Now/It's: Bumble Bizz's "Be the CEO" Event

What better way to spend International Women’s Day than through women enabling other women in their community to harness their own potential to do the same? If you came up with an immediate response that wasn’t Bumble Bizz’s recent “Be the CEO” panel, then pray tell, because The Hive brought out some truly invigorating spirit to Nashville’s East Side this past International Women’s Day.

Through the fine coordination of Nashville’s own Queen Bee (and Now/It’s alum) Tiana Lewis, WeWork Nashville, and Creative Souls (whose founder, Sarah Patton sat on the panel), International Women’s Day 2018 saw some of the city’s most inspiring and motivated women convene upon WeWork’s Woodland Street campus, just outside of Five Points to empower each other through thoughtful discussion and general fellowship. It also didn’t hurt that there were free drinks among the hospitality items.

As for the panel itself, you’d be hard pressed to find a better range of individuals whose distinctive journeys of life led them to that moment. If anyone in attendance that evening was experiencing existential crises, they were almost certainly settled by the wellspring of wisdom and experience on the panel. No matter what one’s field of interest was or is, there was inevitably someone on the panel with a kernel of knowledge worth ruminating further.

For anyone struggling with external noise, or the fear of being told they “can’t” or “shouldn’t,” there was Sarah Patton, the aforementioned founder of Creative Souls, who imparted her experiences in continually surpassing the expectations of others while starting a company from scratch. As a first generation college student and serial entrepreneur not only with Creative Souls, but also her first business, Social Bliss Events, Patton showed that at the end of the day, the only person who dictates one’s happiness is that individual, and no one else.

Then there was Kimberly Novosel, the founder of VERTICITY Cycling, who discussed how her passion for fitness outweighed the glamor of her old position in the music industry, further solidifying the notion that doing what truly moves you transcends all other forms of job-based notoriety. Rather than getting caught up in the superficial sheen and perks of a position that might look cool to others, it’s most important to find a job, a dream, an intention that excites you every morning.

Or if anyone sought business wisdom in terms of development and ideation, Angela Crane-Jones, the executive director of the Nashville Business Incubation Center, sat on the panel to communicate thoughts and ideas that would benefit someone at virtually any juncture of their own entrepreneurial and/or career path. She highlighted some of the struggles of being a woman within the corporate world, and how obstacles presenting themselves along the way were all but speed bumps when one knows themselves as an empowered individual.

Furthermore, there was Laini Brown, whose own business savvy helped illustrate how one can stand with one foot squarely in both the independent and corporate worlds. As the senior publicist at Hatchette Book Group, Brown discussed her experiences in the world of publishing and the outlets of which she expresses desires and ideas that might not fit within that finely tuned machine, namely, her Pumps and Politics podcast. When asked about stereotypes in business, Brown stated confidently, “Underestimate me and watch me work.” A truly empowered woman (as were all the panel members), ready to take the world by storm

And finally, you had Mignon Francois, of The Cupcake Collection, who went from depending on the public school system to feed her children to now having a wildly successful confectionery business in Nashville and New Orleans (so much so that she’s getting her own tv show). She was a tour de force the entirety of the panel discussion, sharing stories of hardships that lend themselves to current obstacles in business, and ultimately highlight how far she’s come. She also happened to have some of the most delectable quotables, such as “Speak what you seek until you see what you’ve said.” There were too many to list, but her sentiments undoubtedly rang true, which could be extended to the entirety of the panel.

There are few things more wonderful than a community uniting under a unique cause. That sense of wonder continues when such a cause fosters earnest empowerment for those that come to champion it. And when those who champion said cause head back into the world, they take to fostering the unique cause in their own way further empowering themselves. Bumble was the entity that united all of these amazing women on International Women’s Day, but it was the women themselves that brought the power and the glory to champion all the women in attendance. It was a beautiful scene to see so many women empowered and reinvigorated to do the same for other women in and around the Nashville community. All in all, everyone who came to witness and participate in the cause is better for it, and we have Bumble to thank for such a fact.