brenna%20and%20calvert%20gentry-550?v=2

Fascinating Females

Five Women Building Community While Following Their Dreams

-- Lieutenant Charlene Forehand, City of Franklin Fire Department
What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Whatever troubles or problems you have in your life, you don’t have to look far to see that someone else’s problems are way worse. I once had a sick family member I was concerned about. Things were looking bleak, and while driving that person to the hospital, I got a call from someone whose situation was way worse. I thought, 'My situation is bad, but theirs is terrible.' I think about that whenever I hit a hard time. My troubles might be bad, but many others are having an even harder time. I want to help people who are
in tough situations however I can.

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?
The two different attitudes I encountered, depending on the person. Some people were accepting of me being a female firefighter and others were not. I had never experienced anything like that, but I kept doing my best and I guess over time I won them over. There are probably still some who have reservations about a fire lieutenant being female. I don’t dwell on it. I just do my best.

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do? 
Country is all I’ve ever known! I’ve lived within three miles of the same spot my whole life. I have relatives that have been here since before it was a county. I do like it here, and I don’t know any different.

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted? 
Besides win the lottery, retire and homeschool my son? I’m reminded of a country song by Justin Moore called “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.” I live on land, and I can also go to my grandparents’ land, and wouldn’t it be neat to walk along that land and hear the stories from the people who walked that land many years ago? To learn of their hardships, their victories, what they experienced, to just be able to talk to them? That would be pretty cool.

-- Cristina Maillo Belda, Vice President, Communications, Nashville Soccer Club
What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Numerous mentors have helped me in my professional journey, and one thing I’ve heard time and again is how important it is to build a community of strong and meaningful relationships. That community is what makes our work valuable and what I enjoy most about my career. My mentors aren’t just colleagues in the workspace, they’re dear family friends. Also if you do the right thing and give 100%, you’ll never be disappointed. Even if things don’t work out the way you hope, you’ll know you did your best, and they’ll
work out eventually!

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?
I moved to this country from Bejar, Salamanca, Spain without knowing anyone. Early in my career, I worked for companies that folded or who had to let me go, and I surprised myself with my resilience. I had to figure out how to re-invent myself, how to keep striving and go on, despite the setbacks I’ve inevitably experienced. I was able to build a community and relationships in a new culture. I’m glad I was able to do that so well and keep moving forward.

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do? 
A little bit of both. I was born in the countryside, so I gravitate towards nature to find balance and find myself. I also love what cities have to offer, the culture, music, entertainment, sports.  I’ve lived in six U.S. cities: Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Portland, Los Angeles and Nashville. I love living in Tennessee. The people are friendly, it’s a great sports community and a wonderful place to raise our family.

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted? 
I wish for people to really be able to accept themselves for who they are, their beauty, strengths and weaknesses, to have appreciation for themselves. I think that would provide the opportunity for everyone to accept others more freely. I want to raise my little girl [Luna, 20 months of sassiness!] with positivity and self-awareness, the ability to appreciate herself and appreciate others. We all play an important role.

-- Wendy L. Latimer: Wife, Mom, Oma. Full-time volunteer for the visual arts: Middle Tennessee Region Coordinator - Tennessee Watercolor Society (TnWS); Coordinator for the Art Colony, Franklin; Board Member of the Williamson County Arts Council and the Tennessee Art League
What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?
I’ve learned along the way in life and through volunteerism, when people of like interests come together, we build relationships, learn and grow.  A special song in my life is "What A Wonderful World" performed by Louis Armstrong. I love the lyrics. It takes you to a great spiritual place, above anything else going on in your life. 

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?
I was surprised the first time I took a leadership position in my children’s elementary school PTA. I followed them to school one day and seldom left. Schools desperately needed help in those days. I built a community of volunteers with programs. When asked by the principal how and why I did so much, I said, "God raised my hand.” I didn't know how to run PTA programs but I learned! I thought I was shy…hardly.
 

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do?

I grew up in a small community in Clearwater, Florida. After several moves with my husband, Garry, work moved us to Williamson County. While I love and miss the gulf waters of Florida, I learned to love four seasons, hills and the glory of the landscape that Tennessee has to offer. Tennessee nature inspires my life and my art.

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted?
My dream would be to find benefactors and lead the creation of an art hub and marketplace for our local community and artists across the state. Most smaller communities in Tennessee have them. Our state is rich with artists of every genre. We need walls and a roof to showcase the work of all kinds of artists, from new artists just getting started, to the most successful artists. We need space for mentoring, classes, socials, workshops and gallery walls … a Center for the Arts! 

-- Margaret Ziegler, Owner, Vintage 615

What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?

One of my favorites is by Wilma Rudolph who overcame childhood polio and went on to become a world-record-holding Olympic champion: “My doctor told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” -Wilma Rudolph

I had the same kinda Mama. She believed I could do anything. Her love and belief empowered, inspired and motivated me her whole life.

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?

When you go after your dreams you are always in motion, in your thoughts, in opportunities, in situations. Doors open, doors close. As long as you keep taking steps forward you never know what’s going to happen next. My friends will ask me how it's going and I’ll say, 'Just following the Yellow Brick Road!!!' By following the path I believe God has carved out for me, it’s always something surprising that blows my mind and is beyond my wildest dreams.

