TCVSL Speaker Bios

Bailey Hufstetler

Bailey Hufstetler - Volunteer Program 101
Room: Morgan

Bailey Hufstetler is a Christian, Husband, and a father who resides in Dayton, TN. Bailey has worked in the volunteer/ non-profit sector ever since he was 11 years old volunteering at several different organizations himself. Since becoming an adult, Bailey has founded his own non-profit organization, developed several flourishing volunteer programs, and has helped run volunteer fundraising campaigns across the State. Bailey is a licensed Real Estate Agent, former President of his local Chamber of Commerce, A business owner, and a leader in his community. 

Jared Peer

Jared Peer - Data-Driven Benefits of Senior Volunteerism
Room: Saddlebred

Jared Peer leads the RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) for Knox and Blount Counties in East Tennessee. His work involves connecting aging adults with community partners to put their experience and skills to work meeting local needs through volunteerism. In his free time, Jared can be found outdoors gardening or indoors building with Lego. 

Taylor Wilder

Taylor Wilder - Recruiting and Managing Skilled Volunteers
Room: Appaloosa

Taylor enjoys working with the public and currently works as a skilled volunteer program manager.

Don Sowers

Don Sowers – Emergency & Disaster Preparedness for Individuals & Organizations
Room: Highland

Don has been a professional first responder, emergency manager, and volunteer leader for governmental agencies and volunteer organizations. He is currently the Manager of Disaster Volunteer Services for Volunteer Tennessee, the Governor’s commission for volunteerism and community service. He is also an Emergency Services Liaison to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). And he provides administrative support for local Tennessee Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Melissa Ortiz

Melissa Ortiz – That’s (Not) Helpful & That's Why
Room: Morgan

Melissa Ortiz identifies as a “happy warrior” and is enthusiastic about driving a dialogue between people living with disabilities or chronic illness and policy makers across the political spectrum. She has worked in the classroom in Nashville, Tennessee and in the nonprofit sector in New York City and Washington, DC. She was honored to serve as President Trump’s Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities. Founder of Capability Consulting, she currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband Tony and her retired Service Dog, Annie Oakley the Dachshund. When she isn’t working on disability policy issues or giving a motivational speech, her hobbies include reading historical fiction and doing crossword puzzles in ink. 

Sidney S. Enns

Sidney Enns - Succession Planning: Preparing for Future Volunteer Engagement Coordinators           
Room: Saddlebred

Sidney has over 13 years of volunteer engagement experience and service.  As the Director of Volunteer Engagement, she is responsible for helping to recruit, train, retain and recognize volunteers for all programs the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) administers across the state. She is also an adjunct professor at Indiana State University teaching a course on Volunteer Engagement for the Nonprofit Leadership Minor.  

Madison Wood

Madison Wood - Volunteering for All: Incorporating Universal Design into Service Planning
Room: Highland

Madison Woods (she/her) is a Program Coordinator for Vanderbilt University’s Student Organizations, Leadership, and Service. She primarily engages with Vanderbilt service initiatives by providing service leadership trainings and managing community partnerships between student volunteers and local organizations. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2021 and her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University in 2023. Her professional interests lie in the intersection of community engagement, leadership education, and justice.

Vincent Phipps

Vincent Phipps- Amplify Your Attitude to Transition your Listening.
Room: Appaloosa

Vincent Phipps is called the Attitude Amplifier! This is because of his high energy and interactive presentation style. Vincent is a communication intelligence expert.  As owner of Communication VIP, Vincent specializes in conflict resolution, leadership and presentation skills.  Vincent’s passion is developing training programs based on his book, Lead Out Loud, designed for professionals wanting to amplify their interpersonal communication skills. Vincent’s philosophy is “If I can get you to laugh, I can get you to listen.  If I can get you to listen, I can help your communication skills amplify!”

Laurie Gavilo-Lane

Laurie Gavilo-Lane, PhD - Civic Engagement and Social Change
Room: Williamson

Laurie Gavilo-Lane, PhD is Assistant Professor at Belmont University. She’s taught graduate/undergraduates, owned and operated a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic, worked for Mayo Clinic, and Tulane Drop-In Center. Dr. Gavilo-Lane volunteers with Alive Hospice, Cumberland River Compact, Urban Housing Solutions | Mercury Court, and Second Harvest Food Bank, and several non-profit partners whose mission is to promote community well-being and public health.


