In recent years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee (BBBSMT) has made great strides in reaching out to the LGBTQ+ community—both in its recruitment of LGBTQ+ mentors and in its service of LGBTQ+ mentees. Central to their mission is the idea that mentoring matters for all kids, including our community. Their new efforts include creating an LGBTQ+ Advisory Board to work with their recruitment team to learn how to conduct better outreach to the LGBTQ+ community and forming an exciting new partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide LGBTQ+ youth in these schools with supportive mentors. Now, a new fundraising program is offering the community an opportunity to give back, while also benefitting from the organization’s expertise.
Mentoring Matters replaces Franklin Wine Festival
For the past 15 years, BBBSMT hosted the Franklin Wine Festival, its longest-running fundraising event, but this year a new event will be taking the place of the Franklin Wine Festival. The new fundraising program, Mentoring Matters, aligns strongly with BBBSMT’s mission to defend the potential of Middle Tennessee youth through the power of mentorship. Mentoring Matters is a virtual professional group mentoring and networking event, from which all proceeds go to support BBBSMT’s mission to provide youth with one-to-one mentoring.
Kicking off on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., Mentoring Matters will feature an esteemed group of high-profile guest mentors in a variety of fields, including entrepreneurship, politics, finance, sports, education, social justice and technology.
Each guest mentor will meet with a group of up to nine attendees for an hour, leading the discussion around a topic of their expertise. There is also an option to attend a 30-minute VIP networking session prior to the event where VIP ticket holders may interact with all guest mentors and other VIP attendees.
Some guest mentors include:
- Marcus Whitney, Founding Partner at Jumpstart Health Investors; Co-Founder and Minority Owner at Nashville Soccer Club
- Ralph Schulz, CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Alisha Shoates James, Principal Consultant & CEO at James Group Consulting
- Darrell Freeman, Chairman at S3 Recycling Solutions; Executive Managing Director at Zycron, a division of BGSF
- David Plazas, Director of Opinion and Engