In our Spring edition, we had the honor of sitting down with some of the most exciting women in media to talk about their career paths, personal growth, and transition to Nashville. We noticed just how many of these extraordinary women have relocated to Nashville in recent years, either continuing in their roles remotely or picking up something entirely different. It left us wondering — why here?
Consider Beth Gebhard one of the driving forces behind the early days of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. She worked as the Director of Communications of the network and played an instrumental role in the messaging, branding, and marketing of the channel from inception. She’s worked in elite entertainment and lifestyle industries in New York, L.A., and Nashville. Today, Beth is a passionate and sought-after marketing and brand strategist who runs her own marketing consulting business Gebhard Strategy.
On Life in Nashville
TNE: What made you want to relocate to Nashville?
BG: My husband and I wanted to be within driving distance of our two hometowns, and we wanted to start a family.
TNE: What has been your favorite (and least favorite) parts of living here?
BG: My favorite part of living here has been the people- the deep friendships we’ve made. I also find Nashville beautiful. The neighborhoods, homes, landscape, stones, mountains, and fields… it’s really beautiful to me. My least favorite part of living here has been the lack of senior-level creative job opportunities, particularly for women. I moved here ten years ago with the expectation that “Music City” would be an ideal next step for my career and I have found it tremendously difficult to maintain the career trajectory I envisioned for myself due to the lack of opportunity. I see that changing, though, with folks like these women moving here and opening up new channels and doors.
TNE: What does an ideal day off look like here compared to when you lived in New York or LA?
BG: I have two young children, so an ideal day would be one where they let us sleep in (ha!). I love being with the kids outside in Sevier Park on a gorgeous day and walking over to Jeni’s for ice cream. Shopping for a great book at Parnassus and having a glass of wine outside in the late afternoon while we watch the kids ride bikes.
TNE: Have you found pockets of Nashville that remind you of New York and/or LA?
BG: Yes, Germantown has a nice New York feeling to it.
TNE: Where are your favorite places to shop around town?
BG: For clothes, I shop at Nordstrom, Emerson Grace, and ABLE. For gifts, I love Parnassus, Yearly Co., and White’s Mercantile.
TNE: Has the food been better here or there? Be honest.
BG: The food in Nashville is absolutely delicious now. I love SO many restaurants here from Frothy Monkey to BurgerUp to Chauhan Ale & Masala House and Folk.
On Her Career
TNE: What are some parts of your job with ABC News or Oprah that people may not expect?
BG: When I started working at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network in 2008, it was a network start-up in every sense of the word. A small group of us shared cubicles and a printer in a temporary office building all the way out to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. It wasn’t glamorous at all!
TNE: How did you bond with your coworkers?
BG: We all worked very late hours!
TNE: Which celebrity was most exciting to meet?
BG: When I was a little girl, I was absolutely obsessed with the movie “Annie” starring Carol Burnett. I can still quote every single line of it. When I met Carol Hyperion to shop her upcoming book, I was that same little girl staring at Ms. Hannigan. I was truly starstruck.
TNE: Best ways to beat a mental block?
BG: Get up, move your body, and get some fresh air.
TNE: How have your priorities shifted with time and experience?
BG: When I was working in New York, I would read The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Post before I walked in the office door so that I could never be stumped with a news headline if the CEO stopped by my office asking me about something he’d read (he did this frequently, so I was always on my toes). I toured the country with authors on book tours or shows in production, and I planned and worked events regularly. Hustle was a fundamental part of the job, and I lived for it! Now, I live for my family. I hustle to get home to PJs and hugs.
TNE: What has your career path taught you about yourself?
BG: I love a creative challenge, and I love to be surrounded by people far more intelligent and talented than myself!
TNE: What advice would you in the present tell yourself when you were getting started in PR and marketing?
BG: When I started in PR and Marketing, social media and digital strategy weren’t a thing. Nowadays, it’s essential. So, I would tell myself to work very hard on mastering those skill sets. I always loved writing so I would also tell myself to keep writing because now, more than ever, content is king and good writers are tough to find.
TNE: How did you make the leap to start your own business?
BG: I’ve been using this quote by Plato, “necessity is the mother of invention,” as so many of us are living this very truth right now. Gebhard Strategy, my new marketing business, is the dream I didn’t even know I had until everything fell away, and I found myself in a place of stillness and pondering what’s next. I just kept coming back to these three thoughts: 1) I want to work for myself 2) I thrive off of helping people and 3) I know smart marketing doesn’t have to be so hard and so expensive. You can read the whole story on my site here.
TNE: In starting your new business, what encouraged you?
BG: It’s true that you learn by example. I’ve worked with so many incredibly supportive and inspiring people – too many to count. It’s been the greatest blessing of my career.
