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Leaders Heart Lunch

About Leaders Heart Lunch

Do you wonder what the greatest minds in Nashville think and say about leadership?  Are you curious about the way they build leaders and impact their communities?  Would you like to know how they became leaders in their field? Get your questions answered at Leaders Heart Lunch (LHL).

This monthly lunch series will give you the opportunity to learn about the experiences of leaders at Vanderbilt and in the Nashville community.  It will provide you with the chance to connect with knowledgeable people that are passionate about their work and can offer you valuable insight on becoming an impactful student leader.

During lunch, the speaker delivers a dynamic 15-minute talk on their leadership journey.  This will be followed by 45 minutes of question-and-answer, guided by you – the students.  This will be your chance to have all of your burning questions answered and gain valuable leadership insight.


2015 Scheduled Lunches

“Turning Ideas Into Reality”
Guest Speaker: Stuart McWhorter, President & CEO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Date: Tuesday, October 13th
Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Sarratt 325/327

Stuart McWhorter, President and CEO of The Nashville Entrepreneur Center will kick off our first of four lunches in the Leaders Heart Lunch series.  Come and gain perspective on what it is like to mentor entreprenuers who would like to make their dreams a reality.  Do you have a dream that you would like to come true? Come and feed your ambitions.

Free lunch will be provided.  If you would like to join us for lunch, please make sure to RSVP today.

About Stuart C. McWhorter

As CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Stuart McWhorter has over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and early stage investing.

As Co-Founder, Mr. McWhorter served as Chairman and President of Clayton Associates prior to his appointment as CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.  Founded in 1996, Clayton Associates serves as an investment management company primarily focused on the early stage investment cycle in the healthcare and technology industries.  Clayton Associates has managed five venture capital funds, which has invested over $150 million in over 80 operating companies in the Southeast.

Prior to Clayton Associates, Mr. McWhorter was part of the founding management team of OrthoLink Physicians Corporation where he served as Vice President of Managed Care and Vice President of Development. Prior to OrthoLink, Mr. McWhorter served in various management positions with Tenet Healthcare-owned Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, AL.

Mr. McWhorter also serves on the board of directors for FirstBank of Tennessee, 247 Sports Media, Haven Behavioral Healthcare, MedEquities Healthcare REIT, JumpStart Foundry, and Lee Company.

Mr. McWhorter’s civic duties include serving on various past and present boards including: Belmont University, Clemson University Foundation, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Blood Water Mission, YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Education Foundation, Hospital Hospitality House, St. Luke’s Community Center, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and Nashville’s Agenda.

Mr. McWhorter has also served as adjunct professor at Belmont University teaching healthcare and entrepreneurship.

Mr. McWhorter received his Masters in Health Administration from The University of Alabama-Birmingham and B.S. in Management from Clemson University.

Visit the The Nashville Entrepreneur Center website to learn more about the organization.

“The Look & Sound of Leadership” – This event has been cancelled
Guest Speaker: Paula Lovell, Founder, Lovell Communications

Date: Wednesday, November 11th
12:15 – 1:30pm
Rand 308

Have you ever had lunch with the founder of an award-winning firm?

We invite you to join us for lunch with Paula Lovell, Founder of award-winning public relations, crisis communications, and marketing communications firm, Lovell Communications Inc.

Free lunch will be provided.  If you would like to join us for lunch, please make sure to RSVP today.

About Paula Lovell

Paula Lovell founded Lovell Communications Inc. in 1988. She spent 10 years as a print and electronic journalist, working at the Nashville Banner, as a contributing writer for city and consumer magazines, and writing and producing for WSMV-TV, ESPN, ACTS, The Nashville Network, National PM Magazine and WTBS in Atlanta. As a former journalist, she is adept at media training and working with trade, consumer and business reporters throughout the country.

Lovell develops strategic communications plans, works with national and regional media and manages crisis communications for clients throughout the country. She presents marketing workshops and “guerrilla networking” seminars and has been a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), American Women in Radio and Television, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), various chambers of commerce, the Eastern and Southern Associations of College and University Business Officers, The Committee of 200 and the Business and Professional Women’s Association. She has lectured on public relations and crisis communications at colleges and universities and was the exclusive speech writer for the CEO of a $4 billion publicly-traded company for eight years. Lovell was named the 1997 Woman Business Owner of the Year by NAWBO and was honored as a finalist for the 1998 Executive of the Year in the Small Business Awards. She was also a nominee for the 2002 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, winner of the Junior Achievement 2007 Spirit of Free Enterprise Award, winner of the Hercules Award from the Nashville chapter of PRSA and winner of IABC’s 2007 Career Communications Achievement Award.

Lovell is a past Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which covers the southeast region of the U.S. including branches in Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, Birmingham and New Orleans. She served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 1998-2003, and on the board of the Nashville branch of the Fed from 1993-1998.

Lovell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, is actively involved with the Chamber of Commerce, participates as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary and serves on numerous civic and corporate boards of directors including Averitt Express, Inc., Abe’s Garden and Nashville Public Radio.

This information was found from the Lovell Communications Inc. website.

