Empowering the Future: CEO Roundtable and Worthington Advisory Unite for Small Minority Business Prosperity

Fostering Connections and Opportunities for Small Business Leaders in Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN – On September 11, 2023, an exclusive gathering of business leaders and visionaries convened in the heart of Nashville. Hosted by Barge Design Solutions and presented by the CEO Roundtable in association with Worthington Advisory, the “Partnership in Prosperity: Small Minority Business Forum” was a testament to the collaborative spirit of the business community.

Bob Higgins of Barge Design opened the event, setting a positive and collaborative atmosphere. Jacky Akbari, Founder and Managing Principal of Worthington Advisory and the event’s facilitator, acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the event’s partners and sponsors, including industry leaders like Amazon and Ryman Hospitality Properties.

Jacky Akbari remarked, “This forum is a testament to the power of collaboration. By bringing together diverse business minds, we’re not only fostering growth but also shaping the future of business in Nashville.”

A panel discussion, led by Carrie Stokes of Barge Design, featured esteemed professionals Donna Huffman from Vanderbilt University, Michelle Lane from Metro Procurement, Tony Giarratana from Giarratana Development, and Adolpho Birch from the Tennessee Titans. Their collective insights provided a comprehensive perspective on the evolving business landscape.

Mayor Bill Rawls of Brownsville, TN, delved into the transformative “Blue Oval City” initiative, a Ford Plant project set to revolutionize the region’s economic landscape. His vision for the project highlighted its potential to create jobs, boost local businesses, and strengthen the community.

In a separate segment, Nashville Mayor-Elect Freddie O’Connell engaged the audience with a discussion on the role of small and minority businesses. His commitment to fostering a supportive environment for these businesses underscored his vision for Nashville’s economic future.

The event’s speakers were provided by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, ensuring a diverse range of voices and expertise.

Breakout sessions offered attendees a deep dive into specialized topics:
• Collaboration on RFQs and RFPs with Jimmie Strong, Attorney at The Advisory, and Reggie Polk from Polk and Associates.
• Minority Certification Process led by Clifton Harris from the Urban League of Middle Tennessee and Susan Vanderbilt from the Nashville Black Chamber.
• Reflections and Forecasts: Lessons Learned and Opportunities Ahead with Don Hardin from The Don Hardin Group and Davita Taylor from BNA, Metro Nashville Airport Authority.

The day concluded with group photos, capturing the essence of a day marked by knowledge-sharing and networking.

Looking ahead, the next event on the horizon is the “Regional Leadership Roundtable Summit,” set to take place in Brownsville and Memphis, Tennessee, this fall. For more information or to get involved, please contact Jacky Akbari at or 615-830-0201.

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