2018 Leadership Conference Sessions

BREAKOUT SESSION ONE | 9:50 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.


Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation John Lacey, The University of Tennessee

Efficiency and status-quo lead us down a predictable path — with predictable results. And sometimes, that’s good! But when you want to create and deliver a new service or opportunity for your clients or organization — not so much. That’s when you need the innovation process. The innovation process helps you forge a bolder path by combining human-centered design with the scientific method to solve complex problems and invent solutions that meet the needs of your clients and stakeholders. John Lacey will take you through a 10,000 foot view of the innovation process and how it might apply to your work.

Managing the Executive Transition Lee Freeman, Sertoma Center; Julia Bentley, Vera Bradley and YWCA; and Jacqui Pearl, Koinonia Foundation

Change at the executive level — whether planned or abrupt — requires the organization and its board to provide strong leadership and direction as it contemplates what the organization needs from its next leader. Learn from local community leaders about their experience with recent executive transitions from staff and board perspectives.

Putting Data to Work in the Service of Collaboration, Management, and Transformation Dr. David Patterson and Lisa Higginbotham, UT College of Social Work

This session will highlight the development and deployment of the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (KnoxHMIS), a secure, online database of demographic and service delivery information of individuals experiencing homelessness. This session will explore how KnoxHMIS has been used with partner agencies to increase conversations and collaboration towards addressing homelessness, and how you can utilize data to better manage programs, build partnerships, and promote transformative transparency. 

BREAKOUT SESSION TWO | 11:10 A.M. – 12:20 P.M.


Historic Homes Collaborative: A Case Study Liza Zenni, Arts and Culture Alliance

The Historic Homes of Knoxville is a local partnership between seven historic homes. With the help of the Arts and Culture Alliance, the homes collaborate in marketing and funding efforts. Join us as we hear lesson learned in collective engagement efforts from our community. 

Community Engagement Matters Paul Schmitz, Collective Impact Forum

Community engagement is about ensuring that those most impacted by social challenges have a say in designing and implementing solutions. The participation of intended beneficiaries and their families, neighbors, and trusted leaders should be an integral part of data-driven processes to achieve better results. A shift in power where community members own and help produce the result will lead to greater impact. In this session, Paul Schmitz will share lessons from Public Allies, The Asset-Based Community Development Institute, and from collective impact efforts he has visited and advised. His talk builds on the recent article he co-authored with Melody Barnes, Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever) in The Stanford Social Innovation Review (the most read and shared article of 2016), and the recent Community Engagement Toolkit he built to help groups create rigorous, comprehensive engagement plans.

How Do We Create Community Change? John Tolsma, Knowledge Launch and Connect Knox

Examine the steps for instituting community change through the Connect Knox priority-setting process. Using this template, you’ll look at the benefits of an inclusive decision-making committee and some of the learnings from Connect Knox’s first year.



Engaging Churches in Your Mission Grant Standefer, Compassion Coalition

Cultivating support through a meaningful relationship with local churches will help you mobilize new donors, volunteers, and advocates for your cause. The effort to maintain positive and productive connections can take an investment of time and careful strategy. Attend this session to discuss some stewardship tactics that will be mutually beneficial for your organization and your stakeholders.

Creating Meaningful Partnerships Rhoni Basden, Girls Inc. of the TN Valley

No one leads alone, and no one ever has. Partnerships are more than just collaboration or team-building; they are connecting with people to build community in and around a shared goal. Attend this session to learn how Girls Inc. builds and maintains strong interdependent relationships that advance the organization’s vision.

Making Nice and Making Money: Finding Success in Collaborative Fundraising Freddi Birdwell, CFRE and Kim Lauth, CFRE from the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Just like a marriage, collaborative fundraising can be wildly successful as long as all parties enter the contract with their eyes open and their mutual goals understood. Using real-world examples, presenters Kim Lauth and Freddi Birdwell will share strategies and ideas for what works and what to avoid when joining forces for the common good.

GENERAL SESSION ONE | 12:40 P.M. – 1:45 P.M.


Heartache to Healing: Reflecting on Collaboration with the Gatlinburg Fires Walter Crouch, Appalachia Service Project; Jim Fetzer, East Tennessee VOAD; Frank Rothermel, Denark Construction and Volunteer East Tennessee (Moderator); Jerry Wear, Rotary; Ellen Wilhoit, Leadership Sevier

Nearly two years after the tragic Gatlinburg fires, the community is still healing. In this session, our panelists will reflect on how the nonprofit community took the lead in serving the people in crisis. Representatives from five organizations will share their experience of how collaboration, communication, leadership, and volunteerism prevailed across multiple entities to maximize their impact.

GENERAL SESSION TWO | 3:15 P.M. – 4:15 P.M.


A Guide to Dangerous Listening: Highlander’s Methodologies for Social Change Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele, Highlander Research and Education Center

Since 1932, Highlander’s educational methods have prioritized the importance of listening carefully to those most affected by injustice. Highlander’s methods are grounded in the belief that those most impacted by a problem are the ones who should lead efforts to solve the problem. Central to this task is deep, dangerous listening. This interactive presentation will introduce you to Highlander’s educational work and philosophy.