The McKinney Center Announces November Conversations that Matter

“Conversations that Matter” is a monthly online series from the McKinney Center. In each “Conversation” two local guests will explore their own culture and perspective, and talk to each other about what makes them unique, discover their similarities, and explore their differences. They will look at where their lives might intersect personally and in the community. The goal of each “Conversation that Matters” is for guests and participants to hear real stories, from real neighbors.

For a special Veterans Day focused event in this series, the McKinney Center will feature two local veterans, Suzanne Emberton and Paul Braxton. This conversation will be moderated by McKinney Center Advisory Board Members and volunteers, Michelle Treece and Brittany Butler. It will take place via Zoom on Thursday, November 11, at 7 p.m. Register at

Suzanne Emberton is a resident of Johnson City. The Army stationed her husband to teach ROTC at East Tennessee State University in 2013, and they decided to make East Tennessee their forever home. She quickly became involved in the local community, joining the Johnson City Junior League, serving on the Fund Development Committee and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. In May of this year, Emberton was elected Chair of the Washington County Democratic Party. Her paying job is developing training content for software applications at Medable. Emberton is a mom to four, step-mom to two adult children and has one grandson. She’s passionate about politics at all levels, with a big focus on DEI initiatives, LGBTQ+ issues and affordable and accessible healthcare for all. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time boating and sailing on the lake and cheering on ETSU Athletic teams, especially basketball.

Paul Braxton is a Jonesborough resident, and an Army Veteran who served his last assignment in Johnson City, Tennessee. He is an avid photographer as well as a member of the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and StoryTown Radio Show Program. Braxton has collected stories from community members and performed in many of the larger annual community plays at the McKinney Center. Him and his wife, Venessa, are volunteers for the McKinney Center and active members of the community, including attending Bethel Church.

This monthly series is inspired by the Diversity & Equity Subcommittee at the McKinney Center, and their desire to highlight the experiences of all voices in Washington County, Tennessee, with an intention to include marginalized groups. By showcasing these conversations, the Diversity & Equity subcommittee hopes to open doors to new ideas and perspectives amongst our very own neighbors.

After hearing from one another the moderators and guest conversationalists will give insight on how to move forward.