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  • SuccessPAC Endorses Candidates for the Metropolitan Board of Public Education

    by Marc Hill | Jul 21, 2014
    SuccessPAC, the political action committee created by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for school board elections, has announced its support for four Metro school board candidates in the Aug. 7 election.

    As previously discussed on this blog, this year's school board elections are a pivotal moment for the future of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Because Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register's contract expires June 30, 2015, chances are good that the school board convening after this August’s election will be responsible for selecting Dr. Register's replacement.

    Due to its status as a nonprofit membership organization, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce does not endorse candidates for political office. As a political action committee, SuccessPAC helps identify highly qualified candidates for the Metropolitan Board of Public Education. To determine its endorsements for this year, the SuccessPAC board conducted its most extensive vetting process to date. Board members interviewed all candidates who qualified for the ballot across the four districts up for election. In addition, all candidates completed a SuccessPAC questionnaire.

    The committee announced its endorsements following the four candidate forums sponsored by the Chamber, the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

    SuccessPAC-endorsed candidates are:
    District ...
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    Category: Education
  • 2014 Legislative Scorecard Details Chamber's Advocacy Efforts

    by Adam Lister | Jul 10, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber is proud to release our third annual Legislative Scorecard, which reports how elected officials in the Nashville region supported the needs and priorities of the business community. A printed copy of the scorecard will be mailed to each member company this week.

    Throughout the year, our policy team works closely with elected officials and other leaders to advocate for an environment where businesses can thrive and the region can prosper. Each year, the Chamber develops a state and local legislative agenda based on feedback from our members in our annual policy survey.

    The 2014 Legislative Scorecard details the Chamber’s advocacy efforts to advance four specific community priorities:
    1. An environment where business can prosper;
    2. Talent development of the region’s workforce;
    3. Quality of life that attracts and retains residents and workers;
    4. Regional efforts to ensure economic prosperity.

    The 2014 legislative session was another good one for business in Tennessee. This year, the legislature took action supporting 83 percent of the Chamber’s agenda items. Key priorities in the second year of the 108th General Assembly included preserving the continued implementation of Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards, more equitable employer experience ratings for unemployment taxes, automatically closing failing charter schools, ...
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    Category: Policy
  • Guiding Growth in Nashville's Communities

    by Rita McDonald | Jul 03, 2014
    Nashville's future prosperity depends on deliberate, smart planning that will set the stage for our city to remain economically competitive. That's why the Nashville Chamber is a member of the NashvilleNext steering committee, a group leading a strategic planning process that will guide our city's growth through 2040.

    The NashvilleNext process continues this month with a public conversation about culture and "placemaking" – how the built environment can better support the unique cultures of Nashville's many diverse communities.

    The next meeting will be held Thursday, July 10, 6-7:30 p.m., at Metro Schools' Martin Professional Development Center, 2400 Fairfax Ave. Craige Hoover, director of the Southeast region for LiveWorkLearnPlay, will be the featured speaker.

    As city planners frame policies that will guide our growth for the next 25 years, it's essential for them to gather feedback throughout our community, including local business leaders. We hope you can make time to participate in one of these constructive conversations.

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    Category: General
  • Evaluating the Business Impact of New Legislation

    by Adam Lister | Jul 01, 2014

    Today is July 1, and as most businesses prepare to begin a new fiscal year and think about the year’s revenue goals, they must also consider how some of the hundreds of new laws passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this year will affect their operations. Today, while also the first day of the 2014-2015 fiscal year, is New Law Day, the day when many of the new laws passed by the legislature take effect. It’s difficult to find changes in the law that do not impact business in some way; as an advocate for Middle Tennessee businesses, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce routinely tracks legislation and analyzes its impact on the region’s job creators.

    This year, the Chamber played a direct role in the passage of legislation important to the business community. One bill initiated by the Chamber, as a result of a member company’s unexpectedly high unemployment tax bill, authorizes the Department of Labor to calculate an unemployment tax rate for businesses new to Tennessee that takes into account their employment history in other states. Prior to this bill, sponsored by Rep. William Lamberth and Sen. Bill Ketron, businesses that relocated and were new to Tennessee were ...

