For the first time in its history, the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) will have a different person serving as its chair of the board of directors, and president of the organization. Since its inception in 2004, the two offices have been held by the same person at once.
Christopher Sanders, who has been chair and president since July 2006, opted not to run for president for the upcoming term that begins July 1. He was re-elected as the chair of the board of directors. The by-laws of the TEP limit board members to six consecutive years and with this being the last year Sanders could serve, he sought to have a different person elected as president.
“I wanted a year to work with the new executive team before my term ends,” Sanders said. “It's good succession planning.”
H. G. Stovall, an active member in the local GLBT community and a leader with the Nashville chapter of PFLAG, has been elected president and will assume those leadership duties on July 1.
TEP was formed in 2004, with Brandon Hutchison serving as its first-ever chair and president. Randy Cox took the helm in 2005, and then Sanders took the office in 2006.
As chair, Sanders will take a less active role in the day-to-day operations and will spend more time with public policy chair Pete Westerholm and lobbyist Jenny Ford on state policy development, and focus on the efforts to pass a Metro Nashville non-discrimination ordinance. Stovall will head up the effort to expand statewide support for lobbying efforts and working with local governments across the state.
TEP’s new executive committee includes the following:
H.G. Stovall, president
Stephen Henry, vice president
Wes Aull, treasurer
Jonathan Cole, secretary
Latoya Belgrave, at-large executive committee member.
Board members include:
Christopher Sanders, chair
Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper, Wes Aull, Latoya Belgrave, Jonathan Cole, Ryan Ellis, Darlene Fike, Brandon Hutchison, and Lane Scoggin. Re-elected to the board are Kim Council and H.G. Stovall. These new and re-elected board members join the following continuing board members: Lisa Beavers, Tom Ekman, Daniel Forrest, Stephen Henry, Chris Nelson, Chris Sanders, Peter Westerholm, and Rhonda White.
“I'd like to congratulate our new board members and officers,” Sanders said. “There are many notable features about this leadership team. As TEP faces an increasing workload and as the time has come to turn over responsibility for the organization to a new generation of leaders, I look forward to sharing oversight of the organization with H.G. Stovall, our president-elect, and the other officers.”
When asked about highlights that he had while serving as chair and president, Sanders said the task of forming the county committees was one of the most important tasks that TEP had ever undertaken.
“Those county committees are giving us power with the legislators and making it possible to introduce local non-discrimination ordinances,” he said.