Staff Bios

Gerald Brown

Gerald Brown has served as the CEO of Dismas House of Nashville for nearly 3 years. With nearly two decades of experience in the non-profit sector, Mr. Brown has helped thousands of underserved communities throughout Middle Tennesee. Prior to his current role with Dismas House, he served as Executive Director of Development for The Nashville Salvation Army. Prior to his tenure with the The Salvation Army, Gerald oversaw advancement for the Boy Scouts of America, as there Chief Development Officer. In addition to his fundraising prowess, Gerald’s approach to leadership is innovative and impactful! Mr. Brown also served as a Resident Counselor at Cedar Grove Treatment Facility in Murfreesboro.  There, he gained hands on experience on what the needs are of at-risk youth and their families.

As a Collegiate football player at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Brown transferred the skills acquired on the playing field to a summer youth ministry for at-risk youth in Antioch, TN. The camp was started by Mr. Brown and several community leaders to teach high school aged boys the fundamentals of teamwork, leadership, and attitude. Gerald has also been an active member of several civic organizations such as the Downtown Nashville Rotary club, Young Nonprofit Professionals and currently serves as immediate past President of The Association of Fundraising Professionals – Middle TN chapter. Mr. Brown has also been recognized by the community has one of the Top Nonprofit professional in their 30’s by the Center of Nonprofit Management, in addition to, being a member of the 2018 class of  Leadership Nashville and a 2018 recipient of the leading 100 African Americans in Business by NashvilleBusiness.net.  In the spring of 2018, Mr. Brown was recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a top 40 under 40 precipitant.

Mr. Brown is a native of Memphis, TN but has called Middle Tennessee home for the past twenty years. He and his wife, Danielle, have two daughters.

Julie L. Doochin

In August 2019, Dr. Julie Doochin joined Dismas, Inc. as Vice President of Programs. She brings to the position an extensive background in non-profit leadership, program development and management, strategic planning and educational leadership, as well as more than eight years of experience working with incarcerated individuals and returning citizens.

Most recently, Dr. Doochin served as Foundation Director for American Paper & Twine Co., where she worked to deepen and expand the corporation’s social impact in the community. Prior to that, Dr. Doochin founded and served as Executive Director for the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI), a non-profit organization whose mission is, in part, to provide on-site, degree-granting college programs to incarcerated individuals in correctional facilities in Tennessee and to prepare these individuals for successful re-entry. During Dr. Doochin’s tenure as Executive Director, THEI, working in partnership with the TDOC and local community colleges, served more than 600 incarcerated men at three SACS-accredited “prison” campuses in two regions of the state, culminating in the first graduation of 23 men behind bars in Tennessee since the 1980s. THEI’s recidivism rate is less than 10% and to date, 52 students have earned A.S. degrees while incarcerated and 7 students have earned Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees after returning home.

A Nashville native, Dr. Doochin earned a BA in History and Psychology (’94) from Vanderbilt University, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Vanderbilt Peabody College (’97), and a MA in European History (’03) from the University of Pennsylvania. In Dec. 2013, Dr. Doochin earned her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Previously, Dr. Doochin taught high school history and psychology for nine years and served as Director of Education for the Tennessee Holocaust Commission before entering the corporate world as the Director of Marketing for American Paper & Twine Co.

Dwanna Hughes

After living in Nashville for more than 30 years, Dwanna considers herself a Nashville native. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dwanna received a full ride track scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. After braving the extreme winters in Iowa for two years, she was offered the opportunity to move to Nashville to attend Tennessee State University, where she was able to pursue her passion for music, singing. Her years at Tennessee State University allowed her to transition into the music business where she flourished for more than 20 years traveling with her band.

Upon having her first child in 2001, she decided it was time to change her life of the road and focus on her family. Not wanting to get a ‘job’, she decided to spend her time volunteering with Meals on Wheels, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Middle Tennessee Council Boy Scouts of America. After volunteering with the Boy Scouts for a year and then working as a Program Aid in the organization, she was offered a position as a District Executive where she excelled for 5 years in the Nashboro District. Her experience at the Boy Scouts allowed her to forge timeless relationships with district and council volunteers and create valuable relationships in Nashville.

Dwanna is married to Theo Hughes and has two teenagers, Namiah (Hillsboro High School) and Justin (Lipscomb Academy). She enjoys walking, bike riding, playing golf, tennis, traveling, and reading. Dwanna is also a Holistic Chef, focusing on healing through food and a Notary Public

Glennis Taveras

Glennis Taveras, a native of Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, knows what it means to come from meager beginnings.  Born into a socially disadvantaged community, her own life experiences have fueled her passion for helping others overcome similar challenges. As such, she has dedicated her career and life to serving others through motivation and empowerment. Through her own strength and resilience, she is truly a change-agent making a difference in her community.

Glennis earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Phoenix and her Master of Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She has over 15 years of professional experience, including practicing as a therapist for over 8 years and working as a Criminal Investigator in the Office of the Public Defender for 7 Years. Additionally, she spent 2 years working in the Office of Domestic Violence. In these roles, she exercised her passion by gaining a multitude of experiences supporting people from various backgrounds and mental conditions, including those with substance abuse challenges, and physical and mental disabilities.

Continuing to pursue her passion, she is currently serving as an Executive Assistant with Dismay House. The mission of Dismas House is to bring about mutual reconciliation between former offenders and society through the development of a supportive community characterized by students and former offenders living together in a family setting, active involvement of volunteers from the larger community and a spirit of open and participative decision-making with an emphasis on the common good.

She has a therapeutic background in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, Substance Abuse, Crisis Intervention, Trauma Based Counseling, and Psychosexual interventions. She helps others learn how to make choices that create an effective, balanced and fulfilling life. She is fluent in Spanish and holds quarterly substance abuse court mandated groups for that demographic.

Morenike Murphy

Morenike Murphy has 19 years of experience in the field of social services, serving most recently as the Director of the Office of Crisis Services and Suicide Prevention for the state of Tennessee. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the organization and operation of the continuum of Tennessee’s mental health crisis services, and an array of suicide prevention programs and supports across Tennessee. In collaboration with community stakeholders across multiple systems, Morenike worked to develop and implement statewide strategy, financial sustainability, and ensure the delivery of quality care to individuals seeking care within Tennessee’s mental health crisis services system. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, as well as a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Morenike is a graduate of the 2018 LEAD Tennessee State Government Leadership Initiative. She is the co-author of a publication on the collaboration among community organizations and community criminal justice programs/drug courts.