The Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum announces Recipients of Awards

Trailblazer, Man of the Year, Person to Watch and Businesswoman of the Year

kia jarmon

The Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum announces four outstanding individuals who will receive the 2012 Workplace Awards at the Fall event.  The focus of the Sept. 6, session is “Women in the Workplace: Sticky Floor or Glass Ceiling?”  It will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Belmont University Curb Event Center.

“We are thrilled to have such outstanding individuals to receive these distinguished awards representing their strong focus on uplifting women,” said Jacky Akbari, Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum, Co-Founder/ Board Chair and Women in the Workplace, Event Chair.

The 2012 award recipients include:

Trailblazer of the Year, Nancy Peterson Hear: Mrs. Peterson Hearn is chairman and chief executive officer of Peterson Tool Company, Inc. Nancy assumed leadership of Peterson Tool in 1979 after her husband died at the age of 45. She told customers about Mr. Peterson’s death six months later – only after she demonstrated her ability to successfully run the company. Under Nancy’s leadership, the company has made exponential gains in sales, production and reputation, and is ranked among the world’s premier designers and manufacturers of custom insert tooling. It took a woman to make the mission simply the quest for satisfaction. Nancy has served on the board of Siebert Financial Group; as Vice-Chair of the Foundation for the Committee of 200, an invitation only organization for the world’s most successful business women, and where a Scholars Award was named in her honor; on the board of the Society of International Business Fellows; the Acquinas College Board; the MS University for Women’s Board; the Nashville Symphony; Cheekwood and Nashville Ballet boards. Nancy was named to CABLE’s Board Walk of Fame, to the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement, and is also the first American to earn the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award.

Man of the Year, Paul Haynes: Mr. Paul Haynes is Executive Director of the Nashville Career Advancement Center, has an extensive career spanning twenty-two years in the administration and operation of workforce development grant programs.  Paul is a role model for men leading, supporting and advancing women in the workplace. He has served as a mentor to women, helping them to develop skills needed to succeed personally and professionally. He encourages and supports personal and professional development among his entire staff. His affiliations include Tennessee Hospital Association’s Workforce Committee, Alignment Nashville Board of Directors, Middle Tennessee Workforce Investment Board, and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Committee.

BusinessWoman of the Year, Yvonne Wood: Ms. Wood is president of Wood Conference & Event Planning and serves as Chairperson of the Board of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.  Wood is a retired State of Tennessee employee, serving in positions including the Office of the Governor, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation and the Medicaid/Tenn Care Program.  She has been a strong advocate for women’s rights and focused on uplifting and empowering women.  She has received numerous awards, among them the Nashville Athena Award, the NAWBO, Woman Business Owner of the Year Award in 2004 and the 2012 Molly Todd Cup Award from Nashville CABLE.  She also served as president of Athena International 2005-2007 and was in the 2005-06 Leadership Nashville Class.

Woman to Watch, Kia JarmonMs. Jarmon is the creative director of MEPR Agency, a boutique public relations and brand strategic firm, a company she founded in 2006.  She is a graduate of Belmont University and the inaugural Ingram Scholar. She has built a strong reputation on deliverables in the communications arena, including marketing, community engagement and strategic planning.  Ms. Jarmon received the 2012 Nashville Business Journal Women of Influence Award in the Entrepreneurial category.  She was also in the 2010 class of Forty under 40 from the Nashville Business Journal and Top 30 under 30 from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She was a nominee in the 2011 inaugural class of the Athena YP (Young Professionals) award.

All of the award recipient nominees are outstanding individuals and were selected among a high-caliber of individuals who were recommended.  “The Women in the Workplace event is the perfect venue to salute these individuals.  It is poised to be a spectacular session. ” said Akbari.

The Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum holds sessions each quarter and focuses on different perspectives and reviews how inclusive the industry is and how it can grow. “It is Belmont’s desire to reach for new heights and strive for excellence in ways unimaginable and to see those ideals to fruition.  Hosting the Women in the Workplace event is just another example of how Belmont strives for excellence,” said Joyce Searcy, director of Community Relations at the university and Women in the Workplace, Event Co-Chair.

Registration for the event has reached full capacity, with no spaces for waiting list registration. If you would like to attend the next diversity forum, please contact Lauren Jarrell,

The vision of the Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum is to impact workforce diversity through high quality programming and initiatives that advance workforce diversity and inclusion. Through partnerships between private, non-profit and public sector employers, community and academic leaders and elected officials. The MTDF has been a key business resource in the Tennessee community since 2003.For More information about The Middle Tennessee Diversity Forum contact Jacky Akbari, MTDF Board Chair,


Lauren Jarrell, Public Information Associate,

(615) 862-8890 ext. 77437 (o) (615) 481-1860 (c)

Kia Jarmon