After graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University as a stellar student-athlete (Communications Major and record-holding Women’s Basketball Player), Robin started her career as a sports reporter at a small station in Mississippi. She quickly was promoted to sports anchor and then after a series of similar roles in a number of cities, at age 29, Robin became the host of ESPN’s “Sportscenter.” Appearing a number of times as a guest reporter on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she was ultimately hired as a full-time anchor of “Good Morning America” where Robin claims to have “the best job in the world getting to say ‘good morning’ to 60-million Americans daily…” Taking a leave of absence from TV to undergo treatment for a rare blood disorder that she contracted after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, she returned to “Good Morning America” where she has become an iconic co-host. Her award and accolades are never ending with the most recent being the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Radio and TV Digital News Foundation. She was a longtime, dear friend of Pat Summitt’s and delivered the keynote at Pat’s “Celebration of Life” Memorial Service.
After high school graduation, Investment Banker and Gospel Singer Carla Harris entered Harvard University where she graduated magna cum laude with her A.B. degree in economics and received her M.A. degree in business administration from Harvard Business School. While at Harvard, she sang with the world renowned Radcliffe Chorale Society, the oldest women’s singing group at Harvard and in her own band called Rhythm Company. She began her career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in the Mergers & Acquisitions department. She has become Vice-Chairman and Managing Director in Global Capital Markets for the firm. She led transactions such as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and the $3.2 billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, the largest biotechnology follow-on offering in U.S. history. Carla has been named by Fortunemagazine among The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America. Black Enterprisenamed her one of the Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street. Essencemagazine named her among The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World. Harvard’s Black Men’s Forumnamed her Woman of the Year in 2004. As a gospel singer, in 2000, Harris performed a solo concert at Carnegie Hall and released her first album, Carla’s First Christmas. The album was featured on The Evening News with Dan Ratherand was one of the top selling albums on Amazon.com in New York City. In 2006, Harris released her second album, entitled Joy is Waiting. She donated the proceeds to two high schools.
Carol Stiff currently serves as ESPN Vice President, Women’s Sports Programming. She has been with ESPN since 1990 and has become one of the most influential people in women’s college sports. Carol is also a member of the USA Women’s Basketball Standing Committee, the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards Board, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Her honors include the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Leadership Award, the WISE Woman of the Year, Connecticut Basketball Hall of Fame, “Bigger Picture of Being a Champion” by the Alliance of Women Coaches, Business Insider’s 50 Most Influential People Behind the Scenes in Sports, and “one of the most influential executives leading the way in women’s sports” by Sports Business Journal. A longtime dear friend of Pat Summitt’s, Carol also serves on the board of the Pat Summitt Foundation.
University of Tennessee
Joan Cronan is an inductee in the College of Charleston Hall of Fame, the University of Tennessee Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Fame. She worked with Coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee where Joan served as a trailblazer being one of the first female Athletic Directors in the U.S. She is the recipient of the NCAA Pat Summitt Award, the YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award, the NCAA Athletic Director of the Year Award, the SEC All Sports Awards (three times), AOPI Citizen of the Year, Women’s Economic Council “E” Award, and the United States Sports Academy Sports Management Award. She has served on the NCAA Executive Committee, the United Way Board of Directors, the United Way Campaign (Chair), the East Tennessee Foundation Board of Directors and the Pat Summitt Foundation board. She was honored with both a building (“Joan Cronan Volleyball Center”) and a street (“Joan Cronan Way”) being named after her at the University of Tennessee. At UT, Joan worked with Pat Summitt for 29 years while serving as Athletic Director.
Women's Basketball Coaches Association
Danielle Donehew currently serves as the Executive Director for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, where she takes on active roles with affiliate organizations such as the NCAA, USA Basketball, the WNBA, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Sports Foundation .Before coming to the WBCA, Danielle was the American Athletic Conferences’ associate commissioner for women’s basketball, serving as the primary conference leader for women’s basketball initiatives. Danielle also served as the primary contact for IMG, the conference’s partner for the management of corporate sponsorship activation, including strategic partnerships and their fulfillment for all sport championships. Prior to her position at the American, Danielle served as associate commissioner for women’s basketball for the Big East Conference and the Executive Vice President for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream expansion team. Danielle worked directly with legendary head coach Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball program for seven years, including two national championship seasons. A former college basketball player herself, Danielle was inducted in the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. For Danielle's full bio, please visit: https://wbca.org/about/our-staff/executive-director
Sally Jenkins is an American sports columnist and feature writer for The Washington Post. She is the author “Sum It Up: 1098 Victories, A Couple of Irrelevant Losses and A Life In Perspective”with legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt. It was a New York Time #1 Best Seller. She is also the author of numerous other books including the best seller, “It's Not About the Bike”with Lance Armstrong. She has also written several novels. In 2002 she won the Associated Press's Columnist of the Year Award and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize as well. Her work has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, GQ and Sports Illustrated, and she has acted as a correspondent on CNBC as well as on NPR's “All Things Considered.” Sally Jenkins is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English Literature and is the daughter of Hall of Fame sportswriter Dan Jenkins, who also once wrote for Sports Illustrated.
