First 8 Memphis manages the distribution of public and private funds, the delivery of early childhood services, the fulfillment of success metrics, and the relationships with partner agencies. We provide quarterly reports to a Board of Trustees, who have been selected to engage the community in planning and implementation.

Kathy Buckman Gibson

KBG Technologies, LLC
First 8 Memphis Board Chair

Kathy Buckman Gibson is President and CEO of KBG Technologies, LLC, a distributor of a full range of chemical products, services and technologies. She also serves on the Board of Bulab Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Buckman, a specialty chemical supplier. She served as Chief Operating Officer of Buckman during her career, gaining extensive knowledge of manufacturing, supply chains and global operations. In her almost 25 years of experience as COO, Chainnan of the Board and General Counsel for Buckman, she called on customers around the world in the pulp and paper, water treatment and leather industries. She holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and an MBA and JD from Emory University. Prior to joining Buckman, she worked as an analyst for Citicorp and at Smith, Gambrell & Russell as an associate in mergers & acquisitions.

Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, KBG Technologies is the only woman-owned business providing a comprehensive array of specialty chemistries and smart technologies to pulp and paper. It is one of a few focused on the water treatment industry in the United States, particularly for power generation. The Company brings a unique perspective and approach to the needs of the industry to help facilities meet their ambitious production and efficiency goals.

Buckman Gibson is respected and recognized as a leader around the world in the pulp and paper, water treatment and leather industries. She is recognized by the Memphis community for her volunteer leadership and dedication. While at Buckn1an, she led the company’s global BuckmanCares initiative with community relations, volunteerism and giving activities impacting some 100,000 people each year.

Buckman Gibson serves as Chair of First Eight Memphis, Shelby County’s Early Childhood Education Plan, and is a board member of Seeding Success and Tennesseans for Quality Early Education. She is a member of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Circle, previously serving as chair of the Circle’s Pre-K Initiative. Buckman Gibson serves as a Trustee of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, a Trustee of Lausanne Collegiate School, and as a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum. Past leadership roles have been held with National Girls Incorporated, United Way of the Mid­ South, Memphis Talent Dividend, Girls Incorporated of Memphis, Memphis In May International Festival, Mid-South Reading Alliance, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, the Assisi Foundation, and Memphis BioWorks Foundation.

James R. ‘Jim” Boyd

Executive Director Pyramid Peak Foundation

From his work as a church leader to non-profit president to running a charitable foundation, Jim Boyd’s career has been marked by his spirit of service. Since October 2011, he’s been Executive Director of The Pyramid Peak Foundation in Memphis which supports initiatives and organizations that effectively and efficiently strengthen the education, economic and social structures of Greater Memphis. Jim studied political science at Vanderbilt University, attended Episcopal seminary in Washington, DC and was ordained in 1977. Prior to his work at The Pyramid Peak Foundation, Jim established urban ministries in Memphis, led churches in Fayetteville, NC and Salem, OR; and served over 15 years as president of BRIDGES, a Memphis youth leadership organization.

Dr. Carol Johnson-Dean

Executive Director
New Leaders, South Region

Carol Johnson is currently the executive director,  New Leaders,  South Region,  a national organization providing leadership development for aspiring principals and teacher leaders. She leads the South region, providing oversight to New Leaders programs In Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida. She has also served as executive director, of Large District Support for the Tennessee Department of Education (2015).

Carol Johnson is a 2014 Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow and a visiting professor at Vanderbilt/Peabody College. She currently serves on the national board of City Year, Memphis Advisory board for Facing History and Ourselves, a member, Memphis Teacher Residency Advisory Board, and education co-chair, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra board, and an Ambassador, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Dr. Carol R. Johnson served as Supe1intendent of the Boston Public Schools (BP) 2007-2013, having been appointed by a unanimous vote of the Boston School Committee. As Superintendent of the 58,000 – student district, she also served as a cabinet member for Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Dr. Johnson has a wealth of experience in public education as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Prior to her appointment in Boston, Dr. Johnson was Superintendent in Minneapolis, MN. & Memphis TN., where she was named Minnesota Superintendent of the Year and the Tennessee PTA Superintendent of the year. Nationally, Dr. Johnson has served on the Board of Directors for the Council of the Great City Schools, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Board, the Harvard University Urban Superintendents’ Advisory Board, the University of Michigan School of Education/Dean’s Advisory Board and she has served on the College Board and the Spencer Foundation Board (Chicago). Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Fisk University in Nashville TN and a master’s (Curriculum and Instruction) and doctorate degrees in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. She has also been awarded honorary degrees from Lemoyne Owen College and Rhodes College, both in Memphis, TN and Simmons College in Boston. She is married to Dr. Willie Dean, retired YMCA executive. Together they share six adult children.