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    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Join Nashville’s Housing Discussion

    by Rita McDonald | Jun 27, 2014

    The NashvilleNext process to create a plan for the future of our city continues with a community conversation about housing – how to shift from gentrification and displacement to revitalization and inclusion. The next meeting will be held Monday, June 30, 6-7:30 p.m., at Metro Schools' Martin Professional Development Center, 2400 Fairfax Ave. Dr. James Fraser, professor of urban housing at Vanderbilt, is one of the speakers scheduled for Monday's meeting.

    The Nashville Chamber is a member of the NashvilleNext steering committee in the role of connecting business to this important community process. We encourage our members and other business leaders to participate in these community conversations – the business perspective is essential as planners frame policies that will guide our growth for the next 25 years. For more background about the housing challenges and opportunities facing our future decisions, visit the NashvilleNext website for the background paper on housing.

    Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the importance of the conversation:

    • Middle Tennessee's population is expected to grow by 1.3 million residents in the next three decades, an increase of 76 percent. Nashville’s share of this growth is projected to be approximately 186,600 people.
    • 21,316 residential building permits were ...
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    Category: General
  • Corker Calls For Gas Tax Increase

    by Adam Lister | Jun 26, 2014
    Last week, Sens. Bob Corker (TN) and Chris Murphy (CT) proposed increasing the federal gasoline and diesel taxes by $0.12 over two years, indexing future tax rates to inflation using the Consumer Price Index, and, at a minimum, reducing other taxes on American families by an amount equal to that raised from the gas tax over the next 10 years.

    This summer, the Federal Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent, threatening current and pending transportation projects, endangering more than 660,000 jobs per year, and creating a $160 billion deficit in state transportation budgets over the next decade. Middle Tennessee projects that are likely to be affected are bridge replacements along I-40 in Davidson County and the Mack Hatcher Bypass extension in Williamson County. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce thanks Sen. Corker for his leadership and commitment to preserve the country’s transportation network, which is vital to all aspects of our economy.

    The Federal Highway Trust Fund must continue to provide the necessary resources to maintain the nation’s transportation infrastructure and assist new or expanded mass transit projects in growing regions. While immediate action is necessary to ensure the solvency of the fund in 2014, Congress must adopt a sustainable, ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Forums Provide Opportunity to Hear From Candidates Before Key Election

    by Whitney Weeks | Jun 25, 2014

    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA) and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee recently hosted four school board candidate forums. More than 350 people attended the events – held at neighborhood middle schools – in order to hear 10 candidates share their visions for public education in Nashville.

    Videos of the forums are embedded below and available on the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube page.

    For context, nine people comprise the Metropolitan Board of Public Education – commonly referred to as the school board – with each individual elected to office by his or her specific district. On Thursday, August 7, elections will be held for the even numbered districts – Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8. Serving four-year terms, school board members are responsible for setting “goals as it relates to end results for students, engage in board development, and hold the director of schools accountable for meeting its goals,” according to the board’s website. With an annual operating budget of nearly $800 million and an estimated fall enrollment of nearly 85,000 students, Metro Nashville Public Schools deserve – and require – board members of the highest quality.

    As a resident of ...

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    Category: Education
  • Williamson County Leaders Discuss Strategies to Build Upon County’s Postsecondary Attainment Success

    by Laura Moore | Jun 13, 2014
    To improve postsecondary attainment rates in the Nashville region, we need to focus on creating multiple pathways for students and adults to continue their education or re-enroll after time out of the classroom. Mentors can be invaluable in helping students navigate the application process, as well as helping them persist toward completing a degree. Businesses can play a key role in finding – and providing incentives for – adults to continue their postsecondary education. These were just three of the ideas that surfaced during a meeting this week hosted by Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Franklin City Mayor Ken Moore focused on improving the region’s postsecondary attainment rates, with a specific focus on existing and future efforts in Williamson County.

    The meeting was a follow-up to the 2013 Nashville Region’s Vital Signs report, which tracks key issues that impact the region’s economic well-being. One of the key findings from the 2013 report is the need to increase the number of adults with postsecondary degrees across Middle Tennessee. Leaders from higher education, Williamson County Schools, the Williamson Chamber, Franklin Tomorrow, the Boys and Girls Club, as well as elected officials from Brentwood and Thompson’s Station, participated in the discussion. The ...

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    Category: Policy
  • Ready For Our School Board to Decide

    by Marc Hill | Jun 03, 2014
    Our nine-member Metropolitan Board of Education has a tough job. They are elected by district and have an obligation to represent their constituents. At the same time, under Tennessee law, their role is modeled after corporate governance. They don’t legislate or run the organization. Instead, Tennessee school boards set policy and strategy for the school system. They have only one employee, the director of schools, who is accountable to the board for achieving the organization’s goals. And they can only act as a board, through majority vote. Once the board has acted, its members have a responsibility to respect and honor that decision.

