Alumni Spotlight (Dr. Kyla Stripling and The Well Coffeehouse)

Alumni Spotlight (Dr. Kyla Stripling and The Well Coffeehouse)

Dr. Kyla Stripling Dr. Kyla Stripling, Ed.D., is the Senior Director of Strategy and Transformation for Amsurg and a graduate of the YLC 2023 Junior League of Nashville Cohort. Kyla is currently serving her YLC board internship with The Well Coffeehouse, an organization committed to Turning Coffee Into Water and focused on finding sustainable solutions to poverty. The Well Coffeehouse turns profits into hope by using its revenue to make a difference in local and global communities.

We recently caught up with Kyla, who also serves as a board member for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council, to learn more about her experience as a board internship work for The Well Coffeehouse and how it differs from the work of the for-profit board she supports.

In what ways has your YLC training helped prepare you for success as a nonprofit board member?

YLC helped hone my leadership abilities, deepen my understanding of nonprofit operations, and enhanced my community engagement skills. Through YLC, I learned valuable project and volunteer management techniques and how to foster effective teamwork and collaboration. The training emphasized adaptability, problem-solving, and reinforced a strong commitment to ethics and social responsibility as a board member. These skills are critical for navigating the challenges of nonprofit governance and help to ensure that I effectively contribute meaningfully to the organization’s mission.

You also serve as a for-profit board member for the DEI Advisory Council. How has that experience been different or similar to your experience as a nonprofit board member for The Well Coffeehouse?

Serving on a mission-driven nonprofit board differs from a for-profit company’s DEI board mainly in focus and objectives. Nonprofit boards are dedicated to advancing specific social, environmental, or humanitarian goals, measuring success by their impact and community service. In contrast, DEI boards within for-profit entities balance promoting inclusivity and equity with achieving business goals, aiming to enhance performance through diversity. Thus, the nonprofit board experience centers on mission fulfillment, while DEI board service intertwines social justice with business outcomes.

How can other YLC alumni support the mission of The Well Coffeehouse?

I encourage YLC alumni to support The Well Coffeehouse by following the organization through social media, patronizing one of its five Nashville area locations, shopping in the online store, or donating to support an upcoming water project.

Alumni Spotlight: Madison Ayers

Alumni Spotlight: Madison Ayers

Over the years, YLC has facilitated training for more than 3,000 individuals, many of whom continue to serve and support our local nonprofit community as board leaders. As participants graduate from the program, many of them transition into a one-year board internship, where they can put their newfound knowledge and skills to use and immediately make an impact in the community.

We recently received an inspiring note from Sarah Lingo, Executive Director for Sister Cities, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation by connecting individuals in Nashville to other people around the world. Sarah shared her experience with one of YLC’s recent alumni, Madison Ayers, a YLC Nashville Class 78 graduate who completed her one-year board internship with the organization. Please see Sarah’s note below.

“Madison has become an important part of our board and our organization. She has participated in many events including helping us prepare for our largest fundraising gala, donating homemade macarons for the event, donating a personal yoga instruction class for our silent auction, and regularly participates in all things we do.  In May, she accompanied an official delegation visit to Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq as we explored a possible new sister city relationship between Erbil and Nashville.  This was a huge endeavor and one where Madison, as our youngest delegation member, showed an incredible amount of professionalism, cultural competency, and leadership. Madison has consistently shown an effort to reach out to our Kurdish brothers and sisters here in Nashville as well as forge connections with those living in Erbil.  I am continuously impressed with her and have come to lean on her as a vital member of our organization, as well as a friend. Though she technically could not vote on the Erbil relationship, she was a strong voice of recommendation for our board to look to when making this major decision.  Her participation in this delegation visit was, in simple terms, a really big deal.” 

Sister Cities plans to offer Madison the opportunity to become a full board member this fall and expressed sincere gratitude for the work she has done to support the organization over the past year. YLC is truly proud of Madison and her commitment to advancing the mission and global work of Sister Cities.

We love to hear from our alumni and community partners! If you would like to share your stories with YLC, please email Rachel Reyes at

Alumni Spotlight: Nikki Walker, Executive Director of the East Nashville Hope Exchange

Alumni Spotlight: Nikki Walker, Executive Director of the East Nashville Hope Exchange

Nikki Walker photoNikki Walker is a graduate of YLC’s Nashville Class 77 and currently serves as the Executive Director for East Nashville Hope Exchange (ENHE), an organization focused on strengthening children’s literacy through the exchange of knowledge and support among families and the Nashville community to affirm the right to read for all. YLC recently caught up with Nikki to learn more about her work and how she’s using her professional passion to make a difference in the East Nashville area.

Please tell us a little about your work with the East Nashville Hope Exchange. How did you get involved with the organization and how does the mission align with your own personal values?

In my role as Executive Director for East Nashville Hope Exchange, I am responsible for the planning, management, and direction of the organization’s operations and programs. ENHE provides programming designed to close the educational “achievement gap” between children from poorer and more affluent families. This gap has increased due to learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth literacy rates in the U.S. are at the lowest level in thirty years and are even worse among low-income families and especially for black and brown students.

