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TECW Newsletter, February 2015

February 27, 2015

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This month's edition features domestic and sexual violence resources for Spanish speakers; a Black History month spotlight on two incredible women; a Yoga donation class benefiting the WECF; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, January 2015

January 26, 2015

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This month’s edition features the TECW's new Woman & Work Information Hub; a woman suffrage monument coming to Nashville; a Yoga donation class benefiting the WECF in February; new additions to the TECW, it’s officers, and its staff; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

Economic Council Launches Comprehensive Online Workforce Tool

Women & Work Information Hub serves entrepreneurs, workers, and innovators; focuses on female success

January 07, 2015

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The Economic Council on Women has launched the Women & Work (W&W) Information Hub (, an online collection of information and guidance designed to enhance workforce skills, find a new career, start or strengthen a business, or grow ideas into products throughout Tennessee.

In addition to providing a single point of entry to resources from multiple agencies and regions, the Hub showcases information and insights that will be especially useful to female users, who experience unique barriers in the workforce.  “The Economic Council's mission is to promote the economic strength and stability of Tennessee women and their families, and this site does that by connecting women to tailored information about owning a business, seeking a new job or promotion, or enhancing their skills in fields where women are underrepresented,” says Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, the TECW’s Executive Director. 

TECW Chair Dena Wise cautions that the site is not only for women, however; men will find it just as useful.  “Most resources out there are not gender-specific, so those collected on the site would help anyone,” she says, “but what distinguishes this tool from others is its aim to break down the specific barriers between women and success; we want to offer a comfortable place where women can learn and grow through a tailored experience.”

The Hub’s information is organized to be accessed in three simple ways:

  1. Women & Work Pathways: An intuitive flow of information access that guides users to the resources that best fit their current goals (i.e. jobseekers, business start-up, skill enhancement, etc.), with specific, narrative suggestions about useful and reliable tools.

    “The site’s narrative pathways will be useful to Tennesseans because they offer an experience that begins at a central point of access and shapes itself around the user.  With each new selection on a pathway, the user will see an increasingly tapered variety of resources, but a greater depth of information related to their selection,” says William Arth, TECW Senior Research Manager.

  2. Feature Column and Insights: The Hub’s sidebar showcases general tools like and BERO's Smart Start Guide and also displays context-specific links and information when available.  An additional feature found on the sidebar is Women & Work: Insights, a new and ongoing series of articles and interviews providing users with valuable qualitative information from Tennesseans who are area experts.

  3. Women & Work Resource Map (Coming Soon): In the coming months, users will gain access to a statewide map listing professional and workforce resources by category and county. This will provide information about brick and mortar workforce resources in the state as well as provide a platform for the study and presentation of economic and workforce data statewide. 

Find the Women & Work Information Hub at  For other information, contact the Economic Council directly at (615) 253-4266 or via

TECW Newsletter, December 2014

December 19, 2014

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This month’s edition features the TECW's new Violence Against Women Online Resource Center; the final segment in the "Women & Work: Insights" interview with entrepreneurship coach Mildred Walters; an Economic Summit review with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

Violence Against Women Resource Center launched by Tennessee Economic Council on Women

State site designed to connect victims to resources and provide local data to Tennesseans

December 01, 2014

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The Violence Against Women (VAW) Resource Center is an online statewide database recently made available by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women (TECW) to connect Tennesseans with helpful information about domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking resources. “The VAW Center will be of crucial value to victims seeking emergency shelter and assistance, as well as to advocates and policymakers as an at-a-glance tool to identify service needs and strengths,” said Bill Arth, TECW Senior Research Manager.

The TECW’s primary goal in creating the VAW Resource Center is to promote economic recovery by collecting and presenting information to women and children in need. However, it can also function as a tracking system for the availability of services in each county; highlight weaknesses where service providers can focus expansion efforts; and present the clearest available information to policymakers about the state of care in Tennessee.  In this way, the TECW seeks to help victims directly and to enhance Tennessee’s method of response to these crimes as a policy and budget tool.

