January: Shenée L. Simon, S.H.E. Collective, LLC
In 2019 Shenée founded S.H.E. Collective, LLC. a niche organization to shift the naming of peace, safety and security for girls and women. Shenée brings high energy and strategic thinking to the inclusion of girls/women of color across borders with a deep commitment to peace, safety and security in spaces of living, learning, work, play and pray. She has created programming centering gender equity and social systems in suburban and rural Virginia, Orlando, Miami, South Texas and now Memphis, TN.
February: Dr. Kendra Abkowitz, Metro Nashville Chief Sustainability & Resilience Officer
Dr. Kendra Abkowitz joined Mayor Cooper’s Office and Metro Nashville/Davidson County in October 2021 as the city’s Chief Sustainability & Resilience Officer, working across departments and with the community on environmental, sustainability and resilience issues. Prior to her current role, she held a variety of positions at the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation working on multidisciplinary environmental policy, sustainability, and strategic planning. Kendra shared updates on recent sustainability and resilience accomplishments in Nashville and the path forward for ensuring continued livability across the city.
March: Linda Breggin, Environmental Law Institute
Linda Breggin is a Senior Attorney with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) where she has managed a wide range of environmental law and policy projects for over 20 years. She is also a Senior Strategic Advisor to the Nashville Food Waste Initiative. Among her projects is the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a collaboration with Vanderbilt University Law School, in which students work with her and her co-instructor as well as an expert advisory committee to select some of the most innovative proposals in the legal academic literature each year and showcase them for policymakers and practitioners at an annual conference and in the August issue of the Environmental Law Reporter. She is the author of the “Around the States” column in The Environmental Forum, ELI’s award-winning policy journal.
April: Greg Wilson, Fibonacci LLC
Greg Wilson is the Founder of Fibonacci, LLC, which is the only manufacturer of HempWood® internationally. With nearly 20 years in the building industry, Wilson continues to introduce a sustainable hardwood alternative. Greg’s presentation will familiarize you with the newest hardwood on the market - HempWood®. This American-made hardwood is disrupting the traditional hardwood market by presenting sustainable solutions.
May: Amanda Garcia, Southern Environmental Law Center
Amanda Garcia is a senior attorney and the director of the Tennessee office of the Southern Environmental Law Center. Amanda and her team work across the state to protect Tennessee’s clean water, promote clean energy, preserve our natural treasures and ensure a healthy environment for all. Amanda shared some of her office’s recent work to address climate change in Middle Tennessee, including protecting the Duck River in severe weather and fighting a proposed methane gas pipeline that would run through Stewart, Houston, and Dickson counties.
June: Sally Palmer, The Nature Conservancy
Sally Palmer is a 24 year veteran of The Nature Conservancy and currently serves as External Affairs Advisor for the Central Appalachians program. Sally is based out of Tennessee, and prior to her current position, she led a variety of conservation, science, and government relations strategies for the Tennessee Chapter of TNC. She has expertise in state & federal natural resource policy, conservation planning, and freshwater conservation. Her academic training is in plant ecology and she loves getting out in the field as much as possible – especially during Spring Wildflower season. She spoke about her personal journey as a nonprofit professional and share the story of The Nature Conservancy’s current efforts in the greater Appalachian region.
July: LaTricea Adams, Black Millennials 4 Flint
LaTricea Adams is a proud native of Memphis, Tennessee and the Founder CEO & President of Black Millennials 4 Flint (BM4F) a national grassroots, environmental justice and civil rights organization with the purpose of bringing like-minded organizations together to collectively take action and advocate against the crisis of lead exposure specifically in African American & Latinx communities throughout the nation. LaTricea is the youngest African American Woman appointed to the inaugural White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. In addition to her Environmental Justice work, she is a former middle school and high school Spanish teacher and current district level educational administrator. LaTricea has a special ancestral connection to the land being from both African and Latinx ancestry. Her love for the environment was sparked while spending time with her great grandmother in South Memphis, one of the few places African Americans could live during Jim Crow. Through authentic storytelling, LaTricea spoke about the beauty of community environmental education as a form of advocacy and systemic change.
August: Monique Odom, Metro Parks and Recreation Department
Monique Horton Odom is a native Nashvillian who has been with Metro Government since 2002, most of which have been with the Parks and Recreation Department. She was named Parks Director in October 2017 and heads one of the largest Parks Department in Tennessee. Monique holds a B.A. from Fisk University where her major was Political Science, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Tennessee State University’s College of Public Service and Urban Affairs (formerly known as the Institute of Government). She is a certified Diversity Trainer, has been trained in Rule 31 Civil Mediation, and has experience in public utility regulation, non-profit program management, and corporate human resources.
Monique discussed her professional journey and experience at Parks, the impact of the department on the community, why Metro Parks is an essential service, and the many programs and activities offered to all communities in Nashville/Davidson County.