Delta Dental of Tennessee Appoints Chief Diversity Officer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (September 7, 2021) – Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) today announced the promotion of longtime company executive Shanda Brown to the new position of Chief Diversity Officer. Brown most recently held the position of Vice President of Corporate and Community Engagement, where she oversees provider relations, quality control, human resources, and the day-to-day operations of the Delta Dental’s philanthropic initiative, the Smile180 Foundation.

“Through important, difficult conversations over the last year, it has become increasingly clear that for our company and also our country to continue to succeed, we have to eliminate those things that continue to unjustly divide us. Diversity, equity and inclusion must be ingrained in our hearts and minds,” said Dr. Phil Wenk, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “To help steer us in that path, I wanted to have someone who leads by example and has earned the respect and admiration of everyone who works here. I am thrilled that Shanda has agreed to take on this new role as a guiding light for us as we strive to reach the American ideal of equality and inclusion for all.”

Brown, a nationally recognized speaker, ordained minister, and author of two motivational books, joined Delta Dental of Tennessee in 1997 as an auditor. Since that time, she has held a variety of management roles across the company, spanning customer service, claims processing, and quality control.

In 2015, Brown helped spearhead the creation of Delta Dental’s charitable foundation, the Smile180 Foundation, and has overseen its day-to-day operations since that time. Today, the Smile180 Foundation supports a network of 26 charitable dental clinics across the state that provide critical oral health care services for some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as the state’s two dental colleges and seven children’s hospitals.

“Formalizing our longstanding philanthropic work through the Smile180 Foundation allowed Delta Dental to highlight who we are to a broader audience and positively impact even more Tennesseans. I see the creation of this role as a similar step in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Brown.  “Delta Dental of Tennessee has championed diversity, equity and inclusion for years. It is a key component of our culture and our collective DNA. Now it has become necessary to evolve into a more focused approach with DEI that further positions us as effective leaders and community advocates.”

Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University and worked as a registered nurse for five years before pursuing a career in the health insurance industry. A Virginia native, she has called Middle Tennessee home for over 25 years.

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Delta Dental of Tennessee
Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state’s largest independent dental benefits carrier with more than 1.4 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 154,000 providers serving more than 437,000 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $4.8 million in funding and in-kind services to over 140 organizations in 2020.