Stephanie Coleman's Blog

RSS feed

  • Leadership Lessons from Malcolm Gladwell

    by Stephanie Coleman | Feb 25, 2014
    On Feb. 21, nearly 900 Nashvillians had the opportunity to hear from Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and staff writer for The New Yorker. Speaking at Belmont University’s Leadership Breakfast presented by Belmont’s Executive Learning Network and Parnassus Books, and supported by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Gladwell took the role of storyteller – primarily to explain his ideas around the theory of legitimacy – a theme in his most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.

    The underlying lesson of Gladwell’s narrative was to explain human behavior – a skill he’s become known for in his previous books, including Blink, which explains how some choices made by gut instinct are the most successful; The Tipping Point, which describes why certain ideas, trends or social behaviors reach a "tipping point" and end up spreading like wildfire; and Outliers, which examines what differentiates the highest achievers.

    In his speech, Gladwell wove together tales of underdogs turned radicals, including that of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a New York socialite and multi-millionaire who became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that won women the right to vote in 1920.

    Through his stories, Gladwell ...
    Go comment!
    Category: General
  • Don't Miss the Chance to Connect with Legislators about Issues That Impact Your Business

    by Stephanie Coleman | Mar 29, 2013
    As the Tennessee General Assembly works toward the end of this year’s session, several key issues that impact business will be up for final votes. We’ve included updates below and encourage our members to use Middle Tennessee Business Voice to make your voice count by connecting with your state representatives.
    • Impact-to-commerce analysis on new legislation: In many cases, legislation proposed has some potential impact on the private sector, and while bills are studied for their impact to the state, no consideration is given to their impact on commerce or jobs. SB 116/HB 220 directs the Fiscal Review Committee to include an “impact-to-commerce statement” in its fiscal note for bills and resolutions referred to certain committees. This bill unanimously passed the House State Government committee on March 12 and will be in House Finance Subcommittee on April 3. Click here to take action.
    • Workers’ compensation reform: Gov. Haslam has proposed workers’ compensation reform (SB 200/HB 194) that moves disputes out of the courts, lowers the cost for business and speeds up the resolution of these claims. This bill will be on the Senate floor on April 1 and in the House Finance Committee on April 2. Click here to ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Chamber Releases 2013 State Legislative Agenda

    by Stephanie Coleman | Feb 06, 2013
    One of the Nashville Area Chamber’s primary roles is to ensure that your business needs are a top consideration when policy decisions are made. Today, we released our 2013 state legislative agenda, which includes policy priorities in the following areas:
    • An environment where business can prosper;
    • Talent development of the region’s workforce;
    • Quality of life that attracts and retains residents and workers; and
    • Regional efforts to ensure economic prosperity.
    Among the issues included on our state legislative agenda this year are:
    • Support for the federally funded expansion of TennCare/Medicaid,
    • Moving workers’ compensation out of the courts,
    • Business impact statements for proposed legislation,
    • Comprehensive federal immigration reform,
    • Ensuring voucher students take the same state tests as public school students, and
    • Protection of property owners’ right to prohibit guns on their property.
    Click here to view a policy brief about Medicaid expansion and its impact on business.

    In K-12 education, we support:
    • Greater accessibility to ACT results,
    • The creation of a statewide charter authorizer solely in the case of successful appeals, and
    • Automatic closure of the lowest-performing charter schools, a 2012 Education Report Card recommendation.
    Click here to view the full legislative agenda.

    To help guide our 2013 agenda, we distributed a ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Policy
  • Chamber’s Report Card Committee Anxious for Dramatic Gains

    by Stephanie Coleman | Dec 18, 2012
    Yesterday, the Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee presented its annual evaluation of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to a standing-room-only crowd at the Adventure Science Center. Along with school system performance, the committee analyzed charter schools due to the timeliness and urgency around addressing how charter schools will be integrated into the district’s overall strategy.

    After an in-depth examination of the 2011-2012 school year, the committee believes the district is moving in the right direction, having made incremental gains across multiple measures; however, the pace of improvement is of great concern.

    Less than half of Metro students met the state’s proficiency benchmarks in math and reading, and the percentage of students scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT – a measure of college- and career-readiness – has improved by only one point per year for the past three years, up to 29 percent in 2012.

    The committee is anxious for dramatic gains and believes it will take bold action to accelerate progress and increase accountability in Metro Schools.

    The committee presented five recommendations that they believe will help the district meet these goals:

         1. The school board should develop a dashboard to review progress on key performance measurements at ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Education
  • Help Us Spread the Word: When You Expect More, Students Achieve More

    by Stephanie Coleman | Dec 12, 2012
    Improving public education is the Chamber’s No. 1 priority because of the many ways school quality impacts our community’s overall prosperity. That’s why we’re part of the Expect More, Achieve More coalition, a statewide alliance of business, community and education organizations working to build local awareness around Tennessee’s new Common Core State Standards. Along with 46 other states, Tennessee is taking the important step to implement these internationally competitive standards and better prepare students for the future. The new standards include an increased focus on skills necessary for college and career, including critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork.

    As was the case when Tennessee raised its academic standards in 2010, the move to more rigorous standards requires widespread community outreach. The coalition has developed a new video to raise awareness and support for higher academic standards, and we’re hoping it will reach 10,000 views by the end of this week. You can help us meet this goal by watching the video today and sharing it with your friends, family and colleagues.