The VAW Resource Center was created in an effort to provide victims of violence in all 95 counties with a ready means to identify and connect with local resources; and to positively impact rates of recovery as well as the rate of reporting. While developing its 2013 study on The Economic Impact of Violence against Women in Tennessee, the TECW revealed more than $886 million in annual service costs and productivity loss.  The Economic Council also encountered a patchwork response to Violence Against Women throughout the state, which relies heavily on under-funded, locally-focused non-profit organizations. “As it continued the sometimes-difficult task of identifying and contacting these dedicated service providers, the TECW recognized it could provide an economic and social service to Tennesseans by helping to inform them of available, nearby servicers,” said Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, TECW Executive Director.

Find the VAW Resource Center at

Contact the Tennessee Economic Council on Women directly at (615) 253-4266,, or

TECW Newsletter, November 2014

November 14, 2014

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This month’s edition features the Economic Council Foundation’s six 2014 college scholarship recipients; a message about veterans from the TECW and retired Air Force Colonel Kimberly Olson; celebration of various recent accomplishments; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, October 2014

November 06, 2014

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This month’s edition features six female college scholarship recipients; a profile on Economic Summit speaker and retired Air Force Colonel Kimberly Olson; the 20th Anniversary of the AmeriCorps program; and more. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, September 2014

September 29, 2014

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This month’s edition features Economic Summit speaker profiles on ATHENA International leaders Martha Mertz (Founder), Jan Maddox (Board Chair), and Dianne Dinkel (President and CEO); a Women & Work Interview with Business Coach Mildred Walters; Early Bird Registration info for the Economic Summit; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, August 2014

September 02, 2014

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This month’s edition features Summit Speaker Beth DeBauche, testimony from UT Extension Services about economic barriers to women, Women's Equality Day, a celebration of two TECW members, and more. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, July 2014

July 31, 2014

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This month’s edition features the need for men in solving violence; a speaker profile of 2014 Summit speaker and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; WECF college scholarship information; a recent community donation to the WECF; and other news. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, June 2014

June 27, 2014

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This month’s edition features Goodwill of Middle Tennessee's Career Solutions programs; Vision 2020's Fourth National Congress; Mayor Karl Dean's recognition of AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteers; and the 2014 Economic Summits in Middle and East Tennessee. Read the full newsletter here.

Goodwill Presents "Beyond Jobs" Program to Economic Council on Women

June 23, 2014

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As a part of its research on Women & Work, Economic Council staff recently met with Vice President Betty Johnson, Senior Director Matt Gloster, and Vocational Evaluator Barbara Stout of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee to discuss their 26 area Career Solutions Centers and the Beyond Jobs program.

The first thing we learned upon our arrival at the Nashville headquarters is that Goodwill is so much more than the stores we are used to. Goodwill has been beating the drum about their employment services for several years, and with very good reason.

Spread across 48 counties, Goodwill of Middle Tennessee operates 26 career centers that provided services to more than 23,000 Tennesseans in 2013.

Services offered by centers include job search and placement assistance, job fairs and connection to a large network of hiring managers, career counseling, interview and resume assistance, interest and aptitude assessment, as well as classes, training, and certifications in a number of skills.

“Women’s needs are remarkably different from men’s when they are looking for a job.”

Matt Gloster, Senior Director of Career Solutions Goodwill of Middle Tennessee

Of particular interest to the Council is Goodwill’s Beyond Jobs program, which is directed toward women who are searching for work or upgrading their skills. Through this program, Goodwill is engaging women in a collaborative, social environment, which they say is producing great results for women, who face different social and emotional barriers when searching for work, and are able to learn together during this process. Women are also more likely than men to encounter hardship relating to child care, wardrobe, and matters of hygiene, which are rarely addressed in other job readiness programs, but are tackled by Beyond Jobs.

Through its many programs, Goodwill Career Solutions is not only providing a resource for Tennesseans to learn and grow, it is helping to place participants directly into the workforce, with average hourly wages of $9.31, in careers ranging from construction and hospitality to communications and home health care.

Representatives from Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee presented information about their organization’s Career Solutions programs at the TECW’s Spring Quarterly meeting, in follow-up to the TECW’s site visit to Goodwill in April.

“We are regularly working to promote the other half of what we do,” said Goodwill board member and SunTrust Exec. Rob McNeilly. “Tennesseans are familiar with our stores, but they usually don’t know that we use the money from our sales to help other Tennesseans build their skills and find work.”

