A veteran of nonprofit leadership and fundraising, Jeff has been the guiding force behind Lighthouse Counsel since founding it in 1999.
As senior vice president of development for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Jeff led one of the nation’s most successful YMCA fundraising programs. He also was senior managing director at Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners. Prior to that, he served as advancement director at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia. He began his fundraising career as executive director of the South Georgia Chapter of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.
Jeff is past chair and board member of the Phi Kappa Theta National Foundation and past chair of the Board of Trust at The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was also an executive committee member of UGA’s national alumni association for a decade. Jeff serves on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Tennessee board and Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business Executive Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville, the Sons of the American Revolution and the Southern Federation of Syrian-Lebanese Clubs.
Jeff is a member of NonProfit PRO’s Editorial Advisory Board and writes the publication’s popular “Bedrocks & Beacons” blog. He is also past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Nashville Chapter and was recognized as its Fundraising Professional of the Year. He has been named a Fellow by UGA’s Grady College and received the UGA College of Pharmacy’s Distinguished Service Award.
He is a member of the AFP Atlanta and Nashville chapters, as well as a graduate of AFP’s Faculty Training Academy and Executive Management and Leadership programs, as well as a graduate of Leadership Nashville and Leadership Middle Tennessee.
Jeff is a graduate of UGA’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and holds a master’s degree in human resource management from Troy University.
Joan joins Lighthouse Counsel as a senior consultant. Joan has more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policymaking, problem solving, fundraising, special projects and communication. She previously held several leadership positions at Fisk University in Nashville, including executive director of alumni affairs and development, executive director of the general alumni association, dean of student affairs and vice president for institutional advancement.
As vice president for institutional advancement at Fisk, Joan raised $3.5 million in annual donations, increased giving by faculty, staff, board and alumni, and built an advancement team after securing approval for capacity building.
Joan was selected as president of TARC-Tennessee Advancement Resources Council. She has served on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) International Board of Trustees and the CASE National Commission on Alumni Relations. She was the chair of the Committee on Opportunity and Equity, as well as chair of CASE District III. She was honored with the CASE District III Distinguished Service Award and the Alumni Achievement Award from Fisk University.
Joan has been engaged in her community, serving in leadership on the board of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee and on the board of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Fisk University and a master’s degree in biology at Tennessee State University.
Dr. Karen Meshad Baldwin has 19 years of experience in all aspects of fundraising. She was previously vice president for advancement at The University of Alabama, where she led the development division, which included major giving, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, the annual fund, alumni relations, integrated marketing and communications and advancement services.
As a member of UA’s President’s Executive Council, Karen was a trusted advisor to senior leadership on issues with significant and far-reaching institutional implications, managed a budget of over $8 million and led a division with more than 130 employees. Prior to that, Karen served as the university’s associate vice president for advancement for four years and director of external affairs and development for the UA College of Engineering for 10 years.
Before joining The University of Alabama, Karen spent 13 years with BellSouth Advertising & Publishing Corporation, where she was responsible for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, process innovation and marketing.
Karen has served as president of the Birmingham, Alabama, chapter of the American Marketing Association and chair of Leadership Tuscaloosa. As a Rotarian, she is a past assistant district governor, past president of the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a current member of the Rotary Club of Athens, Georgia. She is currently on the Georgia Women of Achievement Board of Trustees and officer with the University Woman’s Club. She is also involved with many other charitable organizations.
During her time at BellSouth, Karen was twice selected to the President’s Club — the top 3 percent of the corporation’s 3,000 employees.
Karen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in American studies and a doctorate in higher education administration from The University of Alabama.
Pamela has amassed more than 40 years of non-profit experience. As president of PJ Barden Inc., she counsels non-profits, helping them develop their fundraising strategies and writing copy to achieve their goals. She previously taught fundraising courses in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California and the Fundraising Certification Program at UCLA Extension.
Pamela is a former vice president at Russ Reid. Before that, she led fundraising efforts for non-profit organizations such as World Relief and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, getting hands-on experience in everything from direct mail to DRTV, from major gift solicitation to event management.
Pamela is the recipient of a Silver ECHO Award from the Direct Marketing Association, winner of a Gold Award for Fundraising Excellence and a Distinguished Instructior Award from UCLA Extension. She is also a coauthor of “The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management” (John Wiley & Sons) and the author or hundreds of articles for fundraising publications.
A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Pamela is a graduate of Wheaton College (BA), Dominican University (MBA), and California Southern University (Doctorate in Business Administration). Her hobbies include travel, hiking and reading.
