In 2012, I wanted to further my involvement in the Nashville community, so I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. That membership has rewarded me with valuable friendships and a safe environment to share all aspects of my business and life.

A peer-to-peer support group for entrepreneurs with growing businesses and high revenue. It is a global organization that acts locally.

Our local EO has strong ties to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, a nonprofit organization connecting entrepreneurs with critical resources to create, launch and grow their business. EOers act as mentors for those burgeoning entrepreneurs and give them an opportunity for the next level of peer support when their businesses grow.

My wife, Sherry, sits on the Nashville Entrepreneur Center board and when they asked us to co-host the organization’s 2020 NEXT Awards, we didn’t hesitate to say “yes.” The spectacular, annual, black-tie event was scheduled to take place this fall in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Like many other festivities, COVID-19 has forced us to postpone the 2020 celebratory event until next year. We still need to raise money for the Entrepreneur Center.

So, what’s our pivot?  

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, we are launching the “Power of 10.” It is a fundraiser that incorporates a digital and social media campaign celebration of entrepreneurial success. The campaign will tell the story of the center through the voices of those who built it.

The “Power of 10” campaign allows us to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments, entrepreneurs, businesses and supporters of the Entrepreneur Center, and also raise the funds we had hoped to generate through the 2020 NEXT Awards.

Believe me, the Entrepreneur Center has many successes to celebrate. The nonprofit grew out of a Nashville Chamber/Partnership 2010 initiative that recognized a growing entrepreneurial community needed guidance and a sense of togetherness to thrive.

Ten years later, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center has made quite an impact on the Middle Tennessee community — 800 alumni, 1600-plus jobs created, $192 million revenue generated,  $233 million capital raised — and 84 percent of businesses are still in operation today, far exceeding the industry standard of 50 percent or less.

An enriched community connection

Both my professional and personal life have been enriched through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

True to the EO spirit, my group of seven EO buddies, aka Forum 12, have worked together and opened doors for each other. It is no coincidence that Darek Bell located his Corsair whiskey production and tasting room in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood where my Core Development company was creating work-live units. Or that Max Goldberg opened one of his restaurants, Bastion, down the street.

Our group has strengthened bonds during Forum Retreats to the Smoky Mountains, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, and San Miguel de Allende. In 2018, I was spending time with some EO friends on a boat in the Pacific Ocean swimming with sharks. At the time, I was mulling an opportunity to sell my company, Village Real Estate, and my friends were good listeners offering valuable advice.

The EO is a wonderful example of how involvement in local organizations, nonprofits and neighborhood groups can deepen your connection the community. When community, family and work merge together and the boundaries fall away, everyone benefits. That’s why Sherry and I are supporting the “Power of 10.”

What local involvement has helped you better connect to your community?