Angela Hill- Parks in a Changing Climate
Room: Morgan

Angela’s career includes 15 years of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation experience. She has served as the Administrator of the Parks & Neighborhoods Department and the Executive Director of the Conservation Board for Shelby County Government. In these positions, she oversaw 6000+ acres of parks and conservation lands, which included two cemeteries (active), and a thriving award-winning community garden. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Administrator for the Shelby County Health Department Environmental Health Services and Sustainability section.


Penny WIllis

Penny Willis- Setting the Stage for Change
Room: Highland

Penny is an international speaker, conference, and non-profit organization workshop facilitator with more than two decades of experience leading the research, development, and training of internationally recognized, positive youth development programs and adult professional development in social and emotional learning, character education, service-learning, and prevention of substance and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy. Current projects include developing research-based tools to foster social and emotional teaching practices including curriculum, adult social and emotional competence building, classroom observation and professional learning strategies.

Mary Graham

Mary Graham- Engage Youth in Solving Community Problems While Mastering State Educational Standards and Exploring STEM Careers! 
Room: Saddlebred

Mary Graham is president and CEO of United Ways of Tennessee.  In this role, she builds the capacity of local United Ways to better serve their communities, and she visions and implements collective work to improve the lives of all Tennesseans.  This encompasses public policy work, disaster relief, and ALICE research and promotion, as well as securing and leading state grants on a wide array of areas, including the Tennessee Afterschool Network, United for Digital Access (older Tennesseans), United We Heal (substance use), Afterschool Serves Tennessee (service-learning), and more.  Prior, Ms. Graham was Senior VP at National Mental Health Association, Director of Economic Affairs for the American Psychiatric Association, and Director of Clinical Affairs for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, where she focused on disability rights, advocacy, and public education.  Ms. Graham holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary. 

Natalie Patric

Natalie Patric- Strategies to Increase and Retain Corporate Volunteers for Community Development
Room: Appaloosa

As the Director of Community Engagement for United Way of Greater Chattanooga, Natalie aims to support corporate and nonprofit volunteerism needs. With years of volunteer management experience, Natalie works to curate individualized volunteer opportunities for corporate companies, elevate nonprofit needs, and build creative strategies for access to engagement opportunities. Natalie is also passionate about providing innovative ways for young professionals and students to support their local communities. Natalie, born and raised in Canada, completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from York University. Natalie, her husband Bryce, and their three daughters Lillian, Isabelle, and Juliana are thankful to call Chattanooga their home.   

Andrea Hill

Andrea Hill- Empowering Change: Advocacy, Public Policy and Volunteerism
Room: Morgan

This interactive workshop will explore the powerful connections between advocacy, public policy, and volunteerism. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how public policy is shaped and how they can use their voices and actions to create positive change in their communities. Through engaging activities, participants will learn effective advocacy strategies, develop their understanding of the policy- making process, and discover how volunteerism can be a powerful tool for social change.Andrea has nearly 20 years of experience in capacity building, programming, volunteer management, project and event management, fund raising, and resource development. She is a connector for the greater good of our community. She has served as a speaker, including Keynote and Plenary opportunities, on the local and national conferences level. She is a mentor to young women in the business, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit fields. She currently serves as the Chief Development and Partnerships Officer for Tennessee Nonprofit Network.  

Dan Rieves

Dan Rieves- Honing Personal Resilience: Life is Tough, but You’re Tougher
Room: Highland

Dan specializes in how to develop and strengthen our resilience in the heat if a stressful moment. through extended times of trials and building a lifetime strength to draw from in the long run. Students will learn practical techniques proven by warriors, athletes, and leaders who have time and again risen to the challenge, to become champion on the battlefield or in the boardroom. 

Megan Bennett

Megan Bennett- National Service as a Career Launching Pad
Room: Saddlebred

Megan is the Founder and Facilitator at Career Currents, a workshop and training company dedicated to helping mission-driven organizations maximize their impact and unlock the full potential of their teams. She believes teams do their best when supported, equipped, and have a sense of purpose (and joy!) at work. She has held roles in community and organizational development. She is a two-time AmeriCorps alumnus and currently lives in Nashville. In her spare time, you can catch her reading a good novel, chatting in Spanish, and going on an adventure.

