Metro government veteran joins Lipscomb institute

Former neighborhoods chief to lead academic programs in civic leadership

The Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University has named a new academic program director and a managing director.

The three-year-old institute, one of a number of programs launched by Lipscomb’s leadership in recent years, has recruited Michelle Steele (pictured on far left) to lead its academic programs. Steele spent nine years at the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, the last four as director in the administration of Bill Purcell. Since then, she has supervised the customer service team at the Metro Department of Codes and Building Safety.

“As I worked with members of the community through the office of neighborhoods I discovered that people didn’t understand that they have the power within themselves to make a difference,” said Steele. “The civic leadership program at Lipscomb is about empowering individuals by helping them use the tools they already have to become leaders in their organizations, neighborhood and communities.”

In addition to Steele’s appointment, the Andrews Institute also says Executive-in-Residence Lydia Lenker has been named managing director. Lenker joined the institute in early 2011 after being press secretary to former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and working in radio and television news. She also serves as director of the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy, a partnership with the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee.

The Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership works with current and emerging leaders in academic and community programs and markets one of only two master’s degrees nationally in civic leadership. The institute also offers Citizen Leadership Academies and customized leadership and manages the new Leadership Tennessee program.