Byron Smith, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Smith is a principal and co-founder of Mountain Group Partners, LLC. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Trinity Forum in 2010. Recently he has also taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and been an active angel and venture capital investor.
Mr. Smith is actively involved in his community and currently sits on the board at the MTSU Honors College Board of Visitors, Nashville Chess Center, Nashville Entrepreneurship Center and St. Paul Christian Academy.
Cherie Harder, President
Cherie Harder serves as President of the Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, Ms. Harder served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush.
Earlier in her career she served as Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, advising the Leader on domestic social issues and serving as liaison and outreach director to outside groups. From 2001 to 2005, she was Senior Counselor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she helped the Chairman design and launch the We the People initiative to enhance the teaching, study, and understanding of American history. Prior to that Ms. Harder was the Policy Director for Senator Sam Brownback and also served as Deputy Policy Director at Empower America.
Michael R. Brenan is the State/Group President of BB&T for South Carolina. BB&T Corporation is among the nation’s top financial-holding companies and operates approximately 1,800 financial centers in twelve states and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Brenan began his career in banking in 1975 as a management trainee. In 1988, he became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank One, Portsmouth, V.A. In 1994, he became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of MainStreet Financial Corporation, a multi-bank holding company, headquartered in Virginia. In 1998 MainStreet was acquired by BB&T Corporation and Mr. Brenan subsequently moved to Columbia to assume his responsibilities with BB&T. Mr. Brenan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bowling Green State University.
Barbara Bryant is the co-author of The Bryant Family Vineyard Cookbook (Andrews McMeel, 2009) and Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2014). She has been involved in many philanthropic adventures; she is currently a trustee of The Trinity Forum and serves on the board of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.
A long-time supporter and Foundation board member of the Bowery Mission in New York City, Barbara donated a portion of the proceeds from The Bryant Family Cookbook to the Mission, and supported inner-city education in St. Louis with proceeds from Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture.
Along with his service as a Trustee of the Trinity Forum, George L. Clark, Jr. is co-founder and managing director of the private equity firm Freestone Partners in Houston, Texas, a private equity firm focused on investing equity capital in middle market companies.
Prior to co-founding Freestone Partners, Mr. Clark served as President of Northstar Partners, Inc., a consulting firm focused on strategically serving investment groups in North America.
Along with his service as Trustee of the Trinity Forum, Howard Dahl is President and CEO at Amity Technology. Amity Technology is, in a sense, a fourth generation company. It follows in the proud tradition of a family that has been involved in the manufacturing business in North Dakota for more than 60 years. Howard and Brian Dahl, the founders of Amity, are grandsons of E. G. Melroe, the founder of the Melroe Company, which developed the Bobcat Loader.
After the Melroe Company was sold in 1970, Howard’s and Brian’s father, Eugene Dahl, and his brother-in-law, Les Melroe, bought control of Steiger Tractor. It became the leading manufacturer of 4-wheel drive tractors in the world, and was sold to Case Corporation in 1986.
Sam Funk is a founding partner of Sims|Funk, a Nashville based law firm. For 20 years, he has represented individuals and businesses in a variety of matters including those involving complex business disputes; breach of contract; business torts; non-competition/confidentiality agreements and theft of trade secrets; securities/financial services claims; shareholder and other corporate governance disputes and estate/trust matters.
Prior to forming Sims|Funk, Mr. Funk was a member of a well-regarded Nashville law firm where he served as the head of the firm’s litigation practice group. He graduated with honors from Wake ForestUniversity and cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and served as senior managing editor for the Maryland Journal of International Law and Trade.
Price Harding assumed the Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of the Trinity Forum in 2012. He is a Founding Partner of the executive search firm CarterBaldwin. Mr. Harding’s clients include academic institutions, non-profit organizations and privately held companies. In a career that now spans three decades, Mr. Harding has been principal consultant on nearly 1000 successfully completed recruiting engagements. Mr. Harding’s recruitment consulting focus includes searches for C-Level leadership and corporate officers and directors, with an emphasis on senior management selection and board governance.
Shirley Hoogstra serves as president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. She is passionate aboutChristian higher education and the role it plays in the common good. Shirley joined the Trinity Forum Board of Trustees in 2018. Having received a bachelor’s in education at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) and a Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law, Hoogstra spent more than a decade practicing law as a partner at a firm that specialized in litigation in New Haven, Connecticut. While at this practice, she served on the New Haven County Bar Association, as well as on a number of civic boards and at local schools and churches. She was also a founding board member and officer of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Hoogstra and her husband, Jeff, who practices pediatric medicine, are the parents of two married children: Dave (Amy) and Mary (Adam).
Brian L. Johnson
Dr. Brian L. Johnson served as the 7th President of Tuskegee University (2014-2017). He has also held administrative and academic posts in the following capacities: Vice President for Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chief of Staff, Director, Coordinator and Associate and Assistant Professor of English.
He received a Ph.D. in 17th-19th Century American literature at The University of South Carolina at Columbia (2003), a M.A. in English from The University of Wisconsin-Madison (1998) and a B.A. in English from Johnson C. Smith University (1995).
Richard G. Miles is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. Previously, he served for 20 years as a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Department of State and as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Army.
His diplomatic assignments have included embassies in Argentina, Barbados, Germany, and a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq. From 2007-2008 he directed Mexican and Canadian issues on the National Security Council staff at the White House.
James T. Spear
James T. Spear was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Trinity Forum in 2010. Mr. Spear is the retired executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cadence Health, where he served from 2006 to 2012. Prior to that Mr. Spear served as vice president finance at Keebler Foods and also operated an independent advisory and consulting business.
Since his retirement, Mr. Spear has periodically engaged in various consulting and advisory activities. Mr. Spear also currently serves on several boards of directors of including Flowers Foods, Inc., a NYSE manufacturer and marketer of bread and snack products, The Trust Company of Illinois, and Center for Economics, Government, and Policy at Wheaton College. Mr. Spear served on the Board of Directors of Cadence Health and its predecessor companies for over 17 years.
Dr. David Sveen is President of Cedarstone Partners, an accounting and consulting practice in Wheaton, Illinois. Prior to founding Cedarstone Partners, David was Senior Vice President at Griffin, Kubik, Stephens, & Thompson, an investment banking firm in Chicago, Illinois. David serves on the Board of Directors of the Trust Company of Illinois, the Heska Corporation and Cummins-Allison Corporation, and also serves as a Trustee on the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation and the Domanada Foundation boards. David teaches Leadership Development, Organizational Theory, and Entrepreneurship, at Wheaton College. David has a BS from Northern Illinois University, Masters Degree’s from DePaul University and Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. is from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Matthew Teague serves as a Development Director at Walton Communities, an Atlanta-based apartment development company dedicated to creating affordable housing for families and seniors, in addition developing market rate apartment homes. Walton manages approximately 5000 apartment homes in the Atlanta and Augusta Georgia markets.
In his role as Development Director, Matthew searches for future opportunities to follow Walton’s mission of “Going beyond building places where people live by creating neighborhoods where people thrive.” He enjoys fulfilling his creative passion for design in his role when working with architects, engineers, construction trades, and other designers to plan and build communities that residents are pleased to call “home.”
P. Doug Wilson
Doug is the founder and Chairman of Monon Capital. The firm engages with partners around ideas and opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship through venture investments, a thought and conversations studio, a venture lab, and a charitable fund. Prior to founding the firm, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Hillenbrand, Inc. He previously held senior executive positions at Boston Scientific Corporation, Guidant Corporation, Ronald Blue & Co., and Eli Lilly & Company.