    Raising the bar and expecting more is hard work, particularly for students and teachers. To support students and teachers, we must all come together for a common cause: When we ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Education
  • Video Now Available From 'Affordable Care Act: Impact on Business' Event

    by Stephanie Coleman | Nov 09, 2012
    As the dust settles from Election Day, the policy implications for business are becoming a bit clearer. One issue that has been on many business owners' minds is the impact of federal health care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In early October, the Nashville Area Chamber and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) hosted a panel discussion with area experts about what this law means for your business and how you should prepare.

    We are pleased to share the full program with our members, which can be viewed below. In addition, the program will air on iQtv10 (Comcast channel 10) every Sunday starting Nov. 11 at 6 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

    A recap blog post published after the event outlined some of the key takeaways from the panel discussion. For example, significant decisions will have to be made on the federal and state levels following the presidential election. State officials are closely reviewing federal guidance on the Affordable Care Act in advance of Gov. Haslam's public statement by Nov. 16 about whether Tennessee will consider a state insurance exchange or default to a federal insurance exchange system.

    The event panelists and moderator included:
    • Jim ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Policy
  • Business Advocacy in 2012 - Did Our Efforts Pay Off?

    by Stephanie Coleman | Nov 08, 2012
    Over the past year, we’ve been working at the Chamber to more fully engage our members in business advocacy. Why? Because the more you become involved, the stronger our collective influence will be as we advocate for policies that lead to job creation and economic growth.

    But, as many business leaders can attest, our efforts are only as good as the results they produce.

    That’s why we’re excited to share our 2012 Legislative Scorecard, which reports how our elected officials responded to the needs of Nashville and Middle Tennessee businesses over the past year.

    The Chamber’s policy positions reflected in the scorecard advance four specific community priorities:

        1. The creation and cultivation of an environment where business can prosper.
        2. Support of talent development for the region’s workforce.
        3. Policies contributing to a quality of life that attracts and retains residents and
        4. Efforts to ensure economic prosperity in Tennessee and the Nashville region.

    So, how did we measure up?

    In short, the 107th General Assembly concluded a legislative session that was good for business. Throughout the session, the Chamber advocated for business-friendly legislation based on the state legislative agenda crafted in January with feedback from members. The ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Regional Partnership Strengthens Business Voice

    by Stephanie Coleman | Nov 01, 2012
    We are excited to announce a new advocacy partnership with the Rutherford County Chamber that will leverage the resources of both organizations and give you – our members – a stronger voice in policy issues that impact your business.

    Last year, we developed a policy process to better engage our members in business advocacy. Now, Rutherford County Chamber members are joining us in these advocacy efforts by participating in our annual policy survey, which informs the legislative priorities for the region’s business community. Rutherford County Chamber members will also have full access to Middle Tennessee Business Voice, an online advocacy tool administered by the Nashville Chamber that allows businesses to learn about current legislative issues and directly contact their elected officials on issues that need business input.

    Rutherford County Chamber members are now “advocacy members” of the Nashville Area Chamber, allowing us to represent the interests of 3,700 Middle Tennessee businesses in the Tennessee General Assembly. The advocacy partnership covers the positions shared by the two chambers on a wide range of business issues, which will be determined each January. New legislative issues will be loaded into Middle Tennessee Business Voice in late January 2013, coinciding with the start of ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Policy
  • Business Owners Preparing for Impact of Affordable Care Act

    by Stephanie Coleman | Oct 11, 2012
    On Oct. 4, members of the Nashville Area Chamber and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) heard from experts about the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on business. Panelists included Brian Haile, director of the Insurance Exchange Planning Initiative at the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration; Maria Iarossi, area vice president of client development at Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.; and Jerry Moss, tax services member at KraftCPAs PLLC. Moderator Jim Brown, Tennessee state director of NFIB, shared a timeline that outlines when the various pieces of the law will go into effect.

    Here are a few key takeaways from the panel:

    Many of the provisions of the law have already gone into effect, with more changes to come in 2013 and beyond. Beginning in 2010, certain businesses became eligible for the small business health insurance tax credit. In 2011, a provision went into effect that added restrictions to Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts. In addition, the medical loss ratio provision allows businesses to receive a rebate if insurers do not spend a certain percentage of premiums on health claims. 2013 will bring a new Medicare tax on earned income and limits will ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Policy
  • The Chamber Needs Your Feedback on Our Annual Policy Survey

    by Stephanie Coleman | Oct 05, 2012
    To better understand policy issues that impact your business, we are asking for your involvement in our annual policy survey. Be on the lookout for an email on Wednesday, Oct. 10, that includes your password and a link to the 10-minute survey.

    The collective results of the survey will help guide the Chamber’s 2013 legislative agenda, which will be adopted by our board of directors in January. We will then share this agenda with members and elected officials. Throughout the year, members will have a chance to show your support for these priorities using the Chamber’s online advocacy tool, Business Voice.

    The Nashville Area Chamber facilitates community leadership to create economic prosperity. Part of this role involves communicating with elected officials to ensure that business needs are a top consideration when policy decisions are made. We are working to ensure the region’s economy remains strong by advocating for a policy environment where business can prosper; talent development for the region’s workforce; quality of life that attracts and retains residents and workers; and regional cooperation that leads to greater economic opportunities for all Middle Tennesseans.

    Thank you for your role in ensuring Middle Tennessee’s business environment remains strong. We look forward ...
    Go comment!
    Category: Legislative Issues