Quinton Martin serves as the Vice President of Community Marketing for Coca-Cola North America. Quinton supports the projects and ongoing processes that are essential to the success of the executive leadership team. He advances the work needed for effective communications, planning and execution of strategic priorities for the Office of the President, CCNA. He also leads the Company’s Community Marketing, Supplier Diversity and Alumni Relations. Quinton began his career with The Coca-Cola Company in 1988 as a market development manager working with bottlers in Virginia and West Virginia. In May 1992, he became account services manager for the Atlanta Account Group. He was named manager, Consumer Marketing for the Atlanta Account Group in January 1994, and then was appointed executive assistant to the president of Coca-Cola USA later that year. In February 1997, he was named region director, North Central Region responsible for bottler relationships and marketing in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In July 1998, he was named director, Independent Field Sales and Marketing Group–East. In March 2000, he was named vice president, region manager for the Independent Region with responsibility for 70 Independent Coca-Cola Bottlers in the United States. In October 2000 he was named vice president Community Marketing for Coca-Cola North America with responsibility for its nonprofit business relationships and the planning and execution of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games. In July 2010 he was named Executive Assistant and vice president Community Marketing for the Office of the President, Coca-Cola North America. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, he worked in a sales capacity with The Procter and Gamble Company and as an officer in The United States Army.
Frank Patterson is a studio executive, entrepreneur and higher education thought leader. He currently serves as President of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, the second largest purpose built film studio in North America, where the films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Passengers were produced, among others. Prior to Pinewood, Patterson served as the founding CEO of Pulse Evolution Corporation, a technology company that produces hyper-realistic digital humans for live and virtual reality applications. While at Pulse, he produced the immersive live production of Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm” at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, which featured an original performance by Pulse’s computer-generated and animated human likeness of the late Michael Jackson. Patterson launched his entertainment career by founding and leading several film production companies, including Houston Cinema Group and Envisage Media, where he produced and directed straight-to-video feature film content as well as commercials and various video products for brands. As an educator, Patterson teaches producing at FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts, where he served as dean from 2003 to 2016. He has been a member of the faculties of the University of Texas and Chapman University, where he also served as Associate Dean; and The Los Angeles Film School, where he led the school as President. The “Hollywood Reporter” named Patterson one of the nation’s top mentors to a generation of Hollywood filmmakers. The Florida Governor’s Office recognized him for "inspiring a generation of Florida filmmakers" and for his "contribution to and support of production in Florida." His creative and research activities are focused at the intersection of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies, with an interest in digital human agency.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Lorna Sabbia is a 24-year veteran with the firm and is currently Head of Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. Lorna is responsible for both the institutional and personal retirement capability set to include 401(k), Equity and Health Benefit plans for companies of all sizes as well as college savings, personal retirement planning, retirement income, insurance and estate planning for individuals.
Prior to this role, Lorna served as Head of Managed Solutions where she led the discretionary and non-discretionary fee-based investment platforms, the global mutual fund and ETF offerings across all channels, and relationship management with third-party investment partners. In addition, she drove the creation and implementation of Merrill Lynch One, the largest and most successful launch of an investment advisory platform in our firm’s history.
Previous to this position, Lorna was Head of the Client Solutions Group, leading all Investments & Wealth Management and Wealth Structuring specialists and support desks, the Portfolio Strategies Desk, Annuity and Life Insurance Product management, in addition to the management of investment partner and insurance carrier relationships.
Before joining the Client Solutions Group, Lorna was Head of Sales and Marketing for Merrill Lynch Trust Company (now part of Bank of America Private Bank), and from 2002 to 2006, she served as National Sales Manager for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.
She began her career at the company as a specialist for nearly eight years in two divisions, New York and New England, across three different disciplines.
Lorna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University. She is Executive Sponsor of the company’s Diverse Leader Sponsorship Program, Co-Chairs the firm’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, and serves as Market Sponsor for the Knoxville market. In 2013, she was named to the “10 to Watch” list by REP. Magazine. She is also Chair Emeritus for the Money Management Institute’s Board of Governors.
Lorna is a member of the Women Against Alzheimer’s Leadership Council, the World Dementia Council, and the business development committee for More Than Words, a Boston-based job training and youth development program.
