Member Spotlights

The Chamber can't pursue our mission of facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity without our members. We want to highlight the efforts our members are making to propel Nashville into a prosperous future.

Victor Chatman Productions & Studios

How can Victor Chatman Studios help a business looking to host or book an event? 

Victor Chatman Productions and Studios is a full -ervice entertainment, hospitality and marketing group. We assist our clients with booking venues, bands, dj's photographers, videographers, sound, lighting, and staging. We additionally provide event management and planning, public relations, marketing and promotions. We also develop content and commercials for print, social media, radio and television coverage. 

What is special about producing events in the Nashville area? 

Nashville area residents and tourists embrace all genres of music. This allows us to effortlessly and freely produce a plethora of concerts, festivals and themed events that appeal to all audiences.  

How do you stay involved in the community? 

I'm currently in my 8th year as a Business Pencil Partner for Metro Public Schools in association with the Pencil Foundation, Simon Youth Foundation, and the Academies of Nashville. My program includes mentorship, internship and apprenticeship opportunities for youth in business and entertainment. My community partner, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, is the beneficiary of our annual joint fundraising campaigns and year-round food drives. I'm a Blood Drive Coordinator for Red Cross and I've worked with the Boys and Girls Club of America for the past 20 years. 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership? 

Building budding relationships with area business and industry giants so that we can collectively cover the entertainment needs our of growing city. 

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

The various organizations, including the Chambers of Commerce, Tourism, and Convention and Visitor Bureaus in Middle Tennessee, that are very receptive to increasing Entertainment in their respective areas. This allows Victor Chatman Productions the opportunity to further help the economic boom in our region by fulfilling diverse entertainment needs and requests.  

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it. 

Most recently a venue double booked me and another client on the same day at the exact same time. The events were somewhat similar in nature. Instead of trying to have a power struggle, I called the other party to offer to combine forces for an even greater collaborative event. It worked out perfectly and now I have a new entertainment partner. 

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

To replicate the success of the business by creating extended franchises and hiring full time employees where we can further expand the brand in to other cities, states and abroad. 

What's the best advice you ever received? 

To always embrace who God destined for me to be, not what others want to see.

Questions answered by Victor Chatman, President & CEO, Victor Chatman Productions & Studios


How does AAA serve its members?

AAA has been serving members for more than 100 years advocating for traffic safety and providing 24/7 road service to its members. AAA’s innovative solutions continue to evolve and serve the needs of more than 58 million members. A few examples of AAA’s products and services are:

  • Insurance products for every household’s needs including auto, home, condo, renters, life and more.
  • AAA’s mobile battery replacement service for AAA members
  • AAA also provides discounts and rewards for AAA members at thousands of retailers including restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, attractions and more.

A host of these benefits and services are available through the AAA Mobile App, including the ability to request roadside assistance.

How does AAA help people in the Nashville area that they may not realize?

While AAA is known for best-in-class road service, AAA also offers insurance, banking and travel services. It’s important to note that AAA has experienced, licensed insurance and travel agents available at our four Metro Nashville branches.

What can businesses in Nashville do to get involved with AAA?

AAA is always looking for partners for our Member Discounts and Rewards program. Business who would like to participate in the program by offering an instant discount  to AAA members who show their AAA membership card at checkout, are encouraged to contact us via email at Partners will get exposure for their business on the website as well as the AAA Mobile app.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee? 

The Nashville Predators! AAA is a proud sponsor of the Nashville Predators. 

Lightning 100

How does being an independent station set Lightning 100 apart from other radio outlets in Middle Tennessee?

Lightning 100 has been locally owned and operated for 27 years and is one of Nashville’s longest running independent stations. While our unique format and history certainly set us apart, it is our commitment to the local community that really differentiates us from other stations. Nashville is part of our brand and we continually strive to support our local community of listeners, artists, and businesses in all that we do.

How does Lightning 100 engage in community involvement?

The phrase “We Are Nashville,” rings trues within our station walls and as a local station it is something we take to heart. Over the course of 2017, we gave our airwaves, our money, our hearts and our hands to more than 135 organizations and causes important to Nashville.

We helped raise awareness and money for these organizations that are helping solve problems for our local community. We sorted food, sorted toys, gave toys, gave blood, cleaned waterways, planted trees, saved animals, painted schools, shared knowledge with teachers and students, empowered the homeless, helped provide 5.6 million meals to the hungry and helped raise millions of dollars for 781 nonprofits--$2.5 million in one day.

We organized over 100 community events; aired 83,323 minutes dedicated to local non-profits and artists giving voice to many causes; celebrated with our neighbors and entertained over 100,000 people at our free concerts; and kept our community healthy through workshops and outdoor activities...and still got to play our favorite songs.

How has the growth of Nashville affected Lightning 100’s business model?

For decades dreamers have flocked to Nashville to make music, to work in the industry, to be discovered, and to make their dreams come true. As one of the smallest stations in the market, we relate to the struggle of these aspiring songwriters, artists, and future music executives.

We have created a focused mission to serve and advocate for this ever-growing music community by using our staff, airways, events, concerts, relationships, and our influence to help break down the barriers of entry into the music business.

It is known all over town that Lightning 100 is an oasis for the local independent artist. In 2017, we were proud to set a station record by devoting 26% of our entire music programming to Nashville’s local artists, making us the only station in our market and one of the few stations across the US that believes in and supports our local artist community through dedicated programming.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

The opportunity to connect with individuals and businesses that share in our community-orientated mission has been the most valuable aspect of our Chamber membership. We are fortunate to be surrounded by community partners who are invested in this city as much as we are. This has allowed us to develop a strong network of support for any and all community members in need.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

We truly believe in the community around us and use the strong connection with our audience to make a difference in Nashville. We are blessed to be in a city that is growing, diverse, and thriving, but one that has also managed to stay tightly knit as well. Nashville is a big city with a small town feel. Maintaining this identity and a focus on “community” is something that all Nashville locals take pride in, and something that is integral to our station’s mission.

For more information about Lightning 100's community involvement, visit their website.


How much of a role do you think literacy plays in our region's economy?

If we want a robust economy, making sure that every member of our community has strong literacy skills needs to be one of our highest priorities. Just think about the people you work with - employees, co-workers, customers, vendors, etc. Do you find that it's easier to do business when those people are literate? In most cases, you do. When our fellow Middle Tennesseans have strong literacy skills it affects us all. When they don't, it does too - literacy affects productivity, wages, poverty, healthcare, crime, voter participation, taxes, volunteerism, civic engagement and more.

The good news is that we can do more to help every member of our community develop strong literacy skills and many of you are already doing that. Your involvement in and support of education benefits all of us. 

What effect does book ownership and increased literacy have on the outcomes of economically disadvantaged children and teens?

Imagine families with no books. Unfortunately, it's far too often the case - even here in Middle Tennessee. Books are expensive and we have 40,000+ children living in poverty just in Davidson County. Researchers have found that identifying oneself as a reader is one element of developing strong literacy skills. How do young people identify as a reader if they don't own any books? To become better readers, our youth need to read more frequently. But, what if they don't have books at home? What if they can't or don't access our fabulous libraries?  What are they going to read, especially during the summer?