    A board that has a unified vision and speaks with one voice exudes strength and confidence. A board lacking that discipline can appear to be heading off in nine different directions. Increasingly, members of the business community are wondering which kind of board our current Metro school board wants to be. For the past several months, public statements between meetings by individual members of the school board, on a variety of topics, have started leaving an impression of confusion, if not dysfunction. And as the public opinion polling in the Chamber’s Education Report Card demonstrates each year, ...
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    Category: Education
  • Who’s Running For School Board This August?

    by Marc Hill | May 30, 2014
    Improving public education remains a top priority for Nashvillians, whether you’re a member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce or the mayor of our city. According to public opinion poll results released in the Chamber’s annual Education Report Card last year, 27 percent of Nashville residents listed education as the most important issue or problem facing our city, 11 percentage points higher than crime, which was second.

    On August 7, Nashvillians will elect four members of the nine-member Metropolitan Board of Education. Why is the school board important? As just about any seasoned executive will tell you, the effectiveness of any organization starts at the top. A board with a unified vision of where they are heading—and the self-discipline to stay that course—engenders confidence and a firm sense of direction throughout an organization. A board that is dysfunctional sends the message that there is no clear direction.

    The most important decision the school board makes is to select a director of schools to lead the school system’s more than 10,000 employees. And with current director Dr. Jesse Register’s contract set to expire on June 30, 2015, there’s a good chance the new board convening after this August’s election will ...
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    Category: Education
  • Entrepreneurial Spotlight: Clint Smith

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jul 24, 2014
    With the application deadline approaching for the 2014 NEXT Awards, we asked Clint Smith, co-founder and CEO of Emma, to provide a glimpse into his company’s growth trajectory and share his insights on the importance of Nashville’s entrepreneurial environment. Clint won the NEXT Digital Media & Entertainment Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011.

    Q: How has Emma grown since you started the company?
    A: When we started, there were just two of us working out of someone else's office in a pair of cubicles for which we'd bartered website design work. By the end of this year, we will likely have around 150 people on staff. So in sheer people terms, it's a much different place than it was years ago, and the team today is able to do so much more than we could as a small startup. And nowadays it seems like each person who joins Emma is even more impressive than the last one (just don't tell the last one!), so to think that we're growing in talent as we're growing in size is very exciting.

    Q: What has surprised you the most about starting and running your own company?
    A: Just how often things basically boil down to a seating chart. We joke about that, but it's true - so much of our ability to move forward comes down to having the right people in the right seats, and then making sure the seats are (figuratively, if not sometimes literally) arranged in a way that leads to good chemistry and collaboration. I'm also surprised by how many people prefer using a chair in the shape of a bouncy ball. I feel like somewhere, the bouncy-ball seat maker is laughing at all of us.

    Q: Why did you choose Nashville for your business?
    A: It's a little bit like the question from Fletch in which Gail Stanwyk asks Fletch why he had his lunch delivered to her cabana and he says, "Because I knew that's where my mouth would be." We were Vanderbilt and Sewanee grads, and our mouths (and bodies and families) were already in Nashville, so this is just where we happened to be. Luckily, it turned out to be a great place to raise a family and a business and has only gotten better since.

    Q: Why is a strong entrepreneurial climate important for Nashville’s economic growth?
    A: A city, like a company, is as good (or only as good) as the people who comprise it. And smart, creative, interesting, ambitious people want to be in a place that encourages those qualities and supports them in doing meaningful things. Those people, scattered among the already highly successful companies in Nashville, streaming in from other places, and starting businesses that will help spur the next wave of innovation and success for the city, are exactly why Nashville is getting the attention it is these days.

    Q: What advice do you have for emerging entrepreneurs?
    A: Be crystal-clear in your goals as early as possible, personally and as a company. Looking back, we probably stumbled into things a little more than we should have, and while too much thinking and planning early isn't always a good thing, knowing exactly where you want to go over time makes everything else - whom to hire or partner with, where to focus your efforts and resources, how to measure success along the way - a lot easier. That, and don't buy a chair in the shape of a bouncy ball. Those are silly.

