Transforming Assets into Opportunities

Speaker Bios


Tom Borrup Tom Borrup

A national leader and innovator in creative community building, Tom Borrup works with cities, foundations, nonprofits, and public agencies to tap the potential of their creative assets. His book, The Creative Community Builder's Handbook provides a step-by-step planning guide for community leaders. Borrup will deliver the keynote address for Transforming Assets Into Opportunities: Empowering Communities Through The Arts at Pickwick Landing State Park, Oct. 23-25. Based in Minneapolis, Borrup specializes in strategic planning, community transformation, partnership building, and program evaluation. His work integrates the arts, economic development, urban planning and design, civic engagement, and animation of public space


Allen BellAllen Bell

Allen is the Program Director for Arts Education, Research & Information at South Arts, a nine-state regional arts organization based in Atlanta. His work has included researching and authoring the recent reports Creative Industries in the South and Creative Industries in Four Alabama Metro Areas. He is presently working on a survey of access to quality arts education in public schools in the South.




Barb Gelb Barb Gelb

Barb Gelb is the Arts Education and Outreach Program Director for ArtsMemphis.  Barb holds a BA in Psychology from UCLA and an MSW from USC.  Her three children are active in the arts, helping Barb understand, first hand, the power of the arts to transform lives, create conversations, build bridges and strengthen communities.



Casey Summar Casey Summar

Casey Summar is the Director of the Arts & Business Council’s Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts program which she co-founded in 2006, as well as an adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School, her alma mater. Casey also holds a B.F.A in Photography from Belmont University. 



Cherri Coleman Cherri Coleman

Cherri Coleman is a service-learning specialist.  She has mentored 12 year-old arts entrepreneurs, steered high school talespinners through historic preservation projects and founded a children’s dance company that produced full-length performances of the “Nutcracker” with no adults backstage. Graduates of her programs have gone to Broadway and beyond.


Coral Getino Coral Getino

Dr. Coral Getino is a founding member of HoLa Hora Latina. She is HoLa's Former President and HoLa Festival chair. Professionally, she is a Spanish editor, interpreter and translator who lives in Knoxville since 1990. She conducted a field research project with Rafael Casco, on Latino Folk Arts, sponsored by TAC.




Craige Hoover Craige Hoover

Craige Hoover is the founding Principal of Cultural Arts Solutions, where he has helped clients throughout North America create and implement street activation strategies through cultural arts activities. He is also the founder of the Seaside Repertory Theatre in the resort community of Seaside, FL and a mixed-use development expert.




Dan Bowers Dan Bowers

Dan Bowers has been the President of Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga since November 2007.  He came to Allied Arts after spending five years as President of the Memorial Health Care System Foundation and a 22-year career with United Ways in Gadsden, AL and Chattanooga, where he served six years as Campaign Director and seven as the organization’s President.  Dan holds BA and MA degrees from the University of Alabama.  He and his wife Suzie have been married 32 years and have two grown sons.





Donald Fann

Donald Fann-A Cannon County native who has served as Executive Director at the Arts Center of Cannon County since 1995, Donald has seen the organization grow from a local community theatre with an annual attendance of 3,000 into an award-winning regional Arts Center serving a worldwide audience of over 150,000 through its facility, web sites, publications, and recording projects.Donald currently lives on his family farm outside of Woodbury with his wife, Cortilla and his three daughters, Chloe, Hattie and Corinne.






Donna DeStefano

Donna DeStefano is the Assistant Director of the Tennessee Disability Coalition and Tennessee State Affiliate Network Administrator for the Southeast ADA Center.  She has been lead presenter in ADA trainings and in-state resource to individuals with disabilities, state and local governments, and businesses within Tennessee.





