Business Innovator Joins UT as Haslam’s Director of Exec Programs in Nashville

October 27, 2022

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business is pleased to welcome Deborah Watts as its director of executive programs in Nashville. Watts, who joined the team in mid-October, will build business graduate and executive education support in the region as an extension of the wider Graduate and Executive Education portfolio based in Knoxville.

“The Haslam College of Business prides itself on providing practical, relevant and impactful support to our colleagues and partners in the business community,” said Bruce Behn, associate dean for graduate and executive education. “To support that growth, Deborah is joining us in Nashville so that we may better serve the Middle Tennessee business community. Deborah brings extensive experience in corporate and consulting roles and teaching and leadership, which makes her the ideal person to spearhead our presence in Nashville. We are excited for the future of Nashville and for Haslam to play its part in that future.”

Watts, who holds a bachelor’s in organizational communication and an MBA from Lipscomb University and a doctorate in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University, comes to UT from Lipscomb, where she served as executive director of Spark, Lipscomb’s idea center. She also will continue in her role as founder and CEO of Hayde & Company, a consulting firm that serves a range of clients, from small entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 companies. Bringing more than 20 years of experience to her new position, Watts is uniquely suited to oversee Haslam’s business education relationships in Middle Tennessee.

“I am delighted to join the team at UT,” Watts said. “From our first conversations, what struck me was the Haslam executive education team’s passion for and commitment to building partnerships with organizations to help them succeed by developing their people and building business capability. There is so much exciting development happening in Nashville, and UT is so well placed to support it.”

The Haslam College of Business offers partnerships to develop talent and build organizational capability through tailored and custom executive education, assessments, research collaboration and advisory services. World-class executive degree programs in leadership and strategy, global supply chain management, healthcare and defense and aerospace expand professionals’ repertoire of business skills and help organizations maintain their competitive advantage. Further, Haslam’s new, cutting-edge programs in data analytics and cyber security keep the state of Tennessee at the forefront of business nationwide.

To reach Deborah Watts, email


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,