Meet our 2022 Breakfast Chairs

PENCIL’s annual Back to School Breakfast, presented by Elliott Davis, is tomorrow, and we want to introduce the three incredible Event Chairs that helped make our 2022 event possible. Kenny Crapse, Joan Fleming Ridley, and Nicole Keefe share what the back-to-school season and the event means to them.  

The Breakfast Chairs reflected on some of their favorite back-to-school memories, including shopping for new clothes, lunchboxes, and more, figuring out classes and teachers, taking school pictures, and seeing friends again. When asked about advice for the back-to-school season, the chairs shared the following words of wisdom: 

  1. Say “hi” to someone you don’t know. They could end up being a good friend! – Kenny Crapse 
  2. Remember, the beginning of the year brings a fresh new start; Embrace it all. – Joan Fleming Ridley 
  3. Be kind and do good. – Nicole Keefe 

We hope tomorrow’s event reflects some of these favorite childhood memories for both our event chairs and our guests.  

The Back to School Breakfast was what originally connected Nicole Keefe, attorney at Burr & Foreman LLP, with PENCIL:  

I was actually first introduced to PENCIL at the Back to School Breakfast, where I learned about PENCIL’s important work with Metro Nashville Public Schools; I heard from community and business advocates, who shared a passion for public education, and interacted with outstanding MNPS students who were eager to share the ways in which PENCIL enhanced their education. It is what got me involved with the organization, and I’ve attended the Back to School Breakfast every year since.” 

Keefe’s involvement with PENCIL continues to grow, having served as the YLC Intern to the Governing Board, PENCIL Box Volunteer, Emerging Leaders Board Member, and now a Governing Board member and co-chair of the Development, Marketing and Public Relations Committee.  

Joan Fleming Ridley, SVP, Residential Lending and Community Development at Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Co., said that last year’s Back to School Breakfast (2021) was the first one she had attended. Fleming Ridley said,  

“I was impressed by the attendance (especially considering COVID), the participation from teachers and students, the excitement in the room, and how well put together the event was. I am excited to share my input for an already well put together function this year.” 

Kenny Crapse, Commercial Relationship Manager at Fifth Third Bank, was excited to chair to share his passion for PENCIL’s work:   

I enjoy sharing PENCIL’s mission with others, so I figured what better way to do that than to rally business and community leaders around an opportunity to network and learn about this amazing organization.” 

This year, the chairs recruited a record-breaking 540 guests from a cross-section of industries and businesses in Nashville. The guests will have the opportunity to network and learn more about PENCIL and supporting Metro Schools during the 2022/23 school year. A highlight of the program includes Tennessean Opinion Editor David Plazas moderating a panel of educators, students, and business partners speaking to the impact of PENCIL’s programs. 

We hope all our guests walk away from the event feeling the same way our chairs do – inspired to invest in PENCIL and to get involved in our Metro Schools. Even if you are not attending the event, you too can support PENCIL’s back-to-school efforts by donating here: