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2021 ATD Nashville Board Members

Luke Benfield


Luke is a senior manager of learning and development for Accredo Health. He has worked in a variety of sectors including higher education, non-profit, and corporate with backgrounds in educational conference planning and execution, assessment, competency model development, LMS management, learning experience design, and group facilitation. Luke has a masters in Educational Leadership, and has a passion for discovering innovative ways to solve business problems with educational technology.

Craig Vining


Craig Vining is a highly accomplished and results driven learning and organizational development leader who promotes continuous improvement to drive company, employee, and client success. He has worked in a variety of industries including healthcare, retail, and hospitality and has over 20 years of experience as a subject matter expert in managing the entire life cycle of training including the design, implementation, and evaluation of enterprise learning projects and initiatives.

Mark Kenny

Past President 

Mark Kenny has worked with hundreds of leaders for over 20 years as a business owner, manager, technology professional, and consultant. He is an expert on leveraging interactive case studies and technology to help leaders lead change. Mark produces The Hippo Show and has facilitated changes for a broad range of clients including Vanderbilt, HCA, Deloitte, MGMA, Mars, State of Tennessee, SHRM, and Ohio State University.

Paula O'Brien

Vice President - Finance

Paula O'Brien, M.Ed. works as a Senior Instructional Designer creating eLearning curriculum for pharmacists who specialize in renal care and dialysis. Paula's 14 years of expertise represent her creativity and passion for designing engaging instruction used in classroom, online and blended sessions. Her courses have been delivered to enlisted military, veterans, technology professionals and pharmacy teams around the world. Outside of career pursuits, Paula loves cycling through the mountains and hiking in her favorite Tennessee parks.

Ty Wheeler

Vice President - Marketing & Communications

Ty Wheeler joined TrainingPros in 2017 as a field account manager and is based in the Nashville metro area. She utilizes expertise in marketing, graphic design, consultative sales, instructional design, creative problem solving, and relationship selling to serve TrainingPros clients in the Southeast market. She earned a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational leadership at Bethel University and a master’s degree in instructional design and technology from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Drew Smith

Vice President - Membership Experience

Drew Smith is the training director at Quore, a hotel operations software company in Franklin. As one of the first employees, Drew championed the self-guided learning strategy for Quore customers by creating, and now maintaining, the online knowledge base and e-learning courses. He is also passionate about the new hire onboarding experience—he launched “Quorientation” and since has successfully onboarded 13 cohorts. Over the years Drew has worked in various customer service and training roles. He holds a degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University.

DeAnne Priddis

Vice President - Programs

DeAnne (Dee) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She has a PhD in Communication (UW Milwaukee) and a MS in Human Resources Training & Development. Her research includes interpersonal and group conflict in families and organizations. Priddis has over 15 years of corporate and nonprofit professional experience primarily in human resources and training prior to her career in academics. She specialized in onboarding programs and safety training. She is also a Tennessee Supreme Court (TSC) Rule 31 Mediator.

Lei Comerford

Vice President - Sponsorships

Lei is a highly effective Leadership Coach, Facilitator and Learning & Development Consultant experienced helping organizations improve productivity, effectiveness, and engagement.  Lei has over 14 years of strategic and operational experience in healthcare specifically the bio-pharmaceutical and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) industries as well as over 5 years in hospitality. Lei has dedicated years delivering best practices in customer service, coaching, mentoring, project management and facilitation to individuals, businesses, and organizations.
Lei is master facilitator certified in a variety of assessment tools and holds the ACC accreditation through the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
She has held many internal leader roles in corporate settings as well as is the founder of her own consulting firm.  She has delivered leadership development programs, implemented internal coaching and mentoring programs, coached 1:1 with leaders at varying levels and has designed annual learning portfolios, team journeys, and onboarding programs.
Lei has a passion for helping others reach beyond their goals through increased self-awareness with an objective to empower effectiveness and engagement with each client!  Lei gives back to the local and global community through volunteer efforts with the International Coaching Federation “ICF Coaches for Good”, The Association for Talent Development (ATD) Nashville chapter and Humanitarian Coaches Network (HCN).  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Resort and Commercial Recreation from Georgia Southern University.

Chance Ryon
Vice President - Conferences

Chance Ryon serves as an Employee Learning & Engagement Consultant for for Vanderbilt University's Department of Human Resources. As an internal consultant, Chance partners with university departments and stakeholders to provide Vanderbilt employees with professional development opportunities, engagement and appreciation events, and enhanced organizational effectiveness.
Chance has a background in education, leadership and organizational development, personnel development, coaching, and facilitation. Chance is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, a Fierce. Inc.-certified facilitator, and a facilitator for Google's #IamRemarkable.
Before arriving at Vanderbilt, Chance moved to Nashville in 2017 to attend Belmont University where he received his M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership and Communication and completed his undergraduate coursework at the University of West Florida. Chance is originally from Florida, where his family still resides.
Outside of his work, you can find Chance trying new restaurants in Nashville, visiting with friends and family, or adding to his collection of books and houseplants.

Ellen Wheat


Ellen Wheat is a seasoned learning and development leader with experience in banking, retail, wholesale distribution, non-profits, and most currently, health care. She holds a Master of Education degree from Vanderbilt University and is a certified Executive Coach. A proven leader in identifying and influencing talent strategies and developing learning programs, Ellen has also organized several large non-profit conferences in the Nashville area.

Antonio Meeks


Antonio Q. Meeks currently serves as Talent Management Administrator of the Strategic Learning Solutions division within the Department of Human Resources. He collaborates with executives and senior leaders within the State of Tennessee to execute 10 Practices of Talent Management that encompasses Career Planning, Competency Management, High Potential Employee Development, Learning and Development, Performance Management, Leadership Development, Succession Planning, Recruitment, Professional Development and Retention to meet the talent needs of over 43,000 employees.

Amanda Bramlett

Director - Website and Virtual Engagement 

Amanda received a BA in Foreign Languages from The University of Memphis in 2007.  The language concentrations were Latin and Italian.  In 2011 she received an MAT in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a concentration in Secondary Education also from The University of Memphis.  She taught High School Latin for two years. Amanda then worked in Information Technology for two years.  After that, she joined the Learning and Development team of a local Nashville business to become an Instructional Designer.  Currently Amanda works in the IT field. Amanda is very interested in technology of all types, languages and linguistics, and kitty cats.

Kim Vance

Legal Advisor

Kim is a shareholder in the Labor & Employment Department at Baker Donelson's Nashville office. She has more than 25 years of experience representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law.

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