FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, the non-profit organization behind much of the historic preservation effort that made Franklin the community it is today, has announced its first-ever CEO. The Foundation’s Board of Directors selected Bari Watson Beasley, a Williamson County resident, to succeed longtime Executive Director Mary Pearce as head of the organization.
Heritage Foundation Board President Julian Bibb said Pearce has spearheaded a nationally recognized campaign to preserve and enhance the Franklin community for 30 years, and that Beasley is the right leader to carry the organization forward.
“Ms. Beasley is highly qualified to lead the Foundation, from non-profit management to public relations and everything in between,” Bibb said. “She possesses an array of outstanding professional skills that are necessary to maintain the organization’s ongoing success and carry it into the future.”
David Garrett, incoming president of the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors, served as chair of the Transition Committee, whose members worked tirelessly for 12 months to prepare the Foundation for its next 50 years. The Committee developed a new organizational structure and job descriptions for the Foundation’s current staff, as well as a comprehensive job description for the organization’s first CEO. The Committee was composed of Angela Calhoun, Pam Chandler, Josh Denton, Dr. Allen Sills, Cyril Stewart and Garrett. The call for applications for the CEO position generated an overwhelming response from scores of applicants from across the country, and the committee evaluated applicants in a three-tiered selection process. The end result was the Board’s enthusiastic selection of Beasley last week.
“Bari Beasley has exceptional credentials, with deep experience in non-profit leadership, marketing and development – all of which make her uniquely qualified for the new CEO role,” Garrett said. “Most importantly, Bari has a passion and love for Williamson County, as well as the proven drive to build on the Foundation’s past success in order to continue the important work and build upon the legacy of this organization.”
Beasley brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and non-profits, most recently serving as the chief officer of marketing and external relations for the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), a global agency of The United Methodist Church. At GCFA, Beasley oversaw three divisions, including marketing and communications, travel and meeting planning and external relations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in advertising and public relations, both from the University of Alabama. She lives with her family in Thompson’s Station.
“I am honored that the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors has chosen me to follow in the footsteps of a truly remarkable leader – Mary Pearce,” Beasley said. “I look forward to working with the staff, the board and community leaders in continuing the Foundation’s mission of ‘saving the places that matter in Franklin and Williamson County.’”
Pearce said she is excited to have someone as talented as Beasley succeed her, given the longstanding and important role the Foundation has played in creating a wonderful community. She is looking forward to the Foundation’s continued growth under Beasley’s leadership.
“As I seek to scale back my work duties, I am pleased that the Heritage Foundation will have this caliber of leadership to guide this great team and organization into the future,” Pearce said.
Since 1967, the not-for-profit Heritage Foundation’s mission has been to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.