Gwen Brown is a member of Leadership Knoxville’s Class of ’93, also known as “the best class ever!”
Leadership Knoxville is an intense 10-month program during which participants get to learn more about our community and its leaders. There are two overnight trips involved — one is orientation and the other is a visit to the state capital in Nashville — and 10 full-day sessions from September through May.
It’s expensive — $3,000 — and it’s hard to get into. Hundreds of folks apply or are nominated each year and fewer than 50 get in. But it’s well worth every penny and every hour.
The knowledge gained is important, but one of the most valuable aspects of Leadership Knoxville is intangible. It’s the lasting relationships that participants form with their classmates, many of whom they would never get to know outside of this program. The classes are put together with a strict eye for diversity — racial, religious, geographic and socioeconomic. And a wide variety of career fields are represented in each class.
So far, more than 1,300 people have gone through the program since its inception in 1984.
My class, the Class of ’93, has remained close. Part of the reason for that is that every year in the fall, we have an annual class party. It’s a potluck and it is a ton of fun. I don’t think we’ve missed a year, and this year’s has just occurred. Every class thinks theirs is “the best class ever,” but I’m pretty sure the Class of ’93 holds that distinction simply because we’ve remained so close. Our classmate Stuart Worden offered his beautiful lakeside home as the site of our soiree this year.
Click here for more information about Leadership Knoxville and for application information.
Danni Varlan, whose husband, federal Judge Tom Varlan, was in our class, brought this delicious beef stew.
Yummy white chicken chili from class member Kathy Hamilton hit the spot
And, the always appropriate chicken soup.
We always have a great selection of salad courses.
This is cauliflower quinoa salad.
Danni getting her barbecue sliders with slaw ready.
Class members Rusha Sams, left, and Jane Creed.
Dr. Dwight Wade and Stuart Worden are members of Leadership Knoxville’s Class of ’93.
Here are two spouses of class members, Monique Anderson, left, and Alice Mercer.
Class members Gwen Brown, left, and Cile Mathews.
Class member Lynne Fain, with Bert Sams, the spouse of class member Rusha Sams.
Class member Bruce Anderson going through the food line.
My husband, Alan Carmichael, with Kenneth Creed, husband of class member Jane Creed.
Ron Brown, left, is married to class member Gwen Brown. He’s here with class member Thurman Kinnebrew.
Come and get it! From left, Alice and Charlie Mercer, Monique Anderson, Bert and Rusha Sams and Kenneth Creed.
Enjoying the mild evening on the deck are, from left, class members Charlie Mercer and Kathy Hamilton with their spouses Dan Hamilton and Alice Mercer.
It’s a good thing we had a lot of salads because we didn’t feel so bad about splurging on Rusha’s Hershey Bar cake with To-Die-For Chocolate Sauce (that’s it’s actual name!). Monique made that delish raspberry tart you also see on the plate.
Here’s a closeup of that cake!
Judge Tom Varlan and Alan giving their endorsement of the offerings.
As an added treat, Rusha and Bert brought some of the saltwater taffy that they make and sell.