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Commentary: Nashville Entrepreneur Center
search committee chair on EC CEO search
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Beth Chase

Beth Chase is chair emeritus of the board of directors of Nashville Entrepreneur Center and chair of the EC search committee charged with finding a successor to CEO Michael Brody-Waite, who plans to resign later this year.

What is the EC CEO recruitment process?

The Entrepreneur Center (EC) board has engaged Focus Search Partners (a unit of Nashville-based Vaco) to guide us through this process. In addition, the board named a CEO search committee which is made up of a subset of the current board leadership.

The board, search committee and I work closely with Paul Frankenberg, managing partner of Focus Search Partners and leader of the Focus team for this search.

We have spoken to the board as well as a number of community leaders and entrepreneurs to gain input regarding what's needed in this role and in the organization for the future. We will continue this listening activity throughout the search process.

We used community input to refine the position description, including important characteristics and experiences/skills that we are looking for in the new leader for the organization. We've kicked off the work and anticipate the process will take place over the summer months. We expect to have a decision in 3Q 2019.

As in past searches, we have already had a high degree of interest in the role.

What makes the job attractive to the best candidates?

The EC CEO role is an important one for Nashville's entrepreneurial and economic success.

It is essential that the next CEO has proven capacity to connect and integrate within current and emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Nashville region, with Tennessee partners, and nationally.

The EC CEO has the opportunity to take the organization to the next level and to make a significant impact in our community.

As at the beginning of the EC a decade ago, engaging and trust-building across the entire entrepreneurial community is a critical focus for the EC board and the new CEO.

Among other specific CEO objectives are these:

  1. Serving as the voice for entrepreneurism (the organization and the community coalition, not the CEO solely)
  2. Being a brand-builder to boost Nashville's entrepreneurial and creative reputation across the U.S. and beyond
  3. Leveraging the center's scaled and proven programs for high growth startup success in healthcare, music and technology
  4. Expanding the center's capabilities into other industry verticals
  5. Collaborating with, connecting, and creating a community coalition of the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, including mentors, capital, potential customers, co-working space, sponsors, and other critical support resources
  6. Fostering entrepreneurship and innovation with startups as well as corporations
  7. Casting 2030 vision for the EC with broad involvement from the board, community leaders, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in creating this new vision with expanded impact for the city
  8. Tracking and regularly reporting on entrepreneurial success metrics and economic impact

What does the EC mean for the future to the Nashville region?

The EC's vision is to make Nashville the best place in America to start and grow a business. We are on our way toward that destination.

Accomplishing this vision is great for Nashville in so many ways - economically, brand recognition, diversity, and sustainability.

Metrics for EC performance will be defined and refined as we formulate the EC's "2030 Vision" document and plans.

In addition to such measures as Net Promoter scores across many dimensions of EC programming and operations, our metrics will include progress in contributing in various ways to Nashville's economic growth.

During and beyond the current executive search, the EC board and its search committee will continue to seek input from EC stakeholders regarding the EC's progress.

Community feedback is continually used to support planning and operations, as well as to inform our search for our next CEO. (###)

Here is a link to the EC CEO job description. Beth Chase is the Nashville-based managing director of Ankura Consulting Group LLC, the international consulting and advisory firm headquartered in Atlanta. Ankura acquired Chase's c3/consulting firm in March 2018, at which point c3 was reportedly the sixth-largest woman-owned company in Nashville. Among her other community roles, she is a member of the board of directors of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her LinkedIn is here.-Editor.

. last edited 0912 25 July 2019

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Tags: Beth Chase, entrepreneurship, Michael Brody Waite, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, talent

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