Gretchen McLennon Gretchen McLennon

Gretchen Wollert McLennon joined the Hyde Family Foundations as a program officer in 2007. Her work focuses on managing the arts & culture, civic engagement and neighborhood revitalization portfolios for the Foundations. Not content to solely be financial contributors to the community organizations and institutions they support, Hyde Family Foundations’ senior staff works closely with grantees and provides guidance around such areas as: strategic and long-range planning, capacity building, project management, and development and fundraising activities. Prior to her work with the Hyde family, Gretchen was a major gifts officer for Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) and a donor relations officer for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Named “Top 40 Under 40” in 2009 by Memphis Business Journal, Gretchen is an active member of The Links, Incorporated (Memphis Chapter) and sits on the board of several, including: ArtsMemphis, Ballet Memphis, Facing History and Ourselves, Hattiloo Theatre, Memphis Regional Design Center, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.
 A graduate of Northwestern University (B.A.) and Wake Forest University (M.B.A.), Gretchen is a native Memphian who enjoys reading, pilates, decorating, and, of course, spending time with her husband, Kojo, and dog, Lucius.



Jackie Nichols Jackie Nichols

Founder and Artistic Director of Circuit Playhouse in 1968, a theatre company producing a diverse repertory of plays and musicals, 1968 – Present; Founder and Executive Producer of Playhouse on the Square, a resident professional theatre company which is a member of Arts Memphis, Theatre Communications Group, 1975 – Present.Founder of TheatreWorks, a performing space and arts incubator for emerging artists and art groups; Created “Arts Access” and “Pay What You Can” for Memphians who are unable to afford regular ticket prices to attend performances; Founder of the United Professional Theatre Auditions, the largest professional audition for working professional actors held each February in Memphis, attended by over 100 Theatre Companies and over 1,000 actors and theatre technicians.Past President of Tennessee Theatre Association; Theatre Advisory Panel; Tennessee Arts Commission, 1981 -1983, 1979-1981, 1973-1975. Received the distinguished Achievement Award in Theatre, Memphis Theatre Awards, 1985; Gordon Hall Award, 1993 Rotary Club Outstanding Community Service Award.Member of the Memphis & Shelby County Film & Television Commission, Communicator of the Year Award 2010 PRSA.



Jennifer Willard

Jennifer Willard, founding director of the Community School of the Arts, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with an M.A. from the University of Chicago.  She has served in nonprofit arts administration for 35 years, is a member of Leadership Knoxville, and winner of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award and Tennessee Alliance for Progress “Long Haul” Award.



Karen Rudolph Karen Rudolph

Karen Rudolph: Culture Program Officer: Lyndhurst Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2007 after returning from Peace Corps Philippines. Karen has a diverse background that includes experiences as a fulltime blacksmith, a trail builder, and arborist.  She received a bachelor’s degree from Warren Wilson College in Business/Economics and Outdoor Leadership.



Kelly Murphy Kelly Murphy

Kelly Murphy, AICP,  Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, City of New Haven, CT.  Kelly Murphy is the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development since 2006.   She oversees seven city departments related to economic and community health of the city (City Plan, Housing, Building, Commission on Equal Opportunity (job training office), Transportation, Economic Development and Arts, Culture & Tourism) and coordinates economic policy for seven related City agencies including the City’s Airport, Port and non-profit Economic Development Corporation and marketing arm.  The city is experiencing a major development boom and Ms. Murphy is directly overseeing almost $3 billion in construction that has recently been completed, is currently in construction or to be underway by 1st quarter 2013.  New Haven has had the largest tax base growth in Connecticut over the last three years, had a 2% job base growth (in a state with 1% growth) and New Haven is currently the hottest rental market in the country with the lowest rental vacancy rate and is experiencing its highest commercial occupancies in decades.  
She holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in economic development and finance and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from James Madison University in Political Science and History.  She holds a license from the American Institute of Certified Planners of the American Planning Association and is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the Regional Plan Association.



Kerry Hayes Kerry Hayes

Kerry Hayes is responsible for developing and executing strategic earned media campaigns, including message development, event planning, community outreach and advocacy efforts, and media relations.

Prior to joining doug carpenter & associates, Kerry was a Special Assistant to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. for nearly three years, joining the administration after serving as the Communications Director for Wharton’s 2009 campaign. Kerry is credited with leading the effort to secure $4.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which allowed Mayor Wharton to establish an “Innovation Delivery Team” of special researchers and strategists to reduce handgun violence and accelerate economic development in Memphis’s inner city. Hayes’ portfolio in the Mayor’s office also included work on blight abatement, bicycle and pedestrian issues, volunteer service, and numerous other projects related to talent retention, economic development, and livability.