Training Manager Thomas Lee offered a full presentation about Goodwill’s operations throughout middle Tennessee, where it engages men and women to overcome barriers to employment.  “Goodwill offers new opportunities to Tennesseans who might otherwise fall through the cracks,” said Lee.  “I’m proud to be a part of it, and to spread the word however we can.”

Find Goodwill Career Solutions at or locate one of its 26 career centers by phone at (800) 545-9231. Goodwill of Middle Tennessee is currently accepting applicants into every one of its programs.

TECW Newsletter, May 2014

May 29, 2014

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This month’s edition features Goodwill of Middle Tennessee's Career Solutions programs; Vision 2020's Fourth National Congress; Mayor Karl Dean's recognition of AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteers; and the 2014 Economic Summits in Middle and East Tennessee. Read the full newsletter here.

TECW Newsletter, April 2014

April 30, 2014

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This month’s edition features the TECW’s recent State of Women’s Studies & Services Roundtable; Goodwill's "Beyond Jobs" program; and early information about the 2014 Economic Summit for Women. Read the full newsletter here.

Economic Council Holds Roundtable on Women's Studies and Services in Tennessee Higher Education

April 29, 2014

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NASHVILLE - A Roundtable discussion on the “State of Women’s Studies and Services in Tennessee” took place as part of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women’s (TECW) 2014 research on “Women & Work.”  The event was the first of its kind in Tennessee.

Directors of women’s studies programs and women’s centers from colleges and universities across the state participated in the discussion, which focused on effective collaboration and expanding the positive impact that programs have in their communities.  Dena Wise, chair of the TECW described the roundtable as “a way to both learn from our academic faculty across the state and engage them in collaborative work to benefit the women of Tennessee on a broad scale.”

Participants came from as far as East Tennessee State University (ETSU), in Johnson City, and the University of Tennessee at Martin to exchange information about academics and the implementation of programs like “Take Back the Night,” “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” and “The Clothesline Project”; all efforts designed to bring awareness to violence and hardships often faced by women and other populations that can be disenfranchised on campuses.

Other details discussed included the characteristics of women’s centers and women’s studies programs, which are typically considered separate entities.  Traditionally, centers provide direct services and guidance to female students and staff, while women’s studies programs are rooted in academics and research.  One interesting outcome of the event was the realization that several women’s centers in Tennessee are actually operated by academic faculty, whose daily activities combine academics and services.  “This roundtable discussion revealed that these educators bridge the gap between two camps of professionals,” said Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Executive Director of the TECW.  “Their insight will be valuable as we work to promote collaboration statewide.”   ETSU, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K), and Middle Tennessee State University were the only institutions represented that have a standalone women’s center.

Similarly, only a few universities in the state offer a full major in women’s studies at this time, and participants said that learning from such programs may help improve graduation rates.  “Based on what we see on the campuses with related classes, some feel that students who pursue a major or minor in women’s studies are more likely to reach graduation than many of their peers,” says, Dr. Phyllis Thompson, director of the Women’s Studies Program at ETSU.  “If further study confirms this trend, we may be able to determine why, apply that knowledge to other programs, and grow women’s studies disciplines in more institutions.”

Roundtable participants expressed an excitement to build on the foundation of this first meeting, with plans developing for another event in the fall that will bring faculty together with students to discuss women’s studies and services.  In addition to participating in future events, the Economic Council plans to look closer at the success rates of women’s studies students in Tennessee.

The roundtable was held in Nashville, at the Law Offices of Bass, Berry and Sims.

Announcement - April Board & Commission Openings

April 11, 2014

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women has been advised of openings on the State Boards & Commissions listed below. The application deadline for these openings is May 12, 2014.

