September’s Conversations That Matter has been rescheduled! The conversation planned for September 9th has been rescheduled to take place October 14, at 7pm.

“Conversations that Matter” is a monthly online series from the McKinney Center. In each “Conversation” two local guests will explore their own culture and perspective, and talk to each other about what makes them unique, discover their similarities, and explore their differences. They will look at where their lives might intersect personally and in the community. The goal of each “Conversation that Matters” is for guests and participants to hear real stories, from real neighbors.

The next event in this series will feature Nancy Kavanaugh and Ashley Cavender. This conversation will be moderated by McKinney Center Advisory Board Member and volunteers, Michelle Treece, and past guest and volunteer, Brittany Butler. It will take place via Zoom on October 14, at 7pm. Register at 

Nancy Kavanaugh is a well-known resident of Jonesborough, TN, taking an active role in many community organizations. Storytelling brought Nancy to Jonesborough more than two decades ago, after she spent a career as an executive for General Motors Assembly Division and Lockheed Martin Corporation. Bringing her organizational skills to Jonesborough, she served as the Executive Director of the National Storytelling Network from 2000-2005. Today, she volunteers with many different groups including Barter Theatre, Friends of the Library, Heritage Alliance, and the McKinney Center. In 2018, Nancy organized the “Wild Women of Jonesborough,” a non-profit that has raised more than $23,000 to support unmet needs in the Jonesborough Community. 

Ashley is an ETSU Alumni and has been in the area for several years. She is passionate about community organizing, local food and sustainability; she served through AmeriCorps with Jonesborough Locally Grown and is most recently working with One Acre Cafe feeding food with dignity to the community regardless of their means. You will most likely find her at the Nolichuckey river with her Jack Russell, Banjo in the summer months and hiking across East TN in the fall and winter. When she is not volunteering in the community she is traveling abroad and never missing the opportunity to learn a new skill or travel to a new country.  

This monthly series is inspired by the Diversity & Equity Subcommittee at the McKinney Center, and their desire to highlight the experiences of all voices in Washington County, Tennessee, with an intention to include marginalized groups. By showcasing these conversations, the Diversity & Equity subcommittee hopes to open doors to new ideas and perspectives amongst our very own neighbors. Questions such as, “What was your experience in grade-school and how did that make you feel?” or, “Have you experienced exclusion or racism?” For many of us the answers are different and unique. The McKinney Center believes it is time to talk about our experiences and share them. 

There is value in uplifting these stories so that we may learn from one another. Then, after hearing from one another our moderators and guest conversationalists will give insight on how to move forward.