The most-frequently heard quote by and from Pamela is what she has told clients and students alike for many years because, as a fundraiser, she knows it’s true: "I am not the target audience.”
Margaret has more than 25 years of experience in communications and public relations. She is the former editor of Athens Magazine and former managing editor of Georgia Magazine, the alumni publication of the University of Georgia. Her writing has also appeared in Lake Oconee Living, The Augusta Chronicle and The Athens Banner-Herald.
Before her most recent position as communications director for the Peabody Awards, Margaret worked in program management for the Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Administration at UGA's Institute of Higher Education. As a public relations consultant, she helped launch the Ms. Senior Athens event and fundraiser for the Athens Community Council on Aging. She also has served as development director of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
Margaret earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.
Harry provides more than 35 years’ experience in development and communications.
Harry formerly served as director of special projects and major gifts at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Before that, he worked at WTVF-TV as a news anchor, reporter, documentary producer, entertainment reporter and host of the top-rated show Talk of the Town. After retiring from WTVF, Harry continued to host the program Words & Music, produced in partnership with the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
Harry serves on the Board of Trust at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also is a board member for Cure HHT International. He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Nashville, a member of the 1994 Class of Leadership Music and a Life Deacon at First Baptist Church, Nashville.
Harry is the recipient of the Country Music Association’s Media Achievement Award; the Stephen Foster Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association International; the John Holliman Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mass Media from UGA’s Grady College; and the Gospel Music Association’s WOW Partners Award for his support of Christian music media.
Harry is a graduate of the University of Georgia.
Yolanda has more than 20 years of experience in communications, development and nonprofits. She has previously been the executive director of Hands For Hunger, a development director at Queen’s College Foundation and at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee and a communications consultant.
Yolanda volunteers with Calvary Christian Academy and is an honorary board member of Hands For Hunger.
Yolanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communications with a minor in political science from James Madison University.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Lou Anne brings more than 30 years' experience in higher education and chambers work to Lighthouse Counsel, where she leads our development and campaign planning areas.
She was previously the director of development for the Siloam Family Health Center and has worked with the Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. Before that, she held development positions at Western Kentucky University and Auburn University and was a campaign director at the University of Central Florida. She has also worked with Alexander Haas Martin and Partners, a fundraising consulting firm in Atlanta, and for convention and visitors’ bureaus in Alabama and Georgia.
Lou Anne volunteers with Book’em, has served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters and been a Big Sister herself three times and has served as an adult literacy tutor.
Lou Anne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Auburn University.
Janet brings 25 years of market research and planning experience to Lighthouse Counsel. As counsel for research, she provides leadership for the firm’s research functions, including personal interviews, focus groups and surveys.
Janet is passionate about helping nonprofits understand the perspectives and needs of their donors, alumni, members and other constituents. Her expertise guides the research components of Lighthouse Counsel’s strategic-planning processes, campaign feasibility and planning studies, and advancement and development planning to ensure our services are tailored to our clients’ unique needs.
Janet has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as M/A/R/C, American Airlines, SunTrust Banks, BellSouth and BellSouth International, WebMD and Chick-fil-A. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration in marketing and a master’s degree in marketing research from the University of Georgia.
Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Nelson PR & Communications, a public relations consulting and services agency. Her career in public relations and communications spans more than 25 years.
Previously, she was president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Tennessee and led public relations efforts for the Tennessee Bankers Association and Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
In 2019, Jennifer was elected to the Metro Council of Nashville and Davidson County, representing District 3. Currently, she chairs the Metro Council’s Public Safety committee and holds seats on the Metro Planning and Public Works committees. She also was a member of Nashville’s COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee and Mayor John Cooper’s Policing Policy Commission.
Jennifer is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University and a master’s degree in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University.
Margaret is a Lighthouse Counsel writer based in Texas. She has a thing for fundraising and fundraisers. It’s a love thing.
She’s been turning words into sentences for money, pizza and other remuneration since 1984 and just for fun since much earlier than that. Most recently, Margaret was the chief scribe and content manager for The Resource Alliance, a London based nonprofit that curates the International Fundraising Congress in Holland, IFC Asia in Bangkok and IFC Pop-Up events in South Africa. Prior to that, she was the editor-in-chief of the US-based FundRaising Success (now NonProfit Pro) for 13 years.
Margaret has been an editor for America Online and held chief editor positions with a number of newspapers and magazines in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. She also published a monthly magazine about food in and around her hometown of Philadelphia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from Temple University. She has been crafting fundraising communications for Lighthouse Counsel clients since 2008.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Kathy joined Lighthouse Counsel after 20 years as director of development at The Oak Hill School in Nashville, where she led two successful capital campaigns. She also directed all volunteer activities and shepherded an annual fund campaign that achieved 100 percent parent participation.
Kathy is founder of the Nashville Area Development Directors Association and has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She served as board chair for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Lung Association of Tennessee. She has also served as president of Nashville Bar Auxiliary and chair of Lamar Alexander’s Inaugural Ball. She is a popular presenter and received the Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for overall improvement in educational fundraising.
Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of North Georgia.
Gail possesses 30 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, major gifts, capital campaigns, annual campaigns, planned giving, integrated communication and board development.
She serves as the director of philanthropic outreach for a national nonprofit. She is also a past president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Central Kentucky and she was the chief advancement officer for the YMCA of Greater Houston, YMCA of Greater St. Louis (now the Gateway YMCA) and Capital District YMCA. Gail has served as the chair of the North American YMCA Development Organization and was a leader in the Y’s diversity, inclusion and global work. Throughout Gail’s early career, she held student affairs positions at Illinois State University, University of Illinois and the University of South Carolina.
Gail earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and her master’s degree in human service counseling and consultation from Illinois State University. She also holds a law degree from Saint Louis University.
Susan is a proven fundraising professional and nonprofit leader. She has over 28 years of non-profit fundraising and marketing experience in the Metro Nashville area and has helped raise more than $65 million for the organizations where she has worked.
A frequent instructor on a variety of fundraising and board development topics, Susan is a community leader. She was named as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2011 Women of Influence and a 2012 Woman to Watch by the Nashville Medical News. She is an alumna of Leadership Middle Tennessee and Leadership Franklin and past chair of the Williamson County Library Foundation. A member of CABLE, she chaired the 24th Annual Nashville ATHENA Awards.
Susan most recently worked with The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County to establish development policies and procedures as well as a capital campaign strategy. For five years prior, she was chief development officer for Adventure Science Center. Prior to that, she was president and CEO for PearlPoint Cancer Support for seven years. The prior fourteen years, Susan was vice president of development and marketing for Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art; vice president of resource development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee and vice president of external relations for Second Harvest Food Bank.
Susan served as chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Foundation for Philanthropy from 2015-2016. She served on the AFP International Board of Directors from 2001-2006, serving as vice chair for both the Membership Services and External Relations divisions. In 2011, Susan received AFP’s highest volunteer honor as the Barbara Marion Leadership Award recipient and most recently was recognized as a 2020 Distinguished Fellow. She is a past president of the AFP Nashville Chapter. In 2002, Susan was named the Fundraising Executive of the Year by AFP Nashville Chapter.
“Joy is found through living a life of purpose.”
Karen has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising and nonprofit professional. She served for 10 years as director of development at Darton State College, where she managed the Darton Foundation and led its first-ever capital campaign. She has also served as executive director of four nonprofits in the health, arts and human services fields. In these roles, she managed annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, board development, special events and communications.
Karen is active in community affairs and serves on the state board of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault. She graduated from Leadership Albany and has served as state public affairs chair for the Junior Leagues of Georgia. She serves on the board of Family Literacy Connection and is a volunteer with the Atlanta Chapter of the March of Dimes. A former Rotary president, she was recognized with a Martin Luther King Dream Award for her work on behalf of Georgia’s children and their families.
Karen attended the University of Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
David brings more than 30 years of experience as a pastor, teacher, trainer and recognized leader to the Lighthouse Counsel team.
David serves on the faculty at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, where he teaches leadership and organizational development to state and governmental officials throughout Georgia. David also serves as the founding pastor of the multidenominational Lake Oconee Community Church in Greensboro, Georgia. For seventeen years, David was the Director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he became a national voice on issues affecting the wide spectrum of Baptist life. He also taught leadership, theology, church history and contextual education to future ministers.
He serves on the national board of advisors for the Tyler Clementi Foundation and the local board of the Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens.
David holds a master’s degree in divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also completed doctoral training in the sociology of religion.
Dave brings nearly 30 years of experience in university advancement to his position as senior consultant for Lighthouse Counsel. He began his career at the University of Georgia as a field representative for the alumni relations office, overseeing alumni chapters nationwide. He then moved to the development office, where he advanced to director of development.
Dave later served as director of alumni relations, where he worked until his retirement. Under Dave's direction, the alumni staff doubled and the operating budget increased from less than $100,000 in 1990 to more than $1.5 million today.
Dave holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Georgia. A frequent presenter on fundraising and alumni relations, he currently serves as acting associate athletic director of external operations at UGA.
