Power of Inclusion

For the past 16 years, the Power of Inclusion (POI) Awards has recognized Nashville individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations that champion all types of diversity and demonstrate innovative methods to enhance diversity and inclusion. Nominees are evaluated and selected by Cable’s panel of experts on Diversity Best Practice. Awards criteria reflect high standards for a diverse workplace, covering hiring practices, efforts to advocate for diversity in the Nashville community, and demonstrable achievement resolving inequalities between different segments of the workforce.

The 2021 Power of Inclusion Awards will take place on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Click here to nominate an individual, nonprofit, or business today. Nominations are open through March 31, 2021.

2021 Power of Inclusion Speaker: Candice Storey Lee

Candice Storey Lee, a native of Madison, Alabama, and former student-athlete at Vanderbilt, is the vice chancellorfor athletics and university affairs and athletic director.

Lee is Vanderbilt’s first female athletic director and the first African American woman to head an SEC athletics program. Lee has served as an integral leader at the university and in Athletics for almost 20 years, most recently serving as deputy director of the program, a role she was appointed to in 2016. She has also served as the department’s senior woman administrator since 2004.

In addition to her responsibilities of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the athletics department, she is also the sport administrator for the football and women’s basketball programs.

In 2019, Sports Business Journal named Lee to its “Power Players: College Sports” list, which recognizes individuals who have “distinguished themselves as some of the best thinkers, problem-solvers and dealmakers in college sports and they will play a distinctly important role in its future.” In 2018, Adidas named Lee to its prestigious “NEXT UP” class, comprising “senior-level administrators, handpicked by some of the most respected athletic directors in the industry, who are believed to be ready to take the next step as athletic directors in their own right.”

Along with her roles as associate vice chancellor and deputy athletic director, Lee has served as the department’s senior woman administrator since 2004. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the athletics department and also serves as the sport administrator for the football and women’s basketball programs. Lee formerly served as a member of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, is the former chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Committee and a former chair of the SEC Senior Woman Administrators.

In September 2019, Lee was named a 2019-20 fellow of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association’s Pressnell Executive Leadership Institute. She is a member of the 2012 Class of Leadership Nashville, the 2012 Vanderbilt Leadership Academy, the YWCA of Middle Tennessee Board of Directors and the SEC Executive Committee.

As a captain and four-year letter winner for Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team, Lee graduated with a bachelor of science degree in human and organizational development in 2000. She also received her master’s degree in counseling from Vanderbilt in 2002, and in 2012, Lee earned her doctorate from Vanderbilt in higher education administration.

She is married to Sean Lee, who is the executive director of the Smyrna Housing Authority.

Power of Inclusion Awards

  • The Individual Award recognizes someone whose personal behavior is a model of inclusion and is a catalyst for inclusive relationships among diverse populations in the community.
  • The Business Award recognizes a Corporation that ‘walks the talk’ and demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion in their employment practices, programs and community
  • The Not-for-Profit Award recognizes a Not-for-Profit entity that facilitates understanding and promotes opportunity for under served communities

Award Criteria

  • Nominations will be evaluated for outstanding accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity and inclusion within one’s unique spheres of influence.  Nominees will excel in most, if not all, of the following areas:
    • Demonstrates a consistent pattern of advocating for individuals in underserved populations
    • Demonstrates efforts exceeding his or her job responsibilities to promote and ensure diversity and inclusion
    • Cultivates and promotes initiatives that foster a more inclusive and equitable work, earnings or community environment
    • Demonstrates measurable results towards increased diversity and inclusion within their sphere of influence
    • Exhibits visionary and insightful leadership to resolve business inequities through strategic decision-making and program development

Click here to nominate an individual, nonprofit, or business today. Nominations are open through March 31, 2021.

Power of Inclusion Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor




Vanderbilt Health

Partnership Opportunities:

Join Nashville Cable in exploring how to build business with diverse markets, recruit and retain new talent, and attract new opportunities for Nashville and beyond. Contact Missy Acosta at macosta@deltadentaltn.com after clicking the link below and reviewing available opportunities.