Keynote Speaker: Dr. Noma Anderson

Special Advisor to the University of Tennessee System President on Diversity and Inclusion


  Dr. Noma AndersonIn addition to serving as the Special Advisor to the University of Tennessee System President on Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Noma Anderson is also Professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the College of Health Professions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She is former Dean of the College of Health Professions.  Prior to arriving to the University of Tennessee, she was Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Florida International University and former Dean of the School of Health Sciences at FIU.  Dr. Anderson was on the faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  She chaired that department for ten years.  Dr. Anderson has also been on the faculty at Hampton University. She received her B.A. degree from Hampton Institute (VA), her M.S. degree from Emerson College (Boston MA), and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh (PA).  Her area of study has been speech-language pathology.  She began her clinical career at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  She also was employed as Supervisor for Speech, Language and Hearing for Pittsburgh Head Start.  Dr. Anderson’s professional areas of expertise are in multicultural aspects of communication sciences and disorders, second language and second dialect acquisition, health and educational disparities, language acquisition, childhood language disorders, and test preparation for the national examination in speech-language pathology. Dr. Anderson has served on the Advisory Board and the Advisory Council of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the NIH.  Dr. Anderson has served as a consultant serving on the panel setting visa screen requirements for speech-language pathologists and audiologists from foreign countries. 

 Dr. Anderson has been actively involved in professional associations.  She was 2007 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the 170,000 member association of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language and hearing scientists. From 1998-2000 Dr. Anderson was ASHA Vice President for Academic Affairs.  She has also served as Deputy Director of the National Black Association for Speech, Language and Hearing (NBASLH) and Secretary of the Council of Graduate Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In 1992 she was recognized as a Fellow of ASHA; in 1994 she received the Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater, Emerson College, and, in 1999 she received Honors from the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  In 2002 she was recipient of the Scholar/Mentor Award from NBASLH.  In 2002 Dr. Anderson received the Diversity Incentive Award from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders.  In 2007 she received The Harvard University Foundation Medallion for Intercultural and Race Relations.  In 2009 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council.  In 2010 she was selected for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (Howard University) Wall of Fame.  In, November 2015, Dr. Anderson was awarded Honors of the Association, by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which is the highest award that ASHA bestows.  Dr. Anderson is a member of the 2016 Leadership Memphis Executive Program.  She currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the School of Health and Rehabilitations Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.


Jonathan ButlerJonathan Butler is a native of Atlanta, GA.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University and a Juris Doctorate from American University's Washington College of Law.  He moved to Chattanooga to join the Department of Economic and Community Development as an Affordable Housing Specialist and is now the Manager of Neighborhood Services and Development.  

In addition to practicing law and serving as a private consultant, Jonathan has 20 years of experience cultivating and strengthening relationships with diverse constituencies and over 8 years of direct senior level management experience developing and implementing strategic programs.  

Jonathan is a co-recipient of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga 2016 Whitney Young, Jr. Award, for his work with Restore My Rights, an organization formed to increase the restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders.  He is also a participant in the inaugural class of the Inclusion by Design executive leadership training program, and a member of the 2018 - 2019 class of Leadership Chattanooga.  He serves, or has served, a number of organizations  and committees including the UTC Chancellor's Multicultural Advisory Council, Emory University Commission on Racial and Social Justice Steering Committee, YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, UnifiEd Action PAC, Hunter Museum African American Advisory Committee, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Advisory Committee.


 Ron HarrisRonald Harris serves as the Vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.  In this capacity, Mr. Harris provides strategic leadership and counsel for diversity initiatives within the organization that include diversity awareness training, recruitment, employee development, and community outreach. He also ensures adherence to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action Plan and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mr. Harris has served in various roles of management throughout his 30 years of service at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, each with increasing responsibilities.  He currently serves as Co- chair for the organization’s Corporate Diversity Council.  Ron is also co-founder and a member of the BlueCross BlueShield Association Diversity Alliance, which connects various BlueCross BlueShield Plans throughout the country as a resource to share best practices and address diversity awareness and community outreach. Mr. Harris is a regular speaker at business functions and conferences throughout Tennessee and the country on diversity topics that impact the workplace.  Mr. Harris has been featured in numerous publications local, national and international, such as African American Career World, Edge, Equal Opportunity and most recently USA Today. Harris was also recognized by the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) as one of the top five men in Chattanooga who promotes women; the NAACP recognized Harris with its James R. Mapp, Citizen of the Year award; and the National Organization of Workforce Diversity presented Harris with the inaugural Legacy Award that recognizes leaders impacting the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is a Rotarian and serves on several community boards of directors.


Kimmie JMusical Guest Performer

Kimmie J