Women Build - Groundbreakers

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Click here to purchase your tickets to Couture Construction at Dillard's, The Mall at Green Hills

When: March 31, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Where: Dillard's, The Mall at Green Hills


Meet our Women Build Groundbreakers

Groundbreakers are a determined group of women who are spirited, self-confident, and mesmerizing in their fields of endeavor.  Philanthropic, graceful, positive mentors, these women bring their unique bearing on our community,  elevating Nashville to be a more inclusive and thriving environment.

Mendy Mazzo

Mendy Mazzo
Corporate Senior Vice President
National Business Development
Skanska USA Building Inc.

More about Mendy Mazzo
Groundbreaker Mendy

Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.

Woman most admired
My mother, who said, 'Get up, dress up and show up,'  and my great grandmother who taught me what a strong woman looks like.

What inspires you
I have been very blessed in my life with great family, friends, and colleagues who have encouraged me and it’s my job to pay that forward.

Best advice
Focus on personal sustainability – take care of your whole self – mind, body, spirit. Work hard, stay true to yourself and never compromise your values.

Home
Prior to purchasing our first house, my mom, sister and I bounced between rental houses and to my great grandmother’s house and eventually lived in the side of an old pool hall. The three of us shared a queen size bed and we had a stove with two working eyes on it.  Once we owned a house, it was a home where everyone was welcome, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, etc.  Our house was filled with laughter, love and warmth.

Mantra
It is important to not sweat the small stuff and choose your battles. Life is too short to stress over things you can’t control.

Support Mendy by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

Groundbreaker

Kristy Hairston
Managing Broker
Parks on Charlotte

More about Kristy Hairston
Groundbreaker

I am the product of a community of women who took an interest in me and provided me with different tools to navigate my current world.

Woman most admired
My mother helped me understand the importance of taking chances and to not be overly concerned about what others thought about me. My aunt taught me the importance of preparing for opportunities before they present themselves. A former Miss Tennessee taught me to walk with my head high and another friend taught me how to dress for the occasion.

What inspires you
To help other people excel. Zig Ziglar said, ‘If you help enough people get what they want, you will always have what you want.’ I believe him.

Best advice
Preparation and skill will help you walk through any door that is opened for you or that you open for yourself.

Home
Home is warmth, joy, relaxation, and the freedom to express yourself. I don’t know anyone who wants to live in a hostile environment, void of the opportunity to retreat to a place for restoration from the past day’s issues and be invigorated for the next day’s challenges.

Mantra
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Take the first step in the direction of your dreams and to be prepared for the fear of uncertainty.

Support Kristy by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

Christie Wilson

Christie Wilson
CEO

The Wilson Group Real Estate Services

More about Christie Wilson
Christie Wilson

Don’t be afraid to fail.  No one will judge you. Always go to bat for what you want.

Woman most admired
Mom!  She taught me to always do my best…and told me that only I could define what my best was. She and my dad always told my sister, brother
and I that we could do anything.  And we believed that, too! 

What inspires you
What inspires me are energetic people who love what this life offers and are grateful and want to pay it forward.

Best advice
I had a female teacher in high school who said I should be thinking about being the executive. From then on, I started thinking bigger!

Home
Home is what I do. I love watching what a home does to a person, a couple, or a family.  Home gives parents a sense of pride of ownership and knowing that they have the ability and responsibility to provide for their family. Home gives you pride and joy.

Mantra
Thoughts become things.  Choose the good ones.

 

Support Christie by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

groundbreaker

Mekesha Montgomery
Attorney at Law
Frost Brown Todd LLC

More about Mekesha Montgomery
Groundbreaker

I grew up on a dairy farm — we didn’t have money but we were a very close, hard-working family.

Woman most admired
There have been several but a friend once said: ‘Don’t worry – everyone else thinks they are stupid too.’

What inspires you
I am sustained by wanting to leave the world a better place than I left it and to one day hear God say, 'Well done good and faithful servant.'

Best advice
We have the potential to change the future of the world by giving back.  It is simply a must do.