Necie Elizabeth holds more than 20 years of consulting experience. She has worked in corporate and non-profit sectors alike, leading organizational communications endeavors for Fortune 50 companies as a management consultant and leveraging her software development background to resolve complex problems.
Necie Elizabeth is also President of Relief Inc., a privately held family pharmaceutical company. She has served as executive vice president of the Junior League of Nashville, as well as a Junior League board and council member. She and her husband, Larry, have served as annual fund chairs for their son’s school. A Young Leaders Council alumna, Necie Elizabeth has judged the PENCIL Foundation student writing competitions.
Necie Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with minors in Spanish and music, from Lipscomb University and a Master of Arts in English, with an emphasis in professional writing, from the University of Memphis.
Bob specializes in helping higher education executives transition from crises to greater institutional resiliency and adaptability. He has a reputation as an advisor, mentor and counselor to executives and their boards in times of need. He has guided universities to successfully recover from enrollment losses, accreditation risks, low employee engagement and leadership difficulties, as well as provided innovative improvements to increase student-success outcomes, resolved financial burdens and built an engaged community and private partnerships. In addition, he partners as a strategist on other Lighthouse Counsel services.
Bob currently is the senior advisor for executive leadership and talent development for the University of Tennessee System, and directs the UT Executive Leadership Institute and the Tennessee Higher Education Innovation and Leadership Fellows program for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
He has twice served as CEO of public regional universities – Slippery Rock University and University of Tennessee at Martin - and retired with emeritus distinctions from both. For ten years, he facilitated the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ Presidential Seminars on Strategic Enrollment Management and for eight years he was a senior associate for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities-Penson Center for Professional Development, which provided peer-to-peer consultation to higher education CEOs. Bob has been a senior faculty member in four university-sponsored executive development programs, including the past 16 years with the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ Collegiate Management Business Institute.
His leadership has led to more than two dozen national recognitions in enrollment management and consecutive years on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Best Place to Work” list. In addition, he received national awards from CASE and AACRAO, was a US Department of Health and Human Services Fellow, serving in the Office of the Secretary, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Rajasthan Vidyappeth University in India.
Bob has been both a nonprofit consultant and leader. He served 12 years on the board of trustees for the Butler Health System, a US Top 100 Hospital; the board of directors for the Regional Learning Alliance, an independent nonprofit higher education collaborative; and as board chair for Leadership Pittsburgh and Leadership Kansas and trustee for Butler County Community College.
Bob holds a Ph.D. in communication theory and conflict behavior from Temple University, a master’s in interpersonal communication from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Wichita State University.
David brings more than four decades of experience in executive and development leadership in healthcare, education and social services. He is an expert in annual support campaigns and endowment development strategy, with the unique perspective of a staff member, a volunteer and a major donor.
Most recently, David served as chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Houston for 10 years, doubling its annual campaign to nearly $8 million, significantly growing the endowment and leading $50 million in capital campaigns. He previously led institutional advancement at The Dominican Campus (Aquinas College, St. Cecilia Academy and Overbrook School) in Nashville, Tennessee, where he led three successful capital campaigns to fund campus expansions.
Prior to his development career, David was a healthcare executive for more than 20 years, during which time he was involved as a volunteer on a number of nonprofit boards and deeply involved in their fundraising efforts.
David currently serves on the board of John Paul II Preparatory School, the Advancement Committee for Aquinas College and the Development Committee of the Diocese of Nashville. He currently serves on the capital campaign cabinet of YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain, North Carolina.
David is a graduate of Indiana University.
Alex joined Lighthouse Counsel as a client support and communications associate after interning with the firm for more than a year. With a passion for conveying the mission and impact of nonprofits, Alex focuses on building and maintaining strong relationships to help the client succeed.
Alex was on the marketing, public relations and social media teams for Her Campus at Belmont, an online magazine for female college students at Belmont University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing.
Chris provides leadership and support for Lighthouse Counsel operations and marketing in his role. Following two years as an intern with the company, Chris oversees day-to-day operations and marketing initiatives for Lighthouse Counsel.
Passionate about nonprofit work and connecting with others, Chris enjoys combining both his personal and professional interests to help nonprofit organizations grow and become more effective.
He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting degree.
Chris’s favorite quote: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)
“Our board was seeking a revitalized vision and action plan for our school’s annual fund and future capital campaign efforts. Lighthouse Counsel provided thorough analysis of our current situation, philanthropic insight and best practices, a clear and practical plan of action, and personalized support to bring the plan to reality. Our annual giving is up 75% in year one.”
Dean K. Luckenbaugh
Ad Fontes Academy