Alex Hughes' Blog

RSS feed

  • Attracting and Retaining Middle Tennessee's Top Talent

    by Alex Hughes | Oct 20, 2014
    Projections indicate that, by 2021, Middle Tennessee will lack as many as 35,000 workers to fill the jobs that are coming to our region. We know the majority of jobs in the coming decades will require a college degree or professional certification. One of our top priorities is to proactively address this by increasing the number of Middle Tennesseans with the skills, training and education they need to take advantage of our region's job growth. Through the work of our Vital Signs Action Team, the Middle Tennessee Workforce Alliance and our overall talent attraction and retention strategies, we are filling skills gaps, tackling the future workforce shortage and helping maintain our regional economic competitiveness.

    According to a recent USA TODAY analysis, IT workers such as computer engineers and software developers are expected to be among our nation's most lucrative and in-demand professions in the next three years. This is great news for anyone currently majoring in computer science, but it also builds a strong case to encourage those who may be considering additional training to pursue a career change. In the Nashville region, our economic growth in the past several years has been spurred, in part, by our vibrant tech ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • YP Nashville Helps Hundreds of Young Professionals Find Their Fit

    by Alex Hughes | Oct 17, 2014
    Guest post by Amanda Wyler Mazzo, Mazzo Media, Chamber member since 2014 and 2014-2015 YP Nashville chair

    I look forward to fall every year. Not only for the cooler weather, fun holidays and pumpkin spice, but also because of the Chamber's YP Nashville Connect – one of my favorite events! Where else can you meet people, discover opportunities to get involved, and take home some neat swag all in one night?

    Rocketown was filled with old friends and new faces on October 16! In case you weren't there, here's some of what you missed:
    • Delicious bites from Blue Coast Burrito, Chick-fil-A, Grillit, Doorstep Delivery and 312 Pizza Company and refreshing beverages from Jamba Juice, Kickin' Coffee & Tea, Blackstone Brewery and One Hope Wine
    • Slap-koozies from the Iroquois Steeplechase Alliance
    • A chance to win a new bike from Regions Bank
    • Playing a theremin at the Adventure Science Center Young Professionals booth
    • Creating “street art” at the 12th & Broad booth
    • An invitation to Nashville Junior Chamber's after-party at Czann's Brewing Co.
    • Unique networking opportunities with fellow young professionals and community organizations

    Because this was the fourth event of its kind, the best part was to see how much YP Connect ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • Who's Defining Nashville's Future?

    by Rebecca Leslie | Jul 22, 2014
    Guest post by Alex Hughes, manager of talent retention, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Young professionals are a critical component of our workforce, and also contribute greatly to our region's reputation as one of the best places in the country to live and work.

    Next Thursday, we will celebrate the accomplishments of 75 of Nashville's most outstanding young professionals at the eighth annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs).

    The NELAs began in 2006 and have since become one of the Chamber's signature annual programs, having recognized nearly 600 young professionals as finalists and award recipients in 15 industry categories. Our volunteer judging panels evaluate each applicant based on professional achievement, demonstrated leadership and community impact. This year's finalists were selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants. They range in age from 22 to 40, and they represent 10 counties in the Nashville MSA. They have not only achieved a high level of career success in 15 diverse industries, but they have also been active in volunteer roles throughout our region, supporting and leading more than 250 Middle Tennessee nonprofits.

    Each year during the NELAs, we also present the Impact Award, recognizing an individual who has mentored local young ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • Announcing Our 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Awards Finalists

    by Rebecca Leslie | Jun 09, 2014
    Guest post by Alex Hughes, manager of talent retention, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Today, we were pleased to announce the finalists for our eighth annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs). We created the NELAs to celebrate the accomplishments of young professionals in Middle Tennessee, who are not only a pillar of our workforce, but who also contribute a significant amount of time to our community through their volunteer efforts.

    Please join us in congratulating the 2014 NELAs finalists!