    Q: You won NEXT Digital Media & Entertainment Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. What does this award mean to you?
    A: We're all so heads-down in the entrepreneurial world - always focused on building and improving and growing and the future and what's coming around the bend - that we don't often take time to pause and reflect. I think awards like this allow us to do that - to just take a minute (or an evening, in this case) to remember how good we've got it when we get to do meaningful work with awesome people - and to be inspired to go out and do even better. The NEXT award was definitely one of those moments.

    The deadline to apply for a 2014 NEXT Award is Friday, August 15. Visit nextawardsnashville.com to learn more about the awards and submit your application.

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  • SuccessPAC Endorses Candidates for the Metropolitan Board of Public Education

    by Marc Hill | Jul 21, 2014
    SuccessPAC, the political action committee created by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for school board elections, has announced its support for four Metro school board candidates in the Aug. 7 election.

    As previously discussed on this blog, this year's school board elections are a pivotal moment for the future of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Because Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register's contract expires June 30, 2015, chances are good that the school board convening after this August’s election will be responsible for selecting Dr. Register's replacement.

    Due to its status as a nonprofit membership organization, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce does not endorse candidates for political office. As a political action committee, SuccessPAC helps identify highly qualified candidates for the Metropolitan Board of Public Education. To determine its endorsements for this year, the SuccessPAC board conducted its most extensive vetting process to date. Board members interviewed all candidates who qualified for the ballot across the four districts up for election. In addition, all candidates completed a SuccessPAC questionnaire.

    The committee announced its endorsements following the four candidate forums sponsored by the Chamber, the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

    SuccessPAC-endorsed candidates are:
    District 2: Jo Ann Brannon
    District 4: Anna Shepherd
    District 6: Cheryl Mayes
    District 8: Mary Pierce


    These endorsed candidates share certain key characteristics of an ideal candidate, including:
    • A strong commitment to public education and the highest standards of achievement for all students;
    • The ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups, including other board members, teachers, community organizations and elected officials, and a respect for differing points of view;
    • A desire to empower the director of schools to implement board policies and achieve academic results;
    • An understanding of the need for effective financial management of the school system;
    • A push for accountability at all levels of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools; and
    • An understanding of the policymaking role of the school board.
    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all the candidates for their willingness to offer themselves up for public service. With early voting taking place through Aug. 2, we encourage you to research the candidates on the ballot and cast your vote for the ones who best represent the needs of our community. To find early voting times and locations, click here.

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  • Maximize the Effectiveness of Strategic Planning and Meetings

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 27, 2014
    Guest post by Janet McDonald, vice president, c3/consulting

    Today, two things take up an enormous amount of time in business – meetings and strategic planning. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to wave a magic wand and transform both into things that drive your business forward and increase your competitive advantage?

    On the strategic planning front, we are all feeling the effects of rapid technological advancement and change. We used to conduct strategic planning with five- to 10-year horizons. Today, we are forced to think in a 12- to 18-month horizon. As a result, strategic thinking needs to be better than ever. If you’re going through strategic planning in order to check a box, don’t waste your time – instead, focus your energy on operational effectiveness. However, if you want to get the most out of your strategic planning sessions, understanding the critical questions and taking the time to debate them before setting strategy is essential. The Chamber’s professional development workshop, Strategy Boot Camp: From Vision to Execution, will equip you with tools and techniques that will help translate strategic planning into a competitive advantage.

    Did you know the average American spends four hours a day in meetings, yet one of the most common workplace complaints is that nothing gets accomplished in meetings? Action comes from commitment, and commitment comes from a true understanding and appreciation of the what, why and how. The Seven Separators of Facilitation Excellence will teach you how to become effective at leading meetings, increase productivity, and gain the team buy-in and consensus necessary to drive action.

    Register yourself or your team for these professional development workshops today at nashvillechamber.com/calendar. All registrants for the July workshops will receive a 10 percent discount, as well as a chance to win a $100 Southwest Airlines LUV Voucher. Don’t miss the opportunity to maximize your employee effectiveness and ensure you and your team are partners in your company’s growth and success!
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  • Entrepreneurs Rate Nashville among Friendliest Cities for Small Business

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 24, 2014
    Nashville is one of the top 10 cities in the country for small business, according to a new study released by Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 

    The results were published after a two-month survey of more than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide. The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states and cities towards small business, such as: "In general, how would you rate your state's support of small business owners?" Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics. Tennessee also received an "A" rating in the survey.

