Beverly L. Watts served as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission from July 2007until February 2022. Prior to that she served she served as Special Advisor to the Chair at the U S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission responsible for state and local relations. She has more than 35 years of experience in civil rights enforcement, community engagement, social justice and education in the public and private sector. She served as the first Executive Director of the National Fair Housing Training Academy in Washington DC responsible for developing and presenting training fair housing investigators.
Beverly has served as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Director of Management Advisory Services for the Ralph G. Moore and Associates; Regional Director of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Executive Director, Illinois Minority and Female Business Enterprise Council (MWBE)and as one of the first Title IX coordinators in the country during her tenure at the US Office for Civil Rights. She was adjunct faculty at Spalding University. She has made presentations to numerous organizations on civil rights, diversity, and leadership at the national and international level. She created the KY Commission on Human Rights Civil Rights hall of Fame Beverly has developed collaborative partnerships throughout her career to develop events and programs in race relations, leadership development, human rights, and community building.
Beverly is a two term Past President of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA), a membership organization of global human rights agencies. She represented IAOHRA throughout the US, Canada and at the UN World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa. She also served as the IAOHRA in other roles including Southern Region Representative, Vice President, and Annual Conference Planning Chair. She served as Chair of Women Executives in State Government; the Mission Advisor and Power of Inclusion Chair to the Cable Nashville Board; and as Committee Chair of the Stand Against Racism of the YWCA of Middle Tennessee.
She is a life member is a life member of the NAACP where she currently serves as the Special Advisor to the Chair for Fair Housing & Equity. She is a member of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Board where she chairs the Race, Wealth and Community Services Committee.
Beverly is the recipient of numerous awards including YWCA of Middle Tennessee 2014 Carrie Hull Award, the City of Louisville Martin Luther King Award, the 2018 Cable Power of Inclusion Special Legacy Award, the 2018 YWCA Women of Achievement and the 2022 TN State Conference Achievement Award. In 2005 she was inducted into the KY Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
She is a graduate of numerous, local, state, and national leadership programs. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University, Southern Illinois University and Executive leadership programs at Duke University and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.