Lindsay Chambers' Blog

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  • There's a Sizzle To the 'Red-Hot Rally' Membership Event

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 18, 2014
    Guest post by Fred Slater, Chamber vice president of member relations and growth

    You’ll be hearing from us! For two days, Dec. 9 and 10, we're conducting a high-energy, fun and even a bit crazy membership campaign. During this two-day period, more than 100 volunteers will work against the clock and against each other to sign up new Chamber members and create a greater community awareness of the important role of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The event is organized by Jimmy Cusano with Your Chamber Connection, and his entertaining style will keep the campaign lively and exciting. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with Nashville’s business influencers, teams will engage in a competitive showdown to recruit new members.

    “It’s about business,” said Cusano. “The Chamber of Commerce is the business community. When others hear about everything the Chamber does, all of a sudden you have a great deal of enthusiasm for the Chamber and a great deal of support.”

    According to an article in TIME magazine, Nashville is the "South’s Red-Hot Town." This "Red-Hot Rally" will fire up our volunteers to reach out to their contact base with the goal of growing our regional business voice while diversifying our membership. Following this ...
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    Category: General
    Tags: membership
  • Member Spotlight - ONEHOPE Wine

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 17, 2014
    Q: What makes ONEHOPE Wine different from other wine companies?
    A: ONEHOPE Wine donates half its profits to charity! Our award-winning wine, produced with Rob Mondavi, Jr., gives back with every single bottle purchased.

    Q: What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?
    A: Middle Tennesseans are givers! There is a strong sense of philanthropy in this town, and everyone wants to find ways to help one another and give back. ONEHOPE Wine is one easy way to do that.

    Q: What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?
    A: Networking and connections - talking about ONEHOPE Wine and sharing with people about this amazing opportunity to give back through their purchase.

    Q: What's your biggest goal for your company in the next year?
    A: To have ONEHOPE Wine become the wine of choice for everyone when it comes to personal enjoyment, corporate giving, gifting and events. I want to see Middle Tennesseans embrace this simple way to impact our community and the world!

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    Category: General
  • Member Spotlight - Infintech

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 10, 2014
    Ryan Rybolt, president, Infintech

    Q: What is unique about Infintech?
    A: Infintech is unique in our commitment to transparent pricing and superior customer support. The merchant processing industry has been plagued by misleading pricing tactics and absentee support after the sale. From the beginning, our goal has been simple: attract customers and never lose them. The Better Business Bureau recently recognized our 10 years of integrity by awarding us their highest honor – the 2014 Torch Award. We’re very proud of this recognition because it validates our core principles.

    Q: What's your biggest goal for your company in the next year?
    A: As we approach our 10th anniversary, we feel it’s time to complete an audit that will reveal the strengths and opportunities in our business practices. This audit will inform our strategic plan, which we will begin to execute in the new fiscal year. Our findings are giving us confidence to invest in several areas of business, focusing on business-to-business card acceptance and growth in key regions – including Nashville.

    Q: How do you define success?
    A: As a small business owner who makes countless decisions each day, I define success as making more right decisions than wrong and never ...
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    Category: General
  • Protecting Your Data - What's the Big Deal?

    by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 03, 2014
    Guest post by Brig. Gen. Brad Pray, USAF (ret.), Axios, LLC

    What's the big deal about protecting your data? Your data is your lifeblood, and too many businesspeople don't realize that until it's too late. It may be your company's key intellectual property. If it's compromised, it negatively impacts your bottom line. It may be sensitive client or patient data that could lead to embarrassment if publicly released. It could be a key manufacturing or supply-chain process that could give away your market advantage if released.

    In each case, your data was compromised because you didn't have the proper defensive strategy in place to protect your organization's "crown jewels."

    So what can you do?

    Don't expect your IT professionals to have all of the answers. They need help from the key executives in operations, finance, human resources and strategic planning. Your team has to determine together where to concentrate your limited cybersecurity and information surety resources. You cannot protect everything, so determine what is most vital to your organization. In military terms, this is your key cyber-terrain.

    Don't put your head in the sand. Of course, you need strong technical personnel, but you also need strong leadership at the top ...
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    Category: General
  • Member Spotlight - Sprint

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 29, 2014

    Q: What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?
    A: This area has a strong economy and very positive business environment which is attractive to new businesses, and an influx of talent, especially bold entrepreneurs. That is reflected in the broad range of interesting and diverse businesses you see here, most with their own unique niches but growing and trying something new. There is also a real ethic among businesspeople in Middle Tennessee toward doing the right thing for customers and peers. That really fosters strong loyalty among the customers, who appreciate that the businesses are loyal to them in return.

    Q: What's your best piece of advice for business owners?

    A: Keep learning. Have an open mind when you talk to your customers, fellow business owners and peers in the community; anyone can offer you new ideas and inspiration. Innovation is the only way to improve on operating your business more effectively and profitability. When it comes to technology, the greatest gains in revenue will come from how you use your information. The faster you can access information in real time, the greater impact you’re going to have on generating top-line revenue. The more analytics you can ...

