Hooks Institute Board Welcomes Cook, Meyers and Stroud and Announces Officers for 2020-21

January 29, 2020 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis welcomes Christina Cook, Andrew Meyers and Gretchen Stroud to its Board. The Board also elected Thomas Flippen as chair, Alan Ferguson as vice chair and Holly Ann Cooper as secretary for 2020-21. The Board assists the Institute in the strategic development and implementation of its mission and programs. Members have included community activists, attorneys, engineers, corporate, public relations officials and clergy.

About the Hooks Institute’s New Board Members

Christina Cook is the manager of training and development with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, where she oversees the planning and implementation of strategic learning and leadership development opportunities impacting 1,200 healthcare leaders. She has over 10 years of experience in training/facilitation and program evaluation in the nonprofit and healthcare industries. Cook gained recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professional” (2018) by Cynthia Daniels & Co., as “One-to-Watch” (2017) by the Association for Talent Development, as a “Woman of Excellence” (2012) by the Tri-State Defender and a “Young Professional of the Year” (2010) by the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals. A native Memphian, Cook received a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis.

Andrew Meyers is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Memphis, where he served as vice president for research and executive director of the University’s Research Foundation. He is a three-time winner of the University’s Superior Performance in Research Award and received the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Research Award and the college’s Meritorious Faculty Award. Meyers has also served as president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. He has been a consultant to the U.S. Olympic Committee on issues of athlete and coach performance. Meyers is a graduate of Leadership Memphis and has been actively involved in community issues throughout the Mid-South.

Gretchen Stroud is vice president, Talent Development & Engagement at Hilton, leading its global diversity and inclusion, learning and talent development teams. Stroud is a human resources executive with expertise in organizational talent strategies aligned to business objectives and corporate performance optimization. She has a passion for championing and building talent diversity strategies, developing effective leaders at all levels and driving learning innovation. In 2016, Stroud was honored as one of the Memphis Business Journal’s Super Women in Business. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.

About the Hooks Institute’s Board Officers for 2020-21

Thomas Flippen is an accomplished executive coach helping organizations and individuals improve their effectiveness in driving business success. Flippen is the managing partner of Clearstone Consulting, which assists corporations and law firms in recruiting and developing critical talent and enabling senior level executives to achieve top performance. He began his career at Procter & Gamble, followed by a stellar career as vice president of sales at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, where he led an organization of 1,400 and generated annual revenue of over $2 billion. Flippen earned his bachelor of arts from Fisk University.

Alan Ferguson is a senior vice president and trust portfolio advisor for Pinnacle Financial Partners, where he utilizes his accumulated investment experience in the financial management industry with an ability to relate to high net worth clients and institutional investors. Ferguson held additional positions in the industry including a financial planner, family office CFO and private client financial advisor enabling him to encapsulate a wealth of experiences into thoughtful solutions for the financial needs of individuals, families, endowments and foundations.

 Holly Ann Cooper is a multicultural marketing professional and the director of marketing and community engagement at Boy Scouts of America Chickasaw Council. She is a leader in public relations and integrated marketing with more than 20 years of experience effectively creating synergy between strategic branding and development, sports and entertainment marketing, special event planning, communications and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Cooper has a proven track record for cultivating business relationships with corporate partners, including Fortune 100 and 500 companies, government agencies, media and nonprofit organizations. She was a member of the Hooks Institute 2017 Gala Community Outreach Steering Committee.

The Hooks Institute would like to thank the immediate past Board chair, Darin Johnson (senior vice president and credit risk manager for government lending programs at First Horizon National Corp.) and immediate past Board vice chair Edward C. Harper IV (managing partner at Udaimonia Holdings LLC and CEO of Five Star Painting of East Memphis) for their work in leading the Institute over the past two years.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

For more information, visit memphis.edu/benhooks


Nathaniel C. Ball l 901.678.3655 | ncball@memphis.edu