Additional research indicates that giving economically disadvantaged children greater access to print materials and books in their homes is associated with positive behavioral, educational and psychological outcomes. If an economically challenged teen has strong literacy skills, they have a much better chance of succeeding and have more positive options in life. That benefits all of us. 

Which programs and organizations does Book'em support in the Nashville area?

More than 100 different non-profits, schools, government agencies, civic groups and more in Davidson County partner with Book'em. Through our Books for Nashville's Kids program, our community donated 74,000 books to Book'em and in turn we distributed 77,000 books in 2017. That's up from 58,000 books distributed in 2016. Those books went to youth of all ages from birth through high school.

Through our Reading Is Fundamental program, 220 community members engage with 230 elementary classrooms at 13 Metro Nashville Public Schools five times or more throughout the year. During their 30 minute visits, they get to read and interact with the students and distribute books. Last school year, 3,900 children became the proud owners of 19,500 books.

Through our Ready for Reading program, volunteers visit Cambridge Early Learning Center and other child development centers weekly to read with preschoolers and help them develop their pre-literacy skills and a love of books.

Through four Read Me Week celebrations at four local elementary schools, more than 200 community guests helped celebrate books and reading.

We are members of the Nashville Chamber Education Committee, Chamber Report Card, and Alignment Nashville PreK-4th grade A Team. We work with initiatives related to the Blueprint for Early Childhood Success and more. Our collaborations with others in the community make us stronger. 

All of our activities and programs are designed to provide economically challenged children in Davidson County with books they will love to own, and exposure to great reading role models. 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership? 

Book'em is a small nonprofit - we only have one full-time and three part-time employees. Paying for a Chamber membership was not in our budget. Fortunately for us, we received a membership as a gift from a local company. It was a tremendous gift. After the first year, our Chamber membership became a priority and thus became part of our annual budget. 

Being a member means that we can have a greater impact on education and literacy in Davidson County. Because of our membership, we have access to information, people and companies who care about our community, platforms and the opportunity to be involved and make a difference.

Questions answered by Melissa Spradlin, Executive Director of Book'em. To learn more about Book'em and how you can get involved with their mission, visit their website

Tennessee Youth Courts, Inc

How do the programs that Tennessee Youth Courts, Inc. supports differ from traditional juvenile justice services?

In legal terms, youth court programs are called diversions. To be eligible, the youth must be a first offender. The aim is to stop delinquent behavior in its tracks. And we choose the most influential people in a teenager’s life to affect change: their peers. The offender faces a jury of other teens. These peers use restorative justice principles to make their decisions about consequences.

Scientifically researched and evidence based, this program is peer driven and family focused. Parents and guardians are engaged in the process by volunteering to participate in the youth court process. Furthermore, this is not a hearing to determine guilt or innocence. The teens, with their families, voluntarily agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the youth court.

Youth courts are operating in 16 counties across Tennessee. In Nashville, these courts are located in six high schools with cases referred from Metro Juvenile Court. Youth courts are used as one aspect of a holistic approach to juvenile justice reform enacted by Judge Calloway.

This restorative approach results in better outcomes for the teen offender and better outcomes for the community. Our data shows that fewer than 4% of youth reoffend after going through this program.

What are the biggest benefits to the community from these programs?

The biggest benefit to the community is increased community safety. Data we collect shows that after going through this process, youth seldom re-offend. Restorative justice principles are effective in reconnecting youth to the community. We have seen through research and observation that youth do not act out against communities where they are connected.

How can juvenile justice alternatives help with employment and workforce issues in our region?

No one wants to live in a neighborhood that they feel is not safe. They want their children to go to schools that are safe, they want to be able to walk their dog or jog in their communities and they don’t want to fear the teen walking down the street toward them. Youth court programs are helping to create that level of safety.

In addition, this program in small part is reducing the number of youth who are directed into the school-to-prison pipeline. This pipeline is very expensive to tax payers. When a child goes into this pipeline, we can anticipate the prospect that the adult he/she becomes will need greater social service for themselves and their children. They will not live to their full potential. We as a community want to increase the chances that our children will contribute to that community.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

Youth court programs have been operating in Tennessee since 2000. But few people know about them and the benefits to the community of this alternative approach to juvenile justice. My Chamber membership has allowed me to access a new forum to share the story of the work we do.

How do you define success?

We define success in terms of the numbers of youth that through our program are redirected to a positive path away from juvenile crime. We define success in terms of the numbers of youth in whom we instill citizen-leadership and a habit of community service.

Tennessee Youth Courts, Inc is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee. You can learn more about their work on their website. Answers provided by Denise Bentley, Executive Director of Tennessee Youth Courts, Inc.

Interior Elements LLC

How has the recent growth in the Nashville region changed HST Interior Element’s business model, particularly since the company was founded in 1995?

The culture has changed since we opened our doors. Doing our best to understand, keep up with, and be ahead of these changes helps us when designing spaces and offering solutions. 

How can creative space management and solutions help a business grow?

By having a space suited to the employees, they can work more efficiently.  When we are offering solutions we want to listen to what is needed for each area and who is working there. For example, collaborative spaces are excellent for when teams are working on a project together. 

How have office furnishing trends changed to meet the needs of businesses looking for more co-working or collaborative spaces?

Two words come to mind: modular and technology. Furniture is becoming more modular to allow more customizability and orientation to meet the needs of our clients. For example, mobile tables and pedestals help with impromptu meeting spaces. Technology is also ever-advancing and furniture is taking advantage of that. Not just plugs for your lounge seating so guests can charge their phones, but smart boards and tables for presentations. There are even quiet booths and sound masking solutions that help define a space. I’m excited to see what comes next.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

The relationships and connections I’ve made attending the meetings and events. We also have a great group on the New Member Advisory Committee that I am a part of.  

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Middle Tennessee has been my home for over 20 years. It is a privilege to serve and be a part of the growth that we are experiencing.  

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

I recently was asked to assist someone about their back pain. Most would not associate the two, back pain and office furniture. While I’m not a chiropractor, I worked for one for over two years. Taking that knowledge and coupling it with ergonomics, I was able to assist him. I helped educate how to sit and work at his desk. We found a solution that helped with his back pain using those ergonomic solutions. Those kinds of situations are always rewarding. 

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

Through organizations like the Nashville Chamber, I want to build my network of clients and partners so I can play a bigger part of Nashville’s growth. 

What's the best advice you ever received?

Treat your neighbor as yourself. Or in this line of work, treat your customer how you would want to be treated. Offer quality services that the customer actually needs and make suggestions as if you were suggesting them to your own family. 

How do you define success?

Success is doing what you love, doing it well, and helping others in the process all while being able to support yourself and your family.

Answers by Christopher Miner, NXT Architectural Wall Specialist at HST Interior Elements LLC. Learn more about their products and services on their website.


