OUR TEAM

Staff

Heather Karls

President

Marti Scudder

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Mentoring and Consulting

Steve Lorenz

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Mentoring  and Consulting 

Sydney Catlett

Events Coordinator

Dede Franz

Outreach Director

Mentors

Marti Scudder

Senior Mentor

Eleanor Wells

Senior Mentor

Steve Lorenz

Senior Mentor

Chris Stowers

Senior Mentor 

Troy Waugh

Senior Mentor

Alisa Malone

Senior Mentor

Heather Karls

Senior Mentor

Woody Camp

William Chumchal

Toni Fitzpenn

Craig Fry

Steve Griffith

Mark Hogan

Aaron Johnson

Mark Karls

Don Klein

Dan LaMore

Carolyn Riviere

Dana Williams

Wynn Lembright

Susan Sharpe

Angie Gaw Wilson

Bill Phillips

Karen Simpson

Paige Pitts

Warren Smith

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Susan Sharpe

Dr. Sharpe received her Doctorate of Ministry degree with an emphasis in Leadership Development and Coaching, and she is a certified Coach.  As President of Intentional Living, she is passionate about helping clients discover the unique purpose for which God has created them, as well as encouraging them to become intentionally influential leaders in their own areas of influence. 

Dr. Sharpe has published Leadership Development Coaching curriculum and received the 100 Most Influential Women in Chicago Award in 2000.  She has served on numerous Non-Profit Boards and currently serves as President of Feng Li Li Foundation and as President of Laura-Valentine Ministries.  Most recently she has started The Event which raises money for non-profit Christian organizations.

Dr. Sharpe’s greatest joy is taking time from her busy schedule to spend time with her husband and two children.  She and her family currently live in Nashville, TN.

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Karen Simpson

Karen Simpson was born and raised in historic Hyde Park, New York, the hometown of Franklin Delano Rosevelt. Since moving to the Nashville area in 1996, she has served within the community volunteering with Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, West Point Parent Organization for Middle TN., the Wounded Warrior Project and Habitat for Humanity.

Karen served on the Board of Trustees at Brentwood Academy and chaired the board in support of capitol campaigns, the parent of alumni organization and advancement efforts. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at New Hope Academy accompanying advancement and annual fund efforts while recently co-chairing a Head of School Search Committee. Seeing the first-hand impact of investing in the life and education of children, blesses lives far beyond the walls of the classroom.

In prior years, she worked in physician practices and corporate catering, growing clientele. As a member of Christ Presbyterian Church for the past 6 years, she continues to see the body of Christ at work while serving on the outreach ministry, Missional Communities. Residing in Franklin, Karen is passionate about investing in community. She has a daughter and son in law who reside in Chicago with their 3 young children and, 2 married sons who reside in the Brentwood and Franklin community.

The intentional investment to partner with, walk alongside of and be an advocate for mission and vision centered organizations and their leaders, gift and create opportunity for deepened relationships. Grateful to be invited into the supportive mission of MDI to serve with one another.

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Warren Smith

Warren Smith is a Principal and Managing Director of Avison Young’s Tennessee Offices. Prior to joining Avison Young, Warren Smith was the Chief Executive Officer for Cushman & Wakefield | Cornerstone. Warren plays an active role in supporting brokerage and management efforts to align client requirements with strategic business, financial, and operational objectives. Warren’s business philosophy is based on building long-term client relationships, as well as growing Avison Young’s coverage of Middle Tennessee through careful recruiting as well as retaining top talent throughout the company. Warren is a graduate of the University of the South and also received his MBA from Duke University.  Warren has also served as an adjunct professor of Real Estate Finance at the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University.

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Carolyn Riviere

Carolyn Riviere is retired from the field of Public Health after 40+ years. Her career experiences include faculty positions in Community Health Nursing at the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas. She has held Supervisory, Continuing Education and Program Director positions at the Arkansas Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Nashville Metro Health Department. She has worked at all levels of public health from the local, regional and the state level. : She has had the opportunity to give presentations, and assist with training and program development both nationally and internationally. In 2013, she was recognized by the March of Dimes of Middle Tennessee as the Public Health Nurse of the Year.

