Community Bank

  • Kaci Murley, director of programs, Leadership Memphis

In its sixth year, Leadership Tennessee is an organization committed to collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of statewide importance by crossing over geographic and professional boundaries and connecting a diverse network of problem solvers and engaged citizens. A new class of 40 leaders is selected annually to take part in a leadership study course while visiting different areas of Tennessee, learning best practices and analyzing important issues faced by Tennesseans. To date, 170 leaders in five classes have gone through the program.

Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Log Out