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Keynote Speaker
Anderson Williams
Keynote Speaker for Opening Plenary, Great Neighborhoods Don't Happen By Accident
Anderson Williams grew up attending neighborhood meetings in the basement of the Tulip Street United Methodist Church in Historic Edgefield. 43 years later, and he is now serving on the Board of Directors of Historic Edgefield Neighbors.
Anderson is the author of two books: Creating Matters: Reflections on Art, Business, and Life (so far) and We Power: Building Powerful Relationships That Can Change Your Work and the World.
He is currently Vice President of Operations at software startup BOS Framework. Previously, he co-founded and served as Chief Product Officer for Zeumo Communications, which was acquired in 2015 by The Advisory Board Company.
Prior to Zeumo, Anderson’s career was in the nonprofit sector. He served as the co-founder and Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Tennessee College Access and Success Network where he led the creation of the organizational strategy, outcomes, and metrics for a statewide intermediary organization. He also helped design and develop the Nashville College Connection, Nashville’s first and only college access resource center.
His early work in youth organizing around college access was recognized as a finalist for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation and is the subject of a documentary entitled “College on the Brain.” In addition to his books and blog (www.andersonwwilliams.com), Anderson co-authored The Core Principles for Engaging Young People in Community Change, and Youth Organizing for Educational Change, with the Forum for Youth Investment, and his writing was published in a special issue of the international Journal of Community Psychology on Youth and Democracy.
He has worked with schools, local and national nonprofits, and other community partnerships facilitating staff development and strategic planning with an emphasis on more creative, democratic organizations for both youth and adults.
Anderson received his Master of Business Administration at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, a Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art and his B.A. from Wake Forest University.
Session Leaders
A-C     D-F     G-I     J-M     N-R     S     T-Z
Burkley Allen
Burkley has served two-terms in the Metro Council.  She has worked on neighborhood concerns, historic preservation, and pedestrian issues and has sponsored legislation dealing with city-wide issues like stormwater, sidewalks and bike infrastructure.  She served two years on the Planning Commission.
A 30 year resident of the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood, Allen served on the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood board for most of that time, serving as Chair of the Association for two terms.  During that time, she spearheaded the development of three community playgrounds, led numerous neighborhood tree planting days, served on the West End Middle School PTO, and worked on zoning and historic preservation.
Richard Audet
Richard has lived in Germantown for 11 years and served as Historic Germantown Neighbors President for three of them. He is a retired professor who specialized in science education. His record of public service, spanning more than twenty years, has always focused on local community enhancement.
Ruby Baker
Ruby currently serves as President of the Bordeaux Hills Residential Association and Director of the Bordeaux Hills Neighborhood Watch. She is a passionate Advocate and a Voice for the Community. Ruby has coordinated and conducted Community Surveys and Audits in which the results helped to provide insight and guidance that strengthened the community and improved the community’s quality of life. Ruby is a Nashville Native and a Single Mother of four Children and six Grandchildren. She grew up in North Nashville.
Ellen Britton
Session Co-Leader for Don't Forget to Have Fun!

Ellen is a veteran musician with decades of performing, writing, recording, and teaching

experience. The daughter of well-known Philadelphia area folksinger George Britton, she moved to Nashville in 1991 where she has built a career including touring, staff songwriter deals, and a thriving practice teaching guitar to prominent and aspiring artists and songwriters in Music City. Ellen has served as the vice president of Caldwell Abbay Hall Neighborhood Association since 2014.

Tifinie Capehart

Tifinie is a Realtor with SilverPointe Properties, an Urban Planning Consultant and an Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at Tennessee State University. She has over 11 years experience working in the areas of Community Planning, Housing Policy, and Design here in Nashville. While a city planner, Tifinie lead long-range planning initiatives in Madison, North Nashville, and Antioch, and lead community engagement for NashvilleNext. Tifinie uses those skills as a Land Use Consultant, working with investors to help them realize highest-and-best use of their property based on sound urban planning principles. Tifinie also uses her experience as a Realtor to help developer clients sell the product that successfully get approved and build, buyer and sellers reach their personal real estate goals. Tifinie is a wife, and a mom to two little ones.

