1982 Heisman Trophy Winner, Mental Health Awareness Advocate, Author, Successful Entrepreneur, and Founder & President of Renaissance Man Food Services
Herschel Walker is widely regarded as one of football's greatest running backs. He led the University of Georgia to victory in the Sugar Bowl on the way to an NCAA Championship. He capped a sensational college career by earning the 1982 Heisman Trophy. Herschel then spent twelve years in the NFL, where he rushed for more than eight thousand yards and scored sixty-one rushing touchdowns.
Additionally, Herschel is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. He is the author of Breaking Free, an account of the joys and hardships of his childhood to his remarkable college and professional career. His compelling story testifies to the strength of the human spirit and the ability to overcome challenges.
Today, Herschel is a successful entrepreneur and the Founder & President of Renaissance Man Food Services, the largest certified minority-owned food company with offices in Siloam Springs, AR and Savannah, GA. RMFS brings quality poultry, pork and bakery products to the retail and food service marketplace.
Hershel Walker lives outside of Dallas-Fort Worth, TX with his wife Julie and son Christian.
City Councilwoman At Large, Metropolitan Council Office, Nashville, TN and CEO/President, Jefferson St United Merchants Partnership
Sharon Hurt's mission is to bridge Nashville's diverse communities and continue Nashville's transformation into a world class city.
A graduate of Tennessee State University with a Master's degree in Non-profit leadership from Belmont University, Hurt currently serves as one leader over two organizations. She is President/CEO of JUMP-Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the businesses on Jefferson Street and bringing commerce to the North Nashville Community and Street Works, an organization dedicated to the care, support and prevention of people affected and infected with HIV.
JUMP has been a leader in partnering with Metro Government in the areas of job training and community advocacy. Street Works, the first in the state of TN certified with a Syringe Services Program (needle exchange).
Sharon Hurt worked at Meharry Medical College for 17 years and upon leaving was director of admissions and records. She resides in Nashville with her husband Lovie; they have three adult daughters.
VP, Program Management, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Programs, Premier, Inc & Chair, HSDA
Deborah Williams joined the Premier healthcare alliance as the Senior Director of Supplier Diversity in early 2008 based in Charlotte, N.C. Upon joining Premier Healthcare Solutions, Inc. Ms. Williams is responsible for the Premier Supplier Diversity Committee and under her leadership she has launched and enhanced the program to include the Sourcing, Education and Enrichment for Diverse and Small Suppliers (SEEDS), a program aimed at increasing the number of qualified small, diverse and regional enterprises on the Premier contract portfolio.
Recognized as an excellent communicator and facilitator, Ms. Williams has had the distinct pleasure of having shared her more than 30 years of dynamic perspective in business development, strategic contract negotiations and supplier contract management in the healthcare industry. She came to Premier from Mills-Peninsula Health Services, a Sutter Health affiliate, in Burlingame, California, where she was the Director of Contracting and Value analysis. Before that, she was a Medical Surgical Service Line Director for Broadlane Inc., assigned to the Kaiser Permanente account.
Ms. Williams honed her leadership, strategic sourcing and management skills during a 20-year career at the Detroit Medical Center. She began her career as a contract administrator for the Detroit Medical Center and was promoted to marketing support manager where she was a strategic sourcing manager, responsible for the Detroit Medical Center’s Affiliate program, comprised of 6 hospitals and led the supplier diversity program for 16 acute care hospitals – 10 owned, leased or managed by the DMC and six affiliate hospitals.
President, Global Supply Chain Solutions
Patricia B. Hairston (Pat), President, has 30+ years of experience in engineering, global strategic sourcing, transportation, trade compliance, and business development. Prior to starting Global Supply Chain Solutions, LLC, Ms. Hairston was a Supply Chain Executive at Corning Incorporated, leading global teams across many countries. At Corning, she provided leadership for a $3.1 billion spend for all direct and indirect commodities at the corporate level, globally.
Hairston also led the Procurement and Transportation strategy for Asia, EMEA and India. She managed global teams in India, Russia, Hungary, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, China and Taiwan. She also led and facilitated the growth of Corning’s outsourced manufacturing capability and developed the first Supplier Diversity Program.
Pat Hairston moved to Nashville and joined Tennessee State University as an Executive-on-Loan, and served as the VP of Development and University Relations. As the former chair and member of the TSU Supply Chain Board, she provided leadership for 15 Supply Chain Executives, representing 11 fortune 500 companies including Wal-Mart, Cummins Filtration, Dell, Tractor Supply, Lexmark, Boeing, and HCA.
Hairston served on the Non-Profit Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition Board. She was a member of the Spring Hill Chamber, board of directors and was appointed by the Mayor of Spring Hill to serve on the Planning Commission. Pat is a member of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural/Civil Engineering from Tennessee State University (TSU). She also completed the Dartmouth College, Tuck 2020: Global Leadership Executive Education Program, focusing on India and China.
Chief Procurement Officer (AVP of Procurement and Diversity), Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA)
Davita Taylor is the Chief Procurement Officer (AVP of Procurement and Diversity) at the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA). Taylor oversees the office of Business Diversity Development and Procurement, in such is responsible for overseeing the procurement of goods and services for the Nashville International Airport, John C. Tune Airport and the MPC. A Tennessee native and MTSU and APSU graduate, Taylor’s influence extends far beyond the airport terminal. She is a certified Member of AAAE, a certified Master Compliance Administrator, Certified Public Procurement Officer and a member of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing and past president of the Middle Tennessee Public Purchasing Association. Taylor is also involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County, Nashville Minority Business Center, Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce, and TN Latin American Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Dawn Mason, MBA
Managing Director, Purchasing, CoreCivic
Dawn Mason serves as Managing Director, Purchasing for CoreCivic. Dawn is responsible for developing, implementing and directing the efforts of CoreCivics' centralized supply management function and provides strategic direction and vision in achieving best practices in sourcing, contract administration, purchasing, logistics, travel and events, and diversity business inclusion.