Kelly Knowles

Kelly Knowles- Standing Out While Standing In: 5 Strategies to Differentiate Yourself with Authenticity and Integrity
Room: Appaloosa

Kelly is an exemplary public speaker who has provided customized workshops and presentations throughout the US. Her specialties include certification in Color Code Personality Science, business skills training, and business technology training. She is adept at conducting workshops and training for groups of all sizes. Kelly is a published author who is passionate about adult learning, helping people realize and develop their potential, and enabling adult learners to improve their everyday effectiveness by authentically maximizing their skills.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott- Developing a Voice for Tennessee-Based AmeriCorps
Room: Morgan

Jason is a two-term alum of AmeriCorps and the Director of CAC AmeriCorps in Knoxville, TN, an AmeriCorps intermediary that operates State/National and VISTA programming.  CAC AmeriCorps places between 50-60 full-time members with as many as 40 community partners in Knox and surrounding counties in East Tennessee. In addition, Jason serves on the Governor-appointed commission of Volunteer Tennessee as well as Friends of Volunteer Tennessee, and America's Service Commissions.  Jason is an advocate for the expansion of equitable access to national service. 

Geng Wang

Geng Wang - Everything You Need to Know about Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement
Room: Highland

As the CEO of Civic Champs, Geng leads our team of dedicated change leaders in providing nonprofits and their champions with the most intuitive and impactful volunteer management software. Prior to Civic Champs, Geng co-founded and sold two companies, (an apartment search engine), and Community Elf (a social media management firm). In addition, Geng has had the honor of spending 4 years at McKinsey & Company, advising senior executive clients at Fortune 500 companies - helping them solve their most pressing strategic and management issues.

Jennifer Bennet

Jennifer Bennet- Volunteer Relationships for the Future: Moving Beyond the 3Rs and Focusing on the One Big R
Room: Appaloosa

Jennifer leads VolunteerMatch’s Learning Center, and designs tools, trainings, and resources to help VolunteerMatch’s community of nonprofits better recruit and engage volunteers. She shares her knowledge with leaders of volunteers through the trainings in the Learning Center, through the LOVs Newsletter and the VolunteerMatch Blog, and at conferences around the country. She also co-hosts the Time + Talent Podcast with Tobi Johnson from VolunteerPro, which finished its fourth season in December 2022. She serves as the Director of Knowledge on the Board of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. She is the current Co-Editor and a contributing author for the 4th Edition of Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice, published by LexisNexis Canada in January 2021. She is the current Co-Editor and a contributing author for the 4th Edition of Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice, published by LexisNexis Canada in January 2021.

Kimberly King

Kimberly King- Volunteers and Veterans
Room: Appaloosa

Kimberly King was born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1960. She has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University. Kimberly currently serves as the commander of VFW Post 10904 and VFW District 5 in Tennessee, which is comprised of 10 VFW posts. Her post has earned many state and national awards including the VFW National All-American Post Award for the past five years, the All-State Awards and the VFW Department of Tennessee (State) Community Service Award for the last two years. 

Hope Alexander

Hope Alexander- Branding Your Volunteers
Room: Highland

A Tennessee native, Hope has extensive experience in marketing, communications and engagement in both the non-profit and for-profit arenas and is currently using her skills to further Volunteer Tennessee’s mission. She is a Union University alumna and graduate of both Leadership Jackson and WestStar Leadership. For 30 years, Hope has been an active volunteer and servant leader in West Tennessee and is a Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Harbert Alexander Servant Leadership Award recipient. She currently serves on the Therapy and Learning Center’s board of directors and is a member of Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals, which promotes women in STEM. Hope lives in Jackson with her new husband, Barry, and is the proud mother of Cole Cooper, a senior studying electrical engineering at Tennessee Tech University. 

Candace Taylor

Candace Taylor & Zipporah Robinson, MPC – Unleash you Grant and Investments Skills: Mastering Your Development
Room: Saddlebred

Candace Taylor, conference coordinator, has over 15 years of nonprofit and grant writing experience.  From Memphis, TN, Candace enjoys volunteering and working with start up businesses. To name a few of her recent accomplishments, Candace is treasurer of Blues City Cultural Center, board member of Friends of Volunteer Tennessee, Lean Six Sigma Certified and an Unpacking Racism Graduate with the National Civil Rights Museum. Graduate of MTSU,  Candace is also a proud AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni.