Executive Board Bios
Jennifer Novo is the Executive Director of FUTURO, an inclusive college-success professional-development nonprofit organization. She is an advocate for diversity/equity, higher education, and social change, using her platform, time, and energy to help underserved college students learn interdependence, service, civic engagement, growth, and development. Jennifer has worked in higher education for two decades, specializing in student retention and success. Her TEDx Talk “How Can I Find Success in My FUTURO?” provides a detailed outlook on how students can be successful in college. Jennifer is an active member of the community, she currently serves on The Education Trust, Higher Ed. Policy Council working on educational equity policymaking and is on the Board of Urban Green Lab, an educational sustainability organization. She has been involved with nonprofits such as Equal-Chance-for-Education, Hands-on-Nashville, Conexion-Americas, and Sister-Cities and has been recognized for her advocacy work in education and Latino community outreach.
Jennifer holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Higher Education Administration; she also earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hospitality Management both from Florida International University in Miami. Jennifer is a first-generation American. She lives in Mt. Juliet, a suburb outside of Nashville, Tennessee with her husband & son.
As a founding partner of Culture Shift Team, Ann Gillespie, provides practical applications of training to yield optimal performance results. With over 20 years of experience in multicultural strategy with teams and organizations, Ann developed the Multicultural Lens™ Training Series for America’s largest domestic airline and is team leader in projects with both Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations alike in automotive, social services, aviation, and healthcare industries.
Previously she was president and CEO of ProLingua Inc. where she provided training to support new, multicultural market growth for a Fortune 500 Business and Finance company. She served as a consultant to the state hospital association to address healthcare disparities and partnered with a top-10 most admired US airline to ensure cultural agility as they began to fly international routes.
In the Nashville community, Ann co-founded the non-profit organization Futuro Inc., an inclusive professional development association for Latino millennials. She has served on the board of the YMCA Latino Achievers, Memphis NHPO, ALPFA Nashville, and the Society for Human Resources Management. Her recent honors include Middle Tennessee Society of Human Resources Management Diversity Professional of the Year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University and Training Certificate from Winfield College in Vancouver, Canada.
Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier
From a young age, Allison made a goal to impact the lives of others. To date, she has volunteered over 4,000 hours for various Nashville and Chattanooga nonprofits. Graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science: Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, went on to receive my M.Ed. in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, completed a 4-month Elite MBA with Smartly, received the Certified Nonprofit Professional designation from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, and became a Certified Fund Raising Executive through CFRE International. She has an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice and completed her dissertation entitled, “The Effects of Perceived Age and Gender Discrimination on Retention, Upward Mobility, and Advancement in the Nonprofit Sector.”
She says “I have made every decision since I entered the job market carefully and with purpose. My early jobs were focused on customer service, learning how to interact with people, build relationships, and properly communicate a brand. During my college years, my choices were targeted toward skill attainment so I pursued a variety of different positions including tutoring, peer mentoring, website editing, information technology, social media marketing, and database management. These positions allowed me to develop a multi-faceted skill base and a pool of knowledge to draw from for my future career.
Allison currently serves as Executive Director of Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership and is FUTURO’s Chair of the Executive Board.
Tanya Hernandez is a native from Veracruz, Mexico she migrated to the U.S. with her mother and brother when she was nine years old. Her immigrant story has shaped her professional path; she is the owner of Perfect Contrast Painting Company LLC and has a position as a Student Recruiter with KIPP Nashville Schools.
One of her greatest passion is education and education equity. She strives to be an advocate for students that come from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds. In her family, she was the first generation to go to college. While studying her undergrad, she was the president of the Trevecca Nazarene FUTURO Chapter.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, creating new memories with her two children, traveling, and making some new art projects as a family. She is always willing to explore new things.
Caroline Bizot is a founding member of FUTURO. Her passion is to support students with their goals and aspirations. She earned a degree in sociology from Middle Tennessee State University. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Admissions for Access, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Belmont University and is an active FUTURO Executive Board Member.
Kavya is an innovative, detail-oriented and result-driven individual. Kavya enjoys exploring applied mathematics and statistics skills to deliver high-value solutions to complex problems with high quality. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University. She interned at FUTURO and now serves on the Executive Board. She enjoys dancing and meeting new people.
Melinda is a Certified Marketing Director with more than 10 years of marketing and communication experience. In my role as Asurion’s Recruiting Programs Manager, she is responsible for developing internal and external programs to drive diversity recruiting efforts and has led initiatives to create a Software Engineer Apprenticeship for employees – the first of its kind in the State of Tennessee. She also previously served as the organization’s Employer Brand Manager, where she was responsible for Asurion’s employer brand presence in the company’s North American markets.
