D. Billye Sanders was Cable’s first Treasurer and third President. In 1981 when she served as President, Billye was in-house Legal Counsel for United Southern Bank. Luncheon speakers that year included Al Gore, Carole Simpson, Ned Ray McWherter and Tandy Rice, who became the first male member of Cable. The inaugural Cable Promote Women Awards were given to the Reverend Kelly Miller Smith and Frank A. Woods. As a charter member of Cable, Billye fondly remembers the various wine and cheese events that occurred at the YWCA and various member’s homes and offices as the organizers discussed their vision for Cable and hammered out bylaws. Billye said, “There were many phenomenal women involved and that interaction resulted in lifelong friendships.”
Billye has been practicing law for over 40 years and has been a trusted advisor to clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. Formerly a Partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, Deputy General Counsel for the Tennessee Public Service Commission and Legal Counsel for United Southern Bank, Billye was the first African American woman, first woman and/or first African American in each of these positions; thus overcoming barriers commonly faced by persons of color and women.Billye’sprimary practice areas are public utilities, land use, government relations and administrative law. She has helped clients achieve their goals in complex utility rate cases, cases of first impression under new statutes, licensing and rule-making proceedings and a variety of regulatory matters. She also has experience with mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions for financial institutions and healthcare companies. She is currently the principal of D. Billye Sanders Attorney-at-Law, an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and serves on the Advisory Board of First Tennessee Bank. A member of the inaugural class of Cable’s Corporate Board Academy, Billye seeks to serve on a for-profit corporate governing board.
Throughout her career, Billye has been engaged in community service. She is a co-founder of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church with her husband, who is founder and pastor. Billye loves teenagers and teaches the teen bible class at her church and formerly served as advisor for the teen group for the Nashville Chapter of Jack & Jill. Billye has served on the boards of Grace Eaton Day Home, United Way, YWCA, Baptist Healing Trust, Inroads Nashville, Napier Looby Bar Foundation, Lawyers Association for Women, Leadership Nashville Alumni Association and The Nashville Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
Appointed by Nashville Mayors, Billye has served on the Public Library Board, Thermal Transfer Corporation, Civil Service Commission and Gender Equity Council. The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed her to the inaugural Tennessee Access to Justice Commission where she was involved in developing resources that expand options for legal representation for persons who cannot afford an attorney in civil matters.
A graduate of Fisk University and Vanderbilt Law School, she has served on Fisk’s Board of Trustees, as Chair of the Board of Fisk’s National Alumni Association and on the Board of Advisors of Vanderbilt Law School.
Billye’s honors include: CABLE’s Molly Todd Cup, Spirit of Leadership Award and Athena Nominee; YWCA Academy for Women of Achievement; Nashville Business Journal’sBest of the Bar; Business Tennessee’s Best 101 Lawyers in Tennessee; Napier Looby Bar Foundation’s Trailblazer Award, Fisk University Outstanding Alumni Award for Service to the University and Fifty Forward’s Crowning Achievement Award.
Billye is most proud of her family, including her husband, Edwin, their three adult children, Grace, Joseph and Simuye, their children’s spouses and their two grandchildren. Billye enjoys spending time with family, traveling, dancing and playing tennis.