Tom Cash

Tom is a lifelong Nashvillian who lives in the Hillsboro West End Neighborhood where he has served as Chairman of the neighborhood association from 2010-14 and 2017-present, working on many issues protecting and enhancing the community. He has served on Neighbor to Neighbor’s Celebration of Neighborhoods Coordinating Committee and the Metro Planning Think Tank. He has taught English and Government at Hillsboro and Hume-Fogg, sponsored student government, YMCA’s Youth in Government, and chaired Reaccreditation Teams. He is married to Melissa and has two children, Hayden, a Hume-Fogg junior, and Ella, a sixth grader at West End Middle.

Twana Chick

Twana is a rare native Nashvillian who has witnessed first hand the changes in our community.  She spent 28 years with the Metro Police Department, including working with Community Affairs, which broadened her community engagement.  She has been the president of Cane Ridge Community Club for 3 years. Cane Ridge is currently struggling to balance growth with the needs of the community.

Gina Coleman

Gina is passionate about her neighborhood. She has gained this experience starting as a novice from the work of establishing the Haynes Park Neighborhood Association with six other like-minded passionate neighbors who wanted to see a change. Through this 14-year old community organizing and advocacy work Gina has gained invaluable experience and leadership skills.

Dr. Paulette Coleman

Paulette is a lifelong social justice advocate. Most recently, she has served as the Chair of NOAH's (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope) Affordable Housing Task Force. She also represents Lee Chapel AME Church on NOAH's Board of Directors. In the past, Dr. Coleman has served as an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the Nashville Branch NAACP.

Sam Coleman

Sam has lived in Nashville since 1975 working in Healthcare and for the last 18 years in residential Real Estate at Fridrich & Clark. He lives in a community of 155 homes in Sugartree on Woodmont Blvd. and has served the community in various roles including Chairman of the Grounds Committee and currently serves as Chairman of the Home Owner Association Board of Directors.

Ashonti Davis

Ashonti is a native of Nashville living in the Highland Heights neighborhood her entire life. Beginning in May 2017, Ashonti organized neighbors in Highland Heights and attended nearly every Planning Commission meeting for approximately seven months protesting zoning changes for intense density in the infill of the neighborhood. That neighborhood project led to some land use policy changes in the Highland Heights neighborhood. Ashonti serves on the Steering Committee for the Highland Heights Neighborhood Association, the Board for Trinity Community Commons (a nonprofit organization in the Highland Heights neighborhood), and as a Steering Committee member for two Metro Planning Commission charrettes in East Nashville.

Karissa Deiter

Karissa is program coordinator of Oasis Center’s Maptivists Youth Research and Action Team and the WeGo Public Transit Youth Action Team. In these roles, Karissa coordinates weekly school-year programming and summer internship opportunities for young people to increase their knowledge of local systems and connect to their communities as informed leaders. Karissa works to create pathways for meaningfully incorporating youth voice into decision-making at local and institutional levels, including on the Nashville Longitudinal Study of Youth Safety and Well-Being.

Joe Farris

A graduate of TSU acquiring my BS in Psychology and a graduate of TREVECCA acquiring my Masters in Organizational Leadership, Joe has been working with youth for over 10yrs.He is an advocate for young people and want them to feel his support, understand they are awesome ,and have the confidence to use their voices as they become contributing members within the community.

Winnie Forrester

Winnie is a retired financial advisor and community advocate. She organized neighbors in a historical minority neighborhood to build community and restore the Haynes Heights Neighborhood Association.  Winnie led the initiative to work with Metro Planning to update the Nashville Next Community Plan land use policy for the area. In early 2018, She co-founded the Haynes-Trinity Neighborhood Coalition comprised of neighborhood groups, faith-based institutions and non-profits and negotiated a community benefits agreement with a proposed industrial facility. She continues to build and maintain relationships with business and community leaders, labor unions, developers and elected officials.

Mel Fowler-Green

Mel is the Executive Director of the Metro Human Relations Commission. Prior to this position, she was a public interest and civil rights attorney for fourteen years. Mel consults on conflict management and discussion facilitation. She has also been a recognized advocate for low wage workers, victims of labor trafficking, fair access to affordable housing, and for dismantling systemic forms of inequality.

