211 7th Avenue N, Ste. 100

Nashville, TN 37219

Phone: (615) 255-0331 Fax: (615) 255-0354

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August 4, 2020 –  For immediate release


Michele Johnson

Executive Director


New Board Officers Elected for Tennessee Justice Center 

Nashville, TN– Michele Johnson, Executive Director at the Tennessee Justice Center, announced that the organization has appointed eight new board members: Jessica Black, Healthcare Industry Team Manager at KraftCPAs PLLC; Judge Richard Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals; Sarah Gardial, Dean of Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey College of Business; Patricia C. Gunn, Esq.; La’Kishia HarrisMSAP Site Coordinator at Whitsitt Elementary School; Jennifer LankfordSenior Corporate Counsel for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.; Sara LynesInventory Strategy and Deployment Senior Analyst at Nissan North America, Inc.; and Dana Migliaccio, General Counsel for International Paper.  

“We look forward to working with these new members. We value their leadership and greatly appreciate their service and the service of all our board members,” said Johnson. 


Jessica Black is a manager on the KraftCPAs healthcare industry team. As such, she is responsible for reviewing the work of engagement teams; preparing business, individual, and other business-related state and federal filings; performing outsourced CFO duties; providing practice management consulting; and preparing financial statements. As a ProAdvisor, Jessica also provides set-up and consulting for QuickBooks accounting packages. 

Jessica focuses primarily on our clients in the healthcare industry, including physician practices, behavioral and rehabilitation facilities, oral surgery groups, ophthalmology practices, and dental practices. 

Jessica has more than 10 years of experience in public accounting. She previously worked for Carter Lankford CPAs (CLCPAs), which merged with Kraft in 2015. CLCPAs primarily worked with clients in the healthcare industry. 


Judge Richard Dinkins received his undergraduate degree from Denison University in 1974 and his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1977.  He was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1977, and was in private practice for 26 years, 18 of which were with the law firm headed by prominent late civil rights advocate, litigator and State Senator Avon N. Williams, Jr.  Judge Dinkins was appointed Chancellor of the Davidson County, Tennessee, Chancery Court in 2003, and retained his position through elections in 2004 and 2006.  He was appointed to the Middle Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 2008, and was retained in the position in 2014.  He has been on the adjunct faculty at the Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice, and Society at David Lipscomb University since 2015. 


Sarah Fisher Gardial joined Belmont University in 2020 as the first woman Dean in the Massey College of Business. Prior to Belmont, she was Dean of the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and she held a variety of leadership positions at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.   

Dean Gardial has an extensive background in business and business education.  For over 30 years, she has personally engaged with industry in research, consulting, and executive education roles, as well as creating mutually beneficial partnerships between academics and industry.  She has served on for-profit (public and private) and non-profit governing boards, and she is an active public speaker.   

Sarah has held leadership roles in several national and international business education associations, and she is an outspoken advocate for women in leadership as well as organizational diversity and inclusion.   

Sarah has been known to ride motorcycles and sing in both rock bands and church choirs.  She and her retired husband, Jeffrey, are happy to have returned to Tennessee with closer proximity to their families and first grandchild.   


Patricia Gunn returns to the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC), where she once served as a volunteer attorney during her professional development leave from Ohio University (Fall 2006 – Fall 2007).  Many of the things she learned at the TJC inspired her to develop a capstone course entitled, “Legal Policy and Disparities In The American Health Care System,” which enabled students to examine the disparities experienced by women, children, the elderly, African Americans, Latinex, Native Americans, Appalachians, and the poor in our Nation, in the spirit of open, scholarly inquiry.  Her experience at the TJC also inspired her to write, Health Care Refugees, 6 Loy. U. Chi. Int’l L. Rev. 339 (2009) (see, (last visited August 1, 2020).  She recently retired from Ohio University as an Associate Professor Emerita of Law and is now living in Nashville.  

Prior to joining academia, Ms. Gunn had the privilege of serving for a year as Special Assistant to the Solicitor General (SG) of the United States at the U. S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. (DOJ).  The SG’s Office represents the Government in all its cases before the United States Supreme Court.  The SG’s Office is also responsible for reviewing and deciding whether the Government will appeal to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals any U.S. District Court ruling against the Government.  Finally, the SG’s Office is responsible for seeing that the Government adopts consistent legal positions in all cases it files in the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.   

Upon leaving the SG’s Office, Ms. Gunn next had the privilege of serving as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at DOJ.  Attorneys in OIA had many extraordinary responsibilities for assisting in the pursuit of justice and law enforcement at the international, national, and state levels.  Among other things, such attorneys routinely participated in international extradition cases, in obtaining evidence from abroad required for prosecutions in the United States, and as members of U.S. delegations charged with negotiating treaties involving international criminal law matters.  