She attended Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Central Arkansas receiving a Bachelors and Masters in Nursing.

She is active in her church and continues to be involved in helping in several community organizations, looking for opportunities to empower and enable individuals.

She and her husband Paul have lived in Nashville since 1986. They have two married daughters and six grandchildren.

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Dana Williams

Dana Williams was a co-founder and Senior Vice-President of Healthways, Inc. and served at the company for 36 years. Currently, he is Executive Vice President for Enterprise Solutions and Business Development for The Lifestyle Medicine Institute located in Redlands, California. Mr. Williams earned his Masters Degree in Hospital and Healthcare Administration at Georgia State University’s College of Business Administration and completed his Administrative Residency with Hospital Affiliates International at Henrico Doctors Hospital in Richmond Virginia.  His past positions include Administrator at Washington Memorial Hospital in New Jersey and Chief Executive Officer at Russell County Medical Center in Virginia. 

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Bill Phillips

Bill R. Phillips has a long history of key roles in public service and private enterprise.  Currently, he is Senior Advisor to Windrow Phillips Group, a government relations agency as well as an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University.  Prior to that, he was deputy mayor of Nashville, TN, an Associate Vice Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, and a presidential appointee in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush.  Phillips entered politics in 1978, following a career as a political reporter, editor, and columnist in California and Nevada. He is a former fellow of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.  Other positions include chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Education, deputy director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for President Bush, and executive director of a political action committee.  Phillips is a Vietnam veteran where he served in Advisory Team #1 of MACV. He attends and is active at Nashville First Baptist Church. He and his late wife, Candy, have three children and seven grandchildren.

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Paige Pitts

Paige Pitts received her degree in Early Childhood / Elementary Education from Furman University.  After graduating, she began her career teaching in Metro Public Schools desiring to serve in an urban school setting.  Soon finding herself with the opportunity to serve in foreign missions, Paige began working with ICARE Ministries traveling to Africa and, at the time, Eastern Europe.

In 1991, Paige began an outreach ministry to underserved neighborhoods. .  After hearing their voice and attempting to understand their felt needs, she began Franklin Community Ministries, under the ministry of Christ Community Church.   Franklin Community Ministries provided many programs including the Eagles program (tutoring), Safe Harbor (ministry to single teenage moms), Tapestry (promoting racial reconciliation), Jr. and Sr. High Bible studies, Children’s Summer Program, and Neighborhood Renewal (revitalizing neighborhoods through home renovation and repairs).

After creating, implementing, and running many programs, Paige began to see the need for prevention as well as crisis intervention.  Thus, she founded New Hope Academy, opening its doors in the fall of 1996. New Hope Academy is a Christ-centered community school which exists to instill vision, confirm hope, and prepare each young person for a life of service.  While maintaining an economically, racially, and culturally diverse student body, NHA intentionally provides excellent education for underserved families.

Over the last fifteen years, Paige has spoken for conferences, workshops, women’s events, and schools regarding care for the poor, racial reconciliation, and classical education.

Married in 1998, Dan and Paige Pitts have two sons Tommy and Tait and reside in Franklin, TN.

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Dan LaMore

Details Coming Soon.

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Woody Camp

Woody Camp currently works as a general counselor for Oldacre McDonald, LLC. He is responsible for legal matters of the company including drafting and negotiating documents, reviewing leases, contracts, and overseeing the paralegal staff. He has a history in both real estate and consulting. He has served in numerous leadership positions over his long career. He has degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Nashville School of Law, and the University of Tennessee – Nashville.

Along with his extensive career experience, he has volunteered on many boards and associations including the Tennessee Association of Realtors, Nashville Board of Realtors, and Tennessee Real Estate Education Foundation. He was a founding member of Christ Presbyterian Church, is the Commissioner of the Nashville Institute of Faith and Work, and is a Board member and mentor at MDI. He and his wife Millie Camp have been married for more than 46 years and have 3 married children and 8 grandchildren, all in the Nashville area.

