Andrews Institute director named Nashville's Woman of Influence Trailblazer

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Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of Lipscomb University’s Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, has been named the Nashville Business Journal’s 2012 Woman of Influence “Trailblazer.”

As one of 30 Woman of Influence honorees, and one of three in the “Trailblazer” category, Schacht was honored at a luncheon today and will be profiled in the Friday edition of the Nashville Business Journal. She was selected as the “Trailblazer” winner over Beth DeBauche, commissioner with the Ohio Valley Conference and Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum.

Schacht is the founding executive director of the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership (, established in 2010 to continue long-time Nashville businessman Nelson Andrews’ legacy of collaborative leadership through its academic programs, community engagement and research.

Soon after the institute was created, Schacht oversaw the establishment of its new master’s degree in civic leadership, one of only two in the United States, now enrolling 23 students from business, nonprofits and government in its inaugural class and utilizing the institute’s state-of-the-art facility which opened June 2.

An ongoing signature program of the institute is to develop informed citizens to lead the public conversation on community issues and public policy. In 2011, leaders from the 10-county Middle Tennessee region focused on transit in the first citizen leadership academy, produced in partnership with the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee and the regional caucus of mayors.

In its short one-year history, Schacht has lead the institute to bring together state and regional business, nonprofit, and government leaders to collaborate on aging, the challenges of digital communication, transit, Nashville’s strength as a multicultural city and other issues.  

An example of such collaboration is the Collaboration College program, a year-long innovative initiative encouraging collaborative projects among nonprofits by offering a $25,000 award from the HCA Foundation to fund the idea deemed most promising. Co-sponsors of the program were Lipscomb’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society and the Serving and Learning Together (SALT) Program along with the Center for Nonprofit Management and The HCA Foundation.

Schacht, a former senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership, has held many public affairs positions in government, education and private corporations.  She has served as a vice president at Coca-Cola and at USA Today as well as serving as a White House press officer for the Carter administration.

She came to Lipscomb University as associate professor of history, politics and philosophy and communication in late 2008. She currently serves on the International Women’s Media Foundation Board, the Nashville networking group CABLE’s advisory council and the Tennessee Women’s Forum.

Schacht joins a stellar set of women, including executives from Skanska USA, Loews Hotels, Merrill Lynch and Avenue Bank. Women leaders from non-profits such as Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Interfaith Dental Clinic and the Tennessee Economic Council on Women were also honored.

Click here to see the complete list of honorees.

Linda Peek Schact speaks on mentorship for the NBJ Women of Influence Gallery, click here.

Lipscomb University has two previous Women of Influence: Charla Long, currently the dean of the College of Professional Studies, and Susan Galbreath, currently the associate provost of academic administration and strategic initiatives and special assistant to the president.