Ms. Gunn is a graduate of Boston College Law School and of Fisk University.  Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, she greatly enjoyed visiting Fisk University’s Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery and Aaron Douglas Gallery, the Frist Art Museum, Cheekwood, and performances at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  She looks forward to resuming such wonderful experiences when the pandemic has ended.  In the meantime, she enjoys quiet, masked walks in her neighborhood and “Zooming” with family, friends, and colleagues. 


La’Kishia Harris is a graduate of Tennessee State University (2014) in the area of Master of Science in School Psychology.  Born in Nuremberg, Germany with New Orleans roots, La’Kishia has gained the understanding that anything done with discipline on a daily basis prepares you for your destiny. A product of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, she desires to be an advocate for the youth in Middle Tennessee. 

La’Kishia’s dedication to this endeavor started as a junior in High School when she worked for the Community IMPACT of Nashville as a Youth Mobilizer and Education Advocate. As a youth mobilizer, she saw first-hand how there was a need for College Access in MNPS. She continued to seek focused and viable opportunities for personal and professional growth. Her relationships extend beyond students which have taught the value of results and relationships with both teachers and administrators. As a former College Mentor with the Oasis Center (2013), La’Kishia then transitioned into The United States Department of Education Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) which aims to increase the number of low-income, firstgeneration students enrolling and succeeding in college. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) manages this discretionary grant. For nearly twelve years, La’Kishia has advocated for youth and their families in Middle Tennessee. Currently, as Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) Site Coordinator with MNPS, she executes outreach plans and strategies to effectively inform and ensure families have equitable access to a great public education. 

La’Kishia is passionate about educating and advocating children and giving back to the Nashville community. This is evident through her volunteerism with the Junior League of Nashville, Mosaic Fellowship, Nashville International Center of Empowerment, and Young Leaders Council. La’Kishia’s goal is to make the future brighter by continuing to educate the next generation.  


Jennifer M. Lankford is Senior Corporate Counsel for Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc. With over 670 stores in 45 states, Ms. Lankford’s role includes advising on employment law matters affecting the company’s 80,000 plus employees. Ms. Lankford oversees both the legal litigation team and the Employee Relations department. Prior to joining Cracker barrel, Ms. Lankford was a partner with Thompson Burton, PLLC in Franklin, Tennessee. In 2017, Jennifer was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to the Tennessee Board of Appeals, the panel for state employees seeking to appeal a demotion, suspension, or termination by the State of Tennessee. 

Jennifer received her J.D. in 2010 from the University of Tennessee College of Law and graduated in 2007 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Jennifer has volunteered for TJC for several years and passionately supports the organization’s mission and dedication to Tennessee’s families and their health care. 


Sara Lynes is an Inventory Strategy and Deployment Senior Analyst at Nissan North America. Sara is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in industrial engineering. Sara is in her final quarter of getting her MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where her concentrations include economics, analytic finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. While at Booth Sara was involved with Booth Social Impact Consulting, where she was the project manager for the Illinois International Port District economic development plan.   

She is involved in the community, serving as a member of the Junior League of Nashville and an advisor at Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center. 


Dana Migliaccio is the General Counsel for North American Container, a business unit of International Paper Company.  She came to International Paper in 2009 from FedEx Express where she was Senior Counsel, Business Transactions.  Dana has held a variety of in-house legal positions covering areas of law ranging from customer facing business transactions, commercial real estate and retail development, and global sourcing as well as serving as a Compliance Officer for a subsidiary of General Electric Company.  She graduated from Memphis State University with honors in 1992 and received her J.D. in 1995 from the University of Memphis.   

She became interested in the mission of the TJC following her mother’s admission to a long-term care facility several years ago.  Mrs. Migliaccio says “The mission of TJC speaks to me on a very personal level. I watched my father struggle to navigate the healthcare system after making the difficult decision to move my mother from home care to a long-term care facility.  He is a strong, persistent advocate for her.  Unfortunately, many people in our community have neither the resources nor an advocate to assist them at a time when they are most vulnerable.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve on TJC’s board.” 

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) is a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm serving Tennessee’s families. It gives priority to policy issues and civil cases in which the most basic necessities of life are at stake and where advocacy can benefit families statewide. TJC works to empower its clients by holding the government accountable for its policies and actions. TJC was established in 1996 and is located at 211 7th Ave NSte. 100, Nashville, TN. For additional information about the Tennessee Justice Center and its services, visit or call 615-255-0331. 


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For additional information: Michele Johnson, 615-255-0331,