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do?

Living where we do is the best of both worlds. We live two miles from downtown Franklin, and our subdivision backs up to the Harpeth River, so there are huge fields behind our house that are floodplains. No houses can ever be built back there. There are paths, trails, woods, the river, and it feels like the country but we are close to everything. I have to add that I worked in downtown Nashville for 17 years and I loved, loved, loved the fast pace of the city. So I’m not sure what “mouse” I am.

And here it is - the one-wish question!  What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted?

My daughter and I talk about this all the time! I would wish to win the lottery. There are so many people we could help and change lives for the better. I don’t need another home or a different car, but there are people who do need things we sometimes take for granted. I would love to make a positive impact in the lives of others (and, if there was a small bit of money remaining, I would love to travel and see some of God’s beautiful creations).

-- Brenna Gentry and Calvert Gentry McMahan, Sisters and Co-owners of Luna Record Shop 
What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Calvert: If you think you can't accomplish something prove yourself wrong. This is something I tell myself as I’m not a risk taker, and opening this business was a huge undertaking; I was so nervous going into it. If it wasn't for Brenna, my sister, co-owner and best friend, giving me confidence and support, I might not have started this business. I’m so glad I did and I try to incorporate that motto into many things in my life. 

Brenna: As a partial pessimist, I’ve never been attracted to quotes or motivational posters. The standard 'don't give up' has helped me achieve my goals. You can fall, you can stumble, or it can take longer than you hoped for. Just keep pushing and adjust as needed. 

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?
Brenna: Trying to balance the things that inspire me and what I 'thought' my business would look like while making sure our market is happy and covered. You can't be successful without being true to yourself, but you have to allow room for change when needed. 

Calvert: In the beginning, there was so much to do and learn. We each had our strengths and I was surprised by how my confidence grew while growing the business, and that I’m able to manage the financial side to the extent that I do. 

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do? 
Brenna: I’m a farm girl at heart with nighttime city skyline dreams. We’re the rare fourth-generation Franklin natives and it's wild to see the changes, but I’m thankful that our hometown isn't a place we want to run away from.

Calvert: I’m a country mouse living in a city. I’ve watched Franklin go from a tiny little town surrounded by farmland to the growth that you see today. I like that I can share the history of this town and that my family is still here. 

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted? 
Brenna: There’s a lot on the larger scale, but in my world, I would say that my family wouldn’t ever have to be without each other in our lives. 

Calvert: That is easy. That my sons will get to live happy, healthy long lives. 

-- CJ Dickson, Founder & Creative Director, CJ’s Off the Square Weddings & Events
What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals?

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
This quote inspires every aspect of how I run CJ’s Off the Square. From the products and services we offer, to managing my team, and even the businesses we partner with. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you say or even what you do. It’s how those actions are interpreted by your clients and guests. That’s what matters. Creating an environment of heartfelt hospitality is essential for me and my team. We want every client and guest to feel appreciated. We’re grateful for them and want them to know what they mean to us.

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams?
I was surprised by how much paperwork is involved in running a business. It’s more than just having a good idea, finding customers, and delivering. There’s paperwork for taxes, licenses, employment forms, compliance, contracts and invoices. Being an employer is different from being an employee. Paperwork is where a lot of creative entrepreneurs get bogged down, but I’ve found that I’m pretty good at it. It gives my type-A personality a moment to shine!
 
Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do?
I lived in Hillsboro Village before moving to Franklin to start CJ’s Off the Square in 2004. While I love Nashville, I adore living and working in Franklin. There’s no place I’d rather be. From our charming historic district to the stunning countryside, there’s always something to do while being surrounded by the nicest people. People are so willing to help and are passionate and invested in our town. The amenities of Nashville are just up the road but coming home to Main Street is so special. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted?
Specifically for downtown Franklin, I wish there was a train service like the Music City Star for public transit between Franklin and Nashville. I understand this is challenging and expensive, but it would make such a difference for local small businesses that depend on visitors being able to easily access our shops, restaurants and venues. It would also lessen the traffic impact downtown. The easier we make it for people to visit, the more will come, and this benefits everyone in the long run.

-- Claudia Zuazua, Community Development Manager, Williamson, Inc.

What favorite quote, advice or motto has inspired you to achieve your goals? 

Walk the extra mile, that will let people know what kind of person you are.

What is something that surprised you when you set out to follow your dreams? 

What has surprised me the most is that some dreams come true right away and some others take time and can come true in a very unexpected way. My life is completely different from what I pictured when I was young but, surprisingly, every dream I had has been accomplished so far.

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? What do you enjoy about living where we do? 

I am definitely a country mouse. I love nature. Being from another country, I can’t appreciate more how beautiful Nashville is. It’s so green. There are places around that can take your breath away. I think we are surrounded by our own little sanctuary.

And here it is - the one-wish question! What would you make happen, if you had one wish that could be granted?

Create awareness of the importance of our planet; each animal, each plant, every tree, every piece of it is fundamental to the cycle of life.

"I wish for people to really be able to accept themselves for who they are, their beauty, strengths and weaknesses, to have appreciation for themselves." -- Cristina Maillo Belda

Related Businesses

Related Articles