Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Women: In Charge, On Fire, and Change Agents

April 2013 Issue of Mocha Market featuring Women: In Charge, On Fire, and Change Agents

 The Nashville-Middle Tennessee Region has been a case study for attracting major businesses from around the globe to our area. Fortune 500 corporations like Firestone, LP, Oreck, and Nissan are headed quartered in the area. It is without a doubt, the economic impact and philanthropic giving of each company individually impacts millions of lives and communities locally, nationally, and internationally.

With corporate brands that are known by millions worldwide, it could be easy to overlook individuals who are impactful in their own right with their leadership abilities, community engagement, and global outreach that challenge, advisor, and nurture the next generations of leaders. Like Oreck, Nashville is home to local business women who own family businesses that span several generations. Like, Firestone, Nashville has women who began their career paths, locally, prior to becoming nationally respected advisors to leaders who are the global stage. And like Nissan, Nashville has attracted women who are recognized around the world who share international perspectives and practices that help make our world a better place to live.

 Like LP, let me introduce you to three women who believe in building solid community foundations. They are in charge of their own destinies in life, on fire for humanity, and change agents that have positively impacted countless lives in their community, around the nation, and internationally.

Shirin Ebadi: 2003 Nobel Laureate and International Peace Keeper
“It’s not just about hope and ideas. It’s about action.”
Shirin Ebadi, J.D., was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field.

Dr. Ebadi was one of the first female judges in Iran. She served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979 and was the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status. She, along with other women judges, was dismissed from that position after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. She was made a clerk in the court she had once presided over, until she petitioned for early retirement. After obtaining her lawyer's license in 1992, Dr. Ebadi set up private practice. As a lawyer, Dr. Ebadi has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times.

In addition to being an internationally-recognized advocate of human rights, she has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including the Million Signatures Campaign, a campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law.
 Dr. Ebadi is also a university professor and often students from outside Iran take part in her human rights training courses. She has published over 70 articles and 13 books dedicated to various aspects of human rights, some of which have been published by UNICEF.  In 2004, she was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.*

Exploring issues of peace, violence, social justice and oppression, around 250 Mid-South middle and high school students and Belmont student mentors gathered at Belmont University for Nashville’s first ever PeaceJam in a new joint initiative of Belmont University and Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) which paired youth and college students with a Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, for community service projects and a “global cause to action” for their own communities and schools.

Traci Obey Blunt:  National Advisor to Presidential Contender and Business Tycoon

“All that you desire in your personal and professional life may not come today or all at once, but I am a true believer that perseverance and hard work will always pay off.”

Traci Otey Blunt, a veteran media, political and public affairs specialist, is Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. In this role, she is responsible for media strategy and communications, government relations and public affairs activities on behalf of The RLJ Companies. Traci, who recently served as a Deputy Communications Director for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has more than 15 years of experience leading public relations and public affairs efforts for corporate, local, state and federal governments, as well as non-profit organizations.

Traci has experience in the fast-paced world of politics and government, having served as a media specialist on Capitol Hill, with the District of Columbia government, and in mayoral, state legislative, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.

Prior to joining the Clinton campaign, Traci served as a Vice President and Deputy Director for the multicultural practice at Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, DC. As Deputy Director for the agency’s multicultural communications, Traci provided the day-to-day management and oversight of several high-profile accounts and public affairs campaigns, including the African American Medicare Prescription Drug Campaign for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Readiness Initiative and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

As the Director of Communications for the District of Columbia’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in 2002, Traci was responsible for planning economic development-related events, as well as leading all communications efforts related to development in the city. She also served as Press Secretary for the 2002 reelection campaign for Mayor Anthony Williams. In 2000, Traci served as the Communications Director for the Tennessee coordinated Gore/Lieberman campaign. She also served as a Communications Specialist at the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and worked in the United States Senate.

Traci is a 1990 graduate of Tennessee State University where she received her degree, cum laude, in Criminal Justice. She currently serves on the following boards: the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBCLEO) Foundation; the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs Board of Advisors at Tennessee State University; and Malaria No More, a non-profit dedicated to ending malaria deaths and provides life-saving tools and education to families across Africa.

Hortense Price-Jones:  Community Leader and Business Mentor 

“I believe in treating everyone fairly and with dignity. What you put out there comes back…always.”

Hortense Price-Jones is originally from Jackson, Tenn., where she attended public schools. She graduated from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. Her business career began when she opened the College Crib Sports Shop devoted to Men’s and Women’s Apparel. The growing demand for customized designs led her to change the College Crib’s focus to Greek paraphernalia and other merchandise, and she has owned and operated College Crib for over 45 years. 

Throughout Price-Jones’ career in business, she has chosen to employ students from Fisk and Tennessee State Universities, thus serving as a role model and mentor. She has also worked to strengthen the community by establishing a network among businesses in the Jefferson Street area.
 Price-Jones has been featured in the Tennessean, Nashville Banner, Tennessee Tribune, Contempora Magazine, and Impressions, a national magazine for imprinted sportswear and screen printing.

Price-Jones has served her community in several capacities. She is a former member of  Metropolitan Government Nashville and Davidson County; Advisory Purchasing Committee. She is a member of Legacy Board of the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc., and a Lifetime Member of the NAACP. As an advocate for women, she is a member of the Hendersonville Area Chapter of The Links, Inc. and Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

At various points, Price-Jones has served on the board of governors of the Nashville Area Chamber Commerce (2003-2008); the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce (2002-2004); the board of directors, Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership, Inc. (1995-Present); and board of directors, Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce (1998-2003).


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