  • State Rehabilitation Council
  • Commission on Aging & Disability- (Openings in Northeast, Southeast and Upper Cumberland areas).
  • Private Probation Services Council
  • Elevator & Amusement Device Safety Board
  • Advisory Council for the Education of Students with Disabilities
  • Tennessee Auctioneer Commission (licensed auctioneer from West Tennessee)
  • Air Pollution Board (registered professional engineer, Industrial Management rep.)
  • Tennessee Athletic Commission (experience in mixed martial arts)
  • Advisory  Committee on Credit Life Insurance Rates (representative of Credit Life Industry)
  • Commission on Firefighting Personnel Standards & Education (volunteer firefighter, member of TN Professional Firefighters Assn., member of TN Fire Chief's Assn, the TN Fire Safety Inspectors Assn, or the TN Firemen's Assn.)
  • State Board of Pharmacy (full time hospital pharmacist)
  • Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (licensed veterinarian)
  • Sam Davis Memorial Assn. Board of Trustees
  • Tennessee Career and Technical Education Council (represents post secondary education)
  • Governor's Council for Armed Forces, Veterans, and Their Families
  • Tennessee Historical Commission (rep. from West TN, rep. from Middle TN)
  • Underground Storage Tanks and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board
    Tennessee Second Look Commission (Law enforcement representative, Population less than 250K, Law enforcement representative, Population more than 250K)
  • Tennessee Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (Northeast TN region, Southeast TN region)
  • Advisory Committee for Purchase From the Blind and Other Severely Disabled

Those interested in serving on one or more boards should contact the council at Please include the phrase "Boards & Commissions Inquiry" in the subject of your email.

TECW Newsletter, March 2014

March 18, 2014

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This month’s edition features the TECW’s upcoming State of Women’s Studies Roundtable; Women’s History Month; VAW research from the European Union; the TECW's VAW Resource Center; and welcomes Noel Blackmire to the TECW Staff. Read the full newsletter here.

Announcement - Board & Commission Openings

March 07, 2014

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women has been advised of openings on the State Boards & Commissions listed below. The application deadline for these openings is March 30, 2014.

  • Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Board of Osteopathic Examination
  • Tennessee Career and Technical Education Council
  • Tennessee Real Estate Appraiser Commission (Certified Appraisers; East, Middle, and West TN openings)
  • Keep Tennessee Beautiful Advisory Council
  • Tennessee Arts Commission (Openings in Congressional Districts 2, 4, 6, 8, and 9)
  • Emergency Communications Board
  • Board of Social Worker Licensure (licence required)
  • Tennessee Massage Licensure Board (licence required)
  • Tennessee Human Rights Commission (represents East Tennessee)
  • Tennessee Historical Commission (represents Middle Tennessee)
  • Tennessee Commission on Holocaust Education
  • Tennessee Water Quality Control Board (2 openings)

TECW Newsletter, February 2014

February 27, 2014

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This month’s edition features information about the TECW's website re-launch, the 2014 Women's Day on the Hill; "A Call to Men" and outreach efforts relating to violence against women; and the TBI's latest report on human sex trafficking. Read the full newsletter here.

New TECW Resource Pages Go Live

Offerings range from parenting and continued education to sexual harassment and domestic violence.

February 24, 2014

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In an ongoing effort to enhance access to resources through, the Economic Council launched its new, streamlined resource pages today.

In addition to enhanced information offered about domestic and sexual violence, and human sex trafficking resources on its Violence Against Women page, visitors will now find intuitive, tab-based navigation options on the main resource page.

Resource tabs currently include information about:

  • Violence Against Women
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Women & Work
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Parenting, and
  • Political Participation

Council staff are working continuously to connect Tennesseans to the best possible services available, and are particularly excited to roll out enhanced resource centers for Women & Work and Violence Against Women in the coming months.

TBI Releases Follow-Up Report on Human Sex Trafficking in Tennessee

February 20, 2014

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News release from TBI:

NASHVILLE-The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a follow-up study to the 2011 report on Human Sex Trafficking and its impact on Children and Youth. The follow-up study profiles minor sex trafficking cases of Tennessee counties and provides statistical comparisons between cases reported from law enforcement and non-law enforcement responders.

This study also analyzes the data in Tennessee counties that reported the highest numbers of minor sex trafficking. Numerous factors within each county have also been examined and compared in an effort to identify circumstances or conditions that may place an individual at risk for becoming a victim.