What projects in the Nashville area has Skanska worked on?

Over the past several decades, Skanska has been fortunate to be a part of defining projects for this area: Nissan Stadium, the Main Nashville Public Library, Nissan Americas Headquarters, West Riverfront Park, Abe’s Garden, the new LifeWay Christian Resources Building and the newly renovated Cordell Hull Building to name a few. We are also proud to be a part of several downtown landmark projects currently underway including Fifth + Broadway and the JW Marriott.

The J.W. Marriott in downtown Nashville is nearing completion. How much do you think Nashville’s skyline will change in the next 10-20 years?

The Nashville skyline continues to expand and evolve and it’s exciting to play a part in one of its new crown jewels, the JW Marriott. As developers and investors continue to see the value in Nashville and its future potential, I think we will continue to see the skyline grow. With that growth, I hope we are able to keep that hometown feel and culture that makes Nashville so special. 

How does sustainability play into the work Skanska does not only in Middle Tennessee but around the country?

Skanska’s purpose statement is “we build for a better society” and in order to live out that purpose we must be focused on sustainability. For us that not only means looking at ways to build that have the least negative impact on our environment, but also how our buildings impact the people who inhabit them. Americans spend the majority of their time in buildings and we work with our clients to ensure they are aware of systems and materials that are healthy for their tenants. We also make it a priority on every project to be inclusive with our subcontractor and vendor partners to ensure that the entire community has an opportunity to benefit economically from a project. Last, as residents of Middle Tennessee, we have an obligation to be active contributors; giving our employees opportunities to give back in meaningful ways to this city that has given us so much is a big part of our culture. 

What do you want people to know about Skanska’s work in the Nashville region, and internationally?

When we look at our Nashville projects over the years - a stadium, a public park and amphitheater, a large public library, a memory care center for Alzheimer patients - each building or structure has positively changed the daily lives of Nashvillians. That is why we are in business, to build for a better society, and our colleagues around the world are doing the exact same thing for their communities. That’s a privilege we do not take lightly and we hope to be a part of building Nashville for a long time.

Learn more about Skanska.

The Loveless Cafe

How has the economic growth in Nashville affected Loveless Cafe’s business model? 

The economic growth in Nashville has been very positive for us as we remain true to our core business, which is to provide scratch-made Southern food and true Southern hospitality in all facets of our business - the Cafe, our Retail department, and Loveless Events. Whether people are moving to or visiting Nashville, they continue to keep us on their must-visit list as part of the genuine Nashville experience. 

Loveless Cafe offers health and retirement benefits while many other hospitality businesses do not. Why has Loveless made that choice? 

We like to treat our guests like family, and the best way to assure that happens is to treat our team members the same way. Our health and retirement benefits, along with maternity and paternity leave, and starting this year, student loan support, is all part of investing in our team. The overall wellness of our team and their families benefits everything we do and is simply consistent with what the Loveless Cafe represents.

Will Loveless Cafe ever reveal their secret biscuit recipe? 

Never :)  

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership? 

As Chamber members, we have learned from many shared experiences with several other local businesses who, like us, are invested in our community. 

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee? 

The genuine warmth and respect that people show in Middle Tennessee is truly remarkable, and we all treat each other with a real sense of Tennessee pride.  

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it. 

There are periods of time when the Loveless Cafe is extremely busy with extensive wait periods so we hear lots of people make the assumption that we are “always on a wait” - well, this is simply not true! Even during the busy summer season and holiday times, we actually have certain time periods when we are quiet. To address this, we have incorporated OpenTable into our business model to enable guests to make reservations during our non-peak times. This is beneficial both for our local guests and out-of-town visitors, as well as our team, helping to ensure a positive experience for everyone. 

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

As a business that has been established for 67 years now, we are constantly evaluating what can be done better. While our biscuits and other time-honored traditions will remain the same to provide the historic experience our visitors seek, we can always find opportunities to grow in other ways, such as raising awareness of Loveless Events catering in the Nashville area, or expanding our Heat n’ Eat Southern Sides program in-stores and online. Every year there is something new on the list! 

What's the best advice you ever received? 

Stay true to your core purpose and don’t chase trends. 

How do you define success? 

Our success is defined in two ways: 1. Team members who feel they are respected and enjoy what they do, and 2. Customers who say, “Wow, it was everything we thought it would be and then some…” whether they’re eating in the Cafe, browsing our shops, or attending an event catered and managed by our Loveless Events team.

Learn more about Loveless Cafe.

March of Dimes

How does March of Dimes’ mission to fight for the health of mothers and babies relate to the economic growth of our region?

March of Dimes commissioned an analysis by Truven Health Analytics, Inc., on the costs of prematurity to businesses.

The average medical cost for a healthy, full-term baby from birth through the first year was $5,085, of which $4,389 is paid by employer health plans, according to this data. 

The average cost for premature and/or low birth weight babies (less than 37 weeks gestation and/or less than 2500 grams), was $55,393, of which $54,149 was paid by the health plan. 

In Tennessee 1 in 9 babies are born too soon which places the associated medical and societal costs of preterm birth at about $462 million a year. If March of Dimes reaches its goal of reducing preterm birth by 8%, prematurity related health care costs in Tennessee will be greatly reduced.

What policy initiatives has the Nashville chapter of March of Dimes been working towards?

The March of Dimes works to influence both legislative and regulatory policy in Tennessee. Our volunteers and staff serve as powerful voices for the needs of pregnant women, infants, children and families. 

 Our priorities include a wide range of maternal child health issues focused on access to care, research and education efforts toward healthier moms and babies. Recent successes have addressed access to home visitation programs in the state, creation of a state maternal mortality review program and statewide tobacco prevention education. 

 In response to increasing preterm birth rate, the National March of Dimes, in partnership with the Tennessee Health Department and United Health Care, has expanded group prenatal care. This approach to care has been proven to reduce preterm births. As a part of the expansion efforts, the March of Dimes has initiated plans to work with the state’s Medicaid leadership to examine ways to increase clinical reimbursement for providers and sites who choose to adopt this method of care in the future.   

How is March of Dimes helping to address the health inequities that affect certain racial and ethnic groups more than others, like premature birth, low birth weight and infant mortality?

In 2017, the Tennessee March of Dimes Maternal Child Health Impact Committee identified the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes as one of its top mission priorities. In addition, more than $100,000 in funding was provided for local and statewide interventions that were designed to respond to maternal and child health needs of specific racial and ethnic groups that demonstrate poor birth outcomes in the state, with emphasis on the communities of Davidson, Hamilton and Shelby counties. This represents (100%) of all chapter-funded program initiatives. In addition to state level support, Tennessee also has received national funding to expand group prenatal care from the three existing partner sites in Davidson county.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

The Chamber offers excellent networking opportunities for our staff and volunteers to meet perspective partners in the Nashville area. We have met new volunteers, donors and companies that share our vision for healthy moms and strong babies.

