Nashville Emerging Leader Awards 2019 Award Recipients

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Architecture, Engineering and Construction
Rachel Gresham

Rachel R Gresham, AIA, WELL AP, CDT is a Project Architect at TMPartners in Nashville, Tenn designing healthcare, government and civic architecture for the firm’s unique and diverse clients. While working towards her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech, she co-founded The Ballet Project at VT earning her induction into the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. She currently serves as an American Institute of Architects of Middle TN (AIA) Board Member and during her tenure served as the Board Liaison for the Emerging Professionals Committee and founded the AIA Women in Architecture Committee working to provide resources for the advancement of its members and Nashville’s built environment. Rachel also serves as a mentor and Team Leader for the ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering) Mentor Program of Nashville, a non-profit program that exposes high school students to careers in the construction industry and provides scholarships for graduates. 

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Arts, Entertainment and Music Business
Jeremy Bradford

In 2006, Jeremy Bradford moved to Nashville and transferred to Belmont University. While at Belmont, Jeremy majored in Business Management, minored in Music Business, assisted student athletes in the strength and conditioning program, assisted the athletic department with various roles and continued his music endeavors. After his undergraduate studies, Jeremy turned his attention to graduate school and earned his MBA from the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business. He currently works with Universal Music Group Nashville after serving five years in the corporate arena. Other honors received include Doing Good’s Nashville Volunteer of the Month. Volunteer involvement includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee and various Nashville Sports Council events. Active memberships include Sister Cities of Nashville and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Music Industry Advisory Group.

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Business Services
Amber Hurdle

Amber Hurdle helps professionals connect the combined value of personal brands, employer brands and business brands to achieve bottom line results. Amber Hurdle Consulting’s clients include large brands such as FedEx Ground, Marriott Hotels, and Stella & Dot, as well as small businesses who want to play big. She serves on the board of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, acted as co-chair of the City of Lebanon's West Side Park Task Force and serves on the board of her local National Speakers Association chapter to name a few volunteer interests. Amber’s straight shooting “velvet machete” and warm personality never fail to motivate professionals to up their game in business and in life.

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Community Service and Nonprofit
Shan Foster

Shan Foster is the Vice President of External Affairs & AMEND Together at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. AMEND Together is an initiative that engages men and boys to end violence against women and girls. Foster graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development in 2008. He is a graduate of the 2018 Leadership Nashville class and serves on the board for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Nashville Sports Council and Martha O’Bryan Center’s Explore Academy. Foster is on the advisory committees for the Joyful Heart Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee and serves on the Vanderbilt University Athletics Committee. He most recently was selected Nashville’s 2019 40 Under 40 award winner and Nashville Emerging Leader Award Finalist. 

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Tisha Brown-Gaines

Dr. Tisha Brown-Gaines is an Assistant Professor at Belmont University in Nashville, TN in the Department of Math and Computer Science. She is a former McNair, Mississippi Space Grant Consortium, LSMAMP-Bridge to the Doctorate, DOE Mickey Leland Energy and Southern Regional Education Broad (SREB) Fellow. Dr. Gaines currently serves as the faculty representative for the NCWIT organization (National Center for Women and Information Technology). In this role she will actively engage with students, faculty and administrators at Belmont to help promote and increase participation of girls and women in computing. This includes providing mentorship to students who are interested in computing and contributing to the NCWIT goals of improving diversity and inclusion in computing. In addition to partnering with Belmont, Gaines will actively engage within the community to provide resources that will assist in changing the local conditions that create barriers to attracting and graduating women in post-secondary computing.

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Financial Services
David Wells

As both a strategist and investor, David works closely with the firm’s high-net worth families and institutions to develop and implement investment programs in order to achieve long-term investment goals. Within the firm, he helps drive the firm’s growth through the development of strategies and systems. A passionate supporter of education reform, David has served on several boards in the charter school world and currently at Nashville Classical Charter School.   

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Government and Public Affairs
Ashley Northington

Ashley Northington is an award-winning marketing communication strategist, social policy leader and entrepreneur. The founder of DENOR Brands + Public Relations, she leverages strategic communications as a tool to battle social inequities through the lenses of high-quality public education and entrepreneurship. As such, she is Chair of Nashville Mayor David Briley’s Minority Business Advisory Council where she helps shape inclusive procurement policies, practices and programs for minority-owned businesses. She is a member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. Ashley earned a Master of Public Administration with dual concentrations in public policy and higher education from Louisiana State University. She is also a proud graduate of Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in women’s studies.

