For Immediate Release
Newly elected board of directors provide broad statewide representation for Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation
Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) announced the election of seven new members to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The new board of directors include Etta Clark, Eastman Chemical Company; Jennifer Colquitt; Judge Brandon O. Gibson, TN Court of Appeals, Western Section; Larry Jensen, Cushman & Wakefield; Denine Torr, Dollar General Corporation; Dr. Phil Wenk, Delta Dental of Tennessee and Dr. Andrea Willis, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. GBBF also announced the election of Mark Cate, Stones River Group, as Board Chairman and Rachel Gatlin, Office of First Lady Crissy Haslam as Board Secretary.
GBBF promotes early childhood literacy in Tennessee’s birth to age five population by supporting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program statewide, giving all preschool-aged children in Tennessee the opportunity to receive books in the mail each month at no cost to families. Through an annual state grant and private fundraising, GBBF funds 50% of the cost of books and mailing for all 95 county Imagination Library programs and provides volunteer training in fundraising, volunteer development, marketing and technology.
“Through its work with hundreds of volunteers statewide, GBBF gives all Tennessee families the opportunity to experience the joy of reading together, while providing children with the early literacy skills needed to succeed in school,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
First Lady Crissy Haslam has made the program a key part of her early childhood platform. “It is an honor to welcome this diverse group of accomplished Tennesseans to GBBF’s Board,” First Lady Haslam said. “They bring strong skills, experience and a fresh perspective that will strengthen the organization’s future as a leading early literacy program that is making a lasting impact on our children.”
“All seven of these newest board members embody the spirit of our early literacy mission with their passion for and commitment to early education as the critical factor in long-term educational success,” said Theresa Carl, Governor’s Books from Birth President. “They will be fantastic representatives of the Foundation and will reinforce our mission statewide.”
Etta Clark, Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Policy, Eastman Chemical Company, has actively served in the East Tennessee community since 1998. She currently serves on the Hall of Fame Management Board of Directors for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Board.
Jennifer Colquitt serves as Assistant to the Frist Family of Nashville, Tenn., and is an active community leader. Colquitt currently sits on the board of Chi Omega House Corporation at Vanderbilt as Past President and is a seven-year member of the Junior League of Nashville, where she has served in numerous placements focused on literacy and child health in the Nashville community.
Judge Brandon O. Gibson is one of 12 members of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. She practiced law at Pentecost & Glenn in Jackson, Tenn., prior to being appointed by Governor Haslam to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Western Section, in December 2013. Judge Gibson is a past member of GBBF’s Advisory Council.
Larry Jensen, President and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Advisors Partners, is an active community member in Memphis, Tenn., currently serving on the Board of Visitors for the University of Memphis, the Board of Advisors for the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business and Chairman of the Methodist Foundation Board.
Denine Torr, Senior Director of Community Initiatives, Dollar General Corporation, is a past member of GBBF’s Advisory Council. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Public Library Foundation, Nashville Public Television and is board chair for ProLiteracy Worldwide.
Dr. Phil Wenk, D.D.S., has served as the President and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee since 2000. He is currently serving on boards for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Church Health, University of Tennessee President’s Council, Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dr. Wenk is a past member of GBBF’s Advisory Council.
Dr. Andrea Willis is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. She previously served the State of Tennessee as director of CoverKids and as deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. Dr. Willis is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Tennessee Medical Association.
The full slate of board of directors for 2018 is listed below.
Theresa Carl, President of GBBF
Mark Cate, Chairman of the Board
Rachel Gatlin, Secretary of the Board
Judge Brandon O. Gibson
Dr. Phil Wenk, D.D.S.
Dr. Andrea D. Willis, MD, MPH, FAAP
GBBF is a non-partisan 501c3 public charity, promoting early childhood literacy in Tennessee’s birth to age five population. Founded in 2004, GBBF sustains and strengthens Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in all 95 Tennessee counties, ensuring that new, age-appropriate books are mailed to Tennessee’s preschool children, at no cost to the family and regardless of income. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org, www.facebook.com/TNImaginationLibrary, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.
MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Jones
615-350-4355 | Claire.Jones@tn.gov