    We invite you to attend the Meet the NELAs Finalists networking event on Thursday, June 25. The winners of this prestigious award will be announced in a ceremony on Thursday, July 31.

    Architecture, Engineering and Construction
    Alan Hayes, Thomas, Miller & Partners, PLLC
    Brent Hughes, Gresham, Smith & Partners
    Will Radford, Lend Lease
    Kristi Schnell, Gresham, Smith & Partners
    Philip Shepard, Rochford Realty & Construction Company

    Arts, Entertainment and Music Business
    Mandy Gallagher, City National Bank
    Trina Lloyd-Weidner, Broadcast Music, Inc.
    Meagan Rhodes, 12th & Broad
    Jon Romero, Vector Management
    Jeff Syracuse, Broadcast Music, Inc.

    Business Services
    Christi Beth Adams, Fleet Feet Sports Nashville
    Nick Kiefer, Touchstone Merchandise Group, LLC
    Klay Lesko, Averitt Express
    Kevin Mahoney, Tennessee Department of Environment & ...

    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • Is the HR Excellence Award Program Right For Your Company?

    by Rebecca Leslie | Feb 24, 2014
    Developed in 2001 by the Nashville Area Chamber and the Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management, the HR Excellence Awards program recognizes Nashville-area organizations with outstanding human resources.

    In a new feature added this year, you and your team can watch the online award application information session video for tips on completing a successful HR Excellence application. After watching this 12-minute video, download the application, instructions and scoring guidelines at and get started. Applications are due by May 1.

    The HR Excellence Awards program gives participants the opportunity to assess the progress of their HR programs and identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Advice, inspiration and tools that will empower you to overcome even the toughest employment, retention, compensation and workplace quality challenges are just a few of the benefits of participating.

    If you want to leverage the power of your workforce to help you reach your business goals, the HR Excellence program is for you.

    2014 HR Excellence Timeline
    Application deadline: Thursday, May 1
    Awards luncheon: Wednesday, Aug. 20
    Best Practices Workshop: Wednesday, Oct. 15

    Go comment!
    Category: General
  • Nashville Area College to Career Fair Helps Retain College Graduates

    by Rebecca Leslie | Feb 18, 2014
    With an overall job growth of 6.5 percent from late 2007 to late 2013, Nashville was recently named a region to watch for 2014. It’s no surprise that local college graduates want to find jobs and stay in our region; in fact, we retain 60 percent of our college graduates.

    On Feb. 11, the Chamber's talent development team partnered with 13 institutions of higher education located within 100 miles of Nashville to hold the Nashville Area College to Career Fair. This career fair has a proven record of success, with a 20-year history in providing well-qualified candidates for the hiring needs of Nashville-area employers.

    This year's fair was sold out, with 161 local employers participating. More than 1,100 candidates attended the fair, including alumni, bachelor's and master's degree candidates from each participating school, making this one of the largest fairs in the region. Candidates had backgrounds ranging from liberal arts and education to nursing, engineering, business administration, technology, aeronautics and organizational development.

    Middle Tennessee's economy and quality of life are among the strongest in the country, and the Chamber's workforce and talent development initiatives are building on that momentum. Our focus on both attracting and retaining talented workers is an ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • Celebrating One Year of WorkIT Nashville

    by Rebecca Leslie | Feb 07, 2014
    WorkIT Nashville just celebrated our first birthday, and we couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish in just one year!

    With help from our WorkIT Advocates, sponsors and friends, we’ve been able to expand our community engagement, national and international reach and website participation.

    Here are a few things we’ve accomplished this past year:
    • The campaign reached more than 116 impressions worldwide, spanning 3,649 cities and 139 countries.
    • 214 businesses posted jobs from a variety of industries.
    • Nearly 2,000 candidates from 42 states and 45 countries have registered.
    • 61 percent of candidates have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and 34 percent have more than five years' experience in their respective field.
    • More than 182,000 job searches were conducted.
    • More than 5.9 million impressions were earned through Google and Facebook advertising.
    Again, thank you to all of our WorkIT Advocates, sponsors and supporters who helped us find so much success in year one! We can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.