What's the best thing working in Middle Tennessee?

Middle Tennessee is growing so fast with such a dynamic and diverse workforce. Every day there’s a new restaurant, a new idea or a new resource for our families.

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

Last year our largest event, the March for Babies, was rained out in April. Thousands of families and supporters attend this event, but with the cold wind, rain and flooding, it just wasn’t safe to gather. But thanks to our partners in the community, we were able to reorganize quickly and hold a “March On” event just a few weeks later so that everyone was able to come together to celebrate children and the March of Dimes.

What's your biggest goal for your organization in the next year?

With March of Dimes celebrating its 80th birthday, our goal is to engage the community around our passion for healthy mothers and strong babies through advocacy, community programs and research by recruiting volunteer leadership and new donors.

What's the best advice you ever received?

The best professional advice I’ve ever received was to remember that I can’t do the best for my company when I’m not at my best. Using vacation days and doing things for my own well-being doesn’t distract from my work, it makes my work more rewarding when I can enjoy it. I’m still working on doing this better and I try to express the need to take time for oneself to my staff.

How do you define success?

Success is when I can go home, look at my family, and say, “Yes, I’ve improved the world in some measurable way for you.

Questions answered by Michelle Hankes, March of Dimes, Executive Director of Market Development. Learn more about the Tennessee chapter of March of Dimes on their website.

JetRight Aerospace Holdings

JetRight Aerospace Holdings offers services for every facet of aviation including private charters, management, consulting, maintenance and more. They are members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce because they want to provide excellence and believe that the Chamber can help them do so.


WeWork is a global company thinking creatively about where and how we work. They have recently added two Nashville locations to their network of co-working spaces - one downtown and one in East Nashville. You can learn more about their business model on their website.

Why did WeWork choose to grow in Nashville?

Nashville is a truly unique city, as it is expansive in area and is home to the third most Fortune 500-company headquarters in the country. By bringing our space-as-a-service solution to Nashville with two new buildings, WeWork is offering both corporates and small-business entrepreneurs space, culture and flexibility that will help recruit and retain talent. WeWork One Nashville Place and 901 Woodland both reflect our commitment to this community and we look forward to providing Nashvillians a new way to work as we provide members with the resources to grow their business globally.

How have co-working spaces changed the way people work?

There is a macro cultural shift taking place. More and more people – across generations, races, geographies – want personal fulfillment; This means working on projects they’re passionate about in an energetic environment where others are also working hard to bring their ideas to life. WeWork helps create more meaningful connections and a strong community in the places where people work and live – all the while using space more effectively.

Why did WeWork choose to join the Chamber?

WeWork is proud to join the Nashville Chamber of Commerce as our purposes align within the community: to create economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership and to work together as a team.

WeWork will be hosting a ribbon cutting for their 901 Woodland location on December 14. Details can be found here.

World Gym Music City

World Gym Music City wants to be the premier fitness destination in Nashville and help the region continue growing by helping its residents stay healthy. 

You can learn more about their mission, facilities and membership options on their website,

Big Frog Custom T-shirts & More

How can businesses use custom t-shirts to set themselves apart from their competition?

People underestimate the value of seeing a logo over and over.  We strongly encourage businesses to purchase attire they will love to wear so that they wear it everywhere to promote their businesses.  No one would question the value of seeing a billboard alongside the highway that they drive everyday.  You may not need that service or product in that very moment but when you do need it, that name will come up first in your mind.

What makes Big Frog different as a supplier of custom t-shirts?

We have a retail space with samples to touch, feel and try on.  Plus you work side by side with a degreed graphic designer that can make magic happen.  

How can t-shirts improve community involvement efforts?

Connection happens all the time, sometimes when you least expect it. Let's say you're thinking about volunteering more and while sipping your morning coffee, someone walks by with a Hands On Nashville T-Shirt.  That T-shirt just made a connection. T-shirts spread awareness be it a business logo, cause or happy message.  

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

I really enjoy the networking events. I meet lots of people and learn about different businesses around town. At one meeting, we created a fun free T-shirt giveaway for Compost Nashville, and I became a customer!

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

The people. Lots of good hearted people in Nashville.

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

Work-wise we are finding it harder and harder to attract and retain great talent. There's lots of talk about managing the millennial generation and its challenges and at first I was perplexed. I'm open minded about learning a new way to manage a different mind set.

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

2017 was a transitional year for us. We just opened the Green Hills location in May and closed the Mount Juliet location in October. In 2018, I'd really like to have less transition and a lot more fun!

What's the best advice you ever received?

Lift with your legs? (Just kidding, although we do lift a lot of T shirt boxes.) Truthfully I never think there is "that one thing". There's no magic solution, no magic pill, no one rule but a collection that you individually piece together. I have had a terrific number of mentors, friends, and supporters share pearls of wisdom that I am grateful to enjoy. Life is always changing and adaption is key. 

How do you define success?

I define my success by the quality of my relationships and my time.  If I can say that I have great relationships with my kids, my husband, my friends, my coworkers, etc. then I am successful in life. I've learned over the years that balancing those relationships and the time allocated for them is critical.

Questions answered by Janet Carmichael, owner of Big Frog Custom T-shirts and More.

Elevation Search Solutions

How has the talent landscape in Nashville changed since you founded Elevation Search Solutions?

We have just entered into our 4th year of business at Elevation and the landscape has changed considerably over that short period of time. We see a steadier stream of talent relocating to Nashville from markets that have people with an extremely high level of skill sets and expertise. That’s good for our clients that are seeking to add a more diverse group of employees to the mix, but even so, we often find that the number of potential candidates often falls below the number of open positions. A tighter market, if you will, which typically leads to higher salaries and extra “perks” as selling points of why a candidate should join an organization. It’s definitely a fun time in this hot market but it does come with its own set of challenges, which we gladly accept.

Which industry sectors are recruiting the most heavily in the Nashville area?

In our experience, it has been healthcare, manufacturing, services, and technology and analytics focused organizations.

How has the economy growth in the region affected Elevation Search Solutions’ operations?

The buzz about Nashville continues and our team fields questions from curious clients, client prospects, and candidates on a weekly basis. Personally, I would say the growth in our region has added to the credibility of the work we do outside of this market. A large part of our work is in healthcare and we have seen a lot of interest from our healthcare clients in the NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, etc. markets inquiring about all the good stuff that is happening in Nashville. It’s almost like they want to be a part of it in some way and at times it can be flattering attention. The Nashville healthcare market offers a foundation of credibility when advising our client partners across the nation.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

Relationships – with both the chamber staff and members, as well as our investment in Partnership 2020.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

The people. We don’t call it The Volunteer State for nothing…

What's the best advice you ever received?

Start your own business.

How do you define success?

Helping my team realize goals that they may have never dreamed they could achieve.

Questions were answered by Brian Hoppes, Founding Partner and CEO of Elevation Search Solutions.

Health Career Connection

Health Career Connection is a national non-profit that inspires and empowers undergraduate students, recent graduates and HCC alumni, particularly those from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds, to choose and successfully pursue authentic healthcare and public health careers.

