Be About Change Board of Directors
Stephon Strode was born and raised in Middle Tennessee and has lived in Nashville since 2005. He is an alumnus of Middle Tennessee State University where he earned a BS in Animal Science with a minor in Business Administration. He earned an MBA in Business Intelligence from Belmont University.
Along with continuing his education, he currently works for Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as a Support Group Leader for the Environmental Health and Safety division of the organization. Through his employment, he has had the opportunity to volunteer with several non-profit organizations that partner with UL’s Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility division on a national and local level. Some of these organizations include FIRST Robotics, American Cancer Society and Cooper’s Troopers. He also volunteers part of his time as tri-chair of PRIDE UL, UL’s Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ+ employees within the organization.
In his spare time, he enjoys maintaining an active lifestyle, watching horror films (good and bad), listening to all types of music (also both good and bad), enjoying a book and getting as much rest as possible when not busy with school work.
Executive Committee Member
Iván Díaz is an experienced business manager who also works with a Nashville-based engineering firm, building robotics. As a Nashville resident and graduate of a local high school, Mr. Díaz is familiar with the struggles our inner-city youth face on a daily basis.
Iván is a firm believer in the power of confidence-building when it comes to physical training. While undergoing a personal transformation and losing over 157 pounds through dedicated weights/calisthenics training and running, Iván realized the potential to apply this approach to personal challenges. Mr. Díaz further realized his capacity to pass this mentality on to others, and now trains several individuals to utilize physical fitness as a means to bolster personal achievement.
With this mindset, business management and operations expertise, and a proven history of overcoming adversity and facing challenges head-on, Iván has positioned himself to have a maximum impact on the youth Be About Change serves. In addition to serving the Nashville community and surrounding areas, Ivan enjoys kayaking, hiking, and meeting and getting to know others.
Executive Committee Member; Board Chairman
Judd Cowan attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. While Judd was in college, he owned and operated a dive bar and founded a newspaper on campus, serving as the editor-in-chief for three years.
After graduating from college, Judd began practicing as an engineer in Nashville. He started as a machine designer and project manager overseeing the design and production of manufacturing equipment.
More recently, he worked as an aerospace engineer at the Smyrna Airport for Resource Air Charter managing a fabrication shop that builds cargo doors and puts them into planes. In addition to serving on the board for Be About Change, he is also President of the Bellevue Exchange Club and a member of the Nashville Young Republicans.
For fun, Judd is a self-taught machinist, a hobbyist woodworker, and an amateur historian.
Woody Murray retired from The Gideons International in October 2017. The Gideons International is a major provider of Bibles for the world that operates in 201 countries, territories, and possessions. He still does freelance marketing communications, writing, and research for that association, as well as offering his communications services for other businesses and organizations.
Over a 40-year period, Woody has enjoyed three careers in mass communications: (1) vice president of a full-service advertising agency in Virginia, (2) first corporate brand manager for LifeWay Christian Resources—overseeing a major name transition and establishing a new slogan for this international organization, and (3) senior writer and researcher for The Gideons International. In the past, he also wrote a regular newspaper and online column for pastors on how to more effectively promote their churches.
Woody has a B.S. degree, cum laude, in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. At VCU, he also received the Mass Communications Faculty Scholarship. He is still an active Gideon in the West Nashville area and involved in public relations and communications for his local church. At his church, he leads a Christian ministry for grade-school boys, called Royal Ambassadors (similar to boy scouts). He has been involved with that ministry to boys for more than forty years.
Woody is glad to be a part of Be About Change in providing scholarships to young people and helping them grow in their writing skills to gain confidence for facing the challenges of the business world.
Listed alphabetically by last name
Bruce Buchanan is an attorney at the Nashville and Atlanta offices of Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, where he primarily represents employers in all aspects of immigration law, with a special emphasis on employer immigration compliance, as well as employment/labor law matters. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982. Before going into private practice in 2003, he served as senior trial specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. Mr. Buchanan also served for 12 years as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State University.
Mr. Buchanan authors his own blog on employer immigration compliance and is a guest blogger for LawLogix. He is also the editor of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section Newsletter, TBA’s Labor & Employment Law Newsletter, and AILA’s Georgia-Alabama Newsletter. Mr. Buchanan recently served on the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s National Verification Liaison Committee. In addition to serving on the Be About Change Board of Directors, Mr. Buchanan serves on the Board of Directors of the United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee and the Lupus Foundation – Mid-South. He is past-Chair of the TBA’s Immigration Law Section and Arkansas Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section.
Brent Coleman was raised in Middle Tennessee and has lived in Nashville since the age of nine. His father was a pastor and his mother a teacher. They taught him about the importance of loving the questions in life and listening with the intention of relating to people with different backgrounds from his own.
Brent grew up playing sports and guitar. Music became his focus for college at Middle Tennessee State University and Southern Methodist University where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance, respectively. After touring the country with an Indie rock band for 3 years, he settled back in Nashville and began to study and eventually teach Yoga. He has been leading group classes and working with individual clients since 2009. Learning about how the body can move and how it can hurt lead to wanting to know more about how to help people in pain. This led to his present endeavor as a candidate for a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Tennessee State University.
Brent brings his understanding of movement and experience with teaching groups to the physical training portion of the leadership classes offered by Be About Change.