Tricia Frantz

Tricia Frantz is a passionate neighborhood leader who has been serving her community since 1994. As a founding member of Montrose Neighborhood Alliance which was renamed 12South Neighborhood Association Tricia shepherded 12South from 90 households to over 3,000 households. Today, Tricia is the neighborhood president of Caldwell Abbay Hall Neighborhood Association, the zoo neighborhood.  Working with a strong core of neighbors Caldwell Abbay Hall is realizing a renewed interest from neighbors to support the organization. Tricia also works as the Director of Development for Neighbor 2 Neighbor. Tricia is excited to use her extensive neighborhood experience to benefit Neighbor 2 Neighbor.

Howard Gentry
Session Leader for Metro Government 101

Howard Gentry serves the Metropolitan Government of Nashville as the Criminal Court Clerk of Davidson County in the Twentieth Judicial District.  

A Nashville native, Gentry was elected three times to countywide public office. He was a Metro Council member-at-large before being elected Metro Nashville-Davidson County’s first and, to date, only African American vice mayor. His professional life has also included work in banking, insurance and sports radio broadcasting. He is the proud father of four daughters.

Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez has covered the news and told unusual local stories for seven years in Nashville, first for The Tennessean and most recently with Nashville Public Radio. His in-depth work has examined foster care, sexual assault, and the lives of refugees. He closely follows the Metro Council and policies on housing, development, pedestrian safety, and disruptive new industries. Gonzalez grew up in the Chicago suburbs and lives with his wife and daughter in Lockeland Springs.

Anna Grider

Anna is a Community Planner for the Metro Nashville Planning Department where she specializes in long-range planning and the community visioning process. Her passion is public engagement, particularly through the Planning Department’s design charrettes, where she tailors the visioning exercises to the needs of each community. 


A native of Nottingham, England, Anna has spent 15 years in the US. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Geography from the University of Sheffield, England and a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to moving to Nashville, Anna worked for the Planning Departments of the City of Broken Arrow and the City of Oklahoma City, and for the Institute for Quality Communities at University of Oklahoma. Anna lives with her husband and two kids in Inglewood.

Robert Guth

Robert is a senior tax attorney at Bass Berry & Sims, where he specializes in state and local tax and opportunity zones tax incentives. Robert also volunteers his time serving on the boards of the Nations Neighborhood Association and St. Luke’s Community House and serving on the Nashville Promise Zones working groups for jobs and economic development and affordable housing.

Jennifer Hagan-Dier

Jennifer moved from Chicago to Historic Edgefield back in 2005. She was an active board member of the Historic Edgefield Neighborhood Association during the fight over the PSC metals plant and the riverfront redevelopment as well as the community response to the 2010 flood and the first fights to save historic homes from “tall and skinny” developers. In 2013 Jennifer, her husband, their son, and their six rescued animals moved out to a ranch in the “country” known as Whites Creek. They once again found themselves in an area in need of community organizing and activism through the NashvilleNext planning process. Jennifer served as a Commissioner on the Metro Planning Commission from 2015-2017.  Since then, she has actively supported communities who find themselves caught off guard by development plans working with them to ensure that they know their rights and that their voices are heard.  Jennifer is a founding member of the newly formed Friends of Whites Creek community organization

Jim Hawk

Jim is the Executive Director of the Neighbor 2 Neighbor. He is a long-time community advocate and business leader with a proven record in creating and developing organizations to meet or exceed member expectations. He is particularly effective in developing strategic plans and empowering employees and members to achieve their goals. His passion is creating community that bridges differences and helps people to work toward common goals.

Angie Henderson

Angie is a Metro Council member serving District 34 in southwest Nashville. She is Vice Chair of the Council’s Public Works Committee and a member and former chair of the Parks, Libraries & Arts Committee. She is also a member of the Traffic, Parking & Transportation and the Budget & Finance Committees.

