The Hope Summit at Belmont University

October 2-3, 2023

Contact us at with any questions.

This interactive, two-day gathering will connect Agents of Hope from various industries–change-makers, thinkers and leaders committed to shaping a more hopeful world. This year, we’ll be focusing on the power of storytelling and how leaders can use this tool for transformation. If you are eager to make change in the world, the Hope Summit is for you.

Let’s create, innovate, build and dream together. 

*All events are open to all attendees unless otherwise noted. 

Monday, OCTOBER 2

“The Stories of Hope and Transformation We Need Now”

9 A.M. – 9:45 A.M.

Pastries, Coffee and Welcome

Location: Fisher Center Grand Foyer

Welcome to Day One of the Hope Summit, a gathering of change-makers, thinkers and leaders committed to shaping a more hopeful world. Today, we start with an exploration of the stories that matter most. Join us for pastries and coffee, student musicians and a welcome to the 2023 Hope Summit.

10 A.M. – 10:50 A.M.

The Stories of Hope and Transformation We Need Now

Location: Fisher Center Performing Arts Hall

Our opening session is a vibrant journey into the narratives our world needs today. Our distinguished speakers will paint vivid images of resilience, transformation and hope, connecting our narratives to the stories that inspire and uplift communities. 

11 A.M. – 11:15 A.M.


Location: Fisher Center Grand Foyer

Spend time with friends at The Hope Summit–old and new! 

11:15 A.M. – 2 P.M.

Connecting Agents of Hope Through Stories of Transformation Lunch

Location: Fisher Center Ballrooms

During our curated luncheon, we will foster connections and drive conversations around impactful stories. Expect to hear inspiring examples of hope and transformation from community arts initiatives to combating gun violence to reimagining philanthropy in healthcare.

Stories of Transformation:

2 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Connecting + Coffee Break

Location: Fisher Center Grand Foyer

Enjoy casual student musicians, coffee and time for connection and networking.

2:30 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Equipping Agents of Hope Workshops

RSVP Required.
Location: Fisher Center Performing Arts Hall

Our afternoon workshops are designed to empower you as an Agent of Hope. You can choose one of three interactive workshops that will deepen your understanding and skill in storytelling, understand how to impact your community through empathetic intelligence and develop strategy for connecting with collaborative networks. You can make a profound impact in your respective communities and beyond.

Interactive Workshops:

  • TELLING POWERFUL STORIES: Data-Informed Storytelling that Drives Impact (Presenter: Charlie Apigian) Location: Fisher Performing Arts Center, Main Hall
  • CREATING THRIVING COMMUNITIES: Practicing Peacemaking to Reweave the Social Fabric (Panelists: Todd Deatherage, David Davis, David KatibahLocation: Fisher Performing Arts Center, South Ballroom
  • BUILDING STRATEGIC NETWORKS: Leading Multi-Sector Collaboration (Presenter: Christy Davis) Location: Fisher Performing Arts Center, Paisley Ballroom

4 P.M. – 6 P.M.


6 P.M. – 9 P.M.

Night of Hope: Celebrating Champions of Hope in Our City and Beyond 

Location: Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Join us as we joyfully celebrate the efforts, partnerships and collaborations of those across Nashville and beyond who exemplify what it means to be a Champion of Hope – one who personifies hope and illustrates how our faith can animate our steps toward action.

Night of Hope is an opportunity to highlight and recognize individuals and groups for their tremendous work in this space, as well as present the second annual Rick Byrd Character Award. Dinner provided; cocktail attire preferred.

Tuesday, October 3

“Building Bridges Through Collaboration”

9 A.M. – 9:45 A.M.

Pastries and Coffee

Location: Fisher Center Grand Foyer

Welcome to Day Two of the Hope Summit, a gathering of change-makers, thinkers and leaders committed to shaping a more hopeful world. Join us for pastries, coffee and performances by student musicians.

10 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Building Bridges: Fostering Connections as Agents of Hope

Location: Fisher Center Performing Arts Hall

Through a live recording of Belmont’s soon-to-be-released podcast The Hope People, we reaffirm that it’s only through nurturing empathy and authentic relationship that we can gain the perspective and understanding we need to be Agents of Hope.

Featured Speakers

Al AndrewsAl Andrews

Al Andrews is the founder and executive director of Porter’s Call, a non-profit in Franklin, TN that has offered free counsel, support, and encouragement to recording artists since 2001. He’s written a couple of books, The Boy, the Kite, and the Wind and A Walk one Winter Night. He loves southern novels (Wendell Berry, Pat Conroy), poetry (Mary Oliver and Billy Collins), and is quite partial to chicken wings and movies at the Belcourt.

Al lives in Nashville, TN with his poet/artist/counselor wife of 33 years, Nita, and has two sons, Brent 26 and Hunter 29.

Al AndrewsJanice Gaines

Janice Gaines is a Stellar and Dove Award-nominated recording artist and speaker. A seminary graduate with a Masters of Divinity, she is a sought-after teacher with a passion for seeing people healed and reconciled to God, and to each other. Janice is a mom to two boys and co-hosts the Only Gaines podcast with her husband, EJ Gaines.

12 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.

Hope in Action: Panels & Lunch

RSVP required. 

These panels signify a transformative part of our Hope Summit, a set of sessions designed to channel our collective energy into tangible actions addressing specific challenges and opportunities. These roundtables serve as dynamic platforms where we collaborate, ideate and strategize, with each one focused on a different facet of our shared vision.

They are an ideal opportunity to spotlight the incredible work being done by various groups, inviting partners to contribute their insights and efforts.

Whether it’s about advancing the Nashville Faith Network, pushing the boundaries of the Nashville Mental Health Project, enhancing Tennessee’s impact investing ecosystem, or exploring the intersection of faith and finance, each roundtable is a catalyst for positive change. 


  • Advancing Mental Health in Underserved Communities (Panelists: Charlie Apigian, Marquinta Harvey and Ron Loeppke) Location: Janet Ayers Academic Center, Conference Room C
  • PANEL IS FULL Fostering Local Impact Investing Ecosystems (Panelists: Jay Hein, TJ Abood, Anne Harvard, Mike Bontrager and Justin Beene) Location: Jack C. Massey Center 5th Floor Hackathon Classrooms
  • PANEL IS FULL The Power of City Faith Networks (Panelists: Rob Kelly, Kevin Palau, Jose Duran, Michael Allen and David Dillon) Location: Janet Ayers Academic Center, Conference Room D 
  • New Models for Cultivating the Arts (Panelists: Sandra McCracken, Winfield Bevins, David Kim and Joanna Taft) Location: Gabhart, Meeting Rooms A&B

Wednesday, October 4

Belmont’s Day to Dream

This special day is an opportunity for the Belmont community to dream together, taking a break from a busy semester and thinking ahead to all that’s to come. Hope Summit attendees who plan to stay in town are welcome to join the festivities!