Young Leaders Council Announces Spring 2021 Participants

Young Leaders Council Announces Spring 2021 Participants

More than 90 diverse, young professionals participate in YLC’s Spring Nashville, Junior League, and Belmont Massey Cohorts

Young Leaders Council (YLC) is proud to announce the Spring 2021 participants in the Nashville Class 76, Junior League of Nashville, and Belmont University – Massey Graduate School of Business Cohorts.  A combined 92 young professionals from diverse backgrounds are represented in the program this spring, which kicked-off officially in mid-March with a celebratory opening session and inspirational keynote address from YLC alumnus and President/CEO of Young Motivation Group Derek Young.

A full listing of the 2021 spring roster is available below.

YLC’s mission is to train diverse, committed individuals to effectively participate on the boards of nonprofit organizations and make a difference in the community by replenishing the Nashville volunteer leadership base.  Each year, YLC hosts five cohorts consisting of a series of eleven interactive training sessions specifically designed to address fundamental board skills and prepare participants to be successful nonprofit board leaders.  Training is facilitated by industry experts and reflect on success indicators deemed crucial for today’s nonprofit leadership. Once training concludes, participants connect with a nonprofit organization where they will complete a yearlong internship as a non-voting member of the board. 

“YLC trains the best and brightest young professionals within our community.  Our students transition from the program with an exceptional amount of skill, knowledge, and confidence – empowered to make an impact for our nonprofit community,” said Kim James, Young Leaders Council executive director.  “By focusing on the leadership goals of participants and needs of our nonprofit partners, the program is fully immersive and strategically designed to ensure student success.”     

Over the past 35 years, more than 2,700 students have participated in the YLC program, providing highly-skilled community servants to support hundreds of nonprofit partners in the Nashville and surrounding area.  Kim James, YLC’s Executive Director says “our program is designed to empower young professionals who are aiming to take their community involvement to the next level.  The unique training and professional engagement offered through YLC ensures that each student is exceptionally prepared to make an impact and help address the need for effective volunteer leaders in the nonprofit boardroom.”

About Young Leaders Council Young Leaders Council was founded in 1985 by the Council of Community Services, the HCA Healthcare Foundation, and the United Way.  More than 175 graduates enter the nonprofit community each year from five YLC classes, including two in Davidson County and three in partnership with the Junior League of Nashville, Williamson, Inc. (Chamber), and Belmont University – Jack C. Massey School of Business.  To learn more about YLC, please visit

The Hill We Climb: A Panel Discussion on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Hill We Climb: A Panel Discussion on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Event moderator Joyce Searcy with panelists: Yuri Cunza, Ashlee Davis, Joanne Pulles, and Yanika Smith Bartley

Recently, Young Leaders Council (YLC) hosted The Hill We Climb: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Discussion Panel featuring Joyce Searcy, Founder and Principal of Momentum, LLC and Community Relations Director for Belmont University, as moderator.  Guest panelists included: Joanne Pulles, Vice-President for Community Engagement at HCA Healthcare and President of the HCA Healthcare Foundation; Yanika Smith-Bartley, Vice President and Chief Diversity & Talent Strategy Officer for Asurion; Yuri Cunza, President and CEO of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Ashlee Davis, Vice President and Senior Diversity & Inclusion Manager for AllianceBernstein (AB). If you missed the live panel discussion, you can watch the event recording below.    

Event Attendees engaged in virtual networking on platform, iBreakthrough.

Sponsored by diversity consulting firm, people3, the free virtual event welcomed close to 100 attendees and represented a major step for YLC as the organization seeks to create awareness and support systemic change throughout the Middle Tennessee non-profit community.  The panel discussion was part of YLC’s Impact Series, which provides continuing education enrichment for alumni and community partners. Participants left the event with insight, awareness and actionable steps to help them increase opportunity, equity and engagement of diverse voices throughout non-profit organizations and the community.

When asked why this conversation is important for YLC, panel moderator, Joyce Searcy said “the corporate and nonprofit leaders who participated in this important panel discussion are helping to prepare YLC students and alumni for the hill they must climb as board members within the Nashville community.  My hope is that as board leaders, they dare to ask the necessary questions, challenge the status quo, and create the perfect environment to drive change.”

Watch the instant replay.

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Welcome new Executive Director, Kim James!

Welcome new Executive Director, Kim James!

We are excited to share that we have selected Kim James as our new Executive Director. She brings more than 15 years of experience to the role and has held leadership roles across the nonprofit, corporate, and higher education sectors.

Kim formerly served as the Grant Partnerships Manager at Tennessee SCORE and is a graduate of YLC Class 49. She is a thoughtful, seasoned leader whose vision and energy make her the right leader for the organization as we celebrate our 35th year and look to the future. As a graduate of the program, she is deeply familiar with our mission and knows the impact our work has across the community and beyond.

James has extensive community relations, program management, and communications experience. She is a graduate of Fisk University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in financial economics before obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from Tennessee State University in 2003.

In 2018, James received the Women in Leadership of Central Illinois’ Woman Leader of the Year Award. She is also a 2018 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.

“After conducting an extensive search, we are pleased to welcome Kim as our new executive director,” Joshua Livingston, Young Leaders Council board chair, said in the release. “Kim is a thoughtful, seasoned leader whose vision and energy make her the right leader for our organization. As a graduate of the program, she is deeply familiar with our mission and knows the impact our work has across our community and beyond.”

The board also thanks Robinson Regen, our interim executive director, for her leadership over the past few months as we conducted a thorough search process. Robinson has kept the organization running smoothly, launched our virtual fall classes and been instrumental in preparing for next month’s Leadership Luncheon. She will also help transition Kim into her role over the coming weeks.

Please join us in welcoming Kim and kicking off this exciting new chapter for Young Leaders Council.