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Will Rutherford is 32 years old, a long time Nashville resident, activist, and Warner Park enthusiast.Read More
TALENTS: empowerer, systems thinker
I am currently the CEO at Oasis Center. I have lived in Nashville for 50+ years. Chris, my wife, and I have been married for 40 years. We have 3 married children and 5 grandchildren. I taught in MNPS (32) and Peabody College at Vanderbilt (6) for a combined 38 years before coming to Oasis.
I like woodworking, teaching and being with my grandchildren. The outdoors have always been a great place to hide and renew.
TALENTS: extremely optimistic, fair, pacemaker, conversation starter, motivator, storyteller
Tasneem Grace Tewogbola grew up in Central New York where it was once so cold her eyelashes froze shut.
She first moved to Nashville in 1999 to work as a reporter at the Tennessean. She returned to Nashville in 2012 – after living in Syracuse, NY and Belize, Central America. She is still grateful for the soul and sunshine of the South. Especially, the soul. She loves that during her 10-year absence, Nashville’s international communities have grown in presence and population.
Tasneem – who is a West African-American Muslim — enjoys speaking Spanish, dancing to drums and cooking global cuisine. For her, Casa Azafrán’s touches of African, Latin American and Islamic architecture, feel like home.
Her home life, away from the office, is just as colorful. She and her husband, Zuberi, are parents of five daughters and two cats. When she’s not doing hair or picking out clothes for kids, she likes to garden, crochet, daydream, write and tell African folktales. She also likes to train for half-marathons and run at 5 a.m. before the children wake up.
As the Cultural Engagement and Events Coordinator at Casa Azafrán – an initiative of Conexión Américas – she is responsible for managing space usage for our agency partners and outside groups who rent rooms for meetings, retreats and receptions.
Her biggest joy on the job? Observing folks enter the building and watch their faces absorb the beauty of the place.
“What is this place?” they ask.
For Tasneem, the answer is always simple: “Welcome to Casa Azafrán, our global oasis.”
Tara manages the Social Integration programs for Conexión Américas, programs that create alliances and friendships, answer important questions for immigrants in a new land, and deepen the roots of Latino families in Middle Tennessee.
She also coordinates volunteers and tracks program performance and data for the organization.
Given all she does, it is why we’re glad Tara — who started her career at Conexión Américas with a year-long internship — has such a keen eye for detail, for specifics.
The “super detallista,” as she’s known in the office, is a native of Blowing Rock, N.C. and a graduate of Wake Forest University, where she studied religion and Spanish and volunteered in an after-school program for Hispanic children.
In 2011, Tara received a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. That means she preaches regularly, and in both English and Spanish
TALENTS: adaptability, art, Devil's Advocate, listening, observing details, complex narrative
I am an interior designer, custom draftsperson, and visual artist.
Along with my husband, artist Jairo Prado, I operate Prado Studio in our home/studio, which is open to the public by appointment. Please contact us to schedule a visit or learn more about our personal work, as well as how we work with the local and regional community.
We provide Interior Design services to individuals, businesses, and design professionals. I specialize in residential design and fine art resources including consultation, selection, and installation. I also specialize in hand-drafted architectural drawings for clients and interior design professionals.
TALENTS: vision caster, fact- based decision maker, effective communicator, influence and motivate others
Ron is a nationally recognized leader with a track record of achievement as a leader in business, civic and not-for-profit organizations. He generated long-term growth and profit including industry leading market share growth as Field Vice President for the Southern Region of the Allstate Insurance Company, a $1.6 billion division of the largest publicly traded auto and personal property insurer in America. He understands that consumers expect businesses and their leaders to be partners in building communities. Ron has taken leadership and governance roles in civic, business and community organizations such as The Bank of Nashville, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Leadership Nashville and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee. He has been recognized by state, local and national organizations for personal and professional leadership including Dollars and Sense Magazine, the Public Relations Society of America, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame.
TALENT: A leader's leader, dreamer, connector, very paractical, paragmatic, highly organized, advocate for all things Nashville, passionate, connector, communication
Rebecca Berrios is the Community Engagement Manager for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. With over 16 years of experience as an arts administrator, she has specialized in event-planning, marketing, community relations and program management in the non-profit, higher education and government sectors. Berrios leads various initiatives to expand and support the arts in Nashville including Artober Nashville, the annual city-wide celebration of arts and culture during the month of October. She recently launched THRIVE, a new neighborhood focused funding program designed to encourage artistic development and engage community participation in the arts. In 2014, she was a member of the inaugural Americans for the Arts “Arts Leadership Class,” judged the Southern Word College Slam Finals Competition, served on the Legacy Committee for the Women’s NCAA Final Four, co-led local host efforts for the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention and was a presenter at the first ArtCampNashville. She also serves on the program committee for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville.
In her spare time, Berrios savors the natural beauty and distinct cultural personality that Nashville has to offer through hiking, experiencing our culinary scene, visiting art galleries and museums, and attending live music shows and theatrical performances. She has hula-hooped three half-marathons with Hooping for Hope ™, where she also served as a lead trainer. She is an Advanced Open Water scuba diver with more than a decade of experience and over 125 dives logged. Berrios lives in the Gulch with her husband and 18 year old cat.