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Angie Gaw Wilson

Angie Gaw Wilson is a Nurse Practitioner and her medical specialization is Nurse Practitioner - Psychology/Mental Health. She practices in Nashville, Tennessee and has the professional credentials of MSN. Angie graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

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Wynn Lembright

Wynn Lembright presently serves as a part time Resource Director for New Hope Academy. Prior to moving to the Nashville Area in 2012, Wynn’s professional life included five years as a project engineer with Eli Lilly and Company, thirteen years as Director of Northeast Field Ministries for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and twenty-six years as Vice President of Taylor University.

Wynn has served on numerous boards that support both national and international ministries. He has earned degrees in engineering, behavioral sciences, and theology. Wynn and his wife Bonnie have two children both of whom reside internationally with their respective spouses and six grandchildren. The Lembrights worship at Christ Presbyterian Church.

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Don Klein

Don Klein is Founder and President of Don Klein Consulting, a company focused on senior management and board development, strategic planning and communications planning. The company was founded in 2014 in Nashville, TN. Clients include both for profit and nonprofit organizations with annual revenues between $500,000 to $30 million.

Prior to forming Don Klein Consulting, Don was the Chief Executive Officer of The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors for 16 years. During his time there, the association received recognition for excellence nationally, regionally and state-wide. In 2008, Don received both the William C. “Bill” Tune Award for Excellence in Real Estate Education from the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and the President’s Award from GNAR.

Before becoming the CEO for GNAR, Don spent 21 years in advertising, public relations and marketing communications. His earlier career involved positions at book publishing and music business firms, as well as in advertising and public relations agencies such as Brumfield-Gallagher and DVL in Nashville. He served a variety of clients including trade associations, political candidates, restaurants and healthcare firms. Don is a certified facilitator for the Investment in Excellence Program created by The Pacific Institute.

Originally from Muskegon, Michigan, he attended John Brown University, The University of Oklahoma and Tennessee State University. Early in his career, Don had a measure of success as a trumpet player and as part of a group performed with many pop and country artists, including an appearance on “Hee Haw” with Roy Clark. Don has lived in Nashville since 1980 and is active at Church of the Redeemer. His wife, Melonnie, taught 5th grade teacher at Christ Presbyterian Academy for 26 years and continues to tutor and teach in various settings.

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Steve Griffith

Steve spent a decade at Walmart Stores, Inc. in Bentonville, Arkansas, developing leaders in multiple levels and contexts. Prior to that, Steve spent 11 years in leadership development and organizational leadership in the campus ministry of CRU, a mega-church and a ministry start-up. He understands that the pressure, pace and competing priorities of today’s business world threaten to distract us from what matters most.

This experience gives him well-rounded, “in the trenches” experience as a business consultant and executive coach. His focus is on helping business owners and ministry leaders stretch themselves to execute what matters most, get in the right lane and leverage their influence. 

Steve is passionate about his faith in Jesus Christ, his wife of 27 years, Denise, and his adult son, Mitchell. He loves to tell stories about being bluff-charged by a grizzly bear, almost getting shot by a member of the Russian mafia and having a flat tire, just feet from a large male lion.

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Mark Karls

Rev. Karls had been a United Methodist pastor for 36 years, retiring in 2014. In 2017 he was asked to come out of retirement to pastor the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church in the tourist destination town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, 13 miles from his home in Saginaw, Michigan.

He became a pastor after serving in Combat Action in Vietnam as a young U.S. Naval Officer. He gave his entire combat pay to World Vision to sponsor 2 Vietnamese orphans, then upon completion of his service he took the G.I. Bill and went to seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has eleven years of college and three post graduate degrees, including a master’s degree and Ph.D. work in mathematics at the University of Michigan before the military draft board called and he became a Naval Officer to avoid the draft.

Prior to retirement Rev. Karls was the pastor of his home church for 17 years in the inner city of Saginaw, Michigan, a city which had been listed in the top 5 “most violent crime” cities in America by the FBI for more than 10 consecutive years. He has received 2 awards for his work in uniting the city, and the most recent demographics show that “violent crime” in Saginaw was reduced by 80% over his last 5 years of ministry in Saginaw.

