Institute Staff

Linda Peek SchachtLinda Peek Schacht
Founding Director
linda.schacht@lipscomb.edu
615.966.6155

Founding Director of the institute is Linda Peek Schacht, veteran of the Carter White House and U.S. Senate leadership staff, a member of the launch team of USA Today, former vice president for global communication and public affairs strategy for the Coca-Cola Company and, just prior to joining Lipscomb University, a senior fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and the Center for Business and Government of Harvard University.

Lydia LenkerLydia Lenker
Managing Director
lydia.lenker@lipscomb.edu
615.966.6156

Managing Director at the institute is Lydia Lenker, press secretary to former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen from 2003 to 2011. Lenker’s public service follows a long career as a broadcast journalist in radio and television news in Nashville, in her hometown of Philadelphia and in Asbury Park, NJ. In Music City, she first worked as a reporter and anchor for the Tennessee Radio Network, where she covered news at the State Capitol. She then moved to NewsChannel5 – WTVF TV, as political reporter and weekend anchor. In 2001, she won an Emmy for “Best Weekend Newscast” in the Southeast region.

Cathy Cate - NEW PICCathy Cate
Executive Director, Leadership Tennessee

Director, Community Leadership Programs
catherine.cate@lipscomb.edu
615.966.5180

Cathy Cate serves as the institute's Director of Community Leadership programs and the Executive Director of Leadership Tennessee, the only statewide leadership education program in Tennessee. She served as Executive Director of Leadership Blount County for six years and has worked with higher education and corporate groups for more than 20 years as an experiential group facilitator focusing on issues of teamwork, cooperation, communication and problem solving.

Michelle SteeleMichelle D. Steele, Ed.D.
Academic Director

michelle.steele@lipscomb.edu
615.966.5181

Academic Director at the institute is Michelle D. Steele. With more than 15 years experience working with governmental agencies, Steele served as director of Nashville’s Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods for four years during the Purcell administration, is a former case manager for the Mid-Cumberland Community Services Agency, and most recently, supervised the customer service team at the Metropolitan Nashville Department of Codes and Building Safety. Steele has a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, a Master of Science degree in public service management from Cumberland University and a Doctorate of Education in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Melanie Matthews
Melanie MatthewsAdministrative Assistant

melanie.matthews@lipscomb.edu
615.966.6155

Administrative Assistant at the institute is Melanie Matthews, a 2012 graduate of Lipscomb University. She served as an Emerging Leader, assisted in starting the first annual Lipscomb Relay for Life and served as Social Director for Delta Sigma. Matthews also served as a philanthropist for Free For Life Ministries for four years and was an intern for Blue Steel Records in marketing and event coordinating.