Deborah Taylor Tate


Deborah Taylor Tate

The Junior League of Nashville

Causes/Issue Area(s): Drug Abuse, Mental Health, Juvenile Justice, Children and the Internet

Honors/Achievements: Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for the Tennessee Supreme Court, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, senior policy advisor to two former Governors, Special Envoy to the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union

The recipient of the 2006 Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award, Deborah Taylor Tate is the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for the Tennessee Supreme Court. She serves as Special Envoy to the U.N.'s ITU for Child Online Protection, and is a former U.S. FCC Commissioner, a volunteer, an attorney, and a mother of three. A member of the Junior League of Nashville for more than 17 years, Deborah has made significant contributions toward recognizing, addressing, and improving the health, economic, and social well-being of women and children. Her work has made a lasting impact on local organizations, as she has served as chairperson for countless committees within her League and has held leadership positions on numerous boards in Nashville.

Deborah's membership and leadership in the Junior League of Nashville have made a tremendous difference in the League's ability to serve, improve, and enrich the lives of those in need. She has continually volunteered to take on the difficult issues facing women and children in the community and has succeeded in bringing agencies, professionals, advocates, and volunteers together to create a systemic change with lasting effects. As President of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), she has increased both the funding and programs to inspire a record-breaking number of League volunteers to represent children in court. Deborah has worked tirelessly on behalf of families in recovery from drug abuse, which led her to co-found the Renewal House, Nashville's first, largest, and most comprehensive long-term recovery community for addicted women and children.

Outside of her League work, Deborah served as a practicing attorney and senior policy advisor to former Governor Lamar Alexander and former Governor Don Sundquist as a senior mental health and juvenile justice policy advisor. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of a statewide plan establishing a Mental Health Revision Commission, which culminated in the passage of an entire new mental health law for Tennessee. She presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Centerstone, the largest behavioral health provider in Tennessee.

In accepting her award, presented at a special luncheon ceremony sponsored by specialty retailer Talbots during the 84th AJLI Annual Conference, Deborah encouraged League members to continue to build partnerships with local leaders and organizations. She also challenged members to use the Junior League to take the first steps toward accomplishing their dreams, and then inspire others in their community to contribute their resources and human power to make an even larger difference.