    Though Nashville's business climate regularly receives national rankings, this study is particularly impressive because its results were derived directly from business owners themselves. Nashville's higher-than-average percentage of entrepreneurial businesses is due, in part, to factors such as our low tax rates, ease of hiring, overall business regulations and economic strength. Click here for an interactive map showing Tennessee’s small business friendliness.

     

     

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  • 2014 NEXT Awards Applications Now Open

    by Stephanie Coleman | Jun 15, 2014
    NEXT-AwardsNashville is a hotbed for innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives. At the 2014 NEXT Awards, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center will recognize what's NEXT in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

    Applications are now open to all individuals and companies who exemplify the innovative spirit that drives our local economy and continues to grow our key industries.

    Companies in the startup, growth and market mover stages will be awarded across five industry categories: digital media/entertainment; health care; social enterprise/sustainability; technology; and products/services. We will also celebrate Nashville’s standout entrepreneurs and young entrepreneurs.

    Applications open Monday, June 16, and the deadline to apply is Friday, August 15. Visit nextawardsnashville.com to learn more about the awards and submit your application.
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  • Ready For Our School Board to Decide

    by Marc Hill | Jun 03, 2014
    Our nine-member Metropolitan Board of Education has a tough job. They are elected by district and have an obligation to represent their constituents. At the same time, under Tennessee law, their role is modeled after corporate governance. They don’t legislate or run the organization. Instead, Tennessee school boards set policy and strategy for the school system. They have only one employee, the director of schools, who is accountable to the board for achieving the organization’s goals. And they can only act as a board, through majority vote. Once the board has acted, its members have a responsibility to respect and honor that decision.

    A board that has a unified vision and speaks with one voice exudes strength and confidence. A board lacking that discipline can appear to be heading off in nine different directions. Increasingly, members of the business community are wondering which kind of board our current Metro school board wants to be. For the past several months, public statements between meetings by individual members of the school board, on a variety of topics, have started leaving an impression of confusion, if not dysfunction. And as the public opinion polling in the Chamber’s Education Report Card demonstrates each year, Metro Schools doesn’t need an additional public relations challenge.

    The board’s latest public disagreement, reported in the Tennessean yesterday, is over whether members of the board should follow its own rules. Those “rules” are embodied in a process called policy governance, which the Metro school board first adopted in 2002. Policy governance was put in place because there had been board members who routinely sought to meddle in personnel issues and made time-consuming requests of staff throughout the organization. Implemented with fidelity, the policy governance structure clearly defines the working relationship between the board and the director of schools, allowing the board to focus on their strategic, policy-setting role. On the Policy Governance homepage, creator Dr. John Carver describes the “necessity to ‘speak with one voice.’ Dissent is expressed during the discussion preceding a vote. Once taken, the board's decisions may subsequently be changed, but are never to be undermined.”

    It’s the board chair’s responsibility to monitor the board’s fidelity to the policy governance model and address violations. According to news reports, this evening at 5 p.m., the Metro school board’s governance committee will discuss the board’s policy intended to prevent public criticism of the director of schools by individual board members outside of the evaluation process. The best director of schools candidates across the country will surely be following the board’s discussion closely through the news media -- if not today, certainly in the future through a Google search whenever that process is underway. Dismantling policy governance would be an enormous step backward. It would all but ensure a divided, directionless board, precisely at the time its leadership is needed the most.

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  • Who’s Running For School Board This August?

    by Marc Hill | May 30, 2014
    Improving public education remains a top priority for Nashvillians, whether you’re a member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce or the mayor of our city. According to public opinion poll results released in the Chamber’s annual Education Report Card last year, 27 percent of Nashville residents listed education as the most important issue or problem facing our city, 11 percentage points higher than crime, which was second.

    On August 7, Nashvillians will elect four members of the nine-member Metropolitan Board of Education. Why is the school board important? As just about any seasoned executive will tell you, the effectiveness of any organization starts at the top. A board with a unified vision of where they are heading—and the self-discipline to stay that course—engenders confidence and a firm sense of direction throughout an organization. A board that is dysfunctional sends the message that there is no clear direction.

    The most important decision the school board makes is to select a director of schools to lead the school system’s more than 10,000 employees. And with current director Dr. Jesse Register’s contract set to expire on June 30, 2015, there’s a good chance the new board convening after this August’s election will be the ones making that decision.

