Our staff and board is as varied as the art for which we find a voice. It includes:
We strive to maintain an appropriate mix of professionals and executives in the arts, practicing artists, and business and community leaders who support the arts in their communities and across the state. Choose a photo to learn more about each member.
Bonnie Macdonald serves as TFTA's President of the Board of Directors. She is employed with the City of Kingsport, Tennessee where she has lived for 30 years and for which she serves as the Director of Office of Cultural Arts. The Office of Cultural Arts manages the city's Public Art Program which includes an annual Sculpture Walk exhibition as well as a Percent for Art Program. The Office of Cultural Arts also provides concerts, community art projects such as the Carousel Project, and operates the Kingsport Farmers Market and the Kingsport Renaissance Center, a multi-use facility that includes the Kingsport Senior Center, various Arts Organizations, an Art Gallery, and a Theatre.
Liza Zenni’s career in non-profit administration has spanned nearly 20 years. Since 2002 she has served as Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, a membership-based organization of artists, arts and culture organizations, historic homes, and arts supporters in 11 East Tennessee counties. Under her leadership, Alliance membership has grown from fewer than 40 individual artists and 15 company members to 350 individuals and more than 100 organizations (expanding membership from theater, dance, and visual arts organizations to museums and historic homes, as well).
Through two strategic alliances with government agencies, the Alliance has distributed more than a million dollars to non-profits on behalf of the state and has adjudicated nearly $2,400,000 in community agency grants for the City of Knoxville. Liza led the creation of the Emporium Center in 2004 and helped secure the funding package for it. She now manages the Center which annually draws more than 50,000 people to downtown Knoxville to visit its eight ethnically-diverse arts organizations, eight artist studios, and countless exhibits, performances, classes, workshops, and meetings. In 2007 she oversaw the expansion of the Emporium Center to encompass an Annex for use by a broad range of community organizations. The Emporium Gallery has returned more than $200,000 in artwork sales to local artists since its opening.
In 2006 Liza applied her experience in ticketing by creating KnoxTIX, an online cooperative box office service designed to help geographically diverse organizations economize on box office overhead. Under her direction, the Alliance developed and administers the Arts & Heritage Fund, created to provide additional financial support to the local non-profit arts and heritage field.
An experienced public speaker and consensus builder among diverse communities, Liza routinely makes public presentations and leads roundtables, committee meetings, symposia, and panel discussions. In her time at the Arts & Culture Alliance, she has gained the reputation as a dynamic leader who can listen, build trust, and inspire cooperation among divergent members of the community. She has successfully rallied support and participation in programs developed at the Alliance to foster collaboration among the arts segment and the community as a whole.
Liza has performed as an effective advocate earning appointments on the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Public Art Committee, the statewide Tennesseans for the Arts Board, Maryville College’s Civic Arts Center Board, and the Executive Women’s Association Executive Committee. She has served as a consultant and panelist to numerous funding entities, civic organizations, and redevelopment projects.
Liza earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and Master’s Degree from the Yale University School of Drama.
Whitney Jo has been managing director of Playhouse on the Square since 1993. Whitney is the Director/Founder of the Memphis Arts Advocacy Group, a member of the Safety Committee for the Cooper-Young Community Association, a member of Mpact Memphis, and on the Program Committee for Leadership Memphis. Previous accomplishments include serving on the Tennessee Arts Commission Theatre Grant Approval Committee, vice president of the Board of Directors for Voices of the South, and a participant in Johns Hopkins University’s Listening Post. Whitney is a graduate of Leadership Memphis FastTrack and was recognized in 2003 by Memphis Woman Magazine as one of the 50 Women in Memphis Who Make A Difference.
Susan Robinson, executive director of the Chattanooga Arts & Education Council, began working for the organization in 1992. She is president-elect of the Southeastern Tennessee chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is a charter member of the Tennessee Presenters Corporation where she currently serves as treasurer. She volunteers for the Southern Arts Federation and Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. Susan also serves as executive director of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Stephanie Conner served in several capacities within state and federal government. She worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for four years as a legislative researcher and assistant. After leaving Washington, she served as assistant to the governor for boards and commissions, deputy policy director, and executive director of the Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. During her time in state and federal government, Stephanie served as chair of the Southern Governors’ Association staff advisory committee, completed the Danforth Foundation policy maker’s program, served on the Tennessee State Healthcare Planning Commission and the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission. In 2002, Stephanie was appointed by the governor to a five-year term on the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC). She served as chair of the State Museum Committee, and as TAC chair the last two years of her term. She is an active board member of Watkins College of Art, Design and Film and the Southern Arts Federation.
Debby Koch is a communications and marketing professional who currently serves as director of communications & marketing for Governor Bredesen’s Cover Tennessee program. Prior to this, Debby held several roles such as vice president of communications and marketing and vice president of administration for Baptist Hospital. Debby is also the former Deputy Press Secretary to Gov. Lamar Alexander. She has served in leadership positions on numerous boards including the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Foundation, the Cumberland Valley Girl Scouts of America Board of Directors, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Nashville Symphony, the Tennessee Arts Foundation, the Ladies Hermitage Association, and The Blakeford at Green Hills.
Bo Spessard is Emma’s Chief Operating Officer. He ensures that Emma’s leaders (and therefore Emma) are delivering on high-level business goals by determining the smartest and most efficient ways to achieve and measure those goals in interesting, fun and profitable ways. He also oversees Finance, Human Resources, Legal and Facilities for Emma, which is a SAAS based software company with over 120 employees based in Nashville and Portland. Bo has been with Emma since 2006. Prior to joining Emma, Bo practiced corporate and intellectual property law with the firm of Baker Donelson. Before attending law school at University of New Hampshire’s school of law, where he focused on intellectual property law, Bo worked for a local bank in Nashville and managed one of their in-store branches. Bo currently serves on several non-profit boards, including: The Belcourt Theatre; The Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville (incoming Chairperson); Tennesseans for the Arts (Area Vice President); and 12 South Neighborhood Association (Treasurer). Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Bo attended Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and has lived in Nashville since 2001.
Molly Pratt is a principal in the firm of Pratt, Pratt & Rice, Inc., a government and community relations consulting group. Pratt has more than 25 years of experience working in and around all levels of government. Pratt worked on the legislative team of former Governor Lamar Alexander, has served as the lobbyist for a major Tennessee trade association and as the head of government and community relations for Knox County government. In 1999, Pratt was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission and to the Tennessee Residence Foundation in 2003. She is currently vice-chair of Nashville’s Metro Arts Commission. Before moving to Nashville from Knoxville, Pratt served on the boards of the Knoxville Opera and The Arts and Cultural Alliance. She is a member of The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Board of Directors and serves on the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.