Meet our  2019 Spring Conference keynote speakers

Laura H. Berlind

Laura joined The Sycamore Institute in 2015 as the founding executive director. She provides Sycamore’s organizational vision, strategic planning, and day-to-day management.  Laura holds a master’s degree in public policy with a focus on business and government from Harvard’s Kennedy School Government and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. Her role reflects her longstanding commitment to using data and research to bring together diverse stakeholders and work complex problems.

Laura brings with her almost fifteen years of nonprofit and government finance experience, most recently serving as the CEO of Renewal House, a holistic residential treatment center for women and their children affected by addiction and poverty. Prior to her role at Renewal House, she worked as a financial analyst at Vanderbilt University and as a vice president in the public finance department at Ambac Financial Group in New York, NY.  At Ambac, Laura worked with a wide range of government and nonprofit clients to evaluate and execute publically funded capital projects ranging in size up to $800 million.

Laura maintains a strong connection to her local community through service on nonprofit boards and other volunteer activities. She is currently serving as the chair of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health’s Planning and Policy Council and is an active member of Rotary Club.  In 2014, Laura received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and Other Addiction Services. She was also recognized as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2014 Forty Under 40 award winners. She is a member Leadership Tennessee’s Class IV and the 2018 class of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School.

When she is not a work, she loves to do anything outside – hiking, camping, sailing, scuba diving and skiing top the list. Laura and her husband, Andreas, live in Nashville with their two children and always-enthusiastic mutt, Sully.

Megan Barry

Megan Barry is the former Mayor of Nashville, TN.  She was the first woman to be elected to the office.  She is also a former council member at-large.  Her professional experience includes working as a corporate executive, independent consultant focusing on business ethics and corporate responsibility and as an adjunct professor.  She received her MBA from Vanderbilt University and currently serves on the board of the Women’s Fund for the Community Foundation.  She has previously served on several boards including the YWCA of Middle TN, and the Center for Non-Profit Management.  She has been invited to speak at Tedx Nashville, the International Women’s Forum, and OZY Media. After losing her son to a drug overdose in 2017, Barry is working to combat the opioid crisis and help those struggling with addiction by speaking up and speaking out.

T. K. Hampton

T.K. (Thunder Kellie) Hampton was born in the small town of Columbia, TN, where he was raised by his mother and father along with his two other siblings. After high school, TK went on to graduate from the University of Montevallo, Alabama, where he received his Bachelors of Science in Education, specializing in Special Education. He was an educator for special education for over 15 years.

When TK found out he was HIV Positive over 20 years ago, he knew then that he wanted to become a voice for young black gay men so that they wouldn’t have to go through the feeling of abandonment and the same turmoil that he went through. Becoming HIV Positive gave TK a voice and a platform, which he used to produce his first theatrical production entitled“You Shall LHiV” in 2007. “You Shall LHiV” was a production that focused on the black church and the statistics surrounding HIV in women. In 2017, T.K. Hampton wrote, produced, and directed the second theatrical production “You Shall LHiV 2: ZERO”, a theatrical production that gave voice to the most vulnerable within the LGBTQ community through song, dance, and monologues. ZERO educated and empowered LGBTQ individuals and their allies with the knowledge of biomedical advancements that helped stop the spread of HIV regardless of race, sex, or socio-economic status.

TK is currently working on his final theatrical production entitled “You Shall LHIV without STIGMA”. “You Shall LHiV without STIGMA” focuses on fighting and correcting the stigmas that black men face when dealing with race and HIV. TK is currently employed as the MSM/3MV Program Director at My House/Street Works. My House/ Street Works is a one stop shop for men who have sex with men to get HIV testing, STI testing and overall sexual education.

TK has been recognized and awarded in Nashville, TN and across the United States for his advocacy work within the HIV field. Although TK enjoys focusing on HIV in the black community, he wants to take it a step further and focus on a holistic healing through plant base practices to reach his targeted community.