Young American Leaders Nashville

Preparing emerging leaders to build shared prosperity and economic growth in collaboration with Harvard Business School.


Global Action Platform works with Harvard Business School to prepare new regional economic leaders through the Young American Leaders Program--Nashville. The program grows out of a deep concern and hope concerning U.S. competitiveness. The concern is that the local, shared resources which drive American prosperity are not keeping pace with global standards. As a result, an unsustainable divergence has gripped the U.S. economy: working- and middle-class Americans who rely on such shared resources are struggling, even as firms and individuals who can tap global opportunities are thriving. Prosperity is being generated but not shared.


The Young American Leaders Program model is designed to help local leaders in urban areas create locally-based solutions for shared prosperity.  The Program aims to develop leaders who understand cross-sector collaborations for shared prosperity and, as a result, can implement such collaborations more effectively and spread them more rapidly than in the past.  Over time, the Program aims to develop a cadre of leaders across the US who are able and eager to work across traditional boundaries to help their communities thrive.   Leaders remain connected to each other, to HBS and Global Action Platform, and to future cohorts. In Nashville, engagement with the region's ten major research universities and regional economic programs of Global Action Platform keep local YALP leaders connected and engaged in solutions for Middle Tennessee.


Ten-person teams from Nashville and thirteen other selected cities attend three intense days at the Harvard Business School learning about cross-sector collaborations and shared prosperity– best and worst practices from across the country and around the globe. Through case-method discussions and drawing on the experiences of the young leaders themselves, HBS faculty bring out 

• insight into where America and American cities stand today;

• examples of innovative cross-sector collaborations that improve cities’ standing; and 

• personal lessons about collaborative leadership.

 After the experience on campus, each city team will be encouraged to apply what they have learned to benefit their hometown.

Young American Leaders Program Highlights

Sponsored by
Participating Sponsors:

HCA Healthcare Foundation

Vanderbilt University

Corporate Sponsors:


Ingram Industries

DVL Seigenthaler/Finn Partners

And with support from

Contributions from Alumni and individuals.


2021 Class of Young American Leaders--Nashville

Nashville; Boston (May 4, 2021) Ten government, business, academic, clergy, and nonprofit leaders from Middle Tennessee have been chosen by Global Action Platform for a Harvard Business School leadership program convening representatives from fourteen American cities who are working across sectors to help their communities prosper.


Dr. Scott T. Massey, Chairman and CEO, Global Action Platform, and Mitch Weiss, Co-Director of the Young American Leaders Program and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurial Management, Harvard Business School announced the 2021 Class of Nashville Young American Leaders today at a Leadership Reunion and 2021 class induction. Global Action Platform is the local partner and coordinator of the YoungAmerican Leaders Program for Nashville and the regional affiliate of theInstitute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School.


The ten Nashville leaders selected to participate in the Harvard leadership program this June are


1.      Andrea Blackman, Chief Diversity, Equity, andInclusion Officer, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

2.      Ashlee Davis, Senior Manager—Diversity and Inclusion, AllianceBernstein

3.      Bonnie Dow, Dean of Academic Initiatives,College of Arts and Sciences, Vanderbilt University

4.      Brian Hassett, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Nashville

5.      Mike Molinar, General Manager, Big Machine Music

6.      Joanne Pulles, President, HCA Healthcare Foundation

7.      Tara Scarlett, President, The Scarlett FamilyFoundation

8.      Lissa Smith, Cannon Pastor, Christ Church Cathedral

9.      Michael P. Thompson, Executive Director, JPMorgan

10.  Marcie Allen Van Mol, President and Founder, MACPresents


The Young American Leaders Program grows out of a deep concern and a great hope shared by Global Action Platform and the Harvard Business School’s ongoing project on U.S. competitiveness. The concern is that the local, shared resources which drive American prosperity are not keeping pace with global standards. U.S. workforce skills, schools, and infrastructure, for instance, are not improving fast enough or, in too many cases, are deteriorating. As a result, an unsustainable divergence has gripped the U.S. economy: working- and middle-class Americans are struggling, even as firms and individuals who can tap global opportunities are thriving. Prosperity is being generated but not shared as broadly as desired.  The COVID pandemic has underscored these challenges and reinforced the need for collaboration and inclusive prosperity at the center of the Young American Leaders Program.


Our hope springs from the local level. In cities and regions across the country, we see local policymakers, business people, nonprofit leaders, educators, clergy, and others coming together across sectors to build skills, improve schools, restore infrastructure to build a foundation for economic growth and shared prosperity.


