The Nominating Committee congratulates 2016’s recipients of the Paragon Awards, which recognize outstanding volunteer service to the JLN and the community. Kristin Torrey, is the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award; Theresa Carl, Past President of the JLN, received the Sustainer Service Award; and Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville, received the Community Service Award.
The Paragon Awards were developed many years ago to honor outstanding volunteer service among our JLN volunteers, as well as in our community. Each year, nominations are received from members, which the JLN Nominating Committee reviews in the selection process.
This year’s honorees were recognized at the Masquerade benefiting the Junior League of Nashville event on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016.
Please join us in congratulating these outstanding volunteers! Read more about our award recipients below.
Outstanding Service Award: Kristin Torrey
Kristin Torrey grew up in Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University in 2000. After receiving her Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University in 2002, she moved to Nashville to work at Vanderbilt University where she serves as the Director of Greek Life. In this role Kristin provides leadership and oversight to the Vanderbilt fraternity and sorority community which represents almost 45% of the undergraduate student body.
With a desire to be more engaged in the Nashville community, she joined the Junior League of Nashville in 2004 and began her involvement with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, first by volunteering in the NICU as a “cuddler” and then as a movie night volunteer. After serving as the Project Chair for the hospital for several years, she moved into a role on the Home Board, representing the Junior League as an ex-officio member of the Oasis Center Board. Kristin currently leads the Grants Committee serving as the Chair where she has navigated a new process for identifying and selecting community partners in the areas of cradle-to-career literacy and human trafficking. In addition to her involvement with the Junior League, Kristin volunteered as a big sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee for nine years. She is a long-time member of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Foundation. She has also been a facilitator for Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute through the North-American Interfraternity Conference for more than 10 years.
Kristin has been recognized both locally and nationally for her dedication and impact in the field of higher education. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leader Award in the category of Education. She also received the Phi Kappa Psi National Fraternity Advisor of the Year Award in 2014 and the Vanderbilt University K.C. Potter Outstanding Service to Students Award in 2013.
She is dog mom to Abby, a daughter to Mike and Kathy, a sister to Sara and countless Delta Gammas, an aunt to Avery and Hudson, and a friend to many.
Sustainer Award: Theresa Carl
Theresa joined the Junior League of Nashville in 1983, serving as its president from 1993 – 1994. During her year as president, she and her board led the League through a significant internal discernment process relating to membership and community investment, while creating a new children’s-themed community fundraiser, the “All About Kids” show and continuing the successful JLN Designer Show House. Theresa was honored to represent the JLN at the 1994 AJLI Conference, where she accepted the prestigious BMW Community Impact Grand Award, for “Kare for Kids”, the JLN’s and Salvation Army’s collaborative daycare program for homeless children. That same year, the JLN Home Board approved funding of the Junior League Respite Care Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to provide weekend care for chronically ill children, allowing parents a much-needed break. Theresa’s League membership activities included serving as co-chair of the Designer Show House, as a host and producer of the League’s public affairs television show, Heart of the Matter, as chair of the Marketing and Communications Council, as a member of the Community Research Committee and as sustainer advisor to the Board.
Theresa’s passion continues to be focused on empowering women and improving the lives of children. Following her year as president, she co-chaired a statewide committee and co-wrote a white paper on the affordability and accessibility of high-quality child care in Tennessee, prior to the state’s enactment of the Families First Welfare to Work program. This work led to her recruitment by Governor Lamar Alexander and the Salvation Army to be the project development chair of the Red Shield Family Initiative, a holistic family resource model located at the Salvation Army’s Magness Potter Community Center. Theresa led the creation of a public/private collaboration to fund and manage the physical renovation of the Center and presented the idea of funding a high-quality infant and toddler child care center as the keystone of the project to the Junior League of Nashville. The project won a highly competitive $500,000 JLN grant, resulting in the founding in 2000 of The Junior League of Nashville Child Care Center at the Red Shield Family Initiative.
A native of Union City, Tenn., Theresa holds a B.A. with distinction in political science and urban studies from Rhodes College. She has worked as Director of Development for LEAD Public Schools, Inc., Vice President of Fund Development for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee and Director of Development for the Frist Center for Visual Arts. Since 2012, Theresa has served as president of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst to support and sustain Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in all 95 counties of Tennessee. The GBBF’s mission is to build a foundation for reading and learning through the direct delivery of high-quality, age-appropriate books to enrolled preschool-aged children, at no cost to their families and regardless of income. In her role as President, Theresa leads with a focus on developing strategies for sustaining and strengthening Tennessee’s Imagination Library program, supporting some 700 volunteers across the state who enroll children, raise 50% of the book costs locally and engage their communities around early childhood literacy. The GBBF is able to grant each county the remaining 50% book and mailing costs through state grant funding and private donations. A former strategy consultant with more than 23 years of experience in fundraising, relationship building, resource connecting, and creative marketing, Theresa’s work unites the childhood literacy efforts of First Lady Crissy Haslam, Imagination Library volunteers, statewide corporate partners, municipal and state government, and other organizations in the public and private sectors.
Theresa currently serves as president of The Rotary Club of Nashville, the 4th largest club in the world, is an alumna of Leadership Nashville and is a member of the Leadership Tennessee Class of 2016. She is a board member of Nations Ministry and an elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she serves as a trustee of The Westminster Legacy Fund. Theresa has been married for 34 years to Norman Carl; their daughter, Dr. Sarah Carl, is a post-doctoral fellow in epigenetics at the Friderich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland.
Community Service Award: The Honorable Karl Dean
Karl Dean served as the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. He was elected on September 11, 2007 and was re-elected on August 4, 2011.
During Karl Dean’s two terms in office, Nashville received national recognition as a “Boomtown,” one of “The Best Cities for Jobs,” and the “It City.” He invested in public education, public safety, new parks and greenways, and many other initiatives that make Nashville the great place it is to live, work, and play.
Mayor Dean first held public office when he was elected as Nashville’s Public Defender in 1990, a post he was re-elected to in 1994 and 1998. He served as Metro Law Director from 1999 to January 2007, when he resigned to run for the office of mayor.
Through his strong leadership, Nashville is now strategically positioned for economic growth in the present and well into the future as a city offering affordability, high quality of life and a talented workforce.
Since leaving office in September, 2015, Mayor Dean has been teaching at Belmont University as a distinguished visiting professor of history and political science.
This spring semester, he has joined Boston University as the first “Initiative on Cities Mayor in Residence.” As Mayor in Residence, Mayor Dean is helping to guide the Initiative on Cities and its mission of bridging the gap between the academic study of cities and the everyday practice of urban governance. He has also joined the ranks of Boston University faculty as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science and will focus on urban studies.