Kerry was also a new media strategist for CS2, where he collaborated on interactive campaigns for the Salvation Army, Memphis City Schools, and the Downtown Memphis Commission, among others.



Leigh Patton Leigh Patton

Leigh Green Patton, Community Arts Manager, Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission (“Metro Arts”), Leigh manages the Metro Arts’ grants program of $1.8 million annually, and other Metro Arts’ initiatives involving arts access, community partnerships, professional development and peer networking. She joined the Metro Arts’ staff in February 2011 after six years as Director of Community Arts Development for the Tennessee Arts Commission. Leigh is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and the University of Evansville theatre departments, and attended Belmont University’s Master’s in English Literature program.



Linda Caldwell Linda Caldwell

Linda Caldwell is the Executive Director for the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association, a cultural tourism program in Southeast Tennessee. Its mission is to promote and preserve the natural and cultural resources of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk counties through cultural tourism.



Louise McKown

Louise McKown is the Public Awareness Coordinator and Systems Change Advocate for the East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC).  She also serves as chair of the Anderson County Commissioners’ ADA Oversight Committee and on the board of the Oak Ridge Art Center where she takes pottery and jewelry classes.



Maren Brown Maren Brown

Maren Brown, MBA, is the Principal of the national arts consulting firm, Maren Brown Associates, LLC based in Florence, Massachusetts. She has over 25 years of arts management experience, primarily in leadership roles in museums (art, history and science museums) and higher education. In her consulting practice, she offers management consulting services (such as strategic planning, program evaluation, marketing assessments and creative economy consulting services) primarily to local, state and national arts agencies. She also offers training programs on a variety of arts management subjects, mostly for state and local arts agencies. Maren teaches in the arts management degree and certificate programs that she founded at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has authored and edited numerous arts management texts, including co-editing the 5th (and upcoming 6th) edition of Fundamentals of Arts Management (used in 45% of the arts management degree programs in the U.S.) and the Reimagining Resources Through Partnerships Workbook (with Mary Margaret Schoenfeld). Maren’s most recent planning projects include New England Foundation for the Arts, Vermont Arts Council (with Dreeszen and Associates), Appalachian Artisan Center (with Dreeszen and Associates), and New England Presenters.



Mikki Sager Mikki Sager

Mikki Sager is Vice President of The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit with a dual mission of environmental protection and sustainable economic development.  In her work with the Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program, Mikki helps communities implement triple bottom line efforts that promote sustainable economic development, social justice and environmental stewardship.



Nancy Gottovi Nancy Gottovi

Nancy Gottovi is the Executive Director of Central Park NC. She earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at the UNC Chapel Hill and has been an adjunct Assistant Professor at NC State University and UNC Charlotte. Dr. Gottovi has served as editor of the national Rural School Funding Report, Executive Director of Heritage and Cultural Tourism Partnership of NCand Project Director of the NC Pottery Center.  She was a 1995 Fellow of the Rural Economic Development Leadership Institute and a William C. Friday Fellow for Human Relations. She lives in the historic Seagrove North Carolina pottery community with her long-time partner and potter, David Stuempfle.




Jai Templeton Jai Templeton

Jai Templeton, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
Jai Templeton oversees day-to-day operations, directing programs and services ranging from food safety, animal and plant health, pesticides and consumer protection to forestry and agricultural development. Prior to joining the department in June 2011, he served as mayor of McNairy County, leading that county’s successful efforts to reduce debt and increase fund balances without raising taxes during the economic recession. He is a sixth generation farmer producing grain, cotton, hay, timber and cattle.    

As county mayor, Templeton also served on the UT Martin-McNairy County Center Advisory Board, the West Tennessee Railroad Authority, the West Tennessee River Basin Authority and the Southwest Tennessee Development District Executive Board. 

He is a former county commissioner and former president of the McNairy County Chamber of Commerce, where he helped form the McNairy County Regional Alliance to focus on economic development in the area.

