Hendersonville-based Leadership Middle Tennessee connects leaders across the region


Hendersonville-based Leadership Middle Tennessee raised over $ 21,800 through this year’s Big Payback, outperforming any Sumner County-based nonprofit.

Each year, the organization trains a class of members who travel through 10 counties to examine issues such as workforce development, transportation and education from a regional perspective. Members of the group come from a wide range of careers.

“Leadership Middle Tennessee is a passport to mingling with influential people in the region,” said Lee Rucks, president of Leadership Middle Tennessee. “This unique 11-month trip provides each class member with ideas, experiences, relationships and memories that simply cannot be achieved otherwise.”

Approximately 35 to 40 candidates are selected each year for the Middle Tennessee Leadership class. These group members start with a retreat in August, then typically spend a day and a half a month in one of the planned counties.

Sessions include guided tours, activities, and group discussions with experts on county-specific topics.

“Nashville may be the catalyst, but all 10 counties in our area are growing,” said Brigadier General and current board member Kurt Winstead.

The program begins with a retreat August 26-27 at the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center in Antioch. Visits include:

  • Montgomery County, September 15-16. Theme – Fort Campbell and military impact on middle Tennessee; includes visit to the US Army base at Fort Campbell, Ky.
  • Robertson County, October 20-21: Theme – Agriculture.
  • County of Rutherford, November 17-18: Theme – Globalization.
  • Williamson County, December 8-9: Theme – Education and Workforce Development.
  • Davidson County, January 19-20. Theme – Government, public policies and Music City brand.
  • Dickson County, February 16-17: Topic – Health and Healthcare.
  • Wilson County, March 16-17. Theme – Transport.
  • Maury County, April 6-7. Theme – Environmental and historical preservation.
  • Sumner County, May 4-5 – Tourism and sports.
  • Cheatham County, June 1-2, 2022 – Recreation and natural preservation.

Former United States Representative Diane Black, Cumberland University President Paul Stumb, Adjutant General of Tennessee, Major General Jeff Holmes, and Criminal Appeal Court Judge Jill Ayers are among the alumni of Leadership Middle Tennessee.

“The big issues facing our region are too complex for any organization or government entity to solve on their own,” said Deputy Director and former Greater Nashville Area Council Michelle Lacewell.

“(Leadership Middle Tennessee) provides a space for leaders from diverse backgrounds, with different values ​​and priorities, to better understand these issues and build relationships between those who can promote change to solve these issues together. “

COVID-19 has suspended monthly visits for the 2020 class and has not allowed 2021 class, Rucks said. The 2020 Class of 40 graduated on June 15 at the Adventure Science Center.

Leadership Middle Tennessee was formed in 2000 and was headquartered for 15 years at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro before moving to Cumberland University in Lebanon for two years.

The 2020 Leadership Middle Tennessee class.

Leadership Middle Tennessee moved to Hendersonville on Bluegrass Commons Boulevard in 2018. Its leaders preferred to stay outside of Davidson County as a regional organization and distance themselves from Leadership Nashville, Rucks said.

Founder and alum Jack Turner has donated a $ 5,000 game to The Big Payback for several years, which is included in the total amount raised.

Other activities, which this year were based on virtual events, helped increase engagement and spark additional donations from former class members, Rucks said. The Wednesday Watch Campaign is a contest between classes to donate the most money from March 3 to June 30.

Money raised through The Big Payback will go to Leadership Middle Tennessee’s operating budget. The money specifically donated by Turner is dedicated to relations with the elders.

Typically, each county funds activities for the monthly Leadership Middle Tennessee tours. The members of the group are responsible for the stay at the hotel.

Contact Andy Humbles at [email protected] or 615-726-5939 and on Twitter @ AndyHumbles.

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