TNM: Tell us a little about yourself and your role with Big Brothers Big Sisters program?
HD: I moved to Nashville with my husband and our ten year old daughter, Alexis four years ago from Washington D.C where I spent over fifteen years working in non-profit event and campaign management. I was introduced to this amazing city six years ago while I was traveling from D.C to Nashville executing special events for New York City based non-profit, Delete Blood Cancer. I fell in love with the culture, the people and the calming life-style. It did not take long after my last trip in 2015 to convince my husband to make the move. I spent my first two and half years in Nashville building relationships and working as a freelance event manager. I received an exciting call two years ago from Big Brothers Big Sisters asking to join the Development and Events team. I have since produced the annual Franklin Wine Festival where 100% of the proceeds go to our organization. It’s our biggest event of the year and draws over 2,500 people all over Middle Tennessee. When I’m not producing the wine festival, my role is Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Development where I identify and build relationships to engage the community with our mission.
TNM: For those who may not know, tell us how BBBS is changing children’s lives?
HD: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee operates under the belief that inherent in every child is incredible potential. We work with volunteers to create meaningful monitored matches in communities within 8 counties of Middle Tennessee. Last year in 2018, we served 1,165 youth ranging in ages from 6 years old to age 17 in a variety of different programs. Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
TNM: You are hosting a benefit event this fall, the Franklin Wine Festival. What will this event be like?
HD: The Franklin Wine Festival is fantastic experience for foodies, wine enthusiasts, and everyone in-between. This festival takes over The Factory at Franklin on October 25th. Guests can taste over 300 wines from all over the world, and indulge on bites provided by 30 of Nashville’s top local restaurants. Attendees will also have the chance to outbid one another during our silent auction that will feature a signed hockey stick by Nashville Predator goalie, Pekke Rinne, , a beach trip, several pieces of sports, movie and music autographed memorabilia and so much more. We are also so excited to have Erin Kinsey as our headline musical performer with special guest, The Winnie Blues.
TNM: Tell me what you’re most excited about the Wine Festival? I know that will be hard to choose!
HD: I am most excited about our new features this year, the Bubble Lounge, the Whiskey Lounge and a Biergarten. By highlighting a few of our specialty spirits, we are creating a truly immersive experience for our guests. The Bubble Lounge will feature champagnes, Proseccos, and other sparkling wines from around the world while giving guests a place to relax with an upscale lounge vibe. Our Whiskey Lounge is hosted by Messer Construction and will give our guests the opportunity to sample a variety of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch in a speakeasy-saloon like bar. And our Biergarten will features beers from local, regional, and nationally renowned brewers. Of course, I am also most looking forward to the day after the event, when I can put my feet up, drink a bloody mary, and get some much needed rest!
TNM: Outside of attending this fabulous event, what are some ways that readers can get involved in the program?
HD: Become a mentor ! We currently have about 90 kids on our waiting list who are waiting for someone just like one of your readers to step into their lives. Becoming a mentor is a BIG deal and will not only change the life of the child, but also the life of the mentor. The other way your readers can get involved is to give to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. It costs about $1,500 to ensure every child and volunteer start their match with a strong foundation. This includes the extensive training received by the volunteer, background checks, interviews, and providing programs for the volunteer to engage with their child. Every little bit provides a big impact!
TNM: When you’re not busy planning events, what is your favorite way to spend time around Nashville?
HD: With my family first. My husband, daughter and I LOVE to walk around to all the local neighborhoods around Nashville. We have most recently enjoyed just relaxing around our pool, or grabbing dinner with our closest friends in our quiet close knit neighborhood of Riverwalk. Two to three times a month, I look forward to time with my girl tribe. My girlfriends give me unconditional support and motivation during my peak event season, from attending my events or to remind me when to slow down and take break. I credit most, if not all of my success to my friends and family. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t feel humbled or blessed.
Grab your tickets here! Use code NASHMOM10 for 10% off general admission.