HCC has recently begun operating in the Nashville region.

You can learn more about HCC on their website, or by reaching out to Thomas Luten at

B n D Amato Productions

What sets B n D Amato Productions apart from other entertainment and video production providers?

For the past 12 years, we have become a prime entertainment vendor for many of the event planners and destination management companies in Nashville. We specialize in providing a wide variety of customized entertainment and light décor needs from small to large scale. We are a small team which enables us to keep costing competitive since our overhead is smaller than other entertainment providers.

Does working in Music City provide particular opportunities for the entertainment industry?

We find that with the growth of Nashville more major corporate clients are seeking to host their conference or event in Music City. This means more opportunities to provide entertainment as part of their event.

How important are of word of mouth testimonials and recommendations for your business?

They are of the utmost importance to us. We have made it a goal to go the extra mile when asked to produce a specific piece of entertainment. When a client is pleased with what we have given them, their recommendation is key to our success. 

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

The best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee is that even though the city continues to grow, it’s still possible to connect with resources. Relationships are easy to build and maintain.

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it?

Actually, we run into challenges on a frequent basis. A common challenge is finding that the preliminary details of an event have changed upon our arrival to the location, which leaves us to make the needed changes in a very short period of time (usually minutes). This recurring challenge has trained us to grow in efficiency and given us the discipline to handle rapidly-changing situations.

What is your biggest goal for your company in the next year?

We realize that most companies have events to plan. Special occasions, parties, general sessions and even small meetings can be enhanced with entertainment and décor. We act as a one turn-key operation that can provide all necessary details to facilitate all of these needs. It is our goal to reach out to and show what we can offer at a budget-friendly cost.

What's the best advice you ever received?

The best advice we have ever received is to "run our business".  By this, we mean to be forthright, overly accommodating, meet the needs of our clients - not our own needs - and to have great communication skills.

How do you define success?

Success is being given a new day to wake up to and being grateful to God for loving what we do. Happiness = success!

duGard Communications

What sets duGard Communications apart from other PR or marketing firms?

duGard Communications (dGC) is a consulting firm focused on strategic communications designing strategies that integrate PR and Marketing to grow business. We have the experience to provide strategic focus that produces results and the ability to foster growth for our clients.

What advice do you have for other women looking to start or grow their own business? 

Building a business is not as easy as it looks. Having a strong network is what helped us get started. For our team, that meant gaining corporate experience first. In retrospect, it was important that our skills were refined in an established, corporate environment and that people we worked with built trust in our abilities. As we continued to progress in corporate environments, our ability to network across industries and build relationships outside of the company and within the community expanded. These early steps allowed us to execute the beginning stages of dGC, which I opened during the 2008 recession. It’s also important to determine how to stay true to yourself and understand that as a woman, 'staying true to yourself' could mean various things throughout the various stages of life. For example, my 25-year-old self had a much different perspective on life (and what was important) than I do today. Learning to be ok with that, listening to what becomes important and honoring that within yourself takes maturity. It also means you need to learn how to communicate effectively to key stakeholders in your life. If, as a young woman (or young professional) you can determine how to do this early, it will truly assist in dealing with your own progress.

How can small businesses stay ahead in the world of big-budget digital marketing campaigns?

Small businesses have to adapt to technology just like everyone else. Digital marketing campaigns are such a staple in building relationships with consumers - regardless of the industry - that they must be incorporated as a strategic offering in all levels from small businesses to corporations. We have found, as a small business, that there is an advantage in learning new technologies from diverse communities and areas that have not been tapped. For example, we intentionally recruit interns from Tennessee State and Middle Tennessee State University. Often, our interns are three steps ahead of the polished digital strategies that our industry is using to communicate with audiences. As a result, we build strategies that incorporate traditional digital strategies (website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) with up-and-coming or uncovered technologies to enhance disruptive techniques and build results. In addition, we tailor our programs to achieve client objectives and ensure there is never a cookie-cutter approach in what we do. This has allowed us to stay competitive and ensures that we provide measurable results.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?  

It has been helpful to attend large announcement events that help us network with key members of the community. We have also utilized the small business networking activities as a way for our employees to expand their network and grow professionally.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Being right in the middle of all the growth that we are experiencing is wonderful; this has also led to key conversations about intentional prosperity and equitable access for all people who migrate into the region. The fact that there is more focused conversation on minorities, women and small businesses also benefiting from our cities growth is great too. We just need to put more of this into action.

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

To grow revenue and presence in key industry verticals such as transit, health care and financial services.

What's the best advice you ever received?

Be true to yourself, be kind to others,  love life and trust in God – in both the valleys as well as on top of the mountain.

How do you define success?

Seeing our clients achieve measurable results from our strategies, staff and revenue growth, and being part of our community’s growth and positively impacting the lives of others. The most important way we define success is ensuring that the children in our lives (nieces, nephews and little cousins) have the best chance to be competitive and successful in their passions and future professions.

Answers by Perri duGard Owens, President and CEO of duGard Communications. 

Tyler Cauble - Vastland Realty Group

How has the commercial real estate market in Nashville changed since you started working in the industry? 

When I first started working in commercial real estate 4 years ago, the climate was almost the opposite of what it is today. Commercial real estate tends to lag a little bit behind residential, so although Nashville was experiencing a boom in home sales commercial deals were still slow. There were plenty of vacant properties on the market and incentives being offered to attract tenants, but we've seen a strong shift towards a landlord's market in the last two years. Now, tenants are lucky to find properties that fit most of their criteria and cannot expect landlords to offer any improvements like they used to. 

What advice can you give business owners that are struggling to find a location? 

Work with a broker! Really - even if it's not me, it's definitely in your best interest to have a professional on your side that knows the market and understands how these deals work. They'll do all the leg work for you and you don't even have to pay their fee!

What role do physical storefronts play in an economy that’s increasingly digital? 

Physical storefronts are just as important, if not more important, as ever. These storefronts provide customer awareness and a showroom for various products. While many retailers that offer trinkets and small items are starting to disappear, we're seeing many more service based businesses growing into retail locations. You'll see many more medical offices, mortgage companies, restaurants, etc. taking over shopping centers as their target customer already shops there. 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership? 

The opportunity to connect and learn from other like-minded individuals in Nashville. The relationships I've developed are invaluable and the Chamber is on the forefront of information regarding our region. 

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee? 

Getting to live in Nashville! I love my city and can't imagine living anywhere else. 

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it. 

We recently had a deal that should have been wrapped up in less than 90 days take over 5 months. That can be stressful when you don't get paid unless the deal closes, but my team and I stayed on top of everything on our end and kept a very open line of communication to ensure we kept the ball in play. 

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

To continue the growth trajectory we've had in recent years and triple our volume once again.  

What's the best advice you ever received? 

Take action. Too many people wait around for something to happen and I've always found that the harder I worked, the luckier I got. 

How do you define success? 