“Power In Service”
Guest Speaker: Becca Stevens -Thistle Farms

This session is full.  Thank you for your interest.

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
12:30 – 1:30pm
Student Life Center Meeting Room 1 & 2

Serving the community can have a great impact on all people.  Whether you are receiving support or losing yourself in it, we can easily see how empowering it can be to make a difference in the lives of many people. All it takes is the simple decision to serve.  Founder of Thistle Farms, Becca Stevens, understands the power of serving others and its lasting impact on humanity.  Join Becca for lunch and chance to learn how she leads in service.

Becca Stevens is one of the premiere preachers and speakers in the United States proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change. She is an Episcopal priest and founder of Magdalene, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. 

She founded Thistle Farms in 2001 which currently employs nearly 50 residents and graduates, and houses a natural body care line, a paper and sewing studio and the Thistle Stop Café. She demonstrates that love is good business and raises millions of dollars annually for the organizations she runs. She is a prolific writer and has been featured in the New York Times and on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post and named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011.

She was recently named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, has been inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame, and was conferred an honorary doctorate by Sewanee: The University of the South. In fall 2013, Stevens launched the first Thistle Farms national conference welcoming attendees from over 30 states. Her newest book, “The Way of Tea & Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from its Violent History,” will release in 2014. Stevens lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.

More information on Becca












“Making A Way”
Guest Speaker: Kawema Orita, Director of Community Development and Family Resource Center at Martha O’Bryan Center

Date: Monday, March 16, 2015
12:30 – 1:30pm
Location: Sarratt 189

Nothing screams leadership more than a people who help people acquire the tools needed to be successful.  The Martha O’Bryan Center (MOBC) has worked with the community since 1894 to ”join family, community, and schools to support better education and employment opportunities for our city’s most vulnerable families.”  we invite you to join Kawema Orita to hear about her leadership story and how it translates into her work with MOBC.

Learn more about the Martha O’Bryan Center


“Rebuild and Flourish”
Guest Speaker: Sue Fort White Ed.D., Executive Director of Our Kids

Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Time: 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Location: Sarratt 189

Great leaders empower people to be the best version of themselves. Sometimes that empowerment means helping people view themselves positively when their world has created the opposite effects.  It is also means working to level the playing field.  Join Sue for lunch and find out why she is passionate about helping underserved populations.


Sue Fort White, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of Our Kids,  providing medical forensic evaluations and crisis counseling for children and families struggling with child sexual abuse.  During her eight year tenure at Our Kids, the Expansion Initiative was created, resulting in four satellite clinics in Middle Tennessee.  Sue received her BA from University of Tampa and her doctorate in Human Development Counseling from Peabody of Vanderbilt University.  Sue has devoted her career to creating access to information, opportunities and services for underserved populations such as teens and families in crisis, victims of domestic violence, women in prison, refugee and immigrant women and children in foster care.  Sue is a founding member of Metro Human Relations Commission and The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. She has received local, state and regional leadership awards and has served as Board President for the YWCA, Oasis Center and CommunityNashville as well as NBCC Foundation.  Her work at Our Kids is a natural progression reflecting her desire to advocate for children and strengthen families and communities by expanding access to services.

Learn more about Our Kids












Why Leaders Heart Lunch?

In addition to a wonderful lunch and access to great advice, you will also have the opportunity to connect with people who can help you make the most out of your leadership experience.

How Do I Sign Up?

If you would like to attend a Lunch, you must complete a short, “Intent To Attend ” form on Anchor Link.

You will be asked to login with your VUNetID and password.  Please note that we will have a speaker once per month.  Therefore we ask that you return to this page for updates.

What If I Cannot Make It For Lunch?

You are expected to be part of the entire engagement. Therefore, we ask that you plan for this event in advance.  However, if you will not be able to stay or realize that you cannot be present for this entire event, we kindly request that you let us know as soon as possible so that we may reach out to one of our alternate applicants.  You can send an email to wil.delossantos@vanderbilt.edu

Who Do I Contact If I have Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact Wil De Los Santos at wil.delossantos@vanderbilt.edu or visit us in Sarratt 339.


Previous Speakers






“Blazing A Trail In Leadership”
Guest Speaker: Dr. Marisa Richmond

Marisa served as a Delegate in the 2008 National Democratic Convention. Elected as the first openly transgender Delegate ever from the state of Tennessee and the first African American transgender Delegate in the United States, she has valuable leadership insight and a passion for leadership in politics and the LGBT community.  We invite you to have lunch with us and learn about her work as a leader in the Nashville community.


“Servant Leadership”
Guest Speaker: Tom Ward, President and CEO, Oasis Center

Ever wonder what it means to serve others? Why is servant leadership so important when it comes to inspiring others? Join us and find out what servant leadership looks like from the experience of our guest.

Read Tom’s bio here.





“Being A Young Professional In A Thriving City”
Guest Speaker: Corey Davis, Director of Business Growth Initiatives, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

The city of Nashville is rapidly growing and has a lot to offer Vanderbilt students. Join us to find out how you can get involved and learn about the resources that exist in music city.  Learn about the life of a young professional and how you can thrive in this city.

Read Corey’s bio here.