Angie has 18 years of direct experience working with businesses, property owners, neighbors, non-profits and Metro Government for the benefit of neighborhoods and has been a successful advocate for a more walkable Nashville. Angie served on the board of her neighborhood association for five years, two as vice president and three as president. During her tenure, she introduced and composed a quarterly e-mail newsletter, moderated the neighborhood Facebook group, and helped grow association membership almost 50%.

Mike Hodge

Mike has been the Organizing Director for NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope) since 2014. NOAH is an interfaith, multi-racial organization that unites 64 congregations, labor unions, and associations, engaging ordinary people in shaping political & economic decisions affecting their lives.

 

For 17 years, Mike served as a United Methodist Church and Community Worker, helping inner-city neighborhood residents to create neighborhood organizations to take action on the problems they saw in their communities. Later, he worked for 17 years for the Neighborhoods Resource Center, working mainly with lower-income neighborhoods. Mike’s work with NOAH is to build city-wide power for changes that go beyond one neighborhood – such as affordable housing and criminal justice reform.

Corey D. Jenkins, Sr.

Corey came to Nashville in 1995. Originally from Cleveland, he now lives in the Haynes Garden Neighborhood in Bordeaux.  Corey has distinguished himself as a caring, hard-working, fun-loving team player that believes helping others is the true path to success and prosperity As a financial professional, Corey has constantly given of his time and energy to assist numerous novice and expert entrepreneurs in developing their business. Corey has three children, ages 18, 16, and 14. He has been ordained as a deacon and a local elder in the Seventh Day Adventist denomination.

Lonnell Matthews

In 2007, at age 27, Lonnell became the youngest African-American elected to Nashville’s Metro Council, representing District 1. His leadership roles during the 8 years he served on the Metro Council included Speaker Pro Tempore, Budget & Finance Chair, Education Chair, Parks & Recreation Chair and Black Caucus President. In 2015, Megan Barry appointed Lonnell as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods & Community Engagement (ONCE). As Director of ONCE, Lonnell coordinated the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit, Race Equity and Leadership Summit, the Mayor’s Spring and Fall Clean Beautification Initiatives, Metro Night Out events and the Mayor’s Office Shop Talks. He also led the project team for Nashville’s 3-1-1 reboot, hubNashville; coordinated the community advisory group that created the policy for police body worn cameras and served on the steering committee to create the Juvenile Restorative Diversion pilot in Davidson County Juvenile Court. While serving as Mayor David Briley’s Public Safety Policy Advisor, Lonnell was decisively elected to serve as Nashville & Davidson County’s next Juvenile Court Clerk on August 2, 2018.

Cheryl Mayes
Facilitator for HOA's Unite!

Cheryl has worked in her community and in corporate settings for over thirty years as an Accountant, Community Engagement Advocate/Organizer and Education Program Director, while simultaneously serving multiple roles with several Employee Resource Groups and Community volunteer groups. In 2017, Cheryl founded and is the Principal Consultant of My Toolbox Consulting, an education consulting firm based in Nashville, TN.

A testament to her long-time commitment as an advocate for public education, Cheryl was elected to public office as a member of the Board of Education for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) where she served for four years, her last two as the Chairperson of the Board (2012-2014). In 2019, Cheryl once again embark in a political campaign seeking the seat of the next District 32 Metro Council member, serving the Antioch and Cane Ridge communities in Southeast Nashville.

Anita McCaig

Anita has worked as a community planner for the Nashville Metro Planning Department for over 20 years. In her long-range planning work, she works with neighborhoods across Davidson County. Prior to that, she worked as a planner in New Mexico and Mexico, working with long established Native American and Hispanic groups.

Sam McCullough
Session Leaders for Do You Live in a Food Desert?

Sam is a native Nashvilian with a family legacy that dates back to the late 1890’s. He is the founding chairperson and president of the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Association, and former Executive Direct of the North Edgefield Organized Neighbors.

Sam is employed at Meharry Medical College and has worked in Preventive Research working with food insecure neighborhoods across the city. He is currently serving a Community Navigator working with HIV/Aids prevention and educating the public on a new medication that is effective in preventing HIV.

 

Sam is also the Co-chairperson of the Nashville Health Disparities Coalition, working with various organizations to breakthrough some of the barriers people have with achieving good health.