The Geography of Trafficking in Tennessee 2013 Quick Facts

  • Of the 941 respondents to the 2011 TBI study survey, 49% were from rural TN counties
  • Of the total rural respondents, 42% reported knowing of cases of sex trafficking in their jurisdiction
  • Many more cases of sex trafficking were reported by social service respondents than by law enforcement respondents
  • Counties that reported over 100 cases of minor sex trafficking were Coffee, Davidson, Knox and Shelby
  • Counties that reported 26-100 cases of minor sex trafficking were Franklin, Rutherford, Warren, Carter, Hamilton, Lawrence, Madison, Roane and Washington
  • Counties that reported 16-25 cases of minor sex trafficking were Bradley, Dickson, Lake, Lewis, Marshall, Montgomery, Putnam and Sevier

As of July 2013, twelve new anti-human trafficking laws have been created to address this epidemic. Domestic issues, the drug trade, poverty and other socio-economic factors serve as catalysts for human sex trafficking. This report shows that minor sex trafficking occurs in rural and urban areas of Tennessee and has an effect in both wealthy and poor households. It was also discovered that minors who come from impoverished households may be especially vulnerable to victimization.

To view the follow-up study in its entirety, click here.

Welcome to Our New Website!

February 18, 2014 is one of the most effective ways for the Economic Council to reach out to the women of Tennessee, so we'll be working hard to bring you new functions and features throughout 2014. We hope that you'll find it more convenient and informative than ever before, and we ask you to contact us at with any questions or suggestions!

As you navigate, you'll notice that many of our pages have yet to go live, and you may find a link or two that lead to a page that does not yet exist; we apologize for any inconvenience, and encourage you to navigate to our old home page if you experience trouble with our new layout.

We'll be adding new pages and elements daily, and we'll be sure to keep you updated here!

For now, here are a few new pages that we encourage you to check out!

  • About the Council
  • Our new layout makes it easier to see who is currently serving on the economic council at a glance, as well as to access detailed biographical information below. This page also includes a brief summary of the Council's founding and a listing of it's biennial reports.
  • TECW Research
  • Find a study by category, view the Council's research timeline, and find in-depth information about the TECW's rich library of publications.
  • Media and news archives on our News & Networking page
  • This page will be the main hub to all of our news, networking, calendar and multimedia archives - though many of these are still under construction.

Violence Against Women Findings Presented to Nashville Rotary

February 4, 2014

Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks (above) presented findings from the Council's study, "The Economic Impact of Violence Against Women in Tennessee" to the Rotary Club of Nashville on February 3, 2014. Her PowerPoint presentation on the study can be found here, with her remarks included.


Tennessee Economic Council on Women Elects New Officers: Dr. Dena Wise Takes the Helm as Chair

January 11, 2014

Dena Wise, Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been elected chair of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. Wise has served on the Council since 2008. The officers were elected for a one-year term at the Winter Quarterly Meeting, held Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Yvonne Wood had served as chair for the past two years.


Dr. Wise thanked Mrs. Wood for her tireless work as Chair of the TECW and presented her with a ceremonial gavel. Wise also spoke briefly about her goals as chair. “It is my intent to increase the Council’s efforts related to grant-seeking, enhance research through partnerships, and provide opportunity to Tennessee women all along the economic spectrum.”

Wood congratulated Dr. Wise on her election, expressed appreciation to the members for their efforts, and pledged her continual support of the organization. Wood remains on the Economic Council as the Immediate Past Chair and serves on the Executive Board as a non-voting member.

The complete slate of 2014 TECW officers is as follows:

Chair - Dr. Dena Wise, Professor and Extension Specialist, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Vice Chair - Rep. Karen Camper, 87th Tennessee House District (Memphis)

West Tennessee Representative - Dr. Carol Danehower, Assoc. Professor, University of Memphis

Middle Tennessee Representative - Dr. Janet Smith President, Columbia State Community College

East Tennessee Representative - Mrs. Ruby Miller Owner, State Farm Insurance Agency (Oak Ridge)

Treasurer - Atty. Jane Powers Owner, Powers Law Firm (Crossville)

Secretary - Mrs. Kathleen Armour Walker President/Owner, Tennessee Pewter Company (Somerville)

These officers also serve in companion positions with the Council's non-profit support organization, the Women’s Economic Council Foundation, with the exception of one position, Treasurer, held by Ms. Pat Pierce, Retired Administrator, Vanderbilt University.

In addition to its own new officers, the Foundation also welcomes State Representative Brenda Gilmore (District 54—Nashville) as a new member of its board of directors.

Chair of the nominating committee, Veronica Marable Johnson said, “The Economic Council has distinguished individuals working to uplift and empower women to their greatest potential.” These new officers will continue the growth and development of the agency.

Violence Against Women Report Available

October 28, 2013

Find the Full Report and Executive Summary here.