    Despite this election’s importance to the future of our city, only about 5,000 voters will decide each race. In the five school board elections in 2012, voter turnout averaged about 15 percent. That means most of the races are determined by just a few hundred votes. District 3 winner Jill Speering had the closest margin, getting 145 more votes than her nearest opponent.

    Understanding that it’s difficult for the average voter to research each candidate’s positions on the critical issues facing public education in our city, the Nashville Chamber, Urban League of Middle Tennessee and MNEA are jointly hosting a series of school board candidate forums. These four forums, located in MNPS middle schools, are free and open to the public. Each will be moderated by a community leader who will ask the candidates about their positions on the MNPS budget, Common Core State Standards, charter schools, and what to do about persistently underperforming schools. There will also be time reserved for questions from the audience. For those who can’t make these forums in person, NECAT will be videotaping the forums for later rebroadcast on IQTV (Comcast Channel 10 in Davidson County). We’ll also upload the clips to the Chamber’s YouTube channel. For a flyer containing information on all the forums, including a map of the school board districts, click here.

    We hope many Chamber members and interested citizens attend the forums and tweet their thoughts about the candidates using the forum hashtags.

    Here’s the forum schedule:

    District 8: Mary Pierce and Becky Sharpe
    Monday, June 9
    5-5:30 p.m. refreshments
    5:30-6:30 p.m. program
    J.T. Moore Middle Gym, 4425 Granny White Pike, 37215
    #SchoolBd8

    District 4: Rhonda Dixon, Anna Shepherd and Pam Swoner
    Thursday, June 12
    5-5:30 p.m. refreshments
    5:30-6:30 p.m. program
    Two Rivers Middle Media Center, 2991 McGavock Pike, 37214
    #SchoolBd4

    District 6: Tyese Hunter and Cheryl Mayes
    Monday, June 16
    5-5:30 p.m. refreshments
    5:30-6:30 p.m. program
    J.F. Kennedy Middle Media Center, 2087 Hobson Pike, 37013
    #SchoolBd6

    District 2: Edward Arnold, Jo Ann Brannon and Bernie Driscoll
    Tuesday, June 17
    5-5:30 p.m. refreshments
    5:30-6:30 p.m. program
    McMurray Middle Media Center, 520 McMurray Drive, 37211
    #SchoolBd2

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  • Academies of Nashville Awards Celebrate Excellence in Public Schools

    by Marc Hill | May 13, 2014
    Last night, more than 300 academy business partners and Metro Schools educators packed Rocketown for the fourth annual Academies of Nashville Awards, a celebration of the successes of Metro's 12 zoned high schools. For the first time in awards history, we had a tie for the coveted "Academy of the Year" award, which is shared by McGavock High School’s Academy of Health Science & Law and Overton High School’s Academy of Engineering. The Academies of Nashville Awards are made possible by presenting sponsor Altria.

    A committee composed of school district, Nashville Area Chamber and PENCIL Foundation leadership selected nominees for each of the 15 categories. More than 400 educators and business partners then voted for a nominee in each category through an online secret ballot managed by Deloitte.

    In addition, one student from each of the 12 high schools will receive an award for Academy Student of the Year. The student winners were selected by the executive principal of each school and will be recognized during the PENCIL Foundation’s Bravo luncheon Friday, May 30.

    Academies partner with area businesses, community agencies and postsecondary schools to provide an enriched experience in and out of the classroom, creating relevancy in education and preparing students for college and career success. Thank you to our more than 260 partners that support the Academies of Nashville through regular participation and leadership.