From 1995 to 2003, he served as a field representative for former U.S. Representative Ed Bryant, covering the rural portion of Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District. He also served as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and he is a graduate of Weststar, Leadership McNairy County and AgStar professional development programs.

He and his wife, Allison, and their children, Mycaela, Canon and Eliza Smith, reside on a family farm in Stantonville, Tenn. and attend the First Baptist Church of Adamsville.  






Theresa Cameron Theresa Cameron

Theresa Cameron is Manager of Local Arts Agency Services at Americans for the Arts.  She works closely with the Local Arts Advancement team to help develop and implement programs and services that strengthen the field of 5000 local arts agencies thorough the U.S. 

Previously, she was CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) in Maryland for 10 years where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the county's nonprofit local arts and humanities agency that included a staff of nine and a budget of over $4 million. While at AHCMC, she developed Creative Montgomery: A county-wide cultural planning process as well assisting several organizations in developing cultural facilities including Strathmore Performing Arts Center, Imagination Stage, Olney Theatre Center, etc.  She also created enabling legislation for Maryland’s arts and entertainment districts.  Prior to joining AHCMC, she was manager of corporate and foundation relations at the Association of University Women Educational Foundation and also for 6 years as the senior program specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts in their Local Arts Agencies Program. Theresa earned a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Wyoming and credits toward a M.B.A. at the University of Phoenix.





Harriet Cannon Harriet Cannon

Harriet Cannon has served as area director for the Union City USDA Rural Development Office since 2010. As Area Director, Cannon, along with a 10 person staff, administers over 40 loan and grant programs in  9 Northwest Tennessee Counties. Previously, Cannon was Area Director in Covington and Jackson Area Offices.

During her 29 years of service with USDA Rural Development, Cannon has served in a number of West Tennessee posts. Starting out as an Assistant County Supervisor for Tipton County, she moved up to County Supervisor for Lauderdale County before becoming a program specialist in both Multi-family Housing and Business programs.

Cannon serves as President on the Tipton County Carl Perkins Child Abuse Prevention Center Board of Directors. In addition, she has served as secretary and president-elect for the Covington Exchange Club.  A 2000 graduate of the WestStar Leadership Program and 2001 graduate of the Tipton Organized to Advance Leadership (T.O.T.A.L.) Program, Cannon served as co-chairman for the Tipton County Youth Leadership Advisory Board and is on the Advisory Board for the Tennessee Technology Center in Covington.

A native of Friendship, Tennessee, Cannon is married to Ripley native Lenard Cannon.  They have two children, daughter Caroline and a son Jon Michael.

USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted at least 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.




Liza Zenni Liza Zenni

Liza Zenni’s career in non-profit arts administration has spanned nearly 20 years.  Since 2002 she has served as Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, a membership-based organization of artists, arts and culture organizations, historic homes, and arts supporters in 11 East Tennessee counties.  Under her leadership, Alliance membership has grown from fewer than 40 individual artists and 15 company members to 300 individuals and more than 100 organizations (expanding membership from theater, dance, and visual arts organizations to museums and historic homes as well).

Through three strategic relationships with government agencies, Zenni has managed the competitive review process of more than two million dollars in grants to non-profits on behalf of the state, the City of Knoxville, and Knox County. As a consequence, she is now respected and trusted in Greater Knoxville as a fair and effective grants program developer and manager.

Zenni led the creation of the Emporium Center in 2004 and helped secure the funding package for it. She now manages the Center which annually draws more than 50,000 people to downtown Knoxville to visit its nine ethnically-diverse arts organizations, eight artist studios, and countless exhibits, performances, classes, workshops and meetings. In 2007 she oversaw the expansion of the Emporium Center to encompass an Annex for use by a broad range of community organizations for classroom, meeting, and rehearsal space. The Emporium Gallery has returned more than $200,000 in artwork sales to local artists since its opening.
In 2006 Zenni applied her experience in ticketing by creating KnoxTIX, an online cooperative box office service designed to help geographically diverse organizations economize on box office overhead.  Under her direction, the Alliance developed and administers the Arts & Heritage Fund, created to provide additional general operating support to the local non-profit arts and heritage field.