Dr. Marion Hare, MD

Pediatrician
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Marion Hare is an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). She is general pediatrician with master’s degrees in exercise physiology and epidemiology. She received her medical degree from the UTHSC and master’ s degrees from Wake Forest University and UTHSC, respectively. She has over 20 years’ experience in primary care pediatrics and training of medical students and pediatric residents.

After her pediatric residency, she served in the National  Health Service Corps and has continued to commit her career to child health care and promotion. She has been involved in numerous community projects and research, particularly in underserved communities. Her current clinical and research focus includes the Family Resilience Initiative, a clinical program that is designed to screen for and mitigate Adverse Childhood Experiences and unmet Social Determinants of Health in children less than 5 years of age who present for their well-child check-up.

Marion is actively involved in a variety of charitable and professional organizations. She serves as a board member of the Cynthia Milk Fund and Greater Memphis Greenline. She is an active member of the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves as one of the West Tennessee CATCH (Community Access to Child Health) facilitators. She has served on the Steering Committee of the Early Success Coalition and the Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of the Common Table Health Alliance. In her leisure time, she enjoys outdoor activities of almost any kind, reading and spending time with her family at Horseshoe Lake.

Marion and her husband, Carl have two sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Tanya L. Hart

Senior Vice President
First Tennessee Bank

Tanya is Senior Vice President of Total Rewards at First Tennessee – a regional bank which is headquartered in Memphis, TN. As Senior Vice President, she is responsible for company-wide executive and broad-based compensation, benefits, HR systems, the HR call center and payroll functions. She joined the company in 1991  as a teller while completing her degree in finance at the University of Memphis in 2000. In addition to her current role, Tanya has been in other key roles in the organization which includes, leadership training and financial planning.

Tanya later completed her MBA at Christian Brothers University in 2005. In addition to her professional studies, Tanya earned the certified financial planner designation and the SHRM, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Tanya has become a locally recognized voice on compensation matters.  Specifically, she has been asked to contribute to panels and speak at conferences. She is actively involved with a variety of civic and professional institutions. Her community outreach includes her role as a board member of Junior Achievement of Memphis, 1st Eight Memphis and community board member of the Junior League of Memphis. In addition, she is a member of the University of Memphis Foundation Board. Tanya is currently a cohort of the class of 2019 of the Executive program of Leadership Memphis. In addition to her community outreach and board service, she has led many programs within First Tennessee such as the Women’s  Initiative, United  Way and is the former chair of the Diversity Council.

Within those roles, Tanya was instrumental in developing and leading the founding class of First Tennessee’s Emerging Leader Program, expanding the company’s employee resource groups and developing a formal mentoring program within the organization. Tanya earned the certified financial planner designation and the SHRM, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). She currently serves as a member of First Tennessee’s Pension & Investment Committee.

Tanya is a lifetime alumni member of the University of Memphis. She is supported by her husband of over 20 years, Mark and her two children, Braxton (16) and Addison (13).

Tomeka Hart, J.D.

Senior Program Officer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A native Memphian, Tomeka Hart serves as a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading education policy and advocacy grantmaking to civil rights and equity organizations and managing the social-emotional learning policy portfolio. In prior roles, she served as VP of strategic partnerships at the Southern Education Foundation, VP of African American community partnerships for Teach For America, and as the president/CEO of the Memphis Urban League. She is a former middle and high school teacher, and a former labor and employment lawyer.

Tomeka served two terms on the Memphis City/Shelby County School Board (TN), including a term as Board President. She currently serves on the board of the Data Quality Campaign, where she chairs the Board/Staff Development Committee. Additionally, she serves as co-chair of the Grantmakers for Education Equity Impact Group, and as a member of the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board. Hart is an Aspen Institute Radel-Fellowship in Public Leadership fellow and a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow.

Tomeka Hart holds a B.S. degree in Marketing Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University; and a J.D. from the University of Memphis.

Amber Huett-Garcia

Education Policy Fellow at the Shelby County Mayor’s office

Amber Huett-Garcia is a Public Policy Fellow with Leadership for Educational Equity serving in the Shelby County Mayor’s Office of Education. Amber transitioned from her career in state government to join Teach For America in 2011 where she taught third grade at Ross Elementary School. Among other roles prior to teaching, Amber served as the primary analyst for K-12 education in the Illinois Governor’s Office of Management and Budget under then Governor Pat Quinn. In 2013, she joined Teach For America Memphis staff where she has led operations and development work and currently serves as the Director, Corporate and Foundation Giving (part-time). Amber is passionate about obesity issues and is a member of the National Board of Directors for the Obesity Action Coalition, a 60,000+ member nonprofit dedicated to providing education, advocacy, and support for those affected by obesity. She frequently advocates in Washington D.C. for access to care and travels the U.S. and internationally collaborating with other patient organizations, speaking, and working to combat weight bias. Amber holds a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield and is a graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. Amber enjoys politics, traveling, and spending time with her husband Matthew, daughter Parker (3) and step-daughter Nora (14).

