Judith Tackett of Cohort 3 is using her civic leadership skills to bring together multiple groups involved in working on the homelessness crisis in Nashville.
She says “In this position, I am charged with leading the city's efforts to help build a Housing Crisis Resolution System in Nashville. The Metropolitan Homelessness Commission is mostly a planning and coordination unit. As such, my function largely depends on my ability to bring together the right people to solve specific issues around homelessness. My goal is to help guide Nashville on the next steps toward building an efficient system that effectively ends homelessness. Ending homelessness in this context does not mean that no family or individual will lose housing anymore. Rather, effectively ending homelessness means that we have a Housing Crisis Resolution System in place that prevents homelessness whenever possible and when not, ensures that homeless occurrences are brief, rare, and one-time for every individual or family who loses their home.
“We are working on a coordinated entry system (for referrals of homeless individuals) and are building up to that point where we hopefully have one phone number for people who seek assistance to call. At present, we are asking concerned citizens to refer people to Metro Social Services or one of the local shelters. We work closely with them as partners of the coordinated entry system.
“I just hired a new staff member to help with communicating regular updates on our progress to the public. In addition, I'm hiring for my former position as assistant director and I will be tasking that person to improve our communications efforts.
“Being a graduate of the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership has provided me with tools that have given me the confidence to facilitate meetings in a focused and solutions-oriented manner. Homelessness is a complex social issue that requires cross-sector collaboration. Lipscomb University has helped me understand what is involved to bring leaders from different backgrounds together and build on their expertise and strengths to provide solutions.
"One of the strengths that I took away from my classes at Lipscomb was the way classmates helped shape and form the discussions we held around leadership. The way we started out classes by examining our HDBI profiles still guides me in how I craft my messages. And - I first learned about the teachings of Marshall Ganz on organizing in one of the civic leadership classes. I used his concept of the story of 'self, us and now' in my master's thesis, and I finally got to hear him talk about it in person at a conference in Boston this spring. I believe I would not have been capable of enjoying his keynote speech as much as I did had I not been given the opportunity to study him for my master's program.
"Bottom line, I apply what I learned from the professors, lecturers, and my classmates in all aspects of my job. I hope I can do my little part to help Nashville's community assist some of our most vulnerable neighbors in need."
It is a pleasure to see our graduates applying their civic leadership skills in such creative ways to make our communities better! The Andrews Institute congratulates Judith Tackett as she moves forward on this exciting path!