Mignon Francois: Believing in the power of your own ideas

I had $5 and a decision to make.
— Mignon Francois
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Her Story of Success...

Mignon Francois’s family was drowning in debt and down to their last $5 when a neighbor knocked on the door and placed an order for 600 cupcakes from her fledgling home bakery in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood. Mignon decided to take the last few dollars she had and buy ingredients to bake more cupcakes, a decision that ultimately “got us out of debt, out of brokenness and turned us into the number one bakery in Tennessee.”

 

About This Episode...

Founder and CEO of The Cupcake Collection and mother of six, Mignon tells us how she followed through on her dream of starting a business, how her company has created a legacy for her children and why she wants to hold the ladder for others climbing the rungs toward success. 

 
 
 

Misty Mayes: A CEO in the Role of Servant Leader

I have this saying — learn from your past, prepare for your future and perform in the present.
— Misty Mayes
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Her Story of Success...

Misty Mayes believes that every organization and every person is capable of positive change — an attitude that led her to launch a management consulting firm that has garnered national business awards and won acclaim for its commitment to community service. Misty formed Management Solutions in 2002 after a successful career as an industrial engineer and project manager, all while raising three sons with her husband Sam. She once turned down an opportunity to meet with President Obama so she could attend her son’s championship soccer game in Tennessee. “ I think we as women can beat ourselves up over all the things we miss, but I try to focus on the things that I was there for. Its a day-in, day-out struggle,” she says of her efforts to combine parenting with her management role.

Marcie Allen: A Music Industry Visionary Redefines Success

Success in my 20s was being able to pay my own rent; success today is being able to give back.
— Marcie Allen
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Her Story of Success...

After a decade in the music business, Marcie Allen “saw a huge void that was waiting to be filled” and launched MAC Presents, an agency that creates partnerships between leading brands and top artists like the Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters. The agency's success has made Marcie a powerful figure in the music industry, but she’s quick to reveal that her climb to the top was marked by challenges, stumbles and setbacks — as well as a personal reappraisal of what success really means.

About This Episode...

Marcie tells us how attending 16 different schools made her a stronger person, why it takes “a stomach of steel” to start a business from scratch, how she put the pieces of her life back together after a divorce and why she never schedules a meeting before 11 a.m. 

 
 

Holly Coltea: When Career Meets Motherhood

With everything you do away from your children, you always instrinsically ask yourself, is this better than being at home with my kids?
— Holly Coltea
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Her Story of Success...

Holly Coltea moved to New York City as a young woman and achieved many of her lifelong goals — working for a Madison Avenue ad agency, earning her M.B.A and succeeding in the corporate world. But like many young women, she found that having children forced her to re-evaluate the direction of her career. “When you have kids, it is clear as day — what you need to be doing and what you don’t need to be doing,” she says. Holly chose to get off the corporate treadmill, move back to her hometown with her husband and three daughters and become a franchisee for a fitness studio, a transition that brought her both success and flexibility.

 

About This Episode...

Holly tell us about the importance of having a mentor, the challenges of re-entering the workforce after a break, the benefits of being a franchise owner and the opportunities that come with finding work-life balance.

 
 

Amy Tanksley: From Boardroom to Barbershop

Sometimes I learn the best lessons by making the best mistakes
— Amy Tanksley
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Her Story of Success...

Amy Tanksley grew up thinking that risk was a four-letter word and that choosing a job in corporate America was following a safe path. But after a rough and tumble experience in the volatile oil and gas industry in Houston, she set out on a quest for risk she could control, and in 2008 opened Uncle Classic Barbershop, which now has 5 locations in Nashville.

 

About This Episode...

In today's episode, Amy discusses the wake-up call of almost starting her career at Enron, the challenge of finding funding for a startup, making room for both motherhood and entrepreneurship, and taking an idea from maybe to reality.

 
 

Erica Rains: Success Is Not A Number

Success to me is not a number, or a number of years, or a certain word. It’s just a feeling that you’ve done the best you can with what you have, and you’ve exercised all options to do good, to help others, to make your way.
— Erica Rains
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Her Story of Success...

