Kathy Thomas, owner of 615 Collective
Nashville is such an insanely popular place, but what does the region need that it doesn't already have?
Oh, what a great question; since you're asking a New Yorker, I could probably dive into this pretty deep, but two things: Intentional public meeting spaces, where people can dine outdoors, sit and read a book, and enjoy their morning coffee. We have so many neighborhoods that provide ecosystems of service providers in small concentrated areas, yet no communal space. Imagine if Broadway had a block that was reserved for cafe style seating for people to connect. Or if on 12 South in the middle of the businesses there was a communal public area with bike racks, tables, shade and a dog park attached to it. More outdoor space that doesn't stretch the outskirts of neighborhoods, yet erects itself right in the middle of all the action to create a space for pause that's designed to bring people together. New York has done an incredible job in Time Square, West Village and around 34th St. We could learn from this. My second would be more public bike rentals, the city has such an easy layout to navigate, I wish there was an initiative to get Nashvillians on more bikes.
What do you most like about working with the Nashville environment?
Oh I love that Nashville has that front porch swing, sipping tea, waving at every neighbor that passes by kind of vibe. I opened a coworking space, partially financed by crowdfunding, only after living here for 1.5 years. Everyone who supported my vision, my dream and bought into the concept when we didn't have HVAC, walls or even electricity; made me feel like I was welcome long before I even started calling Nashville home fulltime. Nashville is a place where everyone will lend a hand and cheer you on to succeed; that's rare in a city of this size and growth.
Why is public coworking space valuable, and especially beneficial to women?
I believe your house should be your home, not your office. I'm not sure when we started telling people that working from the same place you lay your head at night, do laundry, and dinner with family and friends should also be the place you work. Nashville is in the top 10 cities that produces the highest number of female entrepreneurs, yet every coworking space prior to Collective615 has a very heavy male make-up to not only in the design but the majority of memberships are held by men, too. Collective615 solved a void in the coworking environment in Nashville.
What type of networking steps or activities would you recommend?
One of the things Nashville excels at is providing women access to an abundance of networking resources. I believe there's a community for everyone in Nashville. I would recommend leaning into a network of people who fill your cup, support your endeavors and most of all inspire you to show up as your best self. That will look different for each person, so much like buying a great pair of jeans, you'll have to try a few on to find the one that best fits your needs, both professionally and personally. Some of my personal favorite ways to connect with like-minded women are groups, like TN Women Connect, Heels & Handshakes and BrainTrust, to name a few.
What personal motto helps guide your day-to-day decisions?
"Let Fear Be Your Fuel" -- if it doesn't scare me, I'm not stretching myself enough.
Britney Campbell, SVP of Marketing and Public Relations at Legends Bank
Britney's brainchild, Her Bank, is an initiative focused on delivering a better banking experience by women for women. "Banking is very much a relationship business. We're empathetic to situations and questions many women have, and are striving to be more accessible so we can brainstorm options with our female customers. It's about customers trusting us with their money, and we're flexible so they can lean on us when decisions matter most," she assures.
Britney says she got creative ideas about how to enhance banking relationships for women while connecting with other female business coaches, attorneys, wealth advisors and professionals at Collective615. "This location is filled with incredibly talented and intelligent women who've poured themselves into their business, yet conversations around money and finances were still uncomfortable. I wanted to find a way the bank could be a resource to improve women's confidence around these topics," she explains.
Britney also was one of five inspirational women who recently championed females in business through the "Women Empowering Women" campaign on The Nashville Sign for networking group Heels and Handshakes.
Shannen Stewart, President, Heels And Handshakes
Heels And Handshakes is an all-inclusive community dedicated to helping women in business and female business owners put their best "heel" forward. Shannen says it's an organization made up of fun, passion-driven individuals focused on advocating and advancing women in all facets of hospitality, tourism, and business in Middle Tennessee.
Kirbee Miller, founder of KiNiMi Kitchen
Some of Kirbee's fondest memories are based from cooking and baking in kitchens. "I'd select a variety of cookbooks from my mother’s backer’s rack, find a quiet place, often behind the couch with a blanket, and just get lost in my own culinary world of imagination and possibilities," she admits.
Nashville has a rich culinary history and there's a beautiful mixture of traditional Southern food, international cuisine and foods from all of the ‘transplant’ residents that have also made Nashville their home, Kirbee says.
"My heart is in the kitchen, and I get such joy through sharing love and the opportunity to connect over a table full of delicious, flavorful food. There are few things better than the few seconds of contemplative silence that follows the first bite of food then the person expresses how they feel sometimes in words, and sometimes with an expressive gesture. Yep, that never gets old," Kirbee assures.