Foundation Nashville Open House Inspires Small Business Owners

The Maynard Group had the honor of participating in the Foundation Nashville Open House event this week, where small business owners and entrepreneurs came together to network and hear from seasoned professionals. More importantly, attendees were inspired to grow their businesses into something extraordinary. Jerry Maynard, of The Maynard Group, served as host, alongside Foundation Nashville director, Shawtaz Crawford. The guest speaker, of the evening, was Darrell Freeman of Zycron, Inc.

To kick off the night, attendees heard from Crawford, who welcomed everyone and shared details about the aim of Foundation Nashville, as well as the partnership with Intelligent Office. Crawford explained that Foundation Nashville was started as a way to create a centralized destination for the support and development of small and minority owned businesses. He started Foundation Nashville as a way to see these businesses succeed in our growing community. Intelligent Office, he explained, is another tool that small business owners and entrepreneurs can utilize to get their businesses off the ground affordably, while maintaining a professional appearance. Crawford then asked Maynard to introduce Freeman, his friend and entrepreneurial colleague.

Once Darrell Freeman stepped up to the mic, he captivated attendees with his true passion for business and his relatable story of how achieved success. With countless words of advice, Freeman harped on the idea that for small business owners, the word no is a good thing.

“You must understand the value of no,” said Freeman. “No’s are good, because in every chain of no’s, there will be a yes.”

He went on to explain how he was laughed out of countless banks when looking for a loan to start his company. Each of these told him no, but he never lost hope, because he knew that eventually he would hear a yes – and he did. Despite barely making the grades to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University, Freeman is now a poster child for a small business success story. From everything he has learned along the may, he left attendees with two big pieces of advice. The first of those two is that you should never make money just to make it, but rather you should make money to help others and always give back. The second is that failure is a part of the journey.

“My failures are not standing on top of me. I’m standing on top of my failures,” Freeman said as a final thought.

Maynard Shares Expertise At Diversity Institute 


Jerry Maynard with his class of aspiring law professionals at the Diversity Institute.

For aspiring leaders and lawyers, being accepted to attend Nashville’s Diversity Institute is a dream come true. This institute, lead by Justice for Our Neighbors Tennessee, is comprised of four Saturday sessions where rising high school seniors, undergraduate students, and recent graduates from minority backgrounds are given the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest, most influential professors, judges, lawyers, and leaders in Nashville. Ultimately, the goal of the institute is to increase the number of students from minority backgrounds pursing a legal education. This year’s institute was particularly special for The Maynard Group, as our own Jerry Maynard was selected as the closing speaker for the first of the four sessions. 

Maynard was honored to have been asked to speak and to help teach these young students why diversity in leadership is vital. Deciding to focus on the importance of communities of color sitting at the table of power, Maynard provided the students with a  three step guide of how they may one day seat in those seats. First, he stressed that you can sit at the table of power internally. This means that you may be an elected official, on a board of directors, or be influential in some way on the internal side. With this internal power, one is able to invoke a change within their community or company, which will then lead to change in other communities or companies. Another way that one can sit at the table of power is externally. In this case, a person may not be invoking change within an organization that they are directly involved in, but rather this person is going out and protesting or speaking out on how a government or organization is not positively impacting the community which you represent. Finally, Maynard closed by emphasizing the importance of “knowing how to use the utensils.” He wanted the students to understand that one cannot truly create a change unless they understand the system that they want to affect. They must educate themselves both through schooling and outside research of the areas which they are passionate about. 

Maynard’s overarching message for these young students was that they absolutely have the power to become leaders and influencers within their organizations or communities. It is with a thirst for education and an unwavering drive that they will one day sit at the table of power alongside the leaders of Nashville, TN…maybe even alongside Maynard himself. 

Entrepreneur Credits Success to Nashville Small Business Expo

With Music City’s rapid growth, small business success stories sometimes go unnoticed. That is not the case, however, for Mike Hemmelgarn who opened a Nashville franchise of Intelligent Office in 2015. It has taken a year, but he attributes his success to networking at the Nashville Small Business Expo presented by The Maynard Group. 

Intelligent Office focuses on handling administrative staff work for small businesses and companies who are in growth stages. From answering phones to online administration, Intelligent Office provides a way for small businesses to be professional and attentive to clients as they develop a business presence.

Hemmelgarn, after twenty years in automative sales and finance, saw Intelligent Office as an opportunity to start a business that focuses on cultivation of small businesses in a fast-paced municipality. Shortly after opening his franchise on August 18, 2015, with dry wall dust still littering the floor, he heard about the inaugural Nashville Small Business Expo and saw an opportunity. Hemmelgarn headed into the expo that morning to set up his booth, without any knowledge that the other companies surrounding him would soon become clients that would grow his business…exponentially. After a day full of networking opportunities, Hemmelgarn left with a new client that signed with him that same day. This would be the first of many clients to convert after meeting Mike at the Small Business Expo.

Today, Hemmelgarn has over one hundred clients, including many from the Small Business Expo and credits much of his success to his involvement in the event. Hemmlgarn believes that small businesses, of all types, should attend the expo in the future. Aside from providing great exposure and resources, it allowed Hemmelgran and so many others to create relationships among the small business community. Of his many relationships cultivated at the Small Business Expo, The Maynard Group was one of the first and has gone on to assist him with business ventures.

“Jerry Maynard serves as an integral part of business development for Intelligent Office,” said Hemmelgarn. “We’re pleased to have his support and his business acumen as an asset to our success.”

Mignon Francois and DJ Wootson Inspire at Nashville Small Business Expo


L to R: Shawtaz Crawford, Jerry Maynard, Mayor Megan Barry, Mignon Francois, DJ Wootson

Nashville’s annual Small Business Expo took place September 1,  2016, and was filled with informative classes, inspirational speeches, and priceless networking opportunities among small business owners in Music City. The morning kicked off with seminars and classes meant to educate attendees and provide new perspectives for those seeking advice and motivation to continue pursuing their small business initiative. Following the educational seminars and discussions, a luncheon served as the culmination of the event. During the luncheon, The Maynard Group’s own, Jerry Maynard, II welcomed the guests and introduced long time friend Mayor Megan Barry. Guests were then afforded the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Mignon Francois and D.J. Wootson. Both told captivating stories about the obstacles they faced in getting to where they are today. 

Jerry Maynard kicked the luncheon off with a thought-provoking speech about the importance of small business in Music City. Stating, in his opening remarks, “small businesses are the economic engine of our city.” Which was exemplified, in perfect form, when Francois and Wootson took the stage. Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection, recounted the deliberate steps she took to get to where she is today. Without having any previous cooking experience, Francois took what she knew about science, what she learned from her grandmother, and what faith she had in herself to build what is now a highly successful cupcake bakery. She went on to tell the audience that her success did not come easy. Francois had to face many financial and emotional setbacks along the way, however The Cupcake Collection is completely debt free today thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and determination. 

Wootson, owner of Titus Young Real Estate Company, gave the audience a first hand account of the importance of starting from the ground up. He believes that being successful in business starts with educating yourself as much as you can. Though he had a well paying, ‘9-5 job,’ Wootson knew that his passion was in pursuing his own business. Because of this passion, he left his job to learn the ropes of retail. While working retail, Wootson also took every moment of spare time he had to meet with successful business people as a learning opportunity. Today, Wootson’s company is responsible for a multi-million dollar mixed development in the heart of Jefferson Street, among other ventures. 
The Nashville Small Business Expo truly served its purpose of educating and inspiring those who hope to grow their businesses alongside the booming city.