Leadership Team | Conversant Group, LLC

Leadership Team


John Anthony Smith

Chief Listening Officer & President 

Chief Listening Officer, John A. Smith, founded Conversant Group in July of 2009 as an outgrowth of his passion to cultivate people-focused business. 

Engaged on numerous projects and consultations with companies both large and small throughout his 24-year career, John understands the unique challenges of conducting business on a human-centric level — its strategy, quality, and process. 

John started his IT career in 1994, at the age of 14, at Thompson Machinery Commerce Corporation of Lavergne, TN. While working with Thompson Machinery, John was involved with the initial rollout of multiple industry-leading technologies including: Citrix Winframe, IBM NetStation, Window NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT Terminal Services Edition, remote access via Shiva, ISDN Internet, and WebSense.

After his time at Thompson Machinery, John founded his first company, Computech, in 1996. In 2002, he founded his second company, NetAlliant Technologies, LLC, which he sold in 2008.  

In 2009, he founded Conversant Group, LLC, a technology conglomerate based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serving clients across North America.

John studied Computer Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and holds a degree in Organizational Management from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia.


David Barker

Chief Financial Officer

David joined our team in mid-2017 as Chief Financial Officer.

After serving six years as a radar technician in the United States Air Force, he earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in accounting from the University of Georgia. After graduating, David worked in public accounting for a mid-sized firm in Atlanta, Georgia, where he performed audit and tax services for German subsidiaries operating in the United States. 

After receiving his CPA license, David joined the Internal Audit department of Arby's Restaurant Group. While at Arby's, he audited controls over financial reporting for a 4 billion dollar-company, in addition to auditing corporate and franchised restaurants.  

In February of 2015, David parted ways with Arby's to help run his father's Ace Hardware enterprise in Austin, Texas, as CFO.  The network of three stores produced $12 million in revenue in 2016 and is poised to open a fourth store in December 2017.  

Back in the southeast with Conversant Group as CFO, David brings extensive experience in accounting, taxes, costing, and pro-growth financial leadership to our team. 

Shayne Champion

Chief Information Security Officer

Shayne was brought onto the Conversant Group team in early 2018 as the new Chief Information Security Officer. With over 20 years of Information Technology (IT) experience, Shayne has built, worked in, lead, and/or managed a
wide variety of IT Security organizations.  These include Director of Information Security & Architecture for Erlanger Health System (the nation's 6th largest public healthcare system), Senior Program Manager for Hydroelectric Cyber Security at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Information System Security Officer (ISSO) for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST).

In all of these opportunities he has worked to reduce IT risk by implementing systems of robust internal control systems both as a practitioner and as an auditor. However, he understands the role of Information Security in support of corporate strategy and has obtained his Master's in Business Administration (MBA) to broaden his business knowledge.  Shayne also holds several professional certifications including his CISSP, CISA, and GSEC.  When combined with his drive for process improvement, demonstrated knowledge, and leadership Shayne is a proven asset to the profession. 

As a professional and community leader, Shayne actively serves as a mentor, trainer, and advocate for the information security profession. He serves on a number of Boards of Directors including the local ISSA chapter, is a mentor for SANS, served multiple years as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (the state-level agency for the National Baldrige Awards), provided training at national conferences, and has published internationally. 


Brandon Williams

Chief Operating Officer 

As Chief Operating Officer, Brandon is centrally responsible for insuring the delivery of all consulting and managed services on-time, in-budget, and to the satisfaction of the customer.

Brandon started his professional career in 2003, after receiving a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems. Upon graduation, Brandon accepted a network administration post at a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer in the Nashville area. 

Shortly after meeting John Anthony Smith in 2006, Brandon signed on with NetAlliant Technologies, LLC, as a Network Engineer with a focus on network infrastructure design and implementation. In this role, Brandon performed an array of storage, networking, remote access, Exchange, and data center projects. 
After starting with NetAlliant, Brandon began delivering industry-leading consultation to companies large and small using Terminal Services, Citrix XenServer, Citrix Provisioning Services, Citrix XenApp (Metaframe/Presentation Server), and other core infrastructure products.

In 2012, Brandon joined Willis, a Nashville-based company, as a Citrix Administrator for the IT Infrastructure Platforms team. In this role, Brandon supported IT infrastructures across the globe — one of which included a global Citrix XenApp farm for approximately 13,000 users virtualized with VMware on Cisco UCS blade servers.

His Citrix support role led to Brandon and John crossing paths once again in early 2015 at a Citrix conference in Orlando, FL. Later that year, Brandon joined Conversant Group. He has led technical services for us ever since. 


Michael Williams

Director of Marketing

Michael joined our team in May of 2016, after graduating with a Bachelor's Degree of Communication from Shorter University with a focus in Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising. Through his studies, Michael assists with the study of the sociodynamics between the end user and the ever changing world of technology.  

Bringing dynamic energy and out-of-the-box approaches to marketing and public relations, Michael is integral part of Conversant Group's client relations and business development. 

Before joining Conversant Group, Michael played lacrosse for Shorter University. He continues to display his passion for leadership and competition as coaching a travel lacrosse team on the weekends.