I started working with ENHE in 2017 as a summer volunteer coordinator and, after transitioning to a new role with a different company, continued to stay engaged with the organization as a program volunteer before joining the Board. The work that I’m able to do through ENHE fuels me each day to ensure that all children have access to a good education, and I will continue advocating until access is no longer a barrier.

How did your YLC training prepare you to effectively serve as a leader in the nonprofit community?  Are there elements of the program that have been particularly useful for you in your current role?

YLC provided me with a better perspective of how nonprofit boards work, and how the collective impact of the work affects the organization’s goals and outcomes. Before going through the program, I didn’t truly understand how all of that came together. Now in my current role, the most useful things learned were centered around board responsibilities, understanding the financials, and fundraising. I have learned that these are the most important things to know when leading and driving success for the organization. Gaining knowledge from YLC’s experts in these areas, really prepared me for what I am doing now.

What advice would you share with others looking to elevate their community impact by serving on a nonprofit board or becoming an executive leader for a nonprofit organization?

I would tell them to make sure that the work of the organization aligns with your passion. Truly take the time to learn about the organization, ask meaningful questions, and, if you can, go see the work in action. That will really help you decide whether that is in fact the area in which you want to serve. For those looking to become nonprofit executive leaders, it’s important to invest your time in learning the operational structure of the organization you desire to lead.

For more information on East Nashville Hope Exchange, please visit or reach out to Nikki directly at

YLC Welcomes Fall 2022 Cohorts

Young Leaders Council is thrilled to welcome 79 diverse professionals for the fall 2022 training program. This dynamic group of individuals represent a broad range of business, nonprofit, education, and philanthropic organizations. This semester, training is facilitated through the Nashville Class 79 and Williamson County cohorts. For a total of 11 weeks, participants will convene weekly to expand their knowledge of topics such as nonprofit financials, legal responsibilities of a board, and effective meetings and communications to name a few.

YLC’s fall training began on September 7 with an Opening Session sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and hosted at the company’s beautiful Brentwood, Tennessee location. Derek Young, President and CEO of Young Motivation Group provided a keynote address to inspire and motivate the fall participants as they begin this important journey and develop the skills and knowledge to become successful nonprofit board leaders. 

Williamson Class 2022 | Photos by Roland’s Photography

YLC is grateful for the generous contribution from Tractor Supply Company and for the support from our Annual Presenting Sponsors, Asurion and AmazonTo view a full listing of the 2022 fall participants, please click on links to the respective cohorts below:

 Applications for the spring 2023 program will open on October 15 and will close on February 1. Early application is encouraged. For more information on the YLC program, please visit our website.

Kim James & friends at Tractor Supply | Photos by Roland’s Photography
Derek Young | Photos by Roland’s Photography

Summer Alumni Spotlight

“Through YLC, I gained friendships, wisdom, and confidence to enter into the non-profit space with a foundational knowledge of how nonprofit boards actually work. It was great to have a new instructor provide training on a variety of content each week. I believe that anyone interested in serving a higher purpose and giving back in a meaningful way should check out the YLC program. Serving on a nonprofit board can seem overwhelming, but with training from YLC, I gained a lot of clarity on just what to expect and how to be great as I begin my new journey as a nonprofit board member.”

Shane Lantigua
Financial Advisor
Northwestern Mutual


Lantigua Shane
Lantigua Shane

“I loved engaging with my cohort members! YLC’s training program provides an incredible opportunity to get to know other young professionals who are just as serious about their career and giving back as I am. It was so refreshing to connect with other business professionals and identify opportunities to support each other. Since completing the program only a few months ago, I’ve already had the opportunity to do business with two members of my cohort! Through the YLC program, I gained useful soft and hard skills that I continue to use in the workplace and in other professional settings.”

Bradley Montesi
Owner / Content Producer
Unsportsmanlike Content

Lux QueenieYLC helped me gain a newfound energy that I didn’t realize I was missing. The passion from each instructor solidified just why I joined YLC in the first place – to give back to the communities around me and to better support those in need. I learned how to leverage my current skills and relationships to help support the community and nonprofit organizations that are working to make them better.

The internship placement portion of the program has also been very beneficial for me. As a YLC board intern, I am able to engage with other board members to listen and learn how they make decisions that ultimately impact the organization overall. Another benefit from participating in YLC is learning about other non-profits that I didn’t know existed! I am so grateful for the relationships I have built with my fellow cohort members and for my newfound energy to help make an impact in my community.

Queenie Lux
Manager, Clinical Informatics Operations

HCA Healthcare

Joslyn McGaughy

“I moved to the Nashville area in early 2020 and, due to the pandemic, was not able to fully connect with other professionals or with my new community, as I had hoped.  YLC provided me with the opportunity to learn more about Nashville and meet other young professionals who share a vested interest in serving the community.  I had no idea what to truly expect from YLC, but every session was amazing and helped prepare me to successfully serve on a nonprofit board.  YLC provided me with a skill set and knowledge of the nonprofit sector that I otherwise would not have been afforded while also building connections so that I can have a seat at the leadership table. I was also able to develop a strong knowledge base and build a foundation to better support the nonprofit organization I am working to establish. YLC is truly life and career changing. I would encourage anyone trying to gain a greater sense of purpose through non-profit work, to consider YLC.

Joslyn McGaughy
Owner / Area Developer
i9 Sports Nashville North


I enjoyed YLC’s “MBA-style” learning environment where a group of professionals from various backgrounds come together to learn how to collaborate and give back to the community. Not only did I gain valuable knowledge and experience to support my desire to serve as a board leader in the nonprofit community, I also made connections with the other members of my cohort and learned more about the wonderful work happening at local organizations. YLC is the perfect segue for young professionals trying to find their way into the Nashville nonprofit leadership space. The long-term benefits of YLC begin in the classroom and continue with your ability to give back and make an impact for the community.

Ben Maslyn, CFA
Investment Manager
Truist Wealth


Lantigua Shane
chris smith

I enjoyed meeting and networking with all of my YLC cohort members. It was inspiring to see so many remarkable people who are looking to have a positive impact within the greater Nashville area. The instructors were engaging and insightful. They are also bonafide stars within the community who made the material come to life with interactive activities and real-life examples.

Besides a greater understanding of how nonprofit boards function and the overall impact these organizations have had on Middle Tennessee, I gained a sense of community. It became abundantly clear that the YLC network of alumni and friends is vast. From many of the instructors being alumni to the hundreds of fellow participants in the spring cohorts, the amount of reach that YLC has within our community is astounding. As a new graduate, I am beyond humbled to be a small part of this network of leaders.

Chris Smith
Sr. Manager, Marketing Analytics


Spotlight on Spring 2022 Graduates

Spotlight on Spring 2022 Graduates

Mallory Yoder – Nashville Class 78
Lead Manager, Business Engagement Strategies
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

I loved the opportunity to meet new people in different industries through the YLC program. I also enjoyed learning more about the nonprofit organizations that are helping make a difference in the communities we call home! 

YLC taught me the important leadership role board members serve for nonprofit organizations – and more importantly how board members can lead with passion and servant hearts to selflessly support organizations and communities. The program is so engaging and inspiring, and everything I learned through YLC can also be applied in your professional capacity.

Jackson Zeitlin – Belmont-Massey / Nashville Class 78
Affiliate Broker
Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty

Through the YLC program, I gained a foundational knowledge of how I can apply my skills and expertise to organizations in a way that will truly benefit them and support their mission. I now feel that I can provide professional value and leadership support beyond the basics of volunteering

I also really enjoyed interacting with such a broad spectrum of young professionals who were interested in giving back to the Nashville nonprofit community. As a community that affords us so many opportunities, it was a great reminder that there are plenty of people that desire to go the extra mile for the causes they care about. Everything I learned in the YLC program has value that extends into other facets of my life.

Brittainy Hall – Nashville Class 78
Senior Consultant
Kotter Inc.

There were many aspects of the YLC program that I enjoyed, but the one thing that stood out the most was the opportunity to engage and learn from a diverse group of thought leaders. Every week I left feeling inspired and more knowledgeable than I did before I started the session. There aren’t many leadership development programs where you have the opportunity to learn from such a unique group of subject matter experts and community leaders.

I also gained a new level of confidence and a growing network of support through YLC. I started the program knowing virtually nothing about what it meant or what it took to be an impactful nonprofit board member. Over the years, I have continuously searched for a way to give back to the community that also helped me develop professionally, and YLC helped me achieve that goal. The wisdom, knowledge, and relationships that I have been able to cultivate during my YLC journey have been unmatched. I am super grateful that I took my dear friend’s advice and applied. This experience, I believe, has changed the trajectory of my career and life for the better. 

Joseph Underwood Nashville Class 78
Senior Supply Chain Analyst
Tractor Supply Company

The time spent learning and hearing from the other participants of the cohort was easily the most enjoyable part of the program. Listening to the ideas that they have and understanding their backgrounds on how they came to think or feel that way gave me new perspectives on a variety of topics. I would encourage anyone going through the program to come in with an open mind and the desire to learn not just from the great teachers, but also from your fellow cohort members.

I think the investment in training for the program is indispensable. Our cohort was able to learn from industry and non-profit leaders with years of experience. The ability to hear from them and leverage their experience as well as collaborate with my classmates about their own experiences gave me a wealth of knowledge about the nonprofit space and the responsibility that their board members carry. I would recommend this program to anyone who is wanting to not only learn and develop but more importantly wanting to give back to their communities now and moving forward. You are able to build relationships with the other members of the cohort, spend time learning from so many industry titans, and make a difference in the community you live in. The commitment of time and resources will pay off exponentially.