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    Category: General
  • Chinese Television Spotlights Nashville's Growth

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 14, 2014
    Nashville Area Chamber President and CEO Ralph Schulz was one of several Nashvillians interviewed this week for a segment to be broadcast on CCTV-America, the American division of the English-language news channel run by China Central Television.

    CCTV is profiling Nashville, along with Chicago, St. Louis and Louisville, in advance of the November elections. In his conversation with Schulz, Sean Calebs, Washington correspondent for CCTV-America, focused on Nashville’s economic vibrancy and remarkable growth relative to similarly sized cities.

    “I think the essential secret is that we’ve got a lot of creative people in Nashville,” Schulz said. “A quarter of the businesses here are entrepreneurial in nature; the music community brings a lot of creative people here, [and] they’re all ‘idea makers;’ that’s part of the reason we’re so hot.”

    The CCTV crew spent several days in Nashville, interviewing a broad cross-section of music industry and business leaders, including local guitar dealer George Gruhn and banjo artist Abigail Washburn. An air date for the story will be announced once the crew returns to Washington and completes final edits.

    Chamber President & CEO Ralph Schulz discusses Nashville's economy with Sean Calebs, Washington correspondent for CCTV-America, the American division of a Chinese English-language ...
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    Category: General
  • Member Spotlight - Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 13, 2014
    Q: What is unique about Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery?
    A: Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery opened in 1994 as a new concept full-service restaurant in Nashville, on the cusp of the emerging craft beer revolution. It was the first craft brewery in Tennessee, and is now the most award-winning. As a Nashville original, it has been family-owned and -operated for nearly 20 years, and we recently expanded into distribution of our beer throughout Tennessee. With more than 300 seats and ample free parking, Blackstone Restaurant is well-suited to large parties and corporate events in an intimate setting. Throw in brewery tours and “beer school,” and it’s one of a kind. Open for lunch, dinner and late night, seven days a week.

    Q: What's the best advice you ever received?
    A: Never go into the restaurant business!

    Q: What motivates you most about running your own business?
    A: Blackstone employs almost 100 full- and part-time employees, and we serve upwards of 4,000 guests a week. This is an awesome responsibility. When our founding business partner, Stephanie Weins, passed away earlier this year, we had a difficult choice to make. Our “silent” financial partner (and younger brother) moved to Nashville to manage the ...
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    Category: General
  • Member Spotlight - RCG

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 06, 2014

    Q: RCG has been in business for a decade. How has your company changed in the past 10 years?
    A: For one, our company has grown significantly since its inception. Our founder and CEO, Melinda Curran, started RCG in 2004 as a solo venture with only one client. Now, we have more than 400 clients and a full-time staff of 15 employees. (And yes, that one original client is still a client today.)

    But aside from the obvious, we’ve also had to adjust to changes in our clients’ needs and in the telecom industry in general over the past decade – technology rarely stays in one place for long. For example, as smartphones and tablets began to emerge into the mainstream, we began to notice that wireless solutions were demanding the same level of services that we had long provided for wireline. Because of that, we acquired NationLink Wireless in 2011 and can now offer custom voice, data and wireless solutions from multiple carriers for any kind of business.

    What’s the biggest goal for your company in the next year?

    A: We want to keep the momentum of this past decade moving forward, so we’re aiming for more growth ...

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    Category: General
  • Nashville Launches Office of New Americans

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 02, 2014

    On Oct. 2, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz participated in the inaugural panel discussion of Mayor Karl Dean’s newly created Office of New Americans. Only 14 cities nationally have created offices to address issues facing immigrants, and Nashville is the first city in the Southeast U.S. to take that step.

    The public panel, moderated by Tennessean columnist Frank Daniels, also included former U.S. Office of Civil Rights Commissioner Francis Guess; Renata Soto, executive director, Conexion Americas; Stephanie Teatro, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition; Mohamed-Shukri Hassan, member of the Mayor’s New Americans Advisory Council; and Shanna Hughey, appointed by Mayor Dean as director of the Office of New Americans.

    Several of the speakers praised the Chamber for its leading role in stopping the English-Only ballot measure during a referendum in 2009. Schulz pointed out that statistically, Nashville’s immigrant population has a higher rate of starting new businesses than the population as a whole. “New residents are creating jobs,” he said. “They’re an important part of our community.”

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  • Celebrating Nashville's 'Red-Hot' Year

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 01, 2014

    Nashville is on a roll, and our momentum is helping us create new jobs, grow our regional economy, and increase our reputation as one of the most dynamic cities in the country.

     From July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, the Nashville region experienced tremendous economic success, with 121 announced relocations and expansions adding 19,525 new jobs, for a total of $2.5 billion in capital investment. In terms of job creation, the 2013-2014 fiscal year was the most successful in the history of our Partnership 2020 economic development initiative.

    In June, Nashville was named one of the best U.S. cities for job growth and one of the strongest economies in the nation. And in March, TIME magazine published a feature article naming Nashville the South’s “red-hot town” that has emerged from the Great Recession to achieve new heights of success.

    At our Annual Meeting on Oct. 1, we had the opportunity to share these successes with more than 500 Chamber members. We also heard from keynote speaker Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of the TIME magazine feature about Nashville. Referring to the past few years as a "golden hour" for Nashville, Meacham said that our regional ...
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    Category: General