Nashville Emerging Leader Awards 2017 Award Recipients

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Architecture, Engineering and Construction
Nathan Oliver

As a landscape architect, planner and urban designer, Nathan Oliver manages planning, design and construction projects as an Associate at Hawkins Partners, Inc. He advocates for high quality design in the built environment and for improving the quality of life within communities through design. Oliver is a member of the Urban Land Institute, serving on the Mentor Program Committee and is on the board of Lockeland Springs and Walk Bike Nashville. The Sevier Park Master Plan and Community Center, downtown Nashville’s Omni Hotel, Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater are examples of influential projects he has assisted with in the Nashville area.


Arts, Entertainment and Music Business
Tim Gray

Tim Gray is the CEO of Grayscale Entertainment Marketing, a full-service marketing agency focused on strategic partnerships and digital marketing services as well as President of the management firm, Grayscale Entertainment. He has experience working with artists like Katy Perry, Joe Diffie, Nicki Minaj, Papa Roach and Saving Abel. Gray has been involved with large events and organizations including the Pilgrimage Festival, and Minor League Baseball. Gray serves on the executive board of directors for the Society of Leaders in Development, Musicpreneur Storehouse and the Alumni Advisory Council for MTSU College of Media and Entertainment. He is an active member of the Musicians on Call Young Professionals Committee, Young Entertainment Professionals, and the Troubadour Society, among others.


Business Services
John Byers

With fourteen years of experience in the insurance industry, John Byers leads the growth and retention initiatives at Aon Risk Solutions as a vice president and director of sales, adding an additional $6.6 M of revenue to the office since 2014. Byers’ expertise was recognized with a Risk and Insurance’s 2016 Power Broker Award, and he was recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a 2016 “40 Under 40” award winner. Byers is also successful on the running circuit; he completed twenty-one triathlons in the last seven years, reaching the podium four times. He serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement Nashville and the Young Leaders Council, and is a graduate and current vice-chair of Leadership Brentwood.


Community Service and Nonprofit
Marielle Cummings

As a zone director for the Martha O’Bryan Center/Nashville After Zone Alliance, Marielle Cummings helps plan, implement, evaluate and strengthen the work of the Metropolitan Nashville Public School system. In addition to supporting development and communication efforts, she coordinates afterschool programs for 200 middle school students in the McGavock cluster every year. Cummings also serves as a project adviser for Nashville’s Frontiers in Urban Science Education (FUSE) initiative. She is a graduate of the Nashville Emerging Leaders class of 2016, serves on the board of Senior Ride Nashville, is a Tennessee Afterschool Network steering committee member and serves as the communications chair of the McGavock Cluster Coalition.


Allison Buzard

Allison Buzard, family engagement university manager for Metro Nashville Public Schools, pioneers, designs and manages professional development trainings for teachers and administrators around the topics of welcoming schools, family engagement, equity and diversity, and community involvement. As a social worker, she has spent her career working with various community systems: juvenile probation, mental health, foster care and public schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Asbury University in social work and a Master of Social Work degree from Saint Louis University, is a member of the TN Equity Coalition and is a social work practicum student supervisor at Belmont University.


Financial Services
Ellen Green Hoffman

Ellen Green Hoffman, a vice president of First Tennessee Bank, uses her experience as a certified financial planner (CFP) to provide personalized financial advice to clients with a focus on investments, retirement planning, insurance, charitable giving, education savings and estate planning. She is on the board of The Women’s Fund and served as the co-chair for their 2017 Power of the Purse event. She also serves on the board of the Young Leaders Council, and in 2016, she launched a young professionals’ board for The Next Door called The Next Generation of The Next Door where she is the founding chair. She volunteers for Preston Taylor Ministries’ Lunchmate Mentor program and was named a “Top 30 Under 30” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 2014.


Government and Public Affairs
Jennifer Drake-Croft

Jennifer Drake-Croft is the director of Early Childhood Well-Being with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, which allows her to follow her personal and professional goals of nurturing and protecting children within the community. She is a co-founder of All Children Excel (ACE) Nashville and is a member of many organizations in the Nashville community including the Council on Children’s Mental Health and the YWCA Project Implementation Board. Drake-Croft has been involved in leading and shaping macro-level initiatives to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and promote child health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work and has expertise in child development, child trauma and child abuse prevention. 