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Aaron Johnson

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Aaron Yusef Johnson can be found helping people build things all over the city of Nashville while listening to audiobooks in-between meetings. With over 10,000 hours in the field as a boutique strategy and brand consultant, he is called on to work in specific projects ranging from hi-level governmental to beginning non-profits primarily in Nashville and Chicago. At the core, Aaron is passionate about the Glory of God and lives to make Him known. With diverse backgrounds in ministry, expression, and business, he brings diversity and depth contextualized for both the body of Christ & the marketplace.

As an entrepreneur-equipper, he currently teaches workshops, a frequent Nashville conference speaker, and a proud graduate of the entrepreneurship program at the Nashville Entrepreneurship Center (Google).  Aaron has studied Pastoral Studies at The Moody Bible Institute (Chicago) and has helped plant 3 churches. He is an active alumnus of The Devos Urban Leadership Institute (Chicago). He also serves on the board of The Operation Andrew Group, is a recent volunteer chaplain at the Downtown YMCA of Nashville, TN, is heavily involved in strengthening police relationships in the African-American community of Nashville, and plans major prayer initiatives with several churches and ministries throughout the city of Nashville. He also can be found teaching free classes on social media and marketing at the TSU Business School at the Avon Williams Downtown Campus on a monthly basis and is currently finishing a Masters Degree in Intercultural and Urban Studies.

Some fun facts about Aaron is that he has solved a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute, exhibits exotic animals, enjoys weightlifting, and outdoor hiking on the trails of Tennessee. He also enjoys public speaking, ethnic reconciliation, identity architecture, modernist cuisine, and pastoral ministry.

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Mark Hogan

Dr. Mark A. Hogan is a Professor of Education at Belmont University. He holds a B.A. in English from Greenville College, a M.A. in English and English Education from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Development, with minors in Educational Leadership and Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He also has a graduate certificate in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University.

Dr. Hogan has served in leadership roles in Indiana and Virginia prior to coming to Tennessee. He has been a national Lead Site Visitor for NCATE/CAEP since 1999, and was the President of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education until 2014. In Spring 2016, Dr. Hogan was elected President-Elect of the Tennessee Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Dr. Hogan has been active in developing advocacy for teacher preparation programs with state and national legislators.

Dr. Hogan has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Foundations of Education, Educational Psychology, Methods of Secondary Education, Content Literacy, Writing, and Young Adult Literature. His areas of research include transformational literacy, change-agency leadership, empowerment and marginalization of groups through education, and educational preparation providers in the 21st century.

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Craig Fry

Craig Fry is the president of Christian Leadership Concepts, a men’s discipleship ministry that challenges men in small group settings to strengthen their relationship with Christ. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree from Belmont University, and MA in Ministry from Moody Bible Institute. He has worked in sales, operations, and since 2013, he has worked as the president of CLC. He served as a Chaplain for Skyline Hospital for 5 years and as a Member Board of Trustees of Williamson College.

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Toni Fitzpenn

Toni Fitzpenn is President of Venture Publications, Inc., operating the firm's Nashville, TN, office. Previously, she served as Vice President of Creative Services and Director of Marketing and Creative Services for Star Song Communications, a recording label. Her responsibilities have included the design and development of recorded products and videos, promotional packages and campaigns for coordinated marketing efforts, trade show displays, book and album marketing, point-of-sale and in-store marketing, packaging, and print media applications in the music industry. In 1993, she joined Venture Publications as co-partner. Combining her expertise in the teen and young adult market with higher education has been a natural fit. Over the past 10 years, Toni has worked with over 130 community and technical colleges as Venture Publications sponsors. She has won numerous national advertising awards for her creative direction and campaigns.

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William Chumchal

William is an accomplished Project Manager with more than 25 years of project and operations leadership experience. He holds an Engineering degree from the University of Texas. His operations expertise in crafting and implementing collaborative strategies to improve operations and execution, drive revenue growth and increase profits.  After 16 years working for Wood Group Mustang in both Houston and London, he and his wife made the move to Nashville where he now works as a project manager for JGC America.

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Dede Franz

A native Texan, Dede graduated from Baylor University with a BFA in Graphic Design. After moving to Nashville, she has used her graphic design skills for ad agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and various magazines. Dede coordinates Bible studies, mentoring and leader training in her church's women's ministry. She and her husband Rodney live in Brentwood, TN and have a son in college.