Dr. Charity Bryan
Southeastern Louisiana University
Dr. Bryan serves as the Professor and Department Head of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University. Prior to her appointment at Southeastern Louisiana University, she served as the director of Technology Enhanced Learning in the College of Continuing and Professional Education at Kennesaw State University and clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education in WellStar College. Prior to her position at KSU, she served at Louisiana State University and at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
While at LSU, Dr. Bryan served as the inaugural director of LSU Online and as associate dean for Distance Learning and Professional Education, while also teaching in the School of Kinesiology. From 2006-2013, while at UL Lafayette, she served as assistant professor, department head and finally as associate professor and director of the School of Kinesiology. She served as president of the UL Lafayette Faculty Senate and held the Vesta R. Bourgeois Endowed Professorship at UL Lafayette.
She is known for her expertise in both children’s physical activity and online learning, using new and blended learning models.
She is an active scholar in the areas of physical education pedagogy as well as distance learning, has published over 20 national peer-reviewed manuscripts and has over $220,000 in grant funding. As lead author, she and her colleagues received the 2018 Best Paper Award at the national Distance Learning Administration Conference and she recently received a $25,000 grant from Affordable Learning Georgia to support the use of open educational resources (OERs) in her classes.
Dr. Bryan received her undergraduate degree in physical education from Samford University, Master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the PhD from Louisiana State University.
Southwestern Family of Companies
As Chief Executive Officer, Dustin Hillis is leading the vision and strategy to make Southwestern Family of Companies the largest and most impactful privately-owned company worldwide by 2048. Under his leadership the company has grown from 19 to 30 businesses and is well on its way to reaching the aggressive goal of more than 200 business in less than 30 years.
In addition to being CEO of Southwestern Family of Companies, Hillis is a Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting, a sales and leadership coaching, keynote speaking and personal empowerment firm that helps clients around the world drive sales performance through the use of time-tested principles and proven methodologies. He remains the head of Southwestern Coaching. With more than 100 fully dedicated Southwestern Consulting Certified Coaches operating in seven countries, the business has helped over 10,000 clients grow their incomes by more than 25 percent on average. The coaching business grew at 60 percent per year for the last 8 years before Hillis took on the role of CEO of Southwestern Family of Companies.
As a junior at the University of Tennessee, Hillis broke the more than 160-year-old, all-time sales record for Southwestern Advantage, making a profit of more than $100,000 in 14 weeks. That sales record still stands today. With a degree in psychology and experience knocking on thousands of doors, Hillis is an expert in buying, selling, management behavior and how to adapt to the way people want to be communicated with.
Hillis is the co-author of Navigate 2.0: Selling the Way People Like to Buy, and the co-creator of the sales training curriculum Top Producer’s Edge, Manager’s Edge and Executive Edge. His latest project Redefining Possible (co-authored with Ron Alford) is set to release in September 2020.
Dustin Hillis has traveled the world to deliver keynote speeches in multiple countries including Singapore, Scotland, London, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Peru, Columbia, Canada, and all across the United States. He is a regular guest teacher covering the Cycle of the Sale for business students at Vanderbilt University.
In 2019, Hillis was named to Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. He’s a frequent guest on podcasts and has been featured in a variety of media outlets such as Entrepreneur magazine, Fortune magazine, The Dave Ramsey Show and Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast to name a few. Hillis is saved by grace and passionate about helping people break down barriers and coaching them to reach their God-given potential.
Sue Nokes is a visionary and award-winning leader with more than 25 years of experience successfully transforming Fortune 100 companies to achieve breakthrough results, competitive advantage and shareholder value. Sue currently serves as the Advisory Board Vice Chairman at Asurion, a global leader in the technology industry. Previous to this role, she served as the Senior Vice President in Customer Solutions and played an integral role in introducing new products to existing clients, while further building upon client relationships. She has more than 20 years of experience in transforming organizations through creative strategies and achieving exceptional results. Previous to Asurion, Sue had the integral role as Chief Customer & Operations Officer with T-Mobile, where her leadership was recognized in Wireless Week for positively changing the face of the customer experience in the Wireless Industry. Sue led T-Mobile from “worst to first” in Customer Service Satisfaction in just 18 months, according to J.D. Power & Associates. Under Sue’s leadership, T-Mobile won 7 consecutive J.D. Power awards for the Best Customer Service in Wireless.
As COO, Sue focused on the customer experience in the retail channel, and drove customer and revenue growth. She was again recognized with 2 consecutive J.D. Power awards for the Best Customer Experience in Retail. Also during Sue’s tenure, T-Mobile was recognized by Business Week as one of the top 25 Customer Service Champions.
Sue has also launched successful customer service initiatives with retail giant, Wal-Mart.
Empowering people to achieve their full potential.
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