I am an educator, and I have worked with students learning English from kindergarten to college age. Currently, I am an English Language teacher working with a diverse and courageous group of students in Metro Nashville School system. In my role, I provide English language services to students as well collaborate with classroom teachers and parents to support students as they transition to a new community. I am also co-project coordinator of Patterson RAPS, a program sponsored by best selling author James Patterson and Vanderbilt. Middle school students in the area come to the Vanderbilt campus on Saturday mornings. The program was designed for students to get excited about reading, to engage with Vanderbilt community, and to express their voices and stories.
In the community, I served on the board of directors for NICE, the Nashville International Center for Empowerment. I have enjoyed coaching and volunteering with the Girls on the Run program. It has been a pleasure to see girls make a commitment to their health and personal well being.
My professional interests include supporting heritage language programs and giving voice to teacher and student stories. I enjoy visiting schools (locally and internationally) to learn how teachers and schools are preparing children to think critically and be future ready. In my personal time, I enjoy checking out coffee shops, hiking, and reading.
TALENT: assessing people's strangths, mentoring, networking, synthesizer
Nancy Dickson is Director of the Humphrey Fellowship Program at Vanderbilt University.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was initiated in 1978 to honor the late Senator and Vice President and his life–long commitment to international cooperation and public service.
The program brings accomplished educational leaders from developing nations and emerging democracies to the United States for an academic year to study, gain related professional experience, build their leadership capacity and foster mutual understanding.
The program provides a basis for lasting ties between US citizens and the Fellows while strengthening the global exchange of knowledge and expertise. Humphrey Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or the private sector.
TALENTS: community builder,risk trainer, strategic thinker, insightful, bold, visionary, collection of talent, change agent
Renata Soto is one of three founders of Conexión Américas, a nonprofit organization based in Nashville and founded in 2002 to promote the social, economic and civic integration of Hispanic families into the Tennessee community.
She served as its first Executive Director from 2002 until June of 2004 when her family relocated to East Tennessee due to her husband’s job. During that time, she continued to work for ConexiónAméricas as Associate Director, telecommuting and traveling to Nashville as often as her family responsibilities allowed. During her time in East Tennessee, Renata also served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. In 2007, Renata and her family returned to Nashville and she resumed her post as Executive Director of Conexión Américas.
Renata is from Costa Rica, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Costa Rica. She also attended Kenyon College, in Ohio, and completed graduate coursework at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, GA.
Renata has lived in the United States since 1993 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. She and her husband, Pete Wooten, have two children, Gabriel and Camila.
The contributions of Conexión Américas were early recognized by the local weekly newspaper Nashville Scene in its 2003 ‘Best of Nashville’ edition: “Conexión Américas, thanks in part to the visionary leadership of executive director Renata Soto, over the past 15 months has become the foremost Hispanic service and advocacy organization in Middle Tennessee, if not the entire state. Prior to founding Conexión Américas, Renata worked for United Way of Metropolitan Nashville formore than five years. Renata managed a grant-making portfolio of almost $1.5 million. In her lastrole at United Way, Renata was director of an initiative to support and expand a network of family resource centers in low-income neighborhoods in Nashville. While at United Way, she produced and co-hosted a call-in radio show targeting recent Latino immigrants in one of Nashville’s Spanish radio stations for almost four years as a volunteer project. She was also one of the lead organizers of the first-ever research project aiming to understand the experience of Latinos in Nashville conducted in 2001 (Encuentro Latino/Latino Encounter).
Renata was recognized in the inaugural “30 Under 30” list of then Nashville POST business magazine in 2001. She was also selected as a “Woman of Influence” by the Nashville Business Journal in 2008. She received the Third Annual Edwina Hefner Community Leadership Award (2009) presented by the Nashville Symphony during its ‘Let Freedom Ring’ concert. This award recognizes leaders whose community work pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2012, Renata was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women of Achievement. Currently she serves on the steering committees of Nashville for All of Us and of the Coalition for Education about Immigration. Renata is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Nashville Symphony. Nationally, she serves as vice chair of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. She was in the Leadership Knoxville 2007 class, in the Leadership Nashville 2008 class and is a member of the 2013 inaugural class of Leadership Tennessee.
Stewart Clifton is an attorney and government relations specialist for Tennessee nonprofits. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Law School. Stewart worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society and as staff attorney and then executive director of the TN Alliance for Legal Services.
He has worked for over three decades for nonprofits concerned with state and local public policy. Current clients include the YW, TN Alliance for Legal Services, Alzheimer’s TN, TN Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, TN Conservation Voters, Center for Nonprofit Management, TN Association for the Education of Young Children and the League of Women Voters of TN.
He is a trustee of the Baptist Healing Trust and a volunteer board member of United Ways of Tennessee. He is a member and past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Government Affairs Committee.
He served from 1987-1999 on the Metro Council and since 2000 has served as a Metro Planning Commissioner. In 1999 he chaired the Purcell for Mayor campaign.
He is married to Louise Clifton, a retired Metro Schools librarian who is now a community volunteer. They have lived in the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood since they married in 1977. They are active members of Glendale Baptist Church, an “Alliance of Baptists” congregation.
Their children are Jeff and Phillip, both of whom live in Nashville.