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Hospitality and Tourism
Shannen Stewart

Shannen Stewart is highly motivated and a dynamic individual who is attracted to positivity and committed to excellence. As a Nashville Native, she graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in Mass Communications. She has served on the board for the International Live Events Association as their VP of Membership and on the board of Meeting Professionals International as their Director of Special Projects. Shannen is known in the city as the founder of Heels & Handshakes. This private networking group gives women access to business leads, job opportunities and most importantly connections with other successful women in the event industry. Not only has this group benefited local industry professionals, it has opened doors for women who have relocated to Nashville seeking employment, career advice and friendship. With 2500+ members and growing, Heels & Handshakes has become one of the premier top groups to be a part of and an invaluable resource for its members. 

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Human Resources
Jade Taylor

Jade Taylor, PHR, SHRM-CP, serves as a Senior HR Generalist at Compassus, a nationwide network of community-based hospice, palliative and home health care services. At Compassus she advocates for nearly 4,000 colleagues and collaborates with leaders to achieve greater measures in providing the highest quality care to patients and families. Jade holds a bachelor’s degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. Currently, she leads as the Director of Workforce Readiness overseeing seven University Chapters across Middle Tennessee where she has fostered greater multigenerational connections across the Nashville HR community. Since 2015, she has maintained the Mentor Program at 35 or more pairs, where students have had the opportunity to connect with HR professionals across Nashville and acquire internships, jobs and meaningful relationships.

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Legal Services
Gulam Zade

Gulam Zade is a partner at LOGICFORCE and serves as General Counsel. Mr. Zade’s responsibilities include managing all day to day operations and sales functions at LOGICFORCE. He is an active member of the American Bar Associations as well as the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). He is the President of the Nashville Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He serves on the advisory board for the ACC annual meeting and as Vice-Chair of the National Small Law Department Network as well as a Vice-President of the Tennessee Chapter of the ACC. He is on the board of directors and the President of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute which conducts an advanced two-day CLE seminar on commercial and bankruptcy law. He is the Chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Young Professionals Board. He is also the chair of the Nashville Bar Foundation’s Leadership Forum. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (JD) from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

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Medical and Health Care Services
Drake Dudley

A graduate of Tennessee State University, Dr. Drake Dudley went on to obtain a doctorate degree in dentistry from Meharry Medical College and afterwards completed a general practice residency at Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital Center. He is a co-founder of Project Dream, an organization that provides structure, support and guidance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr. Dudley is currently working at First Impressions Dentistry and has plans to open a new location for private practice, Smiles UP, in Nashville’s Midtown area. He participates in organized dentistry where he currently holds the position of Vice President of the Nashville Dental Association and is working with Metro and Charter schools to implement programs to reduce health care disparities within the community. He is also on the pediatrics committee for the American Dental Association. 

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Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing
Mary Ruth Raphael

Mary Ruth Raphael is a vice president at the largest locally owned public relations agency in the region, MP&F Strategic Communications. She joined MP&F in 2001 and has risen through the ranks to become one of the agency’s most senior managers. She has worked with a variety of clients at the local, regional and national levels. She has been chosen twice by the MP&F staff as the MVP of the year. Mary Ruth is actively involved in the community. She serves as president of the Nashville chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and is on the steering committee for Williamson Inc.’s Women in Business. She is an alumna of Leadership Brentwood and volunteers her time to support Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Best Buddies Tennessee, Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, her church and her children’s elementary school.

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Real Estate Services
Edward Henley III

Edward Henley III, a Nashville native, is Founding Principal & Project Executive of Pillars Development LLC, a land use planning, development and management firm. He has led Pillars Development for the past 6 years and his leadership has enabled the firm to be a part of some of the most iconic and impactful civic projects and planning studies in the region. Edward serves as Board President for Rebuilding Together and sits on the Boards of the Nashville Tree Foundation, Nashville Civic Design Center, South Central Nashville Development Corporation and Walk Bike Nashville. He also represents Nashville on a national level as a full member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and sits on the Public Development and Infrastructure Council of ULI Americas.

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Brooke Scott

Brooke Kimbro-Scott is a solutions-oriented and versatile technical professional possessing over years of experience that includes project management, Six Sigma methodologies and cross-functional team leadership. Brooke has been successful in bridging technology and business goals to provide productive solutions that meet customer needs and build effective client relationships and rapidly adapt to emerging technologies. As a Digital Technology Manager, Brooke is responsible for leading the global implementation of Caterpillar Financials’ digital sales and eBusiness vision and strategy through identified projects, as well as provide solutions and support for Caterpillar customers, dealers and employees. Brooke earned her bachelor’s degree in business information systems from Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in leadership from Lipscomb University.