Kate Monaghan

Kate Monaghan has been a facilitator of collaboration, mergers and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations since 2000 through the Center for Nonprofit Management and her own consulting firm, Partnering Services.  Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Kate served as Executive Director of the Community Resource Center and the Nashville Civic Design Center. A resident of Nashville since 1974, she is an active member of the College Hill Neighborhood Association in North Nashville’s Hadley Park neighborhood and a new member of the Neighbor 2 Neighbor Board of Directors.

Brenda Morrow

Brenda is Director of the Edgehill Family Resource Center and Organized Neighbors of Edgehill (ONE). She is the President of the Edgehill Apartments Resident Association and serves of the Board of Neighborhood Health. Her work includes being an advocate for both the elderly and children, resident leadership development in Edgehill and other communities, and program development around resident-identified issues.

Valeri Otey-Nellis

Valeri is the Leadership Development Specialist at the Neighbor 2 Neighbor. She has worked extensively to build and improve relationships.  Whether it has been on the numerous boards of directors she been appointed/elected to, the workshops she has facilitated or the community development she has accomplished. She believes people first! Valeri is a native Nashvillian and a proud third generation graduate of Tennessee State University.

Van Pinnock

Van is Chief Administrative Officer at duGard Communications.  In this role he participates in all aspects of business and strategic planning, and manages corporate sponsorship activities. He serves on the Board of Neighbor to Neighbor, is an advisory board member for Family and Children Service’s Relative Care Giver Program and is Board Vice President of Choral Arts Link, Inc.  Van co-founded the College Hill Neighborhood Group in 2012 and served as its director for six years. He graduated from Fisk University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration.

David Plazas

David is the Opinion and Engagement Director for the USA TODAY NETWORK Tennessee where he serves as The Tennessean’s editorial writer and opinion columnist and an editorial board member, and oversees opinion strategy for The Tennessean, the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He is an award-winning journalist who wrote a series on affordable housing, “The Costs of Growth in Nashville” (2017), and leads a statewide campaign, “Civility Tennessee” (2018-Present) to encourage, promote and practice civil discourse. He frequently works on community listening initiatives of diverse groups. A longtime mentor of young journalists, Plazas, a Chicago native, lives in Nashville’s Salemtown neighborhood resident. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish and a master’s in journalism, both from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.

Laura Pnewski
Session Co-Leader for Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Laura, Nashvillian since 2013 and resident of Caldwell-Abbay Hall Neighborhood, Pnewski is an active member in her community.  Serving as the Social Chair for the Caldwell-Abbay Hall Neighborhood Association Steering Committee, Pnewski has focused on increasing neighborhood engagement through expansion of social activities.  Pnewski also volunteers with the Nashville Humane Association and is an active Nashville Zoo Roar Corps member.

Emily Quinlan

Emily is a Conservation Project Manager at The Land Trust for Tennessee, where she’s been for two years and has enjoyed her transition from the practice of law to project management. In her role, Emily facilitates urban, suburban, and rural land conservation projects. In addition to her project management, Emily focuses on strategic thinking and planning, and program design.

Megan Seeman

Megan is a life long resident of Middle Tennessee and proponent for bringing neighbors together for positive action. She sat on The Nations Neighborhood Association Board of Directors for two years- during the largest period of growth for the neighborhood- and along with her husband, she founded The Westside Meetup, an organization that aims to bring neighbors together while raising awareness and funds for local area nonprofits. Most recently, she served as the Marketing Committee Chair for the 2018 Good Neighbor Day Festival.

Shawn Shepard

Shawn is a Senior Planner in the Land Development division of the Metro Nashville Planning Department where she focuses on review of applications for zone changes and subdivisions. As a member of the Land Development team, Shawn’s role includes assessing how development proposals fit into the community’s vision and direction for the future, as outlined in NashvilleNext, Metro’s adopted general plan. Although there are challenges to doing this work in a vibrant, growing city with sometimes competing priorities, Shawn really enjoys the moments when all the puzzle pieces come together, resulting in successful projects that balance the needs and desires of property owners, neighbors, and the citizens of greater Nashville.

