Movers & Shakers – Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell thrives on creating spaces that elevate others. A Columbia, TN native, he moved to Cookeville to attend TTU as a Business Information major. 

Following graduation, he chose to stay in the area and joined IMPACT, a service organization designed to uplift the African-American community in Cookeville. 

Brandon began his time at IMPACT by volunteering in what he describes as a “behind the scenes” capacity. Using his business information background, he created the organization’s first website and also assisted with ticket sales for the yearly banquets.

In 2022, Brandon’s quiet volunteerism with IMPACT blossomed into a more visible role. As part of a planning workshop, he sparked the idea of hosting an art show which spotlights local African-American artists as part of IMPACTS’ yearly banquet. In addition to being the event’s creator, he also organized the gallery, which showcased the masterpieces of over sixty local artists for the more than 300 community members in attendance.

While impressive, Brandon’s volunteerism for IMPACT is only one of many ways he serves our community.

He also sits on the board of directors for Helping Hands and serves as cub master for his son’s boy scout troop.

Brandon is also the creator of “Black Facts,” an online platform where he shares information about the African-American community each day during black history month. The program has been a huge success and has provided a unique opportunity for others to learn more; Brandon has landed several local speaking engagements as a result.

He credits his parents for his devotion to building up communities. Brandon’s mother still volunteers and his late father embodied what he refers to as “leading without a title.”

Brandon has devoted many hours to countless service projects, however, the IMPACT art show was the most clearly symbolic representation of his commitment to elevating others. By developing a space to celebrate the artwork of the black community, Brandon Russell displayed the most powerful form of art. In the words of the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

by Emilie McGrath,  photo by Cris Stroud, styled by Seth Overton


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