Prior to joining CoreCivic, Dawn spent nearly 15 years in procurement in the healthcare industry holding positions such as; eCommerce Director, National Director of Purchasing and Senior Supplier Internal Auditor for Hospital Corporation of America, CHD Meridian Healthcare and Navigator Health Management Solutions.
She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Hampton University and a Master of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University's CEO Connect and an avid supporter of several professional organizations including; The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), The American Management Association (AMA), and The US Business Leadership Network. She serves as a board member for The Women's Business Enterprises Council – South and as a member of the certification committee and Center of Excellence for The Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council. She is a senior writer for The Connect Magazine and The Urban Transplant and Director of Brand Ambassadors for PK Williams, Power Moves Awards. Dawn and her husband have 5 boys and reside in Nashville.
AVP Purchased Services, Chief Diversity Officer, HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG)
Joey Dickson has held various roles with HealthTrust since joining HPG in 2007. He has served as assistant vice president of strategic sourcing–purchased services since 2013 and was corporate counsel for the group purchasing organization. Today, Dickson leads the Supplier Diversity Program. He serves as committee chair on purchased services for the Federation of American Hospitals. He is also a member of the Nashville Health Care Council, the Tennessee Bar Association, and Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance.
Dickson holds a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Business and Finance from Wake Forest University.
American Medical Depot, Miami, Florida
Mr. Agrawal has been the President of American Medical Depot (AMD), since 1993. AMD is a specialty healthcare distribution and manufacturing company focused in the areas of acute healthcare, primary care, and providing complex integrated delivery network supply chain solutions. Mr. Agrawal is also a principal of AMD Equities, an early stage venture capital and middle market healthcare investment fund. Mr. Agrawal is a recognized expert in the field of healthcare distribution and logistics and has been a frequent speaker at numerous industry events, government conferences, and educational programs over the last decade.
Mr. Agrawal was honored with the Industry Award of Distinction by the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) in 2010. He is an active member of and has served in leadership roles in numerous professional groups, corporate boards, and trade associations. In addition, he has been appointed to several government commissions over the last two decades. Some of his activities have included serving on the US Small Business Administration National Advisory Committee, the State of Florida Council for Efficient Government, the Governors Healthcare Policy Team, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Health Industry Distributors Association in 2003, as President of the National Minority Medical Suppliers Association (2001-2005), as President of the Board of Directors of the National Healthcare Alliance, as Founding Board member of the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance (HSDA), and as Board Member for the American Heart Association of South Florida among others.
Mr. Agrawal received his degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. He and wife, Mavara, have two children.
CEO & Founder of Health: Further (and other organizations), Author of "Create and Orchestrate"
Marcus Whitney, CEO of Health:Further, knows something about innovation because he's a man who designed his own destiny. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and says he could have headed down a much different path in life. Instead, he's become a force on the scene of healthcare innovation, a path that started 18 years ago when he became a computer programmer at HealthStream, with little formal training.
He's a connector by nature, building bridges and alliances between people and organizations, a skill he has parlayed beyond his own career, touching the lives of thousands of people and hundreds of organizations determined to remake or impact the healthcare system. Connecting, he says, serves as a catalyst for change, and health systems can better position themselves for the future by creating platforms for innovation.
Whitney is also president and co-founder of Briovation, a company focused on stimulating health innovations, and founder of Jumpstart Foundry, a four-year-old seed-stage healthcare innovation fund. One of its greatest successes was the launch of Sightbox, an end-to-end consumer contact lens subscription service that includes an annual visit to any optometrist who takes payment via the phone, and 12 months of contact lenses for a set monthly fee. The concept was so successful the company was purchased by Johnson & Johnson.
Herman J. Williams, M.D.
Chief Physician Executive (CPE) and Managing Director, BDO’s Nashville Healthcare Advisory Practice
Herman J Williams, M.D., helped launch and now serves as the Chief Physician Executive (CPE) and Managing Director of the healthcare advisory practice in BDO’s Nashville office. Dr. Williams has a long history as a senior hospital executive with extensive healthcare expertise that includes the management and operations of large and small-scale, national clinics and hospitals. His successful leadership has resulted in achieving the highest and safest levels of quality inpatient and outpatient care. Dr. William’s extensive healthcare experience began as a Healthcare Manager of the Pacific Northwest Healthcare Consulting Division of Arthur Andersen from 1994 -1997. From there, he went on to start his own consulting company, Herman Williams Consulting, from the ground up. As President, Dr. Williams helped deliver physician hospital organization development and medical staff redesign consulting services including credentialing, bylaws and accreditation preparedness for a national client base.
He joined the Greeley Company in 1997 as an External Peer Review Medical Director and Senior Consultant and oversaw over 200 national, external peer reviews across multiple specialties. Dr. Williams then began his 18-year hospital operations career which spans Rural and Major Urban cities as well as small and large facilities.
Dr. Williams holds a Doctor’s of Medicine from Boston University School of Medicine, a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Master’s of Public Health from Harvard University. He is a Board-Certified Coach and holds the advanced coaching certificate of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Dr. Williams currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife of 27 years and his 22-year-old son. He is an author and recently published the acclaimed book: CLEAR! Living The Life You Didn’t Dream Of. He enjoys golfing and is an accomplished musician.