Leadership Moves at Tennessee World Affairs Council

A new chairman and expanded board membership mark growth and reach of Nashville’s global affairs education nonprofit.

Mr. Jim Shepherd

Nashville, TN (July 10, 2017) – The Tennessee World Affairs Council is delighted to announce the appointment of a new board chairman and new members to the board of directors.

Current board member Jim Shepherd has been named the first chairman of the newly expanded board of the Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational charity that works to increase global affairs awareness among the public, businesses and in schools.

The board also welcomed new members Dr. Marieta Velikova, Associate Professor of Economics at Belmont University and Mr. Keith Simmons, former Managing Partner, Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville. Dr. Velikova, previously a member of the President’s Advisory Board was also named as Vice President. Current board member Mr. Mike McCooey, Vice President, Latin America at Asurion was named Treasurer.

Dr. Marieta Velikova

The expansion of the board comes as the World Affairs Council completes a successful program year of organizing community and education outreach activities to increase awareness of international affairs according to its President Patrick W. Ryan. “The World Affairs Council’s structure was recently updated to add a chairman in recognition of its increased role in the community,“ he said, adding, “We are excited that Jim Shepherd, our new chairman, will bring his many years of experiences of leadership in industry and building successful teams to the mission of global literacy in the community.”

Mr. Mike McCooey

Mr. Shepherd is Senior Advisor, Carlex Glass where he served as President from 2012 to 2017 and he previously served as Chairman of the International Business Council of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “The World Affairs Council gives our community a much-needed focus that connects us to the world at a time when America faces serious and sometimes grave challenges economically, politically and militarily,” Shepherd said. “At the same time the “global literacy” of our fellow citizens is distressingly low and argues for better international affairs awareness for members of our community to exercise their responsibilities as citizens.”

Mr. Keith Simmons

Shepherd noted that Nashville and Tennessee are increasingly dependent on global trade and investment and ensuring there is a world-class and global savvy workforce is key to the success of area businesses and economic growth, helping our community become more prosperous. “The Council has brought terrific programs to Nashville, such as the Russian Ambassador, before he became a national celebrity, other diplomats, business leaders, scholars and policymakers,” adding, “Interactions with global leaders gives people insights and perspectives you can’t get from most other sources.”

The Tennessee World Affairs Council which celebrated its tenth-anniversary this year is one of about 90 similar grassroots, educational groups in the country that work to improve global affairs awareness. It works closely with many of the nonprofits, businesses, and schools in the area that have global interests. The Tennessee World Affairs Council enjoys a close partnership with Belmont University where it is based. The Council is a membership organization and you can get details on programs and joining at www.TNWAC.org.


The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at: www.TNWAC.org  — 

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