Four years ago, the Maynard Group began an annual luncheon as an educational and networking opportunity for women in business and particularly entrepreneurs. The 4th Power of WE – Women Entrepreneurs Luncheon was held on March 28 in the Inman Conference Center at Belmont University, hosted by Belmont’s Director of Community Relations Joyce Searcy. The speaker was Vivian Pickard, president / CEO of The Pickard Group, president / CEO (retired) General Motors Foundation and director of Corporate Relations. She gave a tightly organized and extraordinary master class in her remarks.
Mistress of Ceremony for the day was Page Turner, host of the HGTV weekly home improvement and business opportunity show Flip or Flop Nashville. She introduced Nashville/Metropolitan Davidson County Mayor David Briley, who spoke to the crowd about his landmark Equal Business Opportunity legislation, highlighting the benefits it will have for minority- and women-owned businesses that work with Metro. Briley also acknowledged several elected officials and others in the audience, including Sharon Hurt, Burkley Allen, Brenda Gilmore and Judge Linda Jones. Briley described how from his mother and wife he early on had “learned how important it is to have a woman’s voice in the room when decisions are made,” and that his 8:30 am Monday morning staff meetings are majority women.
Marilyn Robinson, executive director of the Nashville Minority Business Center, was the recipient of the inaugural Trailblazers Award for her life-long achievements in the Nashville business community. In introducing Robinson, Ashley Northington, the award-winning marketing communication strategist and entrepreneur, and founder of DENOR Brands + Public Relations, noted Robinson’s lengthy resume of accomplishments. In accepting, Robinson noted, “I am really honored that you thought enough of me to give me this honor.”
During her ‘master class’ address, Pickard went in-depth about her Seven Keys to Unlocking Success. In brief, they are as follows: 1) Mentorship, 2) Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, 3) Always give others the credit, 4) Utilize resources and relationships of/with women around you, 5) The secret of living is giving (giving back to the community), 6)Keep re-inventing yourself, and 7)Keep the core of who you are (maintain your personal integrity).
Following up on the keynote, Pickard and Robinson joined Sarah Patton, entrepreneur owner of Social Bliss Events and founder of Creative Souls Tribe, and Courtenay Rogers, director of Pathway Women’s Business Center, to form a four-member panel. The panelists addressed questions from the audience and shared their personal stories of what it takes to achieve success through goal setting, overcoming adversity, and accessing personal and professional resources.
Pickard, having excelled in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur, was asked to name one challenge she had encountered in common and one unique to each sphere. Robinson was asked, as a trailblazer, about differences in advocacy compared to 35 years ago. Patton was asked what inspired her to become an entrepreneur, and why in her particular business sector. Rogers, who had served as a Navy officer, was asked how did she transition from a military career to a career focused on developing women in business. Proceeds from the event benefit the educational programs and provide scholarships for women students at Belmont University. Mark your calendars now for the 5th Power of WE luncheon on March 26, 2020.