Nashville, Tenn., (February 4, 2010) – Bass, Berry & Sims recently hosted its second annual Salute to African-American Executives. Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist and political commentator, was the keynote speaker. The event, a networking and luncheon program held in honor of African-American executives and influential leaders in Nashville and surrounding communities, was held at the firm’s new Nashville offices in the Pinnacle at Symphony Place.

Wendy Warren, associate at the firm, presented a scholarship donation to Fisk University President Hazel R. O’Leary from the firm’s African-American Affinity Group, sponsors of the event. The $5000 donation, made in recognition of the contributions made by African-American executives and community leaders in Middle Tennessee, supports two Bass, Berry & Sims scholars at Fisk University. In addition to receiving the scholarships, each scholar will participate with Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys in community service initiatives and will shadow legal professionals at the firm. Last year’s recipients, Liban Ahmed, a junior in Political Science, and Carta Robison, a junior English major, were present at the January 14 event.

“As we near the first anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration week, I think it is fitting to be here in a room with African-American business leaders, because the truth is that you helped bring Barack Obama to America,” Simmons told the attendees. “You didn’t just do it in the way that many people worked to get President Obama elected, but you did it everyday in the way that you work to achieve in your own lives.”

“Increasing diversity in corporations and government and the law firms that serve them are interrelated goals,” said Cheryl Mason, vice president for litigation at HCA, Inc, regarding the event. “Bass Berry’s Salute to African-American Executives provides an enjoyable opportunity to network, celebrate progress, and reinforce the need for continued efforts to make Nashville a city that works for people of all backgrounds.”

“This year’s Salute recognizing African-American leaders in the Nashville, Middle Tennessee community was an outstanding event,” said Rosalyn Carpenter, director of business diversity for Healthtrust Purchasing Group. “The intergenerational approach of utilizing the firm’s young African-American attorneys to plan the event, experienced community leaders in attendance, and BBS’s generous donation presentation during the event to Fisk students marked our shared wishes for more African-American leadership to come. The Bass, Berry & Sims Salute to African-American Executives is quite thoughtful and much appreciated.”

Jamal Simmons is a well known political analyst and frequent television commentator. He has an extensive background in Democratic politics and international affairs, and his views and opinions have been featured on CNN and MSNBC as well as in major publications such as GQ Magazine, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and USA Today. In 2000, Simmons was a communications aide for Vice President Al Gore during his presidential campaign and served as a Gore spokesman in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the recount. He has also served as traveling press secretary to two presidential candidates, communications director for a U.S. Senator, chief of staff to a member of Congress, and media advisor to a successful 2006 congressional campaign. In 2008, Simmons was an advisor to Nevada Democrats, the Democratic National Committee, and the Obama/Biden Campaign.

The African-American Affinity Group at Bass, Berry & Sims PLC was formed as a forum for African-American attorneys at the firm to exchange ideas and information relevant to their unique experiences as minority attorneys.

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