I love how everyone has a different definition of success - and they're all correct! But for me, in my line of work, I see success as a skyscraper on the Nashville skyline that is as architecturally significant as Earl Swensson's AT&T Headquarters. I'll have it one day!

To learn more about Tyler Cauble and Vastland Realty Group, visit his website

Long, Burnett and Johnson PLLC

Who is Long, Burnett and Johnson, PLLC and what should membership know about your products and services? 

Long, Burnett and Johnson, PLLC is a small bankruptcy law firm in Nashville that focuses its practice on helping consumers who have debt problems. Our attorneys and staff are all committed to finding solutions to client problems, including negotiation with creditors and bankruptcy representation. Many of our clients have suffered for a long time before coming to see us and are often relieved to find that a solution to their struggles is within their grasp. While we occasionally see tears, they are almost always tears of relief and joy. From saving a client’s house from foreclosure, to protecting their automobiles from repossession, the solutions we find allow our clients to continue their lives, take care of their families and find a light at the end of the tunnel.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Middle Tennessee is a great place for doing business because of the people. We are natives and have seen lots of changes in the area over the prior decades. But even with all the changes we continue to see, we still find the best part of Middle Tennessee to be the people. People here seem to be a bit more concerned with their neighbors than elsewhere. We still have a small-town mentality with all the benefits of a big city. Over a lifetime in Middle Tennessee, we have found that if you treat others right they will return the favor. 

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

We believe the key to success is not focusing on the normal metrics of business, but on the success of our customers. While smart business decisions us to continue helping people, we firmly believe that if you place customers first, the rest will follow. We are experiencing the truth of that sentiment in our firm. It is tempting to remain caught up in the bottom line and lose sight of why you do what you do. But without customers there can be no business. By focusing on customer success, you create the best advertising for future business one can obtain: people telling friends and family about your business. One well-placed personal recommendation is worth a thousand advertisements. 

How do you define success?

Success for our business is finding a way to surround ourselves with others who have the same passion we do and truly being a service to our community. From a personal perspective, the old adage rings true: find something you love to do and you’ll never work another day. Studies show most are dissatisfied with how they earn a living and to be in the minority and wake up every day eager to face the day’s challenge and do what you love is the ultimate in success.

Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center

Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center is named for one of the groundbreakers in medicine from the middle of the 20th Century, Dr. Matthew Walker Sr. Today, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center provides comprehensive health care services to patients in the communities where they live and work, regardless of their health insurance status. The Nashville Chamber is proud to call MWCHC a member of our business community.

Crossslin, PLLC

How important is community involvement for Crosslin?

Giving has been a cornerstone of Crosslin from the beginning. Our founders fully believed in giving back wholeheartedly to the community, which has given our business the opportunity to thrive. Since the company’s inception, our team members have provided inspiration for our philanthropic involvement, and have been involved with a variety of organizations. As a group, we truly care about our community and the unmet needs we see around us. From children to the elderly, to special needs individuals and even animals, our team has always stepped up to the plate to help wherever we can. We have created and continue to foster the giving culture at Crosslin. In fact, in one year alone, our team members volunteered a total of 4,563 hours. 

Crosslin seeks ways to serve the community, whether through food drives, collecting school supplies or throwing holiday celebrations for those in need. We are proud of our efforts and pledge to continue and expand our involvement in the community. Crosslin’s community efforts have been recognized by the public as we were named a Corporate Philanthropy Winner in 2011 and 2013 and a Corporate Giving Winner in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the Nashville Business Journal. We are especially proud of these awards as it points directly to making a difference in the lives of others. 

How does working with Crosslin differ from working with a large national or international firm?

Crosslin was created with the desire to provide companies with an alternative to the large regional and national accounting firm options. The company founders believed a regional firm with national firm resources could provide quality service to organizations with more reasonable fees and more personal attention. As larger regional and national firms focused on larger customers, Crosslin has served privately-owned companies, non-profits, governmental agencies and enterprises and has also provided alternative services for the Securities and Exchange Commission market. After 30 successful years, we continue to operate the company on that same founding principle. By providing top-quality customer service with direct involvement from upper management, Crosslin has found success in offering customers an affordable and effective alternative to large regional, national or international firms. 

What advice can you offer to businesses that are growing rapidly along with the Nashville economy?

  1. Stay focused on your desired goal. It’s very easy to be solely focused on revenue, which can detract a company from where it truly wants to go. 
  2. Continually look ahead and anticipate/plan for changes in the business environment. Always have an idea of what to do when things don’t go as planned.
  3. Keep an open mind. Modify or change strategic goals if necessary.

To learn more about Crosslin, their services and company culture, visit

Center for Spine, Joint, and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation

Who is SJNMR and what is your mission?

The Center for Spine, Joint, and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation believes in placing the care of the patient above all. Our mission is to provide comprehensive state-of-the-art treatments for disorders of the spine, joints, nerves and muscles through a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates traditional medicine, complementary medicine, behavioral therapy, physical rehabilitation, nutritional guidance and general fitness education together. Our goal is to maximize the patient’s quality of life through appropriate pain relief, functional rehabilitation and community reintegration. 

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

We believe the best part about doing business in Middle Tennessee is the people and the sense of community. Middle Tennessee is culturally diverse, yet religions, ideas, beliefs and customs come together so well, and the people who live here create a sense of regional inclusion. 

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

Working in the field of Pain Management is challenging. Due to opioid addiction and abuse, regulations are getting stricter. We want to help to be part of the solution to help reduce abuse in Tennessee. We focus on patient education to ensure our patients keep their prescriptions safeguarded and take them as prescribed. We also have processes in place to reduce non-compliance and identify potential problems.  We believe the stricter regulations are needed. We welcome the challenge and support the change.

How do you define success?

At the Center for Spine, Joint, and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, we define success based on our patient outcomes. We strive to restore patients functionality as much as possible while controlling and reducing pain. We have several service offerings to manage pain for non-opioid treatment or in conjunction with opioid treatment. SJNMR stays abreast of new techniques and procedures to reduce or eliminate chronic pain.


InfoWorks is involved in many community organizations. Why is community involvement a priority for your team? 

InfoWorks is a 100% employee-owned ESOP company. All of the employee-owners understand that their personal engagement in organizations serving the community is one of the keys to InfoWorks’ reputation. A fundamental goal is seeing InfoWorks recognized as a Best Places to Work company every year. Community service helps define the culture of the company and further strengthens our sense of team.

How has the recent explosive growth in the Nashville area affected InfoWorks as an organization? 

We have had the opportunity to add team members over the past few years from all regions of the country with diverse backgrounds and experience. We don’t actively recruit outside of Tennessee – talented people are moving to Nashville and identifying InfoWorks as an option for making an impact on the local economy.

What is unique about your organization’s approach to finding solutions for your clients?

