What does this look like? Primarily, it looks like our annual conference called The Gathering. Here we bring committed Christian givers together in a setting that allows for learning, worship, new ideas and fellowship. Above all, it is a safe place to meet with others. From the moment you walk in you know you are in the right place for conversations that matter. We do not solicit funds for particular ministries and we do not steer each other in any direction. We don’t pressure people to give or knowingly convict people to give more. People coming to The Gathering make their own decisions. We’re a community of givers who partner with God in what he is doing in the world at this time in our lives.

The Gathering Staff

Fred SmithFred Smith is a graduate of Denver University and Harvard Divinity School. He spent several years as teacher and administrator at Charlotte Christian School and The Stony Brook School before joining Leadership Network, where he served as President for 12 years. Fred is the President of The Gathering, an international association of individuals, families and foundations giving to Christian ministries. As well, Fred is the Chairman of The Fourth Partner, a non-profit organization focused on Christian philanthropy and community development within the East Texas area. Fred and his wife, Carol, reside in Tyler, Texas and have two grown daughters. one son-in-law and two grandsons.


meleaMelea Edwards is a graduate of East Texas State University (now Texas A & M University - Commerce) and spent 10 years in the Human Resource Department at Buford Television, Inc. From there, she joined Leadership Network and spent 7 years as a conference and meeting planner. She is the Conference Director for The Gathering and other regional events. Melea and her husband, Don, have two grown daughters and one son-in-law and reside in Tyler, Texas.


terry terryTerry Terry is the Business Manager for The Gathering and Fourth Partner and takes care of all of the financial, human resource, purchasing, technology, legal and risk management issues for the two organizations. Throughout her career, Terry has spent more than a decade working with The Gathering and Fourth Partner. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of North Texas. She and her husband, Scott, have four daughters and one son-in-law.


Leigh VickeryLeigh helps with the content, strategy and communications for The Gathering. She has worked with Fred Smith on a freelance basis for 20 years, and joined the staff fulltime in 2012. Leigh is a graduate of Baylor University and also attended Rice University.

She is also the founder and president of Leigh Oliver’s, an all-natural food company with products in Whole Foods Markets, Costco and locally in FRESH by Brookshire’s. Leigh lives in Tyler with her two teenage sons, Will and Smith.








CharlotteCharlotte is a Longview native but has lived in Tyler since attending Tyler Junior College in the early 70s. She has been working side-by-side with Fred Smith for 13 years and keeps the office running smoothly, including making sure everyone has their favorite dessert on their birthday. 

Charlotte handles The Gathering’s scheduling, event coordination and all of the other daily challenges of managing a fast-paced office. She and her husband, Mike, live in Tyler, and enjoy traveling, cooking and NASCAR.