Donna-Michelle Copas – a Nashville native – is an English teacher at Glencliff High School in Nashville, Tennessee, where she serves as Chair of the English Department. She was selected as a 2016 Blue Ribbon Teacher by Nashville Public Education Foundation and Metro Nashville Public Schools and has consistently won or been nominated for Teacher of the Year at Glencliff High School. She has also taught in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dallas, Texas.
Mrs. Copas earned her BA in English and Speech Communications at Lipscomb University and is a Coach of National Qualifiers in Speech and Debate. She directs dramas in several different venues, from schools and churches to community theaters. She also enjoys acting in community and repertoire theaters. Some of the plays she has directed include Big River, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, The Crucible, Our Town, Hello, Dolly, Grease, and Little Shop of Horrors.
In addition to serving on the Be About Change Board and volunteering at her church, Mrs. Copas also enjoys sewing, reading, writing, sports, hiking and traveling.
Marcel Hernandez founded Be About Change in 2016, putting his love for writing and working with others to use. He founded the non-profit organization to provide higher education scholarships to students from low-income households, using writing as a vehicle to promote healing, recovery, and expression.
Marcel leads writing and leadership workshops with students in the Nashville area and works with local youth to promote the philosophy of taking an active role in one’s community. Currently, he oversees Project L.E.A.D.: leadership curriculum for youth in Greater Nashville that encourages and prepares students to continue their education and gain confidence to realize their true leadership qualities.
He received his BA in Communications, Business, and Music from Vanderbilt University. He also received a vocational degree from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, Arizona, where he studied audio engineering and music business. Before attending Vanderbilt, he participated in University Outreach/University Crossroads, a program designed to prepare students to achieve at the college level.
In addition to Founder of Be About Change, Marcel was a member of the Advisory Board for the YMCA Latino Achievers Program in Nashville, Tennessee, from 2011-2014, and was appointed by Mayor Karl Dean to the Metro Alarm Appeals Board for the 2011-2012 term. He participates with numerous partner organizations, has spoken at local schools on topics ranging from writing and motivation to racism, and has presented at several community events with others on immigration-related issues.
Marcel enjoys spending time with family and friends, getting to know others, playing music, physical training, and reading.
Brandie Jones has spent many years building her career in Corporate America. She has held the roles of Process Engineer, Project Manager, and currently Regional Account Manager for Nissan North America. Brandie has enjoyed her time learning and growing in business, but is currently transitioning into the nonprofit realm. Brandie also serves as an Intern Counselor at Lantern Lane Farm working with multiple populations.
Brandie partners with many community organizations to provide services to underserved communities. She is also a member of Faith Life Church, where she is a part of the Media Team.
Brandie received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Bethel University. She also earned a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University.
In addition to Board Member for Be About Change, Brandie has also served as the Financial Director for Overcoming Toxic Emotions, Associate Board Member for Nashville STARS, and Advisory Board President for the University School of Law and Leadership. Brandie has also served multiple organizations by creating curriculum, teaching classes, motivational speaking, providing group counseling, and mentoring adolescents.
Brandie enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, reading, trying new foods, serving the community, reading and writing poetry, and mentoring youth.
Mary Lodigiani is a Connecticut native who relocated to Nashville in 2021 to be closer to her older sister, niece and nephew. She graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a degree in Political Science and a degree in German. Since graduating, Mary mentors current Boston College students and recent graduates seeking career advice. While in college, Mary enjoyed writing for the school paper and performing with the swing dance team.
Mary works remotely at a human resources management consulting firm in Boston called Willis Towers Watson. Within her role, Mary helps companies manage their employee benefits strategy.
In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time with family, taking boxing classes, and attending church. She also enjoys jogging, which has been a great way for her to explore the city of Nashville as a newcomer. As a volunteer for the Be About Change program, Mary was inspired by each participant’s efforts to make positive lifestyle changes, and she is excited to become more involved as a board member.
Student Advisory Board
Lucki Price – a Nashville, Tennessee native – is President of the Be About Change Student Advisory Board. She recently graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Music Business. Ms. Price is an alumna of Pearl Cohn High School, where she earned and was awarded the Be About Change scholarship. Lucki began working at age 15 at Kroger; she also interned at Warner Music Group Nashville and Draper James where she discovered her passion for the music business.
Ms. Price is a proud member of the Upsilon Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, located in the sophisticated South Eastern Region. As a Spring 2019 initiate, Lucki served as the corresponding secretary and she currently serves as the Vice President and Programming Chair of her chapter. In addition, she is also a member of Women in Entertainment, GrammyU, Belmont’s Showcase Series, and was involved in BOLD, a leadership development program for students at Belmont. While in college, she interned for the International Songwriting Competition, Full Circle Music, and is a consistent volunteer for Be About Change, the YMCA and Nashville’s Room in the Inn.
In her free time, Ms. Price enjoys singing, songwriting, and enjoying time with her family and friends. Lucki also finds joy in mentoring the youth from her community and volunteering her time at local high schools.
Tremaine James is a recipient of the Be About Change Project L.E.A.D. scholarship and attends a local Nashville high school. His favorite sports are baseball, basketball, and football. In his spare time, he enjoys outside or go to the mall with friends. TJ enjoys traveling to different states with family or friends, and his favorite subjects are math and science. TJ is an active participant and volunteer with Be About Change programs.