TNE: What do you think is the most important trait in a successful person?
BG: I’d say it’s a toss-up between curiosity and resilience.
TNE: What advice from others has helped you most along the way?
BG: Never fear failure because failure is your best teacher. I love the Albert Einstein quote:
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
– Beth Gebhard
TNE: What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
BG: I would have to say being recruited to join Oprah’s OWN network and serving as part of the team that launched the network was a tremendous honor and an unforgettable career achievement.
TNE: What comes next?
BG: Ha! Well, “next” is now. I’ve just launched my marketing business, Gebhard Strategy, in the middle of a global pandemic. Now, that’s a story to tell. I’m pouring my heart and soul into this business, providing marketing, messaging, and motivation into small businesses and brands who need simple, effective, and money-making marketing. And, I’m loving it!
On Work-Life Balance
TNE: In a fast-paced work environment, how do you find time for yourself?
BG: It’s very hard! I listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I can steal a few moments to myself. I also carve out a half-hour every morning for a workout at home. Two of my best friends in town and I get together once a month over inexpensive Mexican food and margaritas.
TNE: How has motherhood impacted your outlook and daily routines?
BG: Motherhood changed absolutely every single thing about me. It’s the biggest gift, blessing, and responsibility I will ever have. It definitely cured me of being the workaholic I once was. That said, balance doesn’t exist. Some days I’m crushing the mom thing at the expense of my work and some days I’m crushing the work thing at the expense of my kids. You just have to take it day by day and remember that they grow up so fast! I try to savor the moments as much as I can.
TNE: Favorite ways to work out to stay healthy and energized?
BG: In quarantine, I started using Beachbody online workouts, and I LOVE it. The 21-day fix is terrific.
TNE: What are the best ways to start and end your day?
BG: For me, the best way to start the day is by getting up at 5 am for quiet time to myself to meditate, pray, read, and review my calendar. And, of course, the minute my children come down the stairs, I can’t wait to give them a big hug and take a mental snapshot of their sleepy eyes and crazy, precious bed- head hair. The best way to end my day is dinner together as a family, even if that means I’ll have to wrangle my son to his chair approximately 22 times and listen to both of them moan about something “yucky” I’ve put on their plates to eat. And then, after they’re down, a good book in bed.
TNE: Favorite meal to cook when you have time?
BG: Anything … literally anything … in my crockpot.
TNE: Healthiest habit you’ve picked up through the years?
BG: For several years, I’ve written down 5 things I’m grateful for each day because it trains your brain to see the good in each day.
TNE: What’s your go-to “treat yourself” moment?
BG: Massages! I love Rhapsody Spa or, for something quick and cheap, Crest Foot Massage in Green Hills. In quarantine, dark chocolate, WithCo cocktails, and good books.
Her Everyday Essentials
TNE: What beauty/skincare products are staples for you on a busy day?
BG: The classic original chapstick (the tube with the black and white label) is my absolute favorite skincare product ever. I am never far from a tube of it. And, thank goodness Dr. David Gilpin’s (Gilpin Facial Plastics) team got me using SkinBetter products. I was hopeless before their intervention! On a busy day, I’m all about DryBar Triple Sec and dry shampoo.
TNE: What’s the most random item you keep on you “just in case?”
BG: Neosporin – I’m clumsy.
TNE: What are some travel essentials you couldn’t live without?
BG: At this point, I would just say a suitcase, a plane ticket anywhere, and a margarita. Vacation… sign me up! Otherwise, I would say my white noise app, a great book, and some comfy clothes.
TNE: What items are you most excited to wear this Spring/Summer?
BG: I love the white sneakers and skirt/pants look because I will always choose comfort over style. I’m also excited that acid-washed, 80’s looking jeans are coming back into style.
TNE: What outfit is a go-to for you?
BG: I throw on my pajamas the minute I walk in the door from work. Otherwise, I’d say a pair of jeans (I like MOTHER), my black Chuck Taylors, and a button-down shirt.
TNE: The best trick to calm nerves?
BG: Taking deep breaths and a blowout from Drybar certainly helps, too.
TNE: Where do you get your news?
BG: These days, I try to avoid the news, but I will occasionally check the New York Times or watch CNN.
TNE: Last book you couldn’t put down?
BG: “There I am” by Ruthie Lindsey
TNE: What’s your guilty pleasure TV or Netflix series?
BG: I devoured Netflix’s “Cheer.” I want to be Coach Monica when I grow up. I also love, love, love a good baking competition show like “Sugar Rush” and “Nailed It.”
TNE: Best trick you’ve picked up to be camera-ready?
BG: Ok, I’m never camera-ready! My best piece of advice would be to double-down on your makeup application. You need twice as much!
To keep up with Beth check out her newly launched website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @gebhardstrategy.