Guest post by John Aron, president, the Pasta Shoppe
For the next two weeks, all eyes will be on London as the historic city plays host to the 2012 Olympic Games.
The Olympics are really so much more than the incredible variety of sports and the amazing athletes who have literally dedicated their lives to earn the chance to compete in these Games. The Olympics are a rallying point for hope, for betterment of our world, for blending diversity and humanity in ways that bring connectedness and appreciation for our human condition. As my family and I watched the opening ceremony, one common comment was the surprise at how many new countries there seem to be, and how all these different faces seemed so filled with joy. As we have experienced the powerful history of the U.K. through the athletic events and feature stories, London's character and uniqueness as a truly global city have been shown time and time again.
From afar, I think most of us can agree that London is playing a leading role as a global city -- with its financial centers, breadth of corporate headquarters, depth of cultural offerings and so on. When I think about Nashville’s opportunity as a “well-managed role player” in the global marketplace, I think we have multiple reasons to be optimistic and focused.
First things first, tomorrow’s good news is always born out of leadership today. Our local business and political leaders have been deeply engaged in the dynamic changes in our economy for the past 25 years or more. These leaders have also traveled to strong national and international cities in search of best practices that improve the lives of Nashvillians.
Secondly, we have cultivated our region's many assets wisely. We blend strong infrastructure with offerings in arts and entertainment, academia and other quality-of-life indicators in ways that are very appealing to visitors.
Thirdly, our warm and friendly people, and our lower costs of living and doing business, are deal-closers for visitors looking for a Southeastern location with competitive advantages.
Over the last few years, the Nashville Chamber’s International Business Council (IBC) has been gathering a strong network of international businesspeople and working on targeted strategies to help connect our local economy to international opportunities. While the end game is job growth in our region, the work is in focusing our efforts on the business and community-building that attracts foreign direct investment. In this effort, sometimes it feels like we’re going through grueling training just trying to get our messaging right, and sometimes it feels like we made it to the medal stand as we successfully land another foreign job-producing company in Nashville.
Our IBC team is loaded with experience and insights, and we encourage you to join us at our next IBC Breakfast
on Tuesday, August 21. At this panel discussion, local experts will discuss how the worldwide rise of the middle class is creating business opportunities in emerging markets.
In Middle Tennessee, it’s great to be able to see a city like London and imagine the possibilities, but it’s even better to take our inspiration from these committed athletes. IBC members are inspired to tell the Nashville story, to offer our international business experience to visitors with questions, and to hustle our way into more jobs that help take Nashville to the next level as a global city.
John Aron serves on the Chamber's International Business Council board and has been a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce member since 1994.