Prior to joining Asurion, Melinda managed marketing efforts for 2 million square feet of retail shopping centers in Nashville and Chicago MSAs, and was an award-winning journalist for Gannett early in my professional career.
In 2019, she co-launched the Lipstick Economy Podcast with Jamie Dunham that explores all aspects of marketing to women and shares stories of leaders who are making a difference through their insight, strategy, diversity, and creative thinking.
She won the 2020 Nashville Emerging Leaders Awards (NELAs) in the Technology category, a 2019 ATHENA Young Professional Nominee, and recipient of the 2019 Asurion Diversity & Inclusion commUnity Leadership Award.
She serves on the FUTURO Employer Advisory Board, TEDxNashvilleWomen Steering Committee, Red Letter Day: A Marketing to Women Conference Steering Committee, and am a member of Together in Digital, American Marketing Association – Nashville, Nashville Cable, and Rutherford Cable.
Kathleen serves as the Assistant Director for the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, where interdisciplinary graduate students have common ground to explore and integrate their desire for meaningful, sustainable social impact with practical business strategy. Prior to joining the TFC staff in 2016, Kathleen’s work focused on college access for first-generation immigrant students to pursue higher education, leadership development, and career success in Nashville with the YMCA Latino Achievers program – which is how she was introduced to Futuro when it was just an idea for continued community and connection for Latino college students! Kathleen holds a Master’s in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University’s Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and an Executive MBA at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. She has served as a member of Nashville Mayor’s New American Advisory Council and Futuro Board of Directors. Kathleen’s work in Nashville reflects her deep passion for creating sustainable and strategic partnerships across sectors for community impact on both the individual and collective level. For these reasons, she loves to partner with Futuro students on their professional and academic paths!
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Matthew graduated with an undergraduate degree in Finance from Lipscomb University and attended law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Matthew is a licensed attorney in Tennessee and also holds an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama. During law school, he was a twice-published member of the business law journal and worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Legal Directorate Division. After law school, Matthew worked as legal counsel with a financial services outsourcing company headquartered in Nashville and advised on transactional, tax, and privacy issues and assisted in the management of its office of nearly 200 people in New Delhi, India. Matthew now works as a tax attorney with a law firm in Nashville. Matthew is an active member of a number of local organizations in Nashville including the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce. He is an Eagle Scout and can communicate fluently in Spanish. He enjoys traveling, computing, gardening, and being with his wife.
Culture Shift Team founding partner, Robert Lawrence Wilson, leads CST’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity division. With more than 15 years of experience in diversity management, multicultural marketing, customer experience strategy, and leadership development, Robert develops comprehensive strategy and training for corporations, non-profit organizations, higher education, and government agencies. In addition to overall inclusion strategy, Robert also provides racial equity strategy and deployment expertise.
Robert served in executive roles at Nissan North America, including Nissan’s director of Customer Experience and Nissan’s first director of Diversity and Inclusion where he developed and led Nissan’s diversity practice, spanning Nissan’s operations in North and South America, as well as a multicultural marketing strategy.
Has served on the leadership boards of non-profit organizations promoting greater access to quality education for our nation’s most at-risk student populations. Robert is the co-founder and executive director of the Tennessee Diversity Consortium. Robert holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University.
Nancy is a social media marketing specialist. She is a proud FUTURO Alumna who now serves on the Executive Board. Nancy currently works at Tractor Supply.
Achiever • Discipline • Significance • Includer • Positivity | Enneagram Type 3
A well-rounded bilingual young professional who prides himself on his charismatic disposition and commitment to personal and professional growth. Naturally positive and encouraging, with the desire to serve those around him. Driven to use his skills and knowledge to implement positive change in his career endeavors. Allan is a FUTURO alumnus and is now serving on the Executive Board. He enjoys mentoring students and supporting them in their career aspirations.
OUR STUDENTS, MEMBERS & ALUMNI
Founded on the Latino principle of “familia,” FUTURO’s students are a close community in Middle Tennessee. With over 200 students, members, and alumni represented, our leaders focus on leadership, service, and strong connections.
Our goal is help students navigate the rigors of college life while building a confidence and a strong community.Currently, FUTURO Inc. has established student-led chapters at five area universities: Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University/Fisk, Trevecca Nazarene University, Cumberland University, and our Aspire Chapter (currently unenrolled college students), with affiliate programs at Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb, Western Kentucky, and Belmont Universities.Our alumni have been placed in a number of organizations including Metro Nashville Public Schools, NISSAN, HCA, Deloitte, United We Dream, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Conexion Americas, YMCA Latino Achievers, Vanderbilt University, and Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) to name a few.
Our partnership with the Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce has provided opportunities for our students to land jobs as well as provide options for job shadowing and summer internships. During the summer 2019, our interns were in congress, hospitals, local non-profits, and large fortune 500 corporations.
LEAD. SERVE. CONNECT.