Four new members have joined the board of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp: Dr. Robert Fisher, president of Belmont University; Laura Hollingsworth, president and publisher of The Tennessean and TN Media; Brian Tibbs, partner, director of Southeast Operations, at Moody Nolan; and Erica Garrison, counsel at Waller.
Additionally, Beth Seigenthaler Courtney, president at DVL Seigenthaler, will serve as board chair for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Kevin Lavender, senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank, will serve as chair-elect. Ken Levitan serves as immediate past chair.
“These leaders bring immense knowledge and varied business expertise to the board of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp,” Courtney said. “With Nashville well into its sixth year of unprecedented and record tourism growth, these four individuals will add greatly to an already highly effective leadership team. We look forward to working together so that Nashville remains a top global destination and the tourism industry continues as a key economic generator for the city.”
Prior to Fisher’s appointment at Belmont in April of 2000, he was vice president for academic affairs at Arkansas State University and had previously served as dean of the school of business at Henderson State University. He has served as chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Pencil Foundation board chair, co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Education and as a member of the board for non-profits such as the Nashville Public Education Foundation, Alignment Nashville, Cumberland Region Tomorrow, United Way, Nashville Symphony and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Under his leadership, Belmont’s enrollment has more than doubled, and new undergraduate majors have been added in motion pictures, music therapy, publishing, social entrepreneurship, songwriting, worship leadership and public relations, as well as doctoral programs in pharmacy and law. In 2008, Fisher was named “Tennessean of the Year,” and in 2010, he was named “Nashvillian of the Year.”
In addition to Hollingsworth’s leadership roles at The Tennessean, she is Central Group President for Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing Division with oversight responsibilities for a total of 26 media markets in nine states. She joined the Gannett Company, which owns The Tennessean, in June, 1989 and worked in Wisconsin, Washington State, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa markets in progressive leadership positions. She was president and publisher of Des Moines Register Media for six years prior to arriving in Nashville in May of 2013.
Tibbs has been with the architecture firm Moody Nolan for 19 years, leading several projects for the firm throughout the country and was the Nashville project manager for the Music City Center architectural design team. His work includes the Meharry Medical College Cal Turner Family Center project and the historic restoration and renovation of Cravath Hall at Fisk University, which received the prestigious Historic Preservation Trust Honor Award. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, National Organization of Minority Architects, member and chair of the Metropolitan Nashville Historical Zoning Commission, and member of the Metro Planning Commission. He is on the board and current President of Historic Nashville Inc., the University School of Nashville, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority Arts at the Airport Board, the Rotary Club of Nashville, Nashville Life Church Leader, The Land Trust for Tennessee, and is an alumnus of Leadership Nashville.
Garrison is known for her unique understanding of municipal and state regulatory law, and she assists clients involved in transactions with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and other local governments. She also works on land use and zoning issues associated with controversial projects and identifies and obtains state and local incentives for businesses relocating to Tennessee. In addition, Erica performs procurement work for clients, from helping them respond to an RFP to contesting the issuance of an RFP award. She also regularly represents clients on a cadre of state regulatory matters before the state’s various boards and commissions. Garrison was previously an associate attorney with the Metropolitan Department of Law in Nashville. Garrison will serve in an ex officio capacity as legal counsel.
These new board members join existing NCVC board members for FY 16-17: Ronnie Smith of Regions Bank; John Fleming of Renaissance Nashville Hotel; Peter J. Weien, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center; Jana Davis of HCA; John Esposito of Warner Music Group; Mignon Francois of Cupcake Collection; Max Goldberg of Strategic Hospitality; Ed Hardy; Bob Patterson of Bradley; Tony Phillips of Loews Vanderbilt Hotel; Dan Piotrowski of Omni Nashville Hotel; and Rick Schwartz of Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
Ex officio members include Butch Spyridon of the NCVC; Howard Kittell of The Hermitage, who serves as chair of the Metro Tourism and Convention Commission; and Sarah Trahern of the CMA.
The 22-member, volunteer board are community leaders who represent the diverse voices of the Nashville community. Elected for staggered terms, the board is charged with directing the organization’s work on behalf of the city, the members of the NCVC and the city’s vibrant hospitality industry.