Skip to main content

MT Lambda

2018 LGBT+ College Conference Speaker Bios

This page contains speaker bios for the 2018 LGBT+ College Conference

Holly Amber

Coming from a theater and improv background, Holly started performing stand up ten years ago. She has appeared in numerous theater productions, commercials and independent films as well as voice over work. She has produced and hosted several middle Tennessee shows such as “Bohemian Circus,” “Comedy at Mel’s,” “Outfront on Main comedy,” and “Ignite,” as well as being one of the original members of Nashville based “Girl on Girl comedy”.

Orlando Andrews

Orlando has been a servant to others in his daily work for many years. He is currently assisting those struggling with substance abuse disorders get help as a Mobile Admissions Specialist for Addiction Campuses. Before finding himself in this role he devoted himself to helping nonprofit Fine Arts Organizations (Theaters, Ballets, Operas and Symphonies) survive and thrive through marketing and fundraising. Orlando is an artist at heart. After graduating from Northwestern University, he has continued to perform throughout his adult life on stage, doing voiceovers for commercials, and delivering Live News on the Radio. You can hear samples of his voice at At this time, Orlando is producing a show locally on the NECAT Network called “Recovery” which covers a myriad of topics related to recovery from Substance Abuse, Behavioral Health, and Mental Health disorders.

Auralia Baggett

Aura is a Research Analyst for Soluto Lab and has been with Asurion for over four years. Her role involves conducting research into the latest mobile and home automation technology and running special projects including graphic design, 3D modeling, and refining processes for Frontline Experts. She is also a member of the Asurion Pride Employee Resource Group. Previous to Asurion, Aura received her degree in Digital Media & Animation (BoAA). She worked previously as a Consumer Sales Representative for Dell, Inc. for 3 years and was a Black Hawk Mechanic in the United States Army.

Ron Balcarras

Ron in a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Information Technology Services (ITS). His duties include leading teams who are responsible for Deloitte’s data management across numerous technology platforms. Ron is also a member of the ITS Inclusion Council, Hermitage Inclusion Council and sponsor of the Hermitage GLOBE & Allies (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Employees and Allies). Ron holds a Bachelors of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa. Ron moved from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Nashville 22 years ago and has been with Deloitte for 14 years. Ron is the Fund Development and Marketing Chair for Nashville Cares and serves on the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program Community Advisory Board.

Keith Barnes

Keith recently joined the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) to educate the public about the hunger crisis in our state and to protect and improve federal nutrition safety programs. He is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumnus and has seven years of experience in food security from the grassroots to government. Immediately, before joining TJC he directed the state’s Older Adult Nutrition Program, a $14 million program that funds meals on wheels.

Judge Rachel Bell

Judge Rachel Bell has been in the legal profession thirteen years, six of which she has served in the capacity of General Sessions Court judge in Nashville, TN.  Judge Rachel is the founder of the Music City Community Court which focuses on prevention, rehabilitation and restoration. Married in 2017 to Dr. Dorsha James, they have founded the “i am . . . just human” movement and currently own Solutions Now, Inc. along with The Ring the Bell Foundation.

Elizabeth Burns

Elizabeth Burns is a senior majoring in Biochemistry at Middle Tennessee State University. Elizabeth is the current president of MT Lambda, MTSU’s only all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization.

Gerogiann Davis

Georgiann Davis is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research and teaching is at the intersection of sociology of diagnosis and feminist theories. She is the author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis (NYU Press). She is also the board president of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth (2017- present) and the former president of the AIS-DSD Support Group (2014-2015).

Trish Davis

Trish Davis is the Special Projects Manager for the Nashville-Davidson County’s Office of Family Safety where she is overseeing the Office of Family Safety’s new initiatives focusing on increasing domestic violence and sexual assault victim’s safety and offender accountability. Previously, Ms. Davis was the Director of Domestic Violence Services at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. Ms. Davis has 12 years of experience in management, both working in residential settings with domestic violence survivors and in for-profit corporations. Ms. Davis holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. She currently serves as President-elect of the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence and on the board of the Tennessee Respite Coalition, which provides relief to families and caregivers from the extraordinary and intensive demands of providing ongoing care.

Diane Easter

Diane Easter is a Senior Manager at Deloitte, and for the last four years has led strategic, talent focused programs for Deloitte’s Information Technology Services (ITS). She is currently working on the launch of ITS’ first Inclusion Council as well as a program to help professionals intentionally chart their professional development across key competency areas.  During her career at Deloitte, Diane has led numerous other efforts, including Web Hosting, Application Operations, Service Management and Deloitte’s National Operations Center, as well as multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her involvement with diversity and inclusion at Deloitte began in 1994 when she started Deloitte’s first group for LGBT employees. “I am proud of Deloitte’s long-standing inclusion journey and our commitment at the national level and in our local communities.” She and her wife have four children and live in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Diane holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University.

