Manager of Advocacy and Strategy

Laura Hunt joined the 50CAN team in early 2020 as the State Manager of Advocacy and Strategy for Tennessee. She loves to use her political experience, communication skills and passion for student outreach to improve education throughout the state. A lifelong native of Tennessee, Laura grew up in Maryville, a small town outside of Knoxville close to the Smoky Mountains. She attended the University of Tennessee, earning a degree in public relations and minors in business and English. 

After college, Laura moved to Nashville to serve in state government as an assistant to former Governor Bill Haslam. She also worked in communications for a local public relations firm and for the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. Most recently she worked for the Tennessee Society of CPAs, where she led a statewide program of high school and college student outreach and recruitment in accounting literacy, as well as managed a 10,000+ membership of accounting professionals, recruits and retirees. 

In her spare time, Laura enjoys trying new restaurants and attending concerts in the booming city of Nashville, spending time with her family and friends, traveling and watching the Tennessee Vols play. 

I aspire to be like my parents. Here’s why: 

Both have high expectations for all three of their daughters and they teach by example. My dad is the most humble and hardworking person I know. He grew up on a dairy farm, so hard work was ingrained in him from an early age. Now he successfully runs his own business and serves the community in multiple capacities. I really admire that he treats everyone with the same kindness no matter where they come from. Growing up in a small town, he also never meets a stranger, which I might have inherited! 

My mother is self-sacrificing and very caring of others. She is always my first phone call when I have news – good or bad. She was a public school teacher for many years and has “adopted” many other children and students all throughout my life!

Why I love my job: 

Teachers held such a special place in my heart and were so influential in my education growing up. They don’t get enough daily appreciation for what they do! I love to think I might play a small part in policies that make their work easier and learning better for their students. I enjoy hearing stories from teachers and parents and learning about how TennesseeCAN might help. I also want every child in the great State of Tennessee to have a solid education, no matter if they grow up on a farm in a rural area or in the middle of one of our expanding urban cities!

My connection to public schools: 

I grew up in the public school system in Maryville, a town that really values their teachers and school system, and it is reflected throughout the community. My mom was a public school teacher at Maryville City and I even had her in class. My father serves on the city council helping to ensure teachers have the financial resources they need. Many of my teachers growing up have a strong presence in my community and were important mentors for me as I grew up. I am passionate about all students growing up in an education system that is as strong as the one I had – which adequately equipped me to achieve my dreams. 

What I’m bad at: 

I ask too many questions! Some people may think I inquire too much, but I have a genuine curiosity for others when I meet them. I love to learn about people’s backgrounds. Also, my mom was a math teacher, but don’t ask me to add numbers in my head! 

This image represents why I work at 50CAN:

This is a picture of me with one of my favorite teachers – Mrs. Buchanan – who is still making a difference in the classroom today teaching students like me. It is because of my hard-working and caring teachers like Mrs. Buchanan that I have a passion for the work. They created a solid educational foundation which afforded me the amazing opportunities I have had in my life – including working for TennesseeCAN!