Mercedes Jones
Name: Nina Kumar
LMT Class: 2013
County: Robertson
Employment: Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at Ardent Health Services

“Leadership Middle Tennessee allowed me to really grow these relationships in a unique and unmatched setting!”


A proud middle Tennessee native, I am a healthcare attorney with Ardent Health Services. Prior to joining Ardent, I was a partner and previously an associate in the healthcare group with the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. I earned my J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University, and I received a M.A. Honours degree in international relations from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland. I am an active member of the Junior League of Nashville, the Federation of Woman’s Clubs and a Trustee and member of the Church Council at First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Tennessee. Additionally, I am a graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Program (TBALL), Young Leaders Council, and Leadership Middle Tennessee.

What was your favorite part of your Leadership Middle Tennessee experience?

Without a doubt my favorite part of the Leadership Middle Tennessee experience was getting to know and form lasting relationships with my classmates! My classmates were a diverse group encompassing the 10 county region, and I was blessed to get to know folks that I might not have met or known otherwise. Leadership Middle Tennessee allowed me to really grow these relationships in a unique and unmatched setting!

What regional issues interest or concern you most?

As a member of the healthcare industry, ensuring Middle Tennessee residents continue to have access to excellent, unmatched and affordable healthcare is the regional issue that most interests me. Healthcare truly impacts all of our lives, either in our own experience or in caring for a loved one. It is important that people have a range of compassionate and accessible care options that meet their needs. Ensuring our region continues to have top quality providers is of the utmost importance.

How do you define a leader? 

A leader is someone others choose to follow in some way. The more I learn about leadership, the more I realize that true leaders are two things. First, they are authentic. Second, they are reliable–they show up. A leader is sumultaneously visionary and stakeholder. Someone who can see a path forward and works tirelessly to forge ahead.

What is your proudest career moment?

My proudest moment in my career was making partner at Nelson Mullins. Law firms are tough and rigorous places. The workload can be strenuous. I felt honored to be considered for a partnership, and was thrilled to be chosen to be a Nelson Mullins partner in December of 2016.

Define Success

To me, success is not about accolades or awards. Although accolades and awards are positive affirmations and can bring great joy, true success comes from the feeling deep within that you gave your best and that your work has had lasting impact and meaning. It is a feeling of deep contentment and fulfillment within. Or, as Emerson wrote, “To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.”

What advice would you give your thirteen year old self?

I was always worried as a child about doing the right thing, and making sure that I was achieving at the highest possible level. I put a great deal of stress and pressure on myself. I would definitely tell 13-year old me to relax, because I have been so fortunate and blessed in the way things have worked out so well for me!

When was the last time you were suprised?

Without a doubt the last time I was surprised was in March of this year! I was honored to be nominated for the Athena Young Professional Award by the Junior League of Nashville. It was an amazing experience, and I truly enjoyed getting to know and learn from my fellow nominees. It was a surprise to be selected as the 2022 Athena Young Professional Award recipient!





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