Kimberly Edwards
Kimberly Edwards

Kimberly Edwards is a 28-year-old, mixed race, gender queer woman in a relationship with a white bisexual man. Kimberly is also on the Autism spectrum. All of these factors contribute to the way Kimberly views the world and have motivated Kimberly to pursue a career in psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. Kimberly is a member of MT Lambda to help improve the lives of others using the experience Kimberly has gained in life so far.

Carnell Elliott

Carnell has been at Dell for nearly 11 years, starting his career as a University Recruit for the Consumer Sales Organization in June of 2007. Carnell has held multiple leadership roles within the organization and has a passion for developing people. He currently serves as the Site Lead for the Small Business organization for Nashville as well as the Dell Nashville co-site director with Nikki Gibson. Carnell currently serves as an executive member on the Board of Directors for S.T.A.R.S. (Students Taking A Right Stand), a nonprofit that serves over 160 schools in the Middle TN area that specializes in student assistance programs dealing with literacy, bullying, abuse cases and anything else that prevents students from being able to have a focused education experience. Carnell graduated from MTSU in 2007 with a degree in political science, but more importantly this is when he outkicked his coverage and met his now wife of nearly 9 years, Tiffanie. They now have two children and live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee and are in the process of building a home.

Jamie Gonzales

Jamie joined the LGBTQ Resource Center as the first program coordinator in June 2016. She holds a B.A. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin and a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Houston. Jamie prides herself on being the first Graduate Assistant for UH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion which she claims to be a life altering experience. She looks forward to the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the UH community. Go Coogs!

Kayla Gore

Kayla’s organizing work includes assisting in several campaigns with the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, including fighting for housing equality for all people who are chronically homeless and advocating for the just treatment of transgender people by law enforcement. She works to connect transgender people to core OUTMemphis services, including HIV testing, HIV+ support services, sexual reproductive health needs, emergency services, and peer-led groups. She is excited about expanding transgender decriminalization programming at OUTMemphis and building legal support services to meet the needs of transgender people in the Mid-South.

Margo Hall

Margo Hall is an officer (Secretary) in MT Lambda, Middle Tennessee State University’s only all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization, and her pronouns are she/her/hers. Margo is a senior majoring in International Relations.

Tabitha Hawk

Tabitha is the owner of a local computer repair business. This year marks working for herself as long as she has worked for other people. Self-employment has its own challenges with regards to LGBT issues. In her off time, Tabitha enjoys unique hobbies like ghost hunting, chasing bad weather, and travel photography.

Sandi Hoff

Sandi Hoff is the Nashville Technology Council’s Vice President of Education and Talent Development. Before joining the Nashville Technology Council, Sandi directed the Research and Policy programs for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Her work and studies prior to relocating to Tennessee included teaching public policy, nonprofit and public management, and nonprofit fundraising as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas.

Jeffery Humble

Jeffery Humble has established himself as an active and respected community volunteer in Middle Tennessee. His efforts, fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit and love of service, have allowed him to be honored by the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) and The Tennessean for a “30 in their 30s” Award, a finalist for Nashville’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce Mark Lee Taylor Community Service Award, and the Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill awarded by Governor Bill Haslam. Jeffery is representing the State of Tennessee for his exceptional talents and significant contributions for all communities, even beyond the LGBT community.

Dr. Dorsha James

Dr. Dorsha James has been practicing emergency medicine since 2005 and is an Emergency Room Physician at Jennie Stuart in Hopkinsville, KY. She is the co-Founder of Campus Rx, a telehealth company. Married in 2017 to Judge Rachel Bell, they have founded the “i am . . . just human” movement and currently own Solutions Now, Inc. along with The Ring the Bell Foundation.

William Langston

Dr. William Langston is a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Langston’s research explores the psychology of belief. As part of his research program, Dr. Langston is a ghost investigator and has visited some of the most haunted places in the world. Dr. Langston is also the advisor to MT Lambda (MTSU’s all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization) and serves on the Provost’s Access and Diversity Advisory Board.

Keven Lewis

Keven is a masters student at Middle Tennessee State University. His studies are within the academic study of religion; specifically, American Christianity. Keven’s current research examines the way that words as they are spoken, written, and sung serve as both a transformative medium by which believers are made, remade, and replicated and how these same words function as intermediaries between the mundane and the divine. Keven is also interested in the way that gender and sexuality are understood and problematized by religious communities more broadly.

Cathy C. Lively

Cathy Lively is a Senior Analyst in Diversity and Inclusion with Nissan Motor Corporation. Cathy is an experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in the automotive industry. She is a strong research professional skilled in Business Planning, Diversity and Inclusion, Operations Management, Analytical Skills, and Event Management. Cathy was President of GSAN (Gay Straight Alliance at Nissan) from 2012 to 2014.

