While society seems to believe that one’s “influence” is directly correlated to the number of followers they have on Instagram, we chose a different (and dare I say, authentic) approach when choosing our Leading Ladies. The women featured in our summer series, The Women’s Edit, are women who are true trailblazers in our beautiful, booming city. We wanted to highlight women who, like us, are creatives seeking to add more life and love to our community. The Women’s Edit is a salute to those making their own way, setting trends we want to follow and shifting how Nashville is viewed by the outside world. This forward-thinking group of women makes us want to do more, to be better and to challenge ourselves to tackle something new.
This week’s Lady of the Moment?
Laura Heatherly | CEO of the TJ Martell Foundation
The Nashville Edit: You started out as the Executive Director of the Southern Region Division located in Nashville of the T.J. Martell Foundation and worked your way up to the CEO of the national division. Tell our readers a little bit about the hard work that goes into your day-to-day.
Laura Heatherly: I am blessed to work with a group of talented individuals in four states. We work together to execute the goals set forth by all of our board members. I am passionate about my job and love the challenging aspects.
TNE: What have you learned throughout your years with this foundation?
LH: I have learned in the past 14 years of being with the Foundation that it is important to connect with the community. I love bringing people together for a great cause. Everyone wants to help in some compacity, so it is important to give them the opportunities that allow them to be part of doing something important which in the T.J. Martell Foundation’s case is the mission of supporting life-saving cancer research.
TNE: Can you tell us a bit about the new T.J. Martell Foundation movement that helps women focus on their health and wellness? We’d love to hear all about this and who it benefits and how!
LH: In 2019, the leaders of our Women of Influence committee are launching a new campaign. Women are always taking care of everyone else but are the last ones to think about themselves. “Me For You” is a buddy system – women promise each other to take care of themselves as a loving reminder that health and wellness are important. It will encourage women to remember to get their annual screenings and proactively support cancer prevention and awareness.
“Women are always taking care of everyone else but are the last ones to think about themselves. “Me For You” is a buddy system – women promise each other to take care of themselves as a loving reminder that health and wellness are important.”
TNE: Who is all involved in this movement?
LH: We are fortunate that the women who support the foundation, whether they are leaders in entertainment or leaders in other industries, are dedicated to raising awareness of the foundation which raises much-needed funds to combat this terrible disease.
TNE: How did you get this to all come together?
LH: The leaders of our Women of Influence committee met last year and wanted to come up with a new way to raise awareness for the foundation. They started sharing stories about their health issues from forgetting to schedule screenings to taking care of themselves. This conversation gave birth to the Me For You program.
TNE: What about your job makes you feel fulfilled?
LH: One of the initiatives that foundation supporters benefit from is the Patient Services Program. This program links patients to oncologists when diagnosed with cancer. I am most fulfilled when the foundation is thanked for this service. This is my favorite part of my job!
TNE: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
LH: Follow your dreams. Work hard. Believe in yourself. Don’t take no for an answer. If there is a will, there is always a way!
TNE: What are some challenges you’ve faced as a female executive? How have you combatted those challenges?
LH: I pinch myself every day because I have been fortunate in my career to work with people who are respectful.
TNE: What advice would you give other women trying to lead?
LH: Believe in yourself and you will be able to do anything!
TNE: In your spare time, you like to oil paint. Any advice on how to consciously make time for hobbies with such a hectic schedule?
LH: For almost eighteen years a group of my friends and I paint once a week. This time is blocked on my calendar. It is my time to relax and do something special for me.
TNE: You’re also big into running. Where are some of your top places to run in Nashville?
LH: I love running on the Greenways around Nashville. We are so lucky to have them in our communities. I also enjoy walking and running with friends at Percy Warner Park. It is so beautiful!
TNE: Where do you like to take clients out to dinner in Nashville?
TNE: How do you start your mornings each day? How do you take your coffee?
LH: One of my other favorite things to do is wake up at 4:30 in the morning and have my first cup of coffee (with cream), read the paper and other items online with my sweet dog, Macy by my side. It is nice and quiet and gives me the chance to think.
TNE: Can you describe some of your best experiences with celebrities giving to the foundation?
LH: The music community is so special and we have been fortunate to work with many artists of all genres who have generously given auction packages, participate in our events and some have opened up their homes to fundraisers.
TNE: What is some advice you’d give your younger self?
LH: To keep energized every day, believe in me and love what life has to offer.
This or That:
A run through the woods / Along the beach
Morning coffee / Mimosa
Brentwood / Belle Meade
Still Life / Abstract