14 Apr
  • By Safe Haven
  • Cause in

Jim Shulman Named CEO of Safe Haven Family Shelter

Safe Haven Family Shelter is excited to announce that Nashville Vice Mayor and Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) Executive Director Jim Shulman will be the organization’s next CEO, effective June 14.

Shulman assumes the role of longtime CEO Joyce Lavery, who announced her retirement last fall. He is a longtime champion of the organization and served as Safe Haven’s board president for three years (2008 to 2010) and has been a member of its Advisory Board for five years (2016 to 2020). Shulman also played an integral role in the agency’s last capital campaign and is a recipient of the Safe Haven Hero Award.

“Safe Haven has led the way home for so many families, and being a part of the organization over the years has felt like ‘home’ for me as well,” Shulman said. “Its mission of keeping families experiencing homelessness together and providing housing with services that help parents and children to be successful is critical, especially as Nashville continues to grow. I am excited and fortunate to lead this incredible organization and look forward to being a part of the integral role that Safe Haven plays in our city.”


“Our search committee worked in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Management for more than six months and considered hundreds of candidates from all over the country,” Ken Williamson, Safe Haven board president, said. “Jim’s many years of support of Safe Haven and his proven experience as a leader make him a natural choice. Joyce’s retirement leaves big shoes to fill. If anyone can fill those shoes and take Safe Haven to new heights, it’s Jim.”

Under Lavery’s leadership, Safe Haven increased the number of families served annually by 300 percent and grew its staff from five to 30.

“I have been privileged to be a part of Safe Haven’s critical mission and its rapid growth for the past 12 years. As I retire and leave the leadership of Safe Haven to others, I could not be prouder and more confident that, under Jim’s leadership, the future of Safe Haven is as bright as ever,” Lavery said. “Jim is a beloved, experienced and exceptional leader, as well as a man of great kindness and integrity. Having Jim at the helm, we have come full circle as Jim was board president when I was hired. I know Jim loves Safe Haven and will continue to be dedicated to its mission and its vision of ending family homelessness.”

Photo Credit: Allen Clark

Shulman brings a long track record of leadership experience and success to Safe Haven. He has served the state of Tennessee for more than 30 years in a variety of roles, in both the executive and legislative branches. A graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Shulman started with the state as lead legal counsel for the Department of Finance and Administration under Gov. Ned McWherter. He also spent six years as chief of Staff for then-Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh.

In 1999, Shulman ran for and was elected to Nashville’s Metro Council, representing the 25th District, while continuing his work at the state. He was reelected to the council in 2003. During his time on the council, Shulman chaired the city’s budget committee, as well as transportation and public works committees. He pushed through major zoning changes, helped lead the fight for more accountability in city funding and worked on emergency preparedness concerns.

As executive director of the TCAD for the last nine years, Shulman has focused on solutions for seniors by addressing meals, hunger, transportation and efficiencies in-home care services. During Shulman’s tenure, the commission provided administrative support for a $35 million grant that directly helped thousands of older Tennesseans with legal, dental, transportation and home repair assistance. Over the last several months, Shulman has led the effort to vaccinate the state’s senior population against COVID-19.

After sitting out eight years due to term limits, Shulman ran for an at-large seat on the Metropolitan Council and was elected in 2015. In 2018, Shulman ran and was elected to the role of vice mayor of Nashville and Davidson County as he continued his position at the TCAD. He was reelected as vice mayor in 2019 and currently holds that seat.

Safe Haven