    2014 Academies of Nashville Award Winners
    Executive Principal of the Year - Presented by Altria
    • Ron Woodard, Maplewood High School
    Academy Assistant Principal of the Year - Presented by Altria
    • Jill Pittman, Overton High School’s Academy of Information Technology
    Academy Partnership of the Year, Hospitality & Tourism Partnership Council – Presented by Fifth Third Bank
    • Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt and the Academy of Business & Hospitality at Hillwood High School
    Academy Teacher of the Year (CTE or Thematic Pathway) - Presented by Deloitte
    • James Anderson with Antioch High School’s Academy of Automotive Technology
    Academy Teacher of the Year (General Education) - Presented by Dollar General
    • Laura Vignon with McGavock High School’s CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communications
    Externship Project of the Year - Presented by The Memorial Foundation
    • Army Corps of Engineers and the Academy of Science & Engineering at Stratford High School
    Academy Team Leader
    • Tripp (John) Nicholson with Hillwood High School’s Academy of Business & Hospitality
    Academy Partnership of the Year, Arts, Media & Communications Partnership Council
    • The Parthenon and the Academy of Art, Design & Communication at Hillwood High School
    Academy Partnership of the Year, Business, Marketing & IT Partnership Council
    • US Community Credit Union and the US Community Credit Union Academy of Business & Finance at McGavock High School
    Academy Partnership of the Year, Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technology Partnership Council
    • Universal Robotics and the Academy of Science & Engineering at Stratford High School
    Academy Partnership of the Year, Health & Public Services Partnership Council
    • Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Academy of Teaching & Service at Antioch High School
    Academy Coach of the Year
    • Emily Hughes, Hillwood High School
    Counselor of the Year
    • Susan Murphy, Maplewood High School’s Academy of Business & Consumer Services
    Freshman Academy of the Year
    • Antioch Freshman Academy
    Academy of the Year (tie)
    • McGavock High School’s Academy of Health Science & Law
    • Overton High School’s Academy of Engineering
    For more information on the Academies of Nashville, visit www.academiesofnashville.com.
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  • June Workshops Focus on Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Negotiation Skills

    by Stephanie Coleman | May 09, 2014
    Guest post by Janet McDonald, vice president, c3/consulting

    In a recent study by IBM, 60 percent of CEOs listed creativity as the most important leadership quality for the next five years, ranking above qualities such as integrity and global thinking. The pace of change, the emergence of rapid disruption and the increasingly complex challenges that face organizations today require an ability to think critically and creatively.

    We all have a go-to thinking profile and approach problem solving very differently. Understanding your particular approach will enable you to pinpoint the tools you need to learn at to improve your ability for breakthrough thinking. The workshop Breakthrough Thinking: Avoid Thinking Biases will help you uncover your thinking profile, embrace its benefits and understand the need and benefit of collaborating with others who think in different ways to increase the odds of breakthrough solutions.

    Another critical skill that I use on a daily basis, at home and work, is mutual gains negotiation, a collaborative approach to reaching consensus. In fact, it comes in handy in almost every area of my life. I’m sure you will agree that all stakeholders do not have the same interests, perceptions and values that others do. Effectiveness requires analytic vision and interpersonal understanding. The ability to identify key stakeholders and their interests is essential, yet even the most ingenious strategy will fail if not artfully implemented. By the same token, being very persuasive does no good unless it is in service of a carefully conceived plan. The workshop Negotiation: Strategies to Build Your Business will teach you how to analyze negotiations at a more sophisticated level, giving you the opportunity to identify your strengths as a negotiator and to work on eliminating any weaknesses. You will become more proficient in long-term decision making and reach consensus more easily, which will enhance your leadership skills.

    These two skills are foundational for success. Continuous growth and development of them will have a significant, positive impact on your success in business and life. Register yourself or your team for these workshops today at www.nashvillechamber.com/calendar.

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  • What Does Every Business Need To Know About Health Care Reform?

    by Marc Hill | May 07, 2014
    Set aside, for the moment, your personal feelings about the federal Affordable Care Act, even though there is pretty much a consensus among business folks that its implementation will probably eat into your company’s bottom line. You might have seen the recent news that 151,352 Tennesseans have enrolled in an exchange-based insurance plan under Obamacare in its first year. The health care landscape is clearly changing, and businesses need to anticipate and adapt to these changes in the months and years ahead.

    The Nashville Area Chamber assembled an expert panel in November 2013 covering the tax, legal and human resources implications of the Affordable Care Act that every business should consider. This 60-minute program features Brian Haile with Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Susan Heard with Paradigm Group, Tom Lee with Frost Brown Todd, and Alex Tolbert with Bernard Health. With shifting requirements and changing deadlines, these business leaders talked about the kinds of things you need to be thinking about in the months and years ahead.

    Here are a few of the questions addressed by the experts:
    • Should your business continue to offer health insurance to your employees?
    • Would ending your employer group plan shift costs to your employees?
    • When is the right time to make your health insurance plan decision—both for your business and for your employees?
    • Should a business shift full-time employees to part-time in order to avoid Obamacare?
    Did you miss this Chamber event? We’ve posted video of the full program on our YouTube channel. If you’ve only got a few minutes, catch our video clip of the program highlights below.

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