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Sydney Catlett

Details coming soon.

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Heather Karls

Executive Director

Heather’s background is in entrepreneurship, real estate investing, and marketing. With more than 17 years in real estate investing, Heather has built an investment portfolio that allows her to dedicate herself full time to her ministry passion at MDI. In addition to her role as President at MDI, Heather is also a Senior Mentor and has advised ministries ranging from a $100,000 annual budget to multi-million dollar organizations. She’s worked with ministries with a 2 person staff to a hundred person staff. God has utilized Heather to walk with ministries through crisis, conflict, leadership transitions, and growth planning, to build strategies that allow leaders and their ministries to thrive.

Having grown up as the daughter of a pastor, Heather has an intrinsic passion for coming alongside ministry leaders around the world to help them develop into all the Lord designed them to be.

When Heather's not at work, she also enjoys friends, family, fashion, culinary arts, interior design and her 16 lb. american eskimo, Inge.

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Steve Lorenz

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Mentoring and Consulting

A graduate of Otterbein College and Harvard Business School, Steve worked in the music industry for 26 years and owned a publishing, record production, and artist management company. He retired from that season of his life in 1990 and he has worked in international missions ever since. He has served on over 30 different corporate, missions and industry boards and has been chairman of many of them. Steve and his wife Marilyn have two married daughters and four grandchildren.

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Alisa Malone

Senior Mentor

Alisa currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for IDS with responsibilities that include strategic planning, operations management and client relations. Ms. Malone has over 15 years of professional experience in non-profit, for-profit, and state government sectors. She obtained her Master’s degree in Public Service Management at Cumberland University and Bachelor of Science degrees in Medical Technology and Laboratory Science at Auburn University. As an executive, her areas of focus include: organizational change management, fiscal stewardship, strategic management, staff development, accountability, positive outcomes, and public policy.

One of Alisa’s greatest strengths is identifying and maximizing individual strengths to move a group toward a common goal. Additionally, she excels at using innovative methods and management philosophies to lead collaborative change, process improvement, and improving organizational proficiencies.

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Marti Scudder

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Mentoring and Consulting

After graduating from Purdue University, Marti worked for many years as a commercial designer and space planner for large architectural firms in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and San Francisco. She also owned a design business in Minneapolis and taught design at the University of Minnesota. Since 1990, Marti has lent her leadership to multiple ministries and boards, and has served as Director of World Missions for a large church. Marti and her late husband Gary have a married daughter who lives in Dallas, a married son who lives in Denver, and 5+ grandchildren.
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Troy Waugh

Senior Mentor

Troy was the CEO of The Rainmaker Companies, LLC and founder of The Rainmaker Academy, The Leadership Academy, The Rainmaker Consulting Group, The Rainmaker Alliance Group and Enterprise Worldwide. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Tennessee and is a Certified Public Accountant. Troy is the author of three books and has been selected as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession for ten years in a row by Accounting Today magazine. Troy was named as the only recipient of The Advisory Board’s Hall of Fame recognition in 2015 for his years of innovative leadership in training and consulting.

Troy brings creativity and passion to help transform the lives of leaders. He uses many years of consulting experience to the clients of MDI and he serves those clients with prayer and passion.

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Eleanor Wells

Senior Mentor

Eleanor Wells is a Nashville native and a nurse by trade, educated at Samford University.  She and her husband relocated to Nashville in 2009 after living in Roanoke, VA. While in Roanoke, she served on the Board of Directors at Faith Christian School where she was active in fundraising, event planning, and programming.  Since returning to Nashville, she has been a committed volunteer at The Next Door, an organization that serves women in crisis. Additionally, Eleanor is a sought-after speaker and teacher, and has written comprehensive Bible Study materials for use in women’s ministries.  She and her husband Chris have two married sons and five grandchildren.

Board of Directors

Dr. Chris Wells, MD, Chairman

Scott Revo, Secretary

Brian Davis, Treasurer

Becky Garrett

David Holladay

Steve Lorenz

Marti Scudder

Brian Smith

Chris Stowers

Chris White

Colin Yankee

Board Member Emeritus

Marvin Nischan

Phoebe Nischan

Betty Stadler

Jim Stadler

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