Home
We are shaped in a billion ways by how we grow up. Growing up without a home is a huge obstacle to success later in life.

Mantra
Always work hard, be kind, look for wisdom above knowledge, be humble, pray often, and think about others first.

 

Support Mekesha by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

LaRawn Rhea

LaRawn Rhea
Development Team
The Manning Condominium

More about LaRawn Rhea
LaRawn Rhea

In a sincere life, zip codes and income aren’t what garner respect: work ethic and integrity do.

Woman most admired
My beautiful mother taught me in grammar school to treat the custodian with as much respect as the principal.

What inspires you
My father grew up with very little and ended up working with Elvis, he owned a record label or two, and designed his own yacht. Every time I see a little child who was born into an impoverished situation, I think of my dad and it motivates me to help give that child opportunity.

Best advice
Stay true to who you are in your heart and do it with hard work, integrity, and honesty. And always remember, you are paving a path for the generation after you.

Home
I believe the family unit is even stronger when it is blessed with generational experiences. I believe if a child feels loved by their family regardless of their circumstances, they will feel secure and empowered by that love.

Mantra
I pray. Turn it over to God, do my part and know the result will be His.

 

Support LaRawn by by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

Jamie McPherson

Jamie McPherson
Vice President of Development
Beacon Center of Tennessee

More about Jamie McPherson
Groundbreaker Mendy

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and DIY’ers.  I learned from a very early age that if it needed to be fixed that I should do my best to figure out how to fix it.

Woman most admired
Both grandmothers. I saw in them a resolve that was uncommon for their time– a determination to succeed in whatever they set their minds to that has empowered me to believe I can achieve anything with enough hard work and perseverance.

What inspires you
I feel my life’s calling is to stand in the gap and protect and support those who are vulnerable. Education is the great equalizer and creating paths to equal access to high quality educational opportunities is critical to empower individuals to achieve their potential.

Best advice
Engage... in the good, the bad and the ugly.  Listen... don’t solve.  Be an ear and a sounding board not a fixer.  Be someone’s champion, her biggest fan and advocate. Be authentic.

Home
A secure, stable and safe home environment provides a place for children and parents to shrug off the pressures of the day and exhale. For many parents, a place to call their own brings with it a pride and sense of responsibility — to care not only for the home, but the loved ones who reside there.

Mantra
Do everything you can do, but let God do what only He can do. My pastor gets the credit for those words but it guides everything I do.

 

Support Jamie by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

groundbreaker

Felicia Bass
Homemaker and Civic Volunteer

More about Felicia Bass
Groundbreaker

Being present for my children is my priority.

Woman most admired
My mother.  She successfully and energetically ran a non-profit for 48 years while always giving great care to her entire family. 

What inspires you
Connect with nature every day. Look for similarities with others rather than differences. Be curious about the world.

Best advice
My mother always said: ‘Ask. The worst answer you can hear is no and then you ask someone else.’

Home
Home establishes your place in the world.  From there you can go out and explore time and time again and always return to your place of comfort.

Mantra
Speak with love and act with integrity.

 

Support Felicia by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

Andrea Perry

Andrea Perry
Attorney at Law
Bone McAllester Norton PLLC

More about Andrea Perry
Andrea Perry

As you climb your ladder of success, reach down and pull others along with you. 

Woman most admired
My mother.  My life was influenced by not only her words but her example.  She taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and to own the gifts that God gave me and never imitate or covet the gifts God gave someone else.

What inspires you
Service to others.  The feeling that you get – the pure joy- from helping someone find their way in life or helping them bear a burden is indescribable.  I believe that people, by their very nature, need people.  We are here to support, lift and serve one another.  Through my job, the lessons I pass to my children, my church, the boards on which I serve, I remain committed to service to others.

Best advice
The power of life and death is in the tongue.  Change your words to change your worth and your outcome.

Home
I grew up in a home that was consistently filled with people, laughter and the aroma of food cooking.  My memories about my childhood home is full of images of people as my parents were very giving and loved to entertain.  My home was the place where I felt truly free to be me and where I felt truly loved without conditions.  It was a simple home, and in retrospect, small; however, for me, it was grand, large, and my favorite place to be.

