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Sounding Boards

Sponsored by UTK Human Resources, Sounding Board aims to connect, support, and engage staff members who have shared interests.  Sounding Boards are designed to include a pair of co-facilitators who organize meetings and communicate with members to create communities of support. Meeting frequency, times and topics are determined by each Sounding Board.

Employees as Students Sounding Board

Facilitator: Lorna Hollowell, Office of Equity and Diversity

The Employees as Students Sounding Board provides UTK working students with engagement, networking, and resources to support their professional, educational, and personal efforts. Many ambitious and motivated employees are enhancing their careers and opportunities for advancement as they pursue bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees while working full-time. Regular meetings feature guest speakers presenting on various topics including study skills, work/life balance, and career development.  Facing the challenges of managing responsibilities as parents, caregivers, and community members, we tell our stories have roundtable discussions on various topics, and engage in activities such as painting the rock to celebrate graduating members. Members share that the ongoing encouragement and inspiration they receive from colleagues has been most beneficial supporting their academic and professional development and success.  We are open to those considering beginning a degree program to those approaching graduation.  Please contact Lorna ( if you have any questions or wish to be included in future communications.

Work-Life Sounding Board

Co-facilitators: Thomas Cruise, Veterans Success Center and Lori Smith, Student Disability Services

The Work-Life Sounding Board, aims to connect, engage, and support staff in discussions about issues affecting work and life.  Work-Life has created a podcast and dropped 2 episodes so far.  Work-Life aims to produce 2-3 podcasts per semester and will always focus on a healthy work-life balance.  You can access the podcasts here:  Stay tuned for more information on upcoming episodes!

Our meetings will be a time to meet and talk with one another about the challenges we’ve experienced, and strategies we’ve devised, when it comes to balancing the demands of work and life.  Please contact Thomas ( or Lori ( if you have any questions or wish to be included in future communications.

Early Career Professionals Sounding Board  

Co-facilitators: Megan King, Office of Academic Inclusive Initiatives and Ladawna Williams, Student Success Center

The Early Career Professionals Sounding Board aims to connect, support, and engage staff members who are early in their careers at the university, regardless of age.  To help keep our campus safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be meeting virtually until further notice. Past events have included guest speakers, coffee chats, and brownbag lunches. To stay up to date with other early career professional events, please join our mailing list here!  Please email Megan ( or LaDawna ( if you have any questions.

Non-Exempt Sounding Board

Co-facilitators: LaTisa Bright, Student Success and Linda Welch, Accounts Payable

The Non-Exempt Sounding Board exists to gather resources and information regarding the varied and rich opportunities for personal growth and career opportunities that are available to Non-Exempt Staff here at UT and place them in a one-stop shop.  Our heart is to assist one another to position ourselves for any opportunity that may avail itself to us.  We meet virtually on the last Wednesday of each month regarding a variety of topics we feel are encouraging and inspiring and hopefully meet the needs that are specific to Non-Exempt Staff.  We are open to all Non-Exempt Staff state-wide.  Please email Linda ( or La Tisa ( if you have any questions or wish to be included in future communications.