Meet our President, Parker Higgins.
"Diversity in community and globalization in business are both crucial needs for a thriving culture and business environment. I love Nashville and the diversity of people that call Nashville home. Through Conexión Next, we are seeking to build a vibrant and inclusive professional network where all young professionals can comfortably belong."
Parker is an aspiring young professional headed to work for Deloitte here in Nashville. After spending a few years living in São Paulo, Parker was mostly raised outside of Detroit. As he grew up, music and playing the bass became his life. Parker first came to Nashville to study music at Belmont University.
He graduated from Belmont with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Havana, Cuba. Parker is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Accounting at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and will be sitting for the CPA exams this summer.
Through his travels while in school and through Europe, he has developed a passion for travel and diverse experiences. When he is not working or traveling Parker enjoys hiking, camping, mountain biking, reading, riding his motorcycle and spending time at the lake.
Meet our President-Elect, Luis A. Martinez.
Luis is originally from Orlando, Florida. Attended the University of Central Florida (UCF), from which he obtained his Bachelors and Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering. His family is from the Dominican Republic, where he spent his summer breaks playing baseball. He is an Environmental Engineer with Bridgestone Americas, one of our supporting sponsor.
He primarily works on sustainability, data analysis, environmental management systems and pollution prevention. Luis is actively involved in the community participating in river clean ups hosted by local Tennessee organizations such as Cumberland River Compact and Team Green from Lightning 100.
On his spare time, he enjoys hiking in the local state parks, playing tennis, baseball, and trying all the amazing food the city has to offer.
Meet our Professional Development Chair, Victoria Payne.
Victoria Payne is the Project Coordinator in Policy for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, giving her the chance to work with over 2,100 member companies and organization invested in the Middle Tennessee region. Within the work of the policy team, Victoria focuses primarily on the Moving Forward initiative.
Moving Forward is a community and business leader driven initiative with the goal of ensuring the creation of a regional transportation solution through a cohesive community effort. Moving Forward is nearing the end of its second year and has allowed Victoria the opportunity of engaging, organizing and leading a group of over 200 businesses, organizations and community leaders with a vested interest in improving transportation in Middle Tennessee. Victoria has previously worked in the Office of Texas State Senator Kelly Hancock of District 9. Victoria is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Political Science. When Victoria is not working or getting excited about transit, she enjoys biking and watching hours of hockey.
Meet our Chair of Special Events, Katy Brantley.
I am currently an environmental scientist for an international consulting firm, Amec Foster Wheeler. I realized my passion for the environmental sciences while attending Hendrix College in Arkansas. Multiple internships with Nashville non-profits such as Tennessee Parks and Greenways and The Land Trust for Tennessee, as well as an abroad opportunity in China and a perennial garden project on Hendrix's campus, solidified my career path. I also spent a semester in Costa Rica, living with a wonderful host family, attending university, and salsa dancing.
Following college, I served as a FoodCorps Service Member in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, teaching garden and nutrition education to middle school students and tending the campus garden. I then pursued a graduate degree at the University of Arkansas in Crop and Soil Sciences before beginning my professional career.
As a Nashville native, I have mixed feelings about the effects of the rapid growth of our community. I want Nashville to be a welcoming and livable city for all, and sustainable growth and development are critical. As young professionals, we have the ability to get involved and make our voices heard at the local level. Conexión Next is an amazing opportunity to bring together passionate people who want to ensure diversity and inclusion are embraced in Nashville. I look forward to our work together.
Meet our Volunteer Chair, Alex Macias.
Alex joined the Conexión Américas team last September, where he now oversees community development and arts and cultural programming. Before returning to his native Nashville, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer doing community based youth development.
He is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South where he studied International Global Studies and Spanish literature. Civic engagement has always been an important part of Alex’s life and is exciting to join the Conexion Next board as the volunteer chair to help others use their skills and passions to help make the Nashville community a more welcoming place for all people. When Alex isn’t working you can find him trying new food, drinking lots of coffee, reading, traveling or enjoying the outdoors.