It’s no secret that Nashville’s population has been growing. The city bears the telltale signs of growth everywhere you look, from the Nashville Business Journal’s crane count to social media posts describing the woes of Nashville traffic.
Between 2014 and 2016, Nashville’s metro region grew at an average pace of 100 people a day. The latest census data, released in April, shows the growth has slowed just a bit, with an estimated 83 people moving to Nashville every day.
But Nashville’s population isn’t the only thing that’s growing. So is the business community. The region is now home to a number of corporate headquarters, including HCA, Nissan North America, Dollar General and more. Last fall, the Tennessean reported that professional and business service and financial services—a grouping that includes everything from bankers and real estate management companies to insurance agencies—were among the fastest growing industries in the city, followed closely by the leisure and hospitality industry.
Clearly, Nashville is open for business—and the Trevecca Association of Business Professionals is poised to invest in the city’s business community.
RAISING TREVECCA’S PROFILE
The Trevecca Association of Business Professionals isn’t new. The organization will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year, founded as Nashville was in the beginning stages of the city’s recent growth.
“The idea really came from alumni Jennifer Showalter (’97) and Matthew Mullins (’97),” says Dr. Jim Hiatt, Trevecca’s associate vice president for academic programs and dean of the Skinner School of Business and Technology, who got involved with the organization soon after its formation. “We started [the association] to work with the business community to connect, provide network opportunities and serve.”
Like Hiatt, Trevecca alumnus Cary Bush (’02) was an early member of the association and among the first to serve on the advisory board. Bush currently serves as a national account manager for Meridian IT Inc.
“There are a lot of [Trevecca business graduates] in the Nashville business community, but we didn’t really do anything together,” Bush recalls. “The association allows us to serve and engage the greater business community, but it also brings camaraderie.”
At the association’s core, both Hiatt and Bush say, is a devotion to serving the city as well as the business community—and allowing Trevecca to shine.
“We want to add value to the business community by providing inspiring and knowledgeable speakers,” Hiatt says. “We feel that we can get people from the business community on campus for motivation, knowledge and inspiration. We also hope to raise the brand recognition of [Trevecca] in the community.”
Bush agrees, stressing that the association’s networking events—the group plans two to three each year—help to raise awareness about Trevecca in a city where the University has often been called a “hidden gem.”
“When people come on campus and haven’t been here before, they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know! This is an oasis,’” he says. “There are also thousands of graduates out there working in the business community, especially on the healthcare side, so the association helps to raise awareness about Trevecca and what we do.”
Another goal of the association is to help worthy business students complete their degrees at Trevecca. In 2011, the association established the Association of Business Professionals Scholarship, and a portion of the proceeds from each Trevecca Association of Business Professionals’ events go toward the scholarship fund.
To date, the association has made a way for nearly 60 students to complete their studies at Trevecca.
THE FUTURE STARTS NOW
According to Bush and Hiatt, the association’s future is firmly rooted in Trevecca’s mission to develop leaders who serve. They’ll take that message of servant leadership to the greater Nashville business community starting next fall with the Servant Leader Series.
“We want to demonstrate the value of serving and how it impacts the lives of others and your own,” Hiatt said.
The first event in the speaker series is set for Oct. 16 and will feature Randy Boyd. Boyd is a former candidate for governor of Tennessee and currently serves as the interim president of the University of Tennessee.
In addition to continuing to plan and host informative networking events, Bush says the association’s future will also be focused on building deeper, stronger relationships with Trevecca graduates, both traditional and non- traditional, and building diversity within the association.
“Many of our non-traditional business students may not get as engaged in campus life,” he says. “I think it’s important that we create a culture of giving back, finding ways for our adult students to get engaged as part of alumni campus life.”
Don’t miss out! Reserve your seat for the first event in the Servant Leader Series at Trevecca.edu/businessprofessionals.