Dr. Deborah Watts, founder and CEO of Hayde and Company, is taking over Lipscomb University's Spark centers as the new executive director. 

Lipscomb has two Spark locations, one in Cool Springs that opened in 2012 and one in downtown Nashville that opened in 2017.

Per a release, Watts also serves as a certified partner for Predictive Index and is the executive director and senior consultant for the Leadership Pipeline Institute. She also helped launch the Nashville start-up America’s PowerSports and is a national speaker on topics regarding leadership and emotional intelligence. 

“Spark’s innovation is inspired by a relentless pursuit to take adult learning to the next level.  My vision for Spark is to continue to offer state-of-art meeting space but also to collaborate with the thought leaders at Lipscomb University and in the middle Tennessee community, as well as internationally to bring world class executive education to individuals in formats that work for them,” said Watts in a release. “We live in a Snapchat world. Education can be bite-sized, too. It can be in-person, virtual, asynchronous, synchronous or hybrid. If it is immersive and has real-world application, the participants will thrive.”

“Change is constant, especially in education,” Watts continued. “Think of executive education like a rubber band.  It has been stretched and stretched, particularly during the pandemic. Now, there is no returning to its original shape. Academic institutions need to adapt to the new shape. I’m very excited to be a connector and collaborator at Spark and provide the community with innovative education options.”

The release says that, in her new appointment at Spark, Watts will oversee operations of the two facilities, develop programming and content, cultivate corporate partnerships and lead marketing efforts for the entity’s digital content among other responsibilities. She said she plans to continue to seek new and innovative ways to deliver education through programming offered at Spark.

“With more than 20 years of experience in the corporate world and more than a decade in executive education, Dr. Deborah Watts not only has a wealth of expertise but the deep connections in and commitment to serving this community that uniquely position her for successfully fulfilling our mission for Spark,” said John Lowry, senior vice president for advancement at Lipscomb University and founder of Spark, in the release. “Her vision and leadership will make a tremendous impact on our community.”

The release says Watts holds a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational communication and a Master of Business Administration degree from Lipscomb as well as a Doctor of Education degree in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

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