Janet Jernigan is the executive director of FiftyForward the largest organization in Middle Tennessee serving adults 50 and older. During her 28 years in this role, the annual budget has grown from $1 million to a current $4.5 million. The organization’s customer service rating exceeds 95 percent. FiftyForward is graced by more than 3,000 volunteers plus dozens of community partners, and annually touches the lives of more than 20,000 individuals. In 2000-02 Janet and volunteer Patricia Hart successfully led the first major capital/endowment campaign in the organization’s history, raising $15 million.
Janet was the first inductee into the Council of Community Services’ Hall of Fame for Executive Directors. In 1991 the Davidson County Business and Professional Women named her “Woman of the Year” and recipient of the Bess Maddux Award. She was inducted into the YWCA Academy for Women of Achievement in the fall of 1998, and in 1999 she became the first CEO of the Year award recipient from the Center for Nonprofit Management. She is the 2009 Athena Award recipient; the 2012 Girls on the Run Volunteer of the Year, 2014 recipient of CABLE’s Molly Todd Cup, 2014 Nashville Business JournalMost Admired CEO/Non-Profit Category and 2015 NBJ Women of Influence Award.
During her previous tenure as executive director of Outlook Nashville, the agency received the HCA and Service Corps of Retired Executives first Excellence in Nonprofit Management award. Prior to her tenure at Outlook Nashville, Janet served in several senior leadership positions with Dede Wallace Center (Centerstone) including directing the largest child and family mental health program in Tennessee. She began her career as supervisor of occupational therapy and director of adjunctive therapy at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.
Community-minded, Janet has served as president of CABLE, of the Association of Nonprofit Executives, the Council of United Way Executives and the board of Richland Place. Active in the Downtown Rotary Club, she has served on the Greater Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, the Metropolitan Planning Commission and is an alumnus of Leadership Nashville. She is a founder of WIN (Women in Numbers) and the Center for Non-Profit Management.
A role model for active aging, Janet has successfully competed in triathlons for the past 33 years. She has set age group course records in the Tennessee State Senior Olympics for the 5k road race, 20k cycling event and 1,500 meter power walk. She co-chaired the steering committee for the inaugural Viva la Diva Run in 2011 and originated the Making a Move women’s endurance event series in 2012. She has been Half Marathon State Champion in the senior grand masters division for several years and is the current 15k age group State Champion. She was a bronze medalist in the 1,500 meters and 100×4 meter relay at the National Senior Olympics in 2017.Janet and her husband have hundreds of awards for national and international competitions they have won with their spotted saddle horses.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vanderbilt University, she holds the Master of Arts degree in psychology and education from George Peabody College and a Master of Business Administration from Tennessee State University.