Paula Mansfield

Paula is MTSU’s Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships. She works with companies in the Middle Tennessee region to inspire successful collaboration and act as a catalyst to create meaningful, valuable and sustainable partnerships. She connects great companies with bright minds sparking innovation and change through collaboration with results driven outcomes. Previously, she worked for First Tennessee for over 21 years and in the financial services industry for over 30 years. She is originally from Nashville and earned her BBA from Middle Tennessee State University. She has lived in Murfreesboro since college and where she has raised her 3 children. Paula is involved in the community and serves on numerous non-profit boards. She is married to Mike Leslie.

Bethany Mason

Bethany Mason joined Dollar General as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in 2016. In this role, Bethany leads all internal and external diversity initiatives and is focused on strengthening Dollar General’s culture of inclusion and commitment to diversity. Bethany has also assumed responsibility over Dollar General’s employment branding strategies. Bethany started her career holding operational positions with national and international organizations and prior to coming on board at Dollar General, Bethany worked for Macy’s, Inc. as the Diversity and Inclusion Strategies Manager. Bethany grew up in Mexico City and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Pine Manor College. Bethany enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family and friends. She and her husband recently relocated to the Nashville area from Cincinnati, OH.

Dr. Patrick McCarthy, J.D.

Dr. Patrick McCarthy, J.D., received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University and his J.D. from the Nashville School of Law. He is a licensed attorney and a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Division. Dr. McCarthy has previously served as Director of MTSU’s Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE). Besides his consulting experience, Dr. McCarthy has also served on the Leadership Development Executive Board for the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education.

Dr. Janet K. McCormick

Dr. McCormick earned her Bachelor and Master degree’s in Speech Communication from Eastern Illinois University (’87, ’88) and her Ph. D. in Communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (’93). She taught at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky before spending 7 years teaching abroad in London, Buenos Aires, and Singapore. She joined MTSU in 2002 as an Intercultural Communication Specialist and is the recipient of the “Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award,” the “Outstanding Academic Advisor Award,” the “Distinguished Educator in Distance Learning Award,” and twice the “Outstanding EXL Faculty Award,” and “Outstanding Teacher Award” for the rapidly growing Organizational Communication (ORCO) major/minor at MTSU. Dr. McCormick conducts seminars regionally on such subjects as Intercultural Communication, Gender and Communication, Listening and Leadership.

Maxwell Pearson

Maxwell Pearson is an undergraduate Biology major. Maxwell is vice-president of MTLambda, Middle Tennessee State University’s all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization.

Jeffry Porter

Jeffry Porter joined MTSU as Director of the Office of Research Services in August 2014.  With over 25 years of experience in public policy, public administration and research administration, Porter is dedicated to facilitating the higher education mission (create and disseminate knowledge, educate the public, and serve public need) by acting across the continuum from direct support to individuals, to ensuring effective institutional policy, procedures and infrastructure to enable a robust research enterprise.

Marisa Richmond

Dr. Marisa Richmond currently teaches history and women’s and gender studies at Middle Tennessee State University.  She is also a member of the Metro Human Relations Commission in Nashville, and the only openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee.  Previously, she served many years as the President and Lobbyist for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. She is a prolific author and speaker on transgender rights, and has served on many boards at the Local, State, and National levels.  She has been recognized for her work with many awards. She has three degrees, all in U.S. History. Her A.B. is from Harvard University, her M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from George Washington University.

Joshua Rigsby

Joshua Rigsby graduated MTSU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Communication. While attending MTSU he served as the MTSU Lambda Association President from 2012 to 2014 and established the LGBT+ College Conference with the goal of creating a statewide network of LGBT+ collegiate students across the state of Tennessee. Since graduation, he has served as the Alumni Advisor for the MTSU Lambda Association from 2014-2017, and has served as a member of the LGBT+ College Conference Advisory Board from 2013-2017. Beginning in 2013, Joshua served three consecutive years as a member of the Board of Directors for OutCentral, Greater Nashville’s LGBT+ Community Center. While a member of the board, he oversaw student engagement and outreach, served as a member of the Executive Board as Vice President, and was responsible for volunteer outreach, recruitment, and training. Currently, Joshua is the Middle Tennessee State University LGBT+ Program Assistant.

Patrick Sammon

Patrick Sammon has a mix of political, journalism, and film production experience. He is President of Story Center Productions, a film production company in Washington, DC. He is the Creator and Executive Producer of CODEBREAKER. Previously, Sammon spent three years as the President of a leading LGBT political organization in the U.S. Sammon started his career as an award-winning television news reporter. He’s a native of Seattle, Washington.

