A Letter from Our Gala Co-Chairs:
It is our honor to serve as the 2018 Hermitage Gala Co-Chairs, and to partner with such a worthy organization. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is a national historic treasure and a point of local and state pride. Proceeds from this year’s event will help strengthen the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s education and public programming as well as assist the organization with its ongoing preservation and restoration projects.
The Hermitage opened its doors as a presidential site in 1889 and since that time it has continued to be ranked among the finest presidential homes and museums in the country. With each passing decade, the responsibilities of ensuring the future of this non-profit institution and its mission have been carefully bestowed on the next generation. The Gala is an integral component in that safeguarding.
Our dedicated committee has spent many hours creating a fun, one-of-a-kind event for you and your guests. One of Nashville’s signature hotel, the Omni, has been selected as the ideal venue for our festivities. It will be a magical evening of music, select silent auction, fine dining, stimulating remarks from our keynote Tom Brokaw. The pinnacle of the night will be the presentation of the prestigious Lewis R. Donelson Award. Emily J. Reynolds will join the honor roll of esteemed leaders who have accepted the award as the 2018 recipient. We look forward to seeing you at the Gala!
Thank you for your support,
Sallie Norton & Carol Yochem
Sallie, a native of Murfreesboro, graduated from Harpeth Hall School in 1971 and from Vanderbilt University in 1975 with a B.A. in English. She served in the Alumni Office at Vanderbilt as Director of Reunions and then served as Director of Alumnae Relations at Harpeth Hall School for over 15 years. She also served as Finance Director for Senator Bill Frist from 1995-98. Her husband, William L. Norton III (Bill) is a partner with Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings. They have three children: Will (age 37) serves as the Dean of the Upper School at Montgomery Bell Academy, Jameson (35) is CEO of Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Behavioral Health System, and Sarah (age 30) is a wife and mother in Birmingham, AL Sallie and Bill have eight grandchildren.
Carol Yochem is President of First Tennessee Bank in Middle Tennessee and has more than 30 years of banking and leadership experience. She leads a team of approximately 600 employees and oversees a combined portfolio of loans and deposits of approximately $8.5 billion for First Tennessee in Middle Tennessee. Carol serves on a number of boards or committees where she is significantly engaged and making contributions benefiting the Middle Tennessee community. Carol is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband Darryl, have two adult children.
About Our Honoree
Lewis R. Donelson Award Recipient: Emily J. Reynolds
Emily J. Reynolds has had an extensive career in public service, policy, and government. She is currently the vice chairman of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the state’s governing board for its 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. Appointed to the board initially by Governor Phil Bredesen, she has been reappointed twice by Governor Bill Haslam, and is now the longest serving vice chairman in the board’s history. Ms. Reynolds serves on the boards of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state’s largest health insurance company, and FB Financial (FirstBank), a public company. At Blue Cross, she is chairman of the compensation committee, past chairman of the governance and nominating committee, and is on the audit committee. She is on FirstBank’s trust committee.
Over the past three years, Ms. Reynolds has worked closely with Governor Haslam on development efforts for the new Tennessee State Museum, which opens this fall. She is also a commissioner on the Davidson County Election Commission. She is a former regent (board chairman) of the Andrew Jackson Foundation, formerly the LadiesHermitage Association, where she led the board’s transition from a local organization to a national scope. Two Tennessee Senators have served as majority leader of the U.S. Senate, and she has worked for both, Howard Baker and Bill Frist. Her first opportunity in government was as a special assistant to Senator Baker in Washington, D.C. A veteran of several statewide senate and gubernatorial campaigns, she returned home to Tennessee as deputy campaign manager and finance director in Bill Frist’s U.S. Senate race. Following his election, she entered state government to serve as Vice Chairman and Executive Director of Governor Don Sundquist’s TennCare Roundtable. She rejoined Senator Frist as his state director for his first term in office, and subsequently became his chief of staff in Washington, D.C. On the recommendation of the majority leader, Ms. Reynolds was elected by the U.S. Senate to serve as the 31st Secretary of the Senate where she managed the Senate’s legislative, financial and administrative operations for the 108th and 109th Congresses. She supervised approximately 240 employees and worked closely with all 100 Senators and their key staff.
After leaving the Senate, Ms. Reynolds joined the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power company, as a senior vice president. She managed TVA’s federal, state and local government relations for six years. A graduate of Stephens College in Columbia, MO, Ms. Reynolds holds a bachelor of arts degree. In March 2012, she was named to the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Leaders Award from Women in Numbers, a nonpartisan local organization encouraging women to become more involved in government and politics. Ms. Reynolds is an active member of the Tennessee chapters of Women Corporate Directors and the International Women’s Forum. She is a member of the Centennial Club and is currently co-chair of the public interest committee. She is a Nashville native.
Guest Speaker: Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw has spent his entire journalism career with NBC News, beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of the Sixties counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign.
Brokaw went to Washington as White House correspondent during Watergate. Next, New York and the TODAY show followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. He took over Meet the Press for the 2008 campaign.
He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down. In 1998, Brokaw published his first book, The Greatest Generation, one of the most popular nonfiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with six other books, including the most recent, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir.
Brokaw has won every major award in his craft, including Peabody, duPonts, Emmys and lifetime achievement recognition. In 2014, Brokaw was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest civilian award given to those who made “meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” In the spring of 2016, Brokaw was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his work on advocacy for the accomplishments of World War II veterans.