ABN Member Spotlight: Girl Talk Board Chair Jackie Clay

For Jackie Clay, serving the community is an act of gratitude.

“Volunteering is a very important part of my life.  It’s how I say ‘thank you’ to Knoxville for being so good to me.  I’ve met the most amazing people through volunteering, and I love spending time with folks who have similar values.”

Four years ago, Jackie met two people who shared her passion for empowering girls. Denetria Moore, Executive Director of Girl Talk, Inc. and the board chair at the time, Ronni Chandler approached Jackie about serving on the board.

“I was hooked once I heard the mission and Denetria’s testimony,” said Jackie.

The mission of Girl Talk: “To help girls, ages 9-18, build confidence and self-esteem, develop and achieve their goals, and become strong women who transform their communities.  Our vision is to see girls reach their full potential in life, overcoming any obstacle that may stand in their way.”

In addition to serving as board chair of Girl Talk, Jackie is the vice chair of the Knox County Democratic Party, secretary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission, nominating chair for Home Source East Tennessee, vice president of the Freedman Mission Historic Cemetery Committee, and as a member of the Five Points Up Health Equity Work Group.

She said before committing to a nonprofit, “be sure you are passionate about the mission of the organization, because the work will get tough at times.  If you love the organization and what it stands for, you’ll stick with it.”

Her advice to anyone serving on a board is to be open to learning something new.  “Learn as much as you possibly can about what makes nonprofit boards and organizations better, stronger. There is so much information out there.  The training offered through ABN is amazing. The classes will help you build your knowledge-base so when the opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to lead as board chair.”

Jackie was recently appointed by Mayor Madeline Rogero to manage the City of Knoxville’s Save Our Sons Program.  Clay will build a broad community coalition to develop strategies for reducing crime and creating opportunities for boys and young men of color.  Clay has been a community organizer and an instructor at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.  She holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in social work with concentrations in management, leadership and community practice.

She encourages young professionals to engage in local government by serving on a board, commission or committee. Find information about opportunities at the City of Knoxville and how to apply for candidacy HERE.