Mantra
As you climb your ladder of success, reach down and pull others along with you.  That’s what makes you great!

Support Andrea by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

groundbreaker

Cristina Allen
Owner and President
Caliente Consulting

More about Cristina Allen
Groundbreaker


Wonder Woman is a composite of all the women in my life who impacted my dreams and success.

Community
We reflect the community we live in and a strong and healthy community means taking care of those in need — utilizing our time, talent, and treasures.

What inspires you
Social Equality. I care about civil rights, freedom of speech, health equality, economic equality, and of course issues related to gender, race, and ethnic equality. 

Best advice
Get involved in charity EARLY in your life.  The art of giving allows one to give from the heart without any expectation of a return.  

Home
My dad built our family home and we all participated in the actual construction. Having a large family, knowing where I came from (England, Spain, Mexico) allowed for a sense of identity within walls of love, history, and support.

Mantra
'The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.' — Mahatma Gandhi

 

Support Cristina by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

groundbreaker

Amy Wilhite
Development Director
2ndVote

More about Amy Wilhite
Groundbreaker

When I was 11, I told my dad that I wanted to play college basketball. He could’ve easily looked at my short, petite, bony stature and encouraged me to do something different. But he didn’t. He did everything in his power to encourage, support, and instill in me to never give up reaching my goals. I was honored to receive a full basketball scholarship to the University of Alabama. This helped create a positive foundation in my life.  When someone believes in you, it can make a world of difference.

Woman most admired
My mother and grandmother: between the two of them, they taught me to have dreams, set goals and to develop the drive to reach them; see the beauty in life; to be kind and give back to others.

What inspires you
Experiencing and seeing people overcome challenges and reach goals through perseverance and hard work, and the joy it brings them when they come out on top.

Best advice
We are not entitled to anything. Hard work, determination, and a good attitude will take you far. Set goals, devise a plan, and make it happen. When you work hard for something, that feeling of accomplishment is reward in itself.

Home
A home is created by love, not by bricks and mortar. This simple force can empower a child for a lifetime, and generations to come.

Mantra
Believe YOU CAN!

 

Support Amy by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

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Christi Edwards

Christi Edwards
Managing Director and Wealth Advisor Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

More about Christi Edwards
Groundbreaker Mendy

I literally jump out of bed every day to get to work because I love helping people develop a financially secure life.

Woman most admired
My mother. My father died at 42 leaving her with four kids. I can’t imagine how scared she was, but we never knew it. She was strong and she developed a quiet strength in all of her daughters.

Philanthropy
Change is why philanthropy is so important to our community We can either let change happen to us or we can help to facilitate the direction in which change moves.

Best advice
Work harder and give more than anyone would ever expect.

Home
Home is where a child learns the basics of being a good adult. It is here that actions and words becomes the inner self-talk that ultimately becomes who we are as an adult.

Mantra
Run the hardest when no one else is looking.

 

Support Christi by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills

groundbreaker

Susan H. West, Ed.D,
Chief of Staff | Vice President
Office of the President
Belmont University

More about Susan West
Susan West

My life’s work is ensuring that young people receive the education they desire. I know that the students that I serve will transform the world with the skills that they’ve obtained throughout the educational process.

Woman most admired
My mother taught me the value of relationships and how to treat people. She told me that I could become all that I imagined if I put God first and treated people with dignity and respect.

Philanthropy
Philanthropy forces us outside of our comfort zones to be a part of something greater than ourselves.

Best advice
Find your voice and use it to be a change agent and role model for those women who are finding their way. Your perspective may be different from others, but own it and do not compromise your voice. Learn to bring your whole self to the work environment and know that the value that you bring to the table is important.

Home
Home is where your life’s story begins.  Home is the first classroom for a child and stability and love should abound there.

Mantra
Don’t talk about it, be about it.

 

Support Susan by purchasing your $50 ticket to Couture Construction March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Dillard's, the Mall at Green Hills