Rae Sovereign
Panelist for Tag, You’re It!

Rae became active in her community as soon as she moved to Nashville. She is involved in NOAH, Jobs with Justice, and Highland Heights Neighborhood Association. Recently retired from teaching full-time in the Department of Labor Studies at Indiana University, she is now working as an adjunct professor and developing curriculum to empower neighborhoods to organize for justice.

Kathleen Sutherland

Kathleen is the Director of Development and Training for Ghertner & Company in Nashville. Her experience in community association management includes site management of a mid-sized condominium property, and portfolio management.  She conducts practical training on various topics relating to community associations for managers, board members and sales teams.

Steve Swartz

Steve is a member of the Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association where he served as president for three terms.  He organized the business and community to help Metro design the new streetscape for “downtown Sylvan Park” and worked with developer Core Development to introduce Richland Station to Sylvan Park.  Steve serves with Nashville Adult Literacy teaching United States citizenship and serving as a practice citizenship test examiner. He is a member of the Neighbor 2 Neighbor Board of Directors.

Jeff Syracuse

Jeff has called Nashville home since 1998, moving here to complete his music degree at Middle Tennessee State University. He has been deeply involved in his community in numerous ways, notably as founder of Donelson Hills Neighborhood Association and one of the founders of Hip Donelson and also serves on the boards of The Donelson Gateway Project and Friends of Two Rivers Mansion.  Jeff is a Past President of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce. Jeff has worked at Broadcast Music, Inc. for 20 years and is currently Associate Director for Licensing Customer Relations, leading the radio and TV licensing team. Jeff also serves as the Chairman of the Board of The Blues Foundation, representing BMI’s dominance of songwriters, composers, and publishers in the genre over any other U.S. performing rights organization. Jeff was elected to Metro Council in 2015 representing the 15th District.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike Thompson

Mike is a Project and Evaluation Manager at both the Nashville Civic Design Center and fellow at the Tennessee State Health Department, where he works with communities towards creating livable neighborhoods for all people. With his masters from Vanderbilt in Community Development, Mike consults with neighborhoods in developing local level assessments, and tools for negotiating with land developers. Mike also conducts research and trainings on best practices of designing healthier communities.

 
Nancy VanReece

Nancy personal mission is to advocate creative opportunities to help communities achieve their full potential.  She is the Nashville and Davidson County Metro Councilmember responsible for surging popularity and citizen activism in District 8, which includes parts of North Inglewood, Maplewood, and Madison. She served as Chair of the Convention, Tourism Committee and is now Vice-Chair of the Parks, Libraries & Arts Committee and was appointed by the Mayor's Office onto the Metro Nashville Diversity Advisory Council. She is an At-Large Board Member of the National League of Cities Local Officials LGBTQ constituency group.

 
Yolanda C. Vaughn

Yolanda is a community outreach and engagement specialist.  She is skilled in bridging relationships between diverse stakeholder groups and is passionate about advancing access to opportunity, enhancing quality of life and economic security for all.  Her commitment is to increase the capacity of individuals to build community and use creative solutions to positively transform neighborhoods.

 
Scott Weiss

Scott is an attorney at Ortale Kelley Law Firm. Scott is Tennessee’s first and only attorney inducted as a Fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). Scott’s practice almost exclusively involves community association law and real estate law. Scott represents Associations in matters involving delinquent account collections, restrictions enforcement, HOA rights in bankruptcy, State and Federal Fair Housing laws; governing document interpretation, composition, amendments and legal opinions; parliamentary procedure; and association general counsel matters. sweiss@ortalekelley.com.

 
Hwesi Zanu

Hwesi (way-see) Zanu (zah-nu) regards learning a life-long responsibility. She earned an Associate's Degree in Environmental Technology from Indiana Technical/Vocational College, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University, and graduate degrees in Sociology/Criminology from Bowling Green State University.

After working in education and social research for many years, she is a full-time environmental activist and part-time grant proposal writer for Neighbor 2 Neighbor.  For the last several years, Hwesi has been active in her neighborhood organization, Eastwood Neighbors Association, and currently serves on their Board of Directors.