InfoWorks provides total solutions that consider and impact your entire business. We combine the right core competencies with diverse expertise and deep industry knowledge spanning across analytics, management, and technology for many of the largest companies in the Mid-South. We will tailor strategies focused on getting clients into new revenue streams, create technology solutions that help leapfrog competitors, provide role-based work to augment your existing projects and work with company leaders to create metrics and dashboards that enable data-driven decisions to drive successful, lasting results. With our 20 years of experience, we have amassed a diverse mix of people from industry veterans to new and fresh thinkers with the agility and experience to help you navigate the unknown and maximize positive impacts on every level.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership? 

InfoWorks became a member of the Chamber when the company was founded 20 years ago. One of the four goals set by the Chamber aligns directly with our own company’s strategy: Engage – Help develop a collective vision for the future and work together to make it happen.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee? 

The diversity of clients we work with, from Fortune 500 corporations to small entrepreneurial business, as well as universities and multiple non-profit organizations.

Renewal House

Renewal House is the only addiction treatment center in Tennessee that allows mothers and their children to remain together in one facility. While women get the treatment they need, their children receive specialized attention to address the issues that can arise in families affected by addiction.

You can learn more about Renewal House's mission, and their upcoming fundraiser A Renewal House Thanksgiving, on their website.

First Community Mortgage

It’s no secret that the Nashville area housing market is booming. How has that affected First Community Mortgage?

It has certainly kept us busy and for that we are thankful. We are fortunate to be in the greater Nashville region and to be a part of such a vibrant market. The number of homes being purchased creates time pressure on collecting, reviewing and processing all the necessary documentation. But seeing the benefit of home ownership to those we serve is what motivates us.

It has also affected us in another significant way. While home ownership is popular, there are segments of our population and geographic locations that are greatly underserved. In order to address that, we created a division of our company called the Multicultural Lending Initiative (MCLI). That team is advancing several initiatives focused on serving the Hispanic and African American population and exploring key sub-markets that need our services.

How can Nashville area homeowners best use your expertise is today’s market?

Time is a critical factor in purchasing a home. Being pre-qualified is a very important first step. Using our expertise to help determine how much someone can afford saves time and anxiety later. It points potential buyers to homes they can afford and streamlines the process. It gives everyone the ability to proceed with confidence that a transaction will close successfully.

We are also seeing an increase in multiple offer situations.  Our experienced loan officers have been able to help our buyers, and their Realtors, structure offers that are beneficial to the borrower but also attractive to the seller.  This increases their chances of having their offer accepted over others.

Another way to leverage our mortgage experts in Middle Tennessee would be through education.  Many companies are bringing in experienced loan officers to hold homebuyer education classes during a lunch, morning, or afternoon session for their employees.  It’s a great perk for their employees to be able to learn about such a big financial commitment, and have the opportunity to ask an expert questions regarding refinancing or buying a home in a setting where they are comfortable. 

To learn more about any of these opportunities, and others, reach out to us at

How has being a Chamber member helped you grow?

Being a Chamber member means so much. It connects us with valuable resources and expertise available from other members, creates opportunities for visibility and gives us access to beneficial business information about the region. Also, the advocacy work done by the Chamber is something we would never be able to do as well by ourselves. By speaking as the voice for business in the region, significant issues in the business community are addressed very effectively. 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

Relationships. The Chamber creates a platform to connect with other business leaders in the Greater Nashville region. We can connect on business opportunities, community service, or advocacy issues. The natural connections that happen through Chamber membership is a major value for us and something we are very grateful for.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Middle Tennessee is growing. There is no denying that. But it is still a relationship-driven community. Knowing the people you do business with matters. Sometimes that even means across more than one generation. Seeing those people in the community engaged in improving the region far beyond just doing business here makes this a special location. First Community Mortgage is committed to following that model. It is important to note that those who are moving here need not feel left out of those relationships. They are welcomed into the process of continuing the kind of culture that makes this region so popular.

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

A challenge First Community Mortgage faced was how to connect with those underserved by the mortgage profession. The traditional advertising methods are not effective in accomplishing that, so we became more creative in our thinking. We decided to explore a strategic partnership with Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. FCM now offers homebuyer education classes and information in their facilities to anyone interested, including the Goodwill staff. Providing homeownership information in that context allows us to serve a population that may not have known they could benefit a great deal from homeownership.

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

First Community Mortgage has enjoyed significant success to the point that our volume doubled from 2014 to 2016. Building correctly on that foundation – continuing our growth, and scaling our organization, in a way that allows us to remain committed to a culture of serving others as the Employer of Choice and Lender of Choice – is what drives us. 

What's the best advice you ever received?

Dream big. First Community Mortgage was launched and built on dreams. We want to continue dreaming bigger every year and let those dreams motivate creativity, energy, innovation and opportunities to serve others. 

How do you define success?

Consistent progress in accomplishing our greatest potential when it comes to serving our customers, employees, community and shareholders. We know we have tremendous potential. As we accomplish more of it, we see more of what we can become. That causes us to set more goals and pursue their accomplishment so that we do not ever become stagnant or complacent

Learn more about First Community Mortgage here.


There is a tech boom happening across the country. Do you think Nashville is keeping up with demand for technology solutions?

Yes, I think Nashville has embraced the technology community.  Technology is no longer a singular vertical – it’s advancing the very fabric of business practice, from health care and patient management to automation and advancement in manufacturing to customer engagement and sales in retail. Technology is an integral part of business today, and with the exponential growth the Nashville region is experiencing, it only makes sense for the industry to follow. More advancement in technology in Nashville helps everyone.

What sets Bedroc apart from other tech companies?

Our focus on delivering results sets us apart. We are laser focused on working arm in arm with our clients to achieve success. We are not interested in promoting a single product or shiny new technology. Bedroc is founded on the principles of building solutions tied directly to our partners’ overall business goals. We are strategic in our planning, focused in our goals and efficient in our execution. We are our clients’ business partners, not just another vendor.

How has being Nashville Chamber members helped Bedroc grow?

Our growth can be attributed to many aspects of our partnership with the Nashville Chamber. From member mixers to member spotlights to recognition of success through program like the NEXT Awards (of which we were Market Mover finalists and winner several years in a row), our partnership with the Nashville Chamber has both increased our visibility as a technology company as well as given us new insight into trends and business growth in the Nashville area. 

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Chamber membership?

The most valuable aspect of our Chamber membership has been the professional development and relationship building. Nashville is a great city in which to build relationships, and through both the Chamber and our interaction in the community, we’ve been able to establish more relationships and further foster existing ones outside of typical business interactions.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Middle Tennessee is great for business because our reputation and delivery matters more than almost anything. We are proud of our reputation in the area and proud of our team members who execute programs and solutions while helping our clients achieve their business goals.

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

We had tremendous employee growth in 2016. With unemployment being very low in IT, we had to look outside of the Nashville market and even partner with others to keep up with client demand. When we hear from our clients that they are having trouble filling IT positions in their organizations, we can understand their pain. We’ve been there too.

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

To use our new location as a hub for innovation. We just moved our headquarters to Berry Hill and we’re excited to open our doors to our clients, organizations and the community. We want to leverage our new location to help customers collaborate with technology partners to create unique solutions that drive business value. 