Mary H. McDaniel

MHM Consultants, LLC

As a Retired Officer of FedEx Express Mary H. McDaniel believes she has an opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in every aspect of life.

For almost thirty-one (31) years Ms. McDaniel made a positive impact on FedEx’s internal and external customers by leading a team of over 400 employees; managing a multi-million dollar operating budget, a multi-million dollar capital budget, and directing the inventory of more than

$1.4 billion of owned aircraft parts that supported more than 670 aircraft flying into more than 375 airports in 220 countries worldwide.

By delivering on the objectives, turning challenges into opportunities, and opportunities into successes, Mary McDaniel was the recipient of the Federal Express Star Award, the Federal Express Superstar Award, the coveted President’s Club Award, and the prestigious Federal Express Five-Star Award four times during her career.

Her commitment to making a difference extended well beyond the corporate walls. She is also making a difference in the community by serving on the Board of Director of the following organizations: Chair of The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, served as Chair of the Foundation Board for Southwest Tennessee Community College, and a Board member of the Paragon Bank Board are just a few. Mary also serves with several civic, social, and technical organizations such as International Aviation Women Association, The Shelby County Links, Inc, The Mein-Ann Circle of Friends, and as the President of The Philanthropic Black Women of Memphis. Also, she served two terms as Chair of the Board for the Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission and as West TN ABC Commissioner.

Ms. McDaniel has an AS degree Southwest Tennessee Community College, attended Christian Brothers University and has a BS Degree from Bethel University.

As a second half passion to fulfill all that life has to offer, Mary McDaniel is now the president and owner of MGM Investments, LLC for the past seven years. This consulting firm offers the following line of services to its clients: Business & Professional Coaching to C-Level Executives, Career Transition Coaching, Career Coaching/Counseling, and Contract/Procurement Strategies.

Patrice J. Robinson

Vice Chairwoman of Memphis City Council

City Council Vice Chairwoman Patrice Jordan Robinson was elected to the Memphis City Council in November 2015. A former Memphis City/Shelby County Schools Board of Education Commissioner and Board President in 2004 and 2007, Robinson was elected in 2000 and served until August 2013. As a Board member, she distinguished herself by chairing the Policy, Personnel, Audit, and Capital Improvements Committees, as well as an active participant on the Prevailing Wages Commission. While serving on the Tennessee School Boards Association’s Board of Directors, Robinson also served as the MCS Board representative on the 2010-2011 Tennessee Legislative Network as the President, which is composed of school board members statewide who set the legislative agenda for the Tennessee School Boards Association.  With more than 900 School Board members in the state of Tennessee, Robinson is one of approximately 50 board members that have earned the designation as a Master School Boardsman in Tennessee.

She has 30-plus years of professional experience in Human Resources, Training and Development, Counseling, Job Development and Grant Writing. Robinson is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources.  She retired as a Supervisor, Assessment & Development, at Memphis Light Gas and Water Division.

Robinson earned a Master of Science degree in Technological and Adult Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Management and Industrial Relations, from Memphis State University.

In May of 2006, she was a graduate of Leadership Memphis and in 2010, a graduate of the Memphis Leadership Academy. Robinson has served as secretary-treasurer of the West Tennessee Technical and Adult Education Society, a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the American Society for Training and Development, on the Board of Directors of Jobs for Stars, Memphis in May, Hands Across Memphis, Inc. and served as the Education Chair of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.  Currently, she serves on the boards of the Memphis Weekend Academy and Paula Ratchford Ministries. Robinson is the President of the Valleywood Homeowners Association, former correspondence secretary for the Memphis (TN) Chapter, The Links, Inc., Director of the Women’s Ministry at Faith Temple Ministries C.O.G.I.C., member of the NAACP Memphis Chapter, member of the National Council of Negro Women, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

During her time on the Council, Vice Chairwoman Robinson co-sponsored the Pre-K Resolution in Memphis with Chairman Kemp Conrad, worked to re-establish the Greater Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment Corporation, initiated the MLGW Share the Pennies Initiative, and created the Weatherization Task Force.

Vice Chairwoman Robinson serves as the Chair of the MLGW (Memphis Light, Gas & Water) Committee, the Vice-Chair of & Environment Committee, and the Vice-Chair of Planning and Zoning Committee. Councilwoman Robinson also serves as the Liaison of The Healthcare Oversight Board and the Memphis Light Gas & Water Board.