Hospitality and Tourism
Rachel Layton

As the marketing director for A. Marshall Family Foods, Rachel Layton has driven a philanthropic marketing strategy by creating campaigns like “Mission H20” which raised over 20,000 water bottles for the Nashville Rescue Mission. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and a Master of Business Administration from Belmont University. She is the recipient of the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association’s Stars of the Industry Award and was recently recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a 2017 Women of Influence winner. Layton is an alumna of the Young Leaders Council and is active on many boards including Williamson Inc. Young Professionals, Second Harvest Food Bank and High Hopes Development Center.


Human Resources
Erin Duclos

As the associate vice president of human resources for Aramark Global Business Services, Erin Duclos leads a team of over 100 human resource professionals and is responsible for local talent acquisition, learning and development and general human resource support. Duclos drives the development, integration and execution of enterprise-wide people processes. She leads Aramark’s volunteer efforts in Nashville through their partnership with the Martha O’Bryan Center, and she spends personal time volunteering with the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen foundation. 


Legal Services
Sarah Hannah

A graduate of Belmont University and Vanderbilt University Law School, Sarah Hannah is a partner and attorney at Bradley. She provides a full range of transactional and strategic support to her clients and was named to Super Lawyers’ 2016 “Mid-South Rising Star” list. She was also recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” award winner in 2014. On top of many professional memberships, Hannah is the founder and past-president of the Nashville Symphony Crescendo Club and has been the chair of YP Nashville since 2015. She is a board member for the Sexual Assault Center, a member of the Nashville Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and an alumna of the Young Leaders Council.


Medical and Health Care Services
Andrei Javier

Dr. Andrei Javier, who has an extensive clinical research background in cardiothoracic surgery and nephrology, is a physician and medical researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she conducts clinical research in chronic kidney disease. Dr. Javier attended Yale University and Meharry Medical College and studied healthcare policy in Denmark and Italy. She also spent time in Washington D.C. working in health policy as an advisor to the Senate Finance Committee and to the California State Legislature. She is on the Speaker’s Bureau of the American Heart Association, develops community partnerships for the American Red Cross, is a member of the Friends of the Food Bank and volunteers with Room in the Inn.


Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing
Julia Bonner

Julia Bonner is the founder and president of Pierce Public Relations, a national public relations agency that helps clients accomplish business goals through strategic public relations programs. She’s currently on the board of FiftyForward and co-chairs the organization’s communications committee. Bonner also serves on the young professionals’ boards of Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee and the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. She is a recipient of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2017 “40 Under 40” award, and she was named to Nashville’s “Top 30 Under 30” list by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Bonner holds a Master of Science in public relations and corporate communication from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Tennessee. 


Real Estate Services
Josh Anderson

A Nashville native, Josh Anderson graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in international trade and finance. He served eight years in the U.S. Army, which included a ten-month stint in Bagram, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom before launching his own company, The Anderson Group Real Estate Services, where he remains the owner and chief executive officer. Anderson is a former board member of the Young Leaders Council, the Phoenix Club of Nashville and the Nashville Junior Chamber. In 2015, he founded a nonprofit called RE: Home, which assists those who are met with unexpected circumstances concerning their home ownership, and he is a graduate of the Leadership Nashville program.


Megan Long

Recently promoted to director of business operations at Concept Technology Inc., Megan Long manages recruiting, administration, benefits, human relations and more. She is a graduate of Belmont University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and entrepreneurship and a Masters of Accountancy and is a certified public accountant. She serves as a professional mentor through Rock the Street, Wall Street, was the chair of the Master of Accountancy Program for the Belmont University Massey Business School Alumni Advisory board of directors, and founded “Concept Community” to provide volunteer opportunities for Concept Technology, Inc. team members. In her free time, Megan is passionate about helping women achieve their health and fitness goals, providing online guidance and coaching.