Meet the Facilitators and Ambassadors

The idea for this new academy resonated with me as I thought back to my nurse leadership journey and career. I recognized how my personhood being a Black woman—a nurse leader of color—forged a different path for me than my white colleagues. This leadership academy, based on specialized education, discussions and interactions with peers and diverse nurse leaders, affords the emerging leader an opportunity to thoughtfully design their leadership plan.”—Co-Director Mamie Williams, PhD, senior director for nurse diversity and inclusion at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

This emerging nurse leader academy is the work of a multi-cultural group of nurses and educators who drew from their own experiences and knowledge to identify specific education and opportunities that those committed to diversity in nursing leadership should experience to encourage and equip them for success at an early stage of their career.


Emerging Nurse Leaders Taskforce


  • Dr. Rolanda Johnson, Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Vanderbilt School of Nursing 
  • Dr. Mamie Williams, Senior Director of Nursing Diversity and Inclusion, Vanderbilt University Medical Center


  • Marilyn Dubree, Executive Chief Nursing Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Dr. Pam Jeffries, Dean, Vanderbilt School of Nursing 
  • Dr. Mavis Schorn, Senior Associate Dean for Academics, Vanderbilt School of Nursing


2023 Ambassadors to the Academy 

  • G. Rumay Alexander, EdD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean of Relational Excellence, Adams School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kendra Barrier, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing and Inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Louisiana State University
  • Jennifer Barut, PhD, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Nursing Programs, ANA
  • André Churchwell, MD, Special Advisor for Inclusion and Community Outreach for the Office of the Chancellor at Vanderbilt University
  • Krystal Clark, MEd, Director of Employee Learning & Engagement, Vanderbilt University
  • Ali Cocco, MSN, CNM, FNP, Certified Nurse-Midwife and Assistant Professor in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, CRNP, FNP-BC, AACRN, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, President, National Black Nurses Association
  • Elisa Friedman, MS, Associate Vice President for Community Health and Health Equity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Pam Jones, DNP, RN, FAAN, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health and Wellness, Vanderbilt University
  • April N. Kapu, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, Associate Dean for Clinical and Community Partnerships, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Donna Kenerson, PhD, MPA, BSN, School of Nursing, Tennessee State University
  • Candice Story Lee, EdD, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs, Vanderbilt University
  • Brandee Madden, DNP, FN, PMHNP-BC, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and CEO, NLN
  • Adrianna Nava, PhD, MPA, MSN, RN, President, National Association of Hispanic Nurses
  • Thomas J. Netolicky, MAc, CPA, Vice President of Clinical Department Finance, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Sheila Peters, PhD, Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology, Fisk University
  • Randolph Rasch, PhD, RN, FNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, Professor, Michigan State University College of Nursing
  • Sharon K. Roberson, Esq., President, Nashville & Middle Tennessee YWCA
  • Margaret “Meg” G Rush, MD, MMHC, President, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Chance Ryon, MEd, Consultant, Employee Learning & Engagement, Vanderbilt University
  • Joyce Espy Searcy, MS. Momentum LLC
  • Blake Smith, MSN, RN, Past President, American Association for Men in Nursing
  • Marilyn Smith, DNP, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Chief Nursing Officer, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital
  • Julia M. Steed, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, CTTS, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Jing Wang, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, Florida State University College of Nursing
  • Jerry B. Williams, Executive Director Emerita, Leadership Nashville
  • Jane Zubulake. Chief Business Officer, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Rolanda Johnson standing at podium

"While I am grateful for the advice and tools that have been provided to me in my academic career, a leadership academy similar to the one we are hosting would have been invaluable. A major facet of the academy is incorporating and navigating the lived experiences and backgrounds of all the participants in the leadership realm.”

Co-Director Dr. Rolanda Johnson, Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Vanderbilt School of Nursing

Where would we have ever got to meet. learn from and have such meaningful conversation with all of these extraordinary individuals?!”