Ten leaders from fourteen cities across the U.S. are selected by senior community leaders in those cities to participate each June in an intensive case study workshop on urban and rural regional collaborations and strategies for economic resilience.  Other participating cities include Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, and Seattle, among others.  The program was launched to develop leaders who understand cross-sector collaborations for shared prosperity and can implement them more effectively and spread them more rapidly than in the past.


“Global Action Platform is committed to advancing local innovation cluster economic growth for shared prosperity,” notes Dr. Massey.  “We are pleased to be the regional affiliate of Porter’s Institute at Harvard and to be working with them on the Young American Leaders Program and other projects.  Through this collaboration, we hope to help enable emerging and established local leaders to work together for the shared growth and prosperity of our region in today’s global economy.”  Linda Peek Schacht, founding Director, Andrews Institute for Leadership, Lipscomb University, is an advisor/facilitator for the Nashville program, which receives ongoing local program support from Global Action Platform.



Nashville leaders who have participated in the Young American Leaders Program in the previous years include (titles based on currently available information from the internet, which may be subject to more recent changes):




Jon Ayers, Executive Vice President, Ayers Asset Management

Landon Gibbs, Managing Partner, Altitude Ventures

Caleb Graves, Director of Business Development, Staffing as a Mission, LLC

Penny Judd, President, PenAvenue Strategies

Stacey Levine, Program Director, Healthy Parks Healthy Person

Shaka Mitchell, Tennessee Director, American Federation for Children

Laura Moore, Deputy Policy Director, Opportunity Insights

Gabe Roberts, Founder and CEO, The Roberts Consulting Group

Melissa Waddey, President, Ambulatory and Operations Group, LifePoint Health (Deceased)

Marcus Whitney, Founding President, Jumpstart Foundry




Agenia Clark, President, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee

Lucia Folk, President and CEO, The Change Agent-cy

Clay Jackson Jr., General Manager, Sonder, Inc (Moved to Texas)

John Lowry, Senior Vice President for Advancement, Lipscomb University

Lonnell Matthews, Davidson County Clerk, Davidson County Juvenile Court

Mendy Mazzo, Corporate Senior Vice President, National Business Development, Skanska

Tim Ozgener, President and CEO, Oz Arts

Renata Soto, Senior Fellow, Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard University; Founder, Mosaic Changemakers

Mario Avila,Director, Turner Center for Social Ventures, Owen Graduate School of Business, Vanderbilt University

Leslee Alexander, Executive Director, Tennessee International Trade Center, Tennessee Small Business Development Center




Jeff Albee, Vice President, Director Digital Solutions, Stantec

Samar Ali, Research Professor of Law and Political Science; Co-Chair, Project on Unity and American Democracy, Vanderbilt University; President and CEO, Millions of Conversations

Kate Chinn, Vice President and Head of Community and Civic Engagement, AllianceBernstein

Lesia Crumpton-Young, Provost, Morgan State University (Moved to Maryland)

Ryan Doyle, General Manager, Cambridge Holdings

Hank Ingram, Business Development Director, Ingram Industries

Joelle Phillips, President, AT&T Tennessee

Jay Turner, Managing Director, Marketstreet Enterprises

Caroline Randall Williams, Writer-in-Residence, Vanderbilt University

D. J. Wootson, Principal, Titus Young




Monica Clayton Fawknotson, Executive Director, Nashville Sports Authority

Dr. Alex Jahangir, Medical Director, Vanderbilt Center for Trauma, Burn, and Emergency Surgery

Peter Thompson, Vice President Wealth Management, Regions Bank

David Hanson, Managing Partner, Hanson Wells Partners

Elizabeth McAlister, Owner, Speak Spanish Nashville

Wendy Thompson, Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness, Tennessee Board of Regents

Henry Hicks, President and CEO, National Museum of African American Music

Karen Thompson, AVP, Regional Community Engagement; AVP, Corporate and Enterprise Initiatives; Chief of Staff to President/COO, HCA Healthcare

Andres Martinez, Director of Policy and Communications, Conexion Americas

Laura Berlind, President, Sycamore Institute




Harry Allen, Chief Relationship Officer, Studio Bank

Joe Flynn, AVP, Community Engagement, HCA Healthcare; President, HCA Hope Foundation

Andrew Goldner, Founding President, GrowthX

Nathan Green, Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations, Vanderbilt University

Tony Niknejad, Policy Director, Office of the Governor

Martha Silva, Senior Director of Economic Integration, Conexion Americas

Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, Managing Partner, Southeast, Finn Partners

Malika Anderson, Chief Program Officer, Instruction Partners

Lisa Purcell, Vice President of Development, Education, and Community Outreach, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Joyce Searcy ,Director of Community Relations, Belmont University


2020 (Suspended due to COVID)


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