Barbara Scales

Barbara has 19 years of social welfare and adult learning experience. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Sociology and a Master of Arts in Education and Counseling and is working on her Ed.D. in Learning and Leadership at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Currently, Barbara Scales serves as the Director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students at Middle Tennessee State University. Barbara also is the Principle Investigator for the Department of Justice Grant – Office of Violence against Women CAMPUS Grant. She is the founder and developer of MTSU’s Bystander Intervention-Prevention Program – “Be the Power of One”; an awareness and education program about gender –based violence. Barbara is an advocate for women and nontraditional students and is dedicated to removing obstacles and building bridges between working, education, and social environments. She is truly committed to making what she considers her ceiling our future professional women’s floor through her women’s programming, advocacy, support, and events. Barbara’s passion is helping people live life in 3D; define their destiny, discover their potential and develop in their purpose.

Lorraine Schroeder, M.A., L.P.C.

Lorraine was hired as the first director of the LGBTQ Resource Center in May 2010 when the Center opened. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Debra Sells

Dr. Debra Sells serves as MTSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost for Enrollment Services. She came to MTSU as the director of Housing and Residential Life twenty-one years ago, after working previously at Arizona State University, California Polytechnic San Luis Obsipo, and Grinnell College. During her time at MTSU, she has also served as Associate Vice President of Academic Support Services, and was appointed as Vice President in 2009. Dr. Sells has authored or co-authored several chapters and articles, as well as co-authoring with colleague Dr. Robert Eaker the book A New Way: Introducing Higher Education to Professional Learning Communities at Work, published in 2015 by Solution Tree Press.

Forrest Smith

Forrest Smith is the Chief Information Security Officer at Nissan. For the last several years, he had led the Nissan organization in developing a world-class cybersecurity capability. He is an executive sponsor of Nissan’s GSAN (Gay Straight Alliance at Nissan) Employee Resource Group. Forrest received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently splits his time between San Francisco, California and Melbourne, Florida.

Sis St. Clair

Sis St. Clair is a Middle Tennessee State University graduate. Sis is a member of Rainbow Rutherford, an author, poet, storyteller, and a long-time advocate/activist for LGBTQ rights/civil rights/equal rights. Sis is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and is a former musician and entertainer.

Allie Sultan

Allie Sultan has her degree from San Francisco State University. She is a filmmaker and video/sound editor with over 12 years of experience in visual storytelling. She teaches filmmaking to people of all ages and believes in the power of creating over consuming. She has expertise in video editing, sound editing, cinematography, screenwriting, directing, and timelapse photography.

Kimberly Tate

Kimberly Stephan Tate has been passionately driving an inclusive work environment for years. She worked diligently to create an LGBTQ employee resource group framework at Asurion that would be the model for others to follow. She has been a driving force for all ERGs as a critical member of the ERG collaboration counsel and as a Diversity & Inclusion committee member. Through her work with Asurion’s LGBT ERG – Pride – she made Pride Month a massive success for the company by leveraging “ally” tags, localized events, social media, participation and participation in the Nashville Pride walk and event. She has also been instrumental in pushing for policy changes to ensure LGBT language was included in Asurion’s handbook, and ensuring LGBT team members could self-identify in the HR system to provide better data for shaping policy/programs in the future. Prior to Asurion, Kimberly led the middle Tennessee Pride ERG at Dell Technologies for many years.

Candace Warner

Dr. Candace Warner is a professor of sociology at Columbia State Community College and Department Coordinator for Sociology & Social Work. Her master’s degree is in Sociology and Ph.D. in Public Administration. Dr. Warner’s dissertation centered on understanding diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout Tennessee municipalities. Warner has taught sociology courses in South Africa and India, and currently serves as the Director for the India study abroad program through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. Warner is the Founder/CEO of people3, Inc. People3 is a benefit corporation that provides cultural competency-centered research, inclusion-centered consulting, and diversity training services to organizations to assist in the navigation of diversity and cultural differences among organization members and employees, as well as the customers or population groups they serve.

Beverly Watts

Nashville native Beverly L. Watts was appointed the Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission in July 2007. She has more than 30 years of experience in civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sector. Beverly is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the being a 2016 YWCA Nashville Athena Nominee, the ECHO 2014 Dreamers Award, the 2014 Frances Dancy Hooks Award, the YWCA 2014 Carrie Hull Award, the City of Louisville Martin Luther King award, and the 2005 induction into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University, Southern Illinois University, and has completed Executive leadership programs at Duke University and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Kamah (Asha) Wilson

Asha joined the LGBTQ Resource Center as the Graduate Student in August of 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Southeastern Louisiana University and is pursuing her Masters of Social Work here at UH. Asha is creative and passionate about human empowerment, social justice, and spirituality. She is eager to learn and always willing to listen. She loves to meet new people and try new things. Asha is excited to be involved in empowering the UH LGBTQ community.

Presenting Sponsor

LGBT+ College Conference Sponsors

Contact Us

Interested in joining MT Lambda or have a question about upcoming events or meetings? Contact us directly at