Erica Rains has made a career out of constantly finding new ways to connect with people. After nearly two decades working in public relations, advertising, radio, and TV, Erica decided to seek out a new challenge by opening a restaurant and catering business,The Chef & I, with her talented chef husband, Chris. Erica and Chris celebrated the restaurant’s new location, which offers cooking classes and a chef training program, in downtown Nashville.

About This Episode...

Erica talks about the rewards of starting a business with her husband, the importance of making a human connection in our digital world, and the value of knowing when to strive for success and when to enjoy it.

 
 

Tonya Lewis: Trading Complacency for Courage

Am I really ready to take this risk? To me, what was on the other side of that was happiness.
— Tonya Lewis
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Her Story of Success...

Five years ago, Tonya Lewis chose to leave a safe career in school counseling to open a business in one of the most risky and challenging industries: restaurants. But after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, Tonya’s coffee shop and café, The Post East, has blossomed into a neighborhood favorite for healthy eating, great coffee, and a community space for bringing neighbors and friends together.

About This Episode...

Tonya talks about the challenge of walking away from a career with certainty and routine to one of the most unpredictable lines of work, learning the importance of trusting her team, and realizing the happiness and fulfillment that taking risks can bring.

 
 

BONUS EPISODE - Kathleen Burns Kingsbury: Achieving Expert Status

As an entrepreneur, there’s always a grind, the grind just changes.
— Kathleen Burns Kingsbury
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About This Episode...

In this bonus episode hosted by past Her Story of Success guest Rita Mitchell and recorded before a live studio audience at a women and wealth conference in Nashville, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury talks about how she made the journey from clinical psychology to financial empowerment counseling, becoming a published author with nothing more than a copy of “Writing for Dummies”, and the overlap between self-esteem and financial success.

Her Story of Success...

As a wealth psychology expert, Kathleen believes financial success isn’t just about how much money you have in the bank. Just as important are our thoughts and feelings about money that shape our financial decisions. An internationally published author and speaker, Kathleen has devoted her career to empowering women and the financial advisers who serve them by training them to examine their money talk mindset and feel more comfortable talking openly about money. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, PBS News Hour, Money Magazine, TODAY Money, Forbes, and CNBC.

 
 

Rita Mitchell: Overcoming the Nos

Your power is your gifts, your talent, your brand, your network, your skills, your knowledge, and that belongs to you.
— Rita P. Mitchell
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Her Story of Success...

Rita Mitchell summarizes her story with one word – determination. And her career proves it. A 35 year veteran of the financial services industry, Rita went from being told she didn’t have enough experience to be a waitress at Red Lobster to a top executive at First Tennessee Bank, breaking barriers at every step along the way. In that time, she passed the Series 7 broker exam with a 6 month old baby, started her own financial advisory company, and left all of her doubters in the dust.

About This Episode...

In this special live episode, Rita talks about the struggles of being an African-American female in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the value of recognizing your potential, and how the succession of "nos" she faced motivated her to teach other women to say yes to opportunity.

 
 

Courtney Whitmore

If what you are doing doesn’t get you up and out of the bed on Monday morning, then you shouldn’t be doing it.
— Courtney Whitmore

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Her Story of Success...

After finishing college, Courtney Whitmore took a safe, secure job as a career counselor, but she soon realized she wanted something entirely different — a creative pursuit where she could be her own boss. Looking back on that time in her life, she says, “I knew I wanted to work for myself but I didn’t know what that looked like.” Since hosting dinner parties was a favorite activity, she decided to launch a website in 2010 to focus on entertaining and party planning. Today that website, Pizzazzerie.com, is the centerpiece of Courtney’s expanding role as an entertaining expert, one whose food styling and tablescapes are in demand by companies from Target and HGTV to Lindt Chocolates.

About This Episode...

Courtney tells us about starting a job in an industry that doesn’t exist yet, managing her brand’s social media presence, the ways in which her definition of success has changed over time and the importance of what she calls the Monday Morning Test — “If what you are doing doesn’t get you up and out of the bed on Monday morning, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”