Robinson is married to Jackie Robinson and they have three adult children, Gina, “Jaee,” and Jackie “Jordan” II, two granddaughters, Demetria and Raya, and two great-grandchildren, Madilyn and Ayden.

Alex Smith

Chief Human Resources Officer at the City of Memphis

Alex is the architect behind the mayor’s initiatives involving talent management, training, employee relations, compensation, benefits, and diversity initiatives. Prior to her service for the city, Alex was the Director of Human Resources for Brightstar Device Protection, a subsidiary of Brightstar Corporation, where she led key culture and organizational development projects. She has also served in HR management roles for industry leaders such as Target Corporation and Microsoft Corporation, building a career of being a strategic HR partner for key business leaders. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Economics, and earned a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. 

Yvonne Smith Madlock

Yvonne Smith Madlock was appointed Director of the Shelby County Health Department in June 1995.  She was Shelby County’s first female and first African American Public Health Director and served in that capacity for 20 years through the administration of three elected County Mayors until her retirement in July 2015.  Prior to her appointment as Director, Mrs. Madlock was Administrator for the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department, Bureau of Personal Health Services. From 1990-1993 she was Executive Director of Mid-South Family Health Care Center. For 12 years Mrs. Madlock was employed by Memphis Health Center in various administrative capacities including Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Patient Care Services after joining the Federally Qualified Health Center in 1978 as a Health Educator.

Ms. Madlock taught history for a number of years at Houston Community College and Lee High School in New Haven, Connecticut.  A graduate of Wellesley College, Mrs. Madlock holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Teaching History and Urban Education from Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut); she also completed graduate work at the University Of Texas School Of Public Health (Houston).  She is a 1999 graduate of the Public Health Leadership Institute of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of California and is a member of the 1992 Leadership Memphis Class. In the summer of 2000, she completed the Harvard University Leadership in Minority Health Program.

Through her engagement in many local civic and professional organizations, Ms. Madlock has demonstrated her commitment to service focused on assuring and creating health equity, economic opportunity and social justice. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Alliance for the Homeless, Methodist Healthcare Foundation and the Grants and Initiatives Committee of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Previously she has served on and held leadership positions on the boards of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Tennessee Primary Care Association, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis (CFGM), Leadership Memphis, Mid-town Mental Health Center, The First Years’ Institute and Girls Incorporated of Memphis.  She is a member of the Memphis Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and Beulah Baptist Church. 

She is the wife of Lawrence E. Madlock, MD and together they are the proud parents of three adult children. 

Michael Whaley

Shelby County Commissioner

Commissioner Whaley was elected to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on August 2, 2018, representing District 5 in East Memphis and Cordova.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from Southern Methodist University.

He serves as the Tennessee Director of Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) where he works with current and former teachers to build their civic engagement and leadership. Commissioner Whaley was also the Founder and Executive Director of Memphis College Prep, a kindergarten through fifth-grade public elementary school. He is active in several local community and civil boards, including Shelby Farms Park, the Downtown Memphis Commission, and Let’s Innovate Through Education (LITE).

A member of the 2006 Teach for America corps in Memphis, Michael taught elementary school with Memphis City Schools before being selected for the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship, nationally recognized for its rigorous, year-long training program in school leadership.

Commissioner Whaley is a seasoned traveler, having been to all the continents at least twice, except Antarctica. He is currently studying to be a sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is the proud owner of Harper, a Labrador retriever.

Rebecca Z. Yeung

Staff Vice President
Service Experience Leadership
FedEx Corporation

Rebecca Z. Yeung is Staff Vice President of Service Experience Leadership at FedEx Corporation, a global transportation and logistics service provider. Her primary responsibilities are to accelerate operational excellence and customer experience across the FedEx enterprise via Quality Driven Management (QDM) cultural integration, customer experience prioritization, and operations technology innovation.

Mrs. Yeung joined FedEx in 1999, as a Senior Marketing Analyst, and has served in various roles with increasing responsibility throughout her FedEx career. She has gained more than 20 years of experience in emerging technology R&D, Quality, customer experience management, strategic planning and analysis, and marketing communications. Her most notable accomplishment is the broad adoption of QDM across an enterprise of 450,000+ team members. Most recently, she has also played an instrumental role in leading the developments of FedEx SameDay Bot, the latest company innovation. 

Prior to joining FedEx, she worked as a management consultant in Shanghai, China, where she helped British firms expand their China footprint through effective supply chain management, strategic investment, and joint venture negotiation.

Mrs. Yeung holds an MBA from the University of Maryland–College Park and has a Bachelor’s degree from Fudan University in China.

She currently sits on the board of the Mid-South Food Bank and is a member of the Executive Advisory Council for FedExFamilyHouse, in support of LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.