Liza Zenni earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and Master’s Degree from the Yale University School of Drama.





Jessica Casteneda

Jessica Castaneda is the state coordinator for Tennessee Opportunity Programs’ Migrant Education Program.  She also oversees a six school after-school program for Hispanic students in Warren County.  She has worked with the migrant community as a program recruiter, coordinator, teacher, and in-home tutor for the past eleven years.  She has overseen summer programs in over ten different counties.  She currently oversees all in-home tutoring for over 900 students, and oversees all recruitment efforts for the Migrant Education Program.  She is bilingual and through her contact with the migrant community, she is familiar with many of their traditional arts, foods, and medicines.  She is the project director of a TAPS funded Arts Project Support Folklife documentation effort to interview, photograph and present Latino traditional artists throughout Tennessee.





Ellen Gilbert

Ellen Gilbert is the founding director of the Global Education Center.  She is an anti-bias, multicultural education specialist with a background in early childhood education, elementary education, therapeutic recreation and dance.  She has studied various cultures and performed African, Polynesian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Irish, Scottish, Latin and International Folk Dances over many years.  She has extensive experience as an administrator of preschool, elementary and middle school programs and has been involved over the past thirty years as the creator and lead presenter of Global Education Center’s Passport to Understanding, a school outreach program.  Ellen has served as chairperson of the Anti-Bias Concerns Committee of the Tennessee Association on the Education of Young Children and on the boards of the Nashville Institute for the Healing of Racism, the Uhuru Dance Company, and Ten Thousand Villages. 




Ray Daffner

Ray Daffner, manager – Capital Policy Initiative, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

Mr. Daffner leads efforts at ARC that provide strategic support for programs assisting entrepreneurial ventures to build on the Region’s assets and grow new jobs.  ARC seeks to build on the advantages of the Region by leveraging a range of assets - including energy, food systems, culture and heritage, natural amenities, and healthcare infrastructure – to form new enterprises and inject vitality into Appalachian communities.  

The Capital Policy Initiative seeks to address gaps in the provision of debt and equity to growing businesses in the Region; long standing challenges which have been exacerbated by the recent recession.  To address these challenges, ARC launched the Capital Policy Initiative in 2010, convening a high-level advisory committee comprised of state economic development officials, local CDFI heads, venture capitalists, community and regional bankers, credit union representatives, and others to provide strategic guidance for regional efforts.  Through this process, the Commission has developed a work program of action items, including such activities as increasing the flow of capital from private lenders, enhancing the capitalization of CDFIs, building angel investing networks, and providing support to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Region.

Previously, Mr. Daffner directed ARC’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and Asset Based Development Initiative.  By providing over $45 million of support to more then 300 projects, these Initiatives helped local partners create over 1,200 new businesses and create or retain over 5,000 jobs.

Ray Daffner has a range of experience in both the non-profit and private sectors, and currently serves on the advisory boards of several regional investment funds, as well a regional rural development center.  He joined the Appalachian Regional Commission in 1998.





Patty Mitchell Patty Mitchell

Patty Mitchell is a working artists and social entrepreneurs specializing in collaborations between artists with and without developmental disabilities. Exploring the process of making fine art has led Patty to investigate sewing, woodworking, painting, sculpture, repurposed materials and innovative approaches. Art works are often site specific public art works that encourage conversation, awareness and inclusion of people with perceived disabilities and add beauty to the larger community. A second phase the process, when requested, is to create product lines through the artwork with the intention of developing employment opportunities and funding streams back to support continued art programming for the individuals being served.
 Mitchell has a Masters in Fine Arts from Ohio University 1991, has been an Artist in Residence with the Ohio Arts Council since 1994 and founded Passion Works Studio in 1998 Patty now works as a consulted encouraging and supporting organizations in developing like programming internationally with Norwich Consulting Services.
Mitchell has received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Ohio University’s College of Fine Art, Ohioana Citation for Art and Education, Individual Artist Award from the Ohio Arts Council, Citizen of the Year from Athens Civitan and The Keystone Award from Ohio University for outstanding community service.