What's the best advice you ever received?

Focus on results!

How do you define success?

Success is defined by managing growth with a focus on customer satisfaction. Our business’ success is directly tied to the success of our clients and partners, and we’re truly invested in the success of our clients.

Questions answered by Bedroc CEO Chase Wilkinson. Find out more about Bedroc on their website.

Office Evolution

Office Evolution currently has, or will soon have, locations in 20 states and 55 cities across the country. What brought Office Evolution to Nashville?

New Office Evolution locations are driven by local owners who recognize the potential for Office Evolution in their area. As a businessman who has worked in Nashville since 1995, I recently decided to own my own business and considered a number of different franchise opportunities.  Office Evolution has a winning model and was clearly a perfect fit for Nashville’s strong community of entrepreneurs and tremendous business environment. We will be holding our Grand Opening event on August 8, 2017 to open our doors to the community.

What benefits can business owners find with a co-working space, like Office Evolution, that they can’t find in a traditional office setting?

Office Evolution members benefit from the convenience of affordable, nicely-furnished offices and workspaces with all the services such as copiers, beverage service, mailboxes, phone answering, receptionist services and conference rooms without the commitments of long-term leases, buying equipment and furniture and hiring support people. Member agreements can be as short as one month and scale from as low as a $99/month business lounge membership all the way up to a variety of private office choices.

How do you think being Nashville Area Chamber members will help you build your business? 

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce provides a number of vibrant and engaged networking opportunities. Engaging with these networks will help increase awareness of our new Office Evolution location in the emerging Nations Neighborhood. Office Evolution is a great product and increasing awareness is the critical element to building our business.

What's the best thing about doing business in Middle Tennessee?

Nashville is a great town for so many reasons from quality of life, entertainment, innovation, positive culture, recreation, geography and logistics. It’s attracting entrepreneurs from around the country and businesses from around the world.

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

My biggest goal is to have Office Evolution in The Nations up and operating at full capacity so I can focus on opening another Office Evolution location in the Greater Nashville area. I am deeply thankful for Karen Woermann who is the Business Center Manager for Office Evolution Nashville; she is doing a wonderful job bringing in new members while supporting our growing number of existing members.

How do you define success?

For me, success is balance: Am I taking the right steps to achieve my economic goals? Am I investing in my relationships with my family, friends and colleagues? Am I living each day with a focus on my spiritual and physical wellness?

Questions answered by Office Evolution Nashville franchise owner Mike Patenaude.


What is Mixtroz?

Mixtroz is a technology company that drives live event attendees from the digital space to the physical space in real time while collecting data. Mixtroz can be used to enhance networking, breakouts, seated lunches and more!

How can other businesses in Nashville leverage a platform like Mixtroz to reach a more diverse audience?

As you can imagine, we attend a lot of events! It’s great to see so many brands in Middle Tennessee looking to engage their local consumers via sponsorships at events and hosting their own activations.  The largest area for improvement that we see across the event landscape is what attendees actually do once they are onsite at the event.  You have to think to yourself, “Aside from wine and hors ‘d oeuvre’s, why do people make the time to leave their homes to attend live events?” The answer to us is face-to-face connection. At Mixtroz, we enhance the engagement of event attendees while capturing data for our clients that drives future marketing and programming decisions. 

What advice do you have for other women looking to start or grow their own businesses?

As modern women, we multitask almost to a fault.  If your dream is to start and grow a business, the first and most important step is to simply start. You may not be able to delegate eight hours a day to your business idea at first, but setting aside even small contributions can help you chip away at your goals. 

How has Chamber membership helped Mixtroz grow? 

As new Chamber members, we’re so excited to immerse ourselves into the organization’s vast community and networks.  We are so lucky to be in a booming ecosystem and we look forward to the connections we’ll make that will propel our tech business forward. The more connections we can make, especially as a minority, female-founded tech startup, the more Nashville will be seen as a great place to start and grow a business in an inclusive environment.

Just within the first few weeks of joining the Chamber, we were invited to participate in a think tank with other small business owners, and the feedback from that session has already been put into action. That is powerful!

Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.

It can be incredibly intimidating to create market awareness for your brand when you’re working in a field that isn’t your original area of expertise.  We recently attended a conference in in which we wore branded t-shirts that read “Black. Female, Founder, Fund Me”.  Not only was this a great marketing tool, but it also proved to be a conversations starter, so much so that we landed a 2-page article in FORBES.

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

Our biggest goal is to close our current $800K funding round and begin scaling our business, including refining our back-end development, expanding the core team and further developing our marketing plan in order to establish a national brand presence.

What's the best advice you ever received?

Not so much advice, moreso inspiration that we look to, to keep pushing forward. Entrepreneurship is hard. When we hit a rough patch, we always remember this quote from Misty Copeland, the first African American female dancer with the American Ballet Theatre: “You can start late. Look different. Be uncertain. And still succeed.”

How do you define success?

Success is defined by progress. To many people, this journey seems unthinkable. But we’re smart, savvy hustlers that have evolved our skillset in order to solve a problem. The future is to reimagine the way things have been done create new and innovative ways in which to tackle problems . We are doing our part to reshape the way the world thinks about women in non-traditional businesses 

To experience the free Mixtroz demo for yourself, please download the app from the iOS or Google Play stores.

Sweet Creations Pie Bakery

Sweet Creations Pie Bakery, located on Historic Jefferson Street in North Nashville, is helping revitalize the area and bring career opportunities to the community. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce spoke to owner Barbara Toms about her business, and how being Chamber members has helped Sweet Creations Pie Bakery grow and succeed.

Nossi College of Art

What is the most valuable aspect of Chamber membership for Nossi?

Together with the Nashville Chamber, Nossi College of Art is able to connect to a variety of business professionals so we can keep a pulse on Nashville’s creative and tech needs. We have specifically been preparing for tech careers and advances in Nashville by understanding the area’s hiring needs.  Our goal is to help Middle Tennessee companies hire locally when it comes to job openings for web and graphic designers, videographers, photographers and illustrators.

What are some new things Nossi is offering?

This fall we have three new opportunities for adults of all levels. We have a bachelor's degree in Web & Interactive design, teaching students how to design with code.

We also have two certificate programs for professional development opportunities. One is User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI) design, a top need in the Nashville area for employers. The other is a Photography certificate, for those dependent upon visual storytelling for their business - another in-demand skill due to an increase in social media usage.

Why the focus on web design?

Nossi spent months researching critical tech skills needed in the Nashville area that are not currently being addressed. We also connected with employers to discuss needs they have when hiring new employees. We discovered a high demand for access to talented, local web designers focused on UX/UI design. Nossi is the perfect design college to teach it, as we already offer web design opportunities.

What is Nossi’s biggest company goal in the next year?

In the fall 2018 semester, Nossi will be offering a master's degree in instructional design. This degree allows graduates to work at the many universities in town or to work as corporate trainers in the private sector.

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