    Go comment!
  • Wanted: Outstanding Young Professionals

    by Rebecca Leslie | Jan 02, 2014
    Guest post by Alex Hughes, manager of talent retention, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Middle Tennessee is enjoying a time of unprecedented growth. Our economic prosperity and job-creation rate are attracting national notice, and we are welcoming an influx of new residents to our community.

    At the Chamber, attracting and retaining a strong workforce is one of our strategic focus areas, and young professionals (YPs) are a major component of that. YPs are essential to maintaining a vibrant economy, and they are also some of Middle Tennessee's most dedicated community volunteers.

    Eight years ago, our YP Nashville initiative launched the Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs) to celebrate outstanding young leaders for their contributions to the growth of our workforce and our region. In its history, the NELAs program has recognized nearly 600 young professionals as finalists and award recipients in 15 industry categories.

    Through Feb. 18, we are accepting applications for the 2014 NELAs. If you are under 40, work in Middle Tennessee, and have made significant accomplishments in your professional and volunteer work, download your application today! We also encourage you to nominate your colleagues and friends for the award.

    Middle Tennessee's young professionals are shaping the future of ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Workforce
  • Celebrating Our Region's Next Generation of Leaders

    by Rebecca Leslie | Aug 02, 2013
    Last night, the Chamber was excited to host the seventh annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards (NELAs) at Lipscomb University.

    The NELAs were developed in 2007 as the centerpiece of the Chamber's overall young professionals initiative. This event celebrates professionals under the age of 40 who excel in leadership, community impact, personal achievements and contribution to the Middle Tennessee economy. This awards program has grown substantially each year, and the NELAs is considered one of the Chamber's signature events.

    The awards process began in January with a call for nominations and applications. We received more than 400 nominations from area business leaders, friends, family and colleagues throughout the Nashville region. Sixty-seven Chamber members volunteered as judges to assist in identifying the 75 NELAs finalists across 15 industry classifications, who were announced in June.

    The winners of this year’s NELAs have distinguished themselves through community service and professional success, and are on the path to becoming leaders in their respective industries. Please join us in congratulating this year’s outstanding group of leaders!

    The 2013 NELAs winners are:
    • Monica Sartain, Patriot Engineering & Environmental, Inc. – Architecture, Engineering and Construction
    • Christopher Mohnani, Dance Theatre of Tennessee – Arts, Entertainment and Music Business
    • Jessica ...
    Go comment!
    Category: General
  • WorkIT Nashville Helps Middle Tennessee Attract Tech Talent

    by Rebecca Leslie | Jul 09, 2013
    Like many other communities around the country, Nashville has seen an increase in the need for IT professionals. In response, the Chamber launched WorkIT Nashville, a collaborative marketing campaign to recruit information technology workers to Middle Tennessee, earlier this year.

    The campaign centers on, which serves as a central platform for all IT job openings in the Nashville area, combined with a place for job applicants to post their resumes for consideration. The site is also a valuable resource for job seekers and their families interested in learning more about life in Middle Tennessee, including the technology industry and information related to cost of living, neighborhoods, local amenities and culture.

    The campaign has gained great traction since its launch on Feb. 5. A few quick statistics:
    • The website has received 12,548 unique visits since it launched.
    • The website has attracted visitors from 1,887 different cities and 88 different countries.
    • Nearly 1,160 candidates from 36 states and 101 countries have created profiles.
    • More than 150 companies have created profiles on the website.
    • The site has had as many as 1,180 jobs posted at one time.
    • The WorkIT campaign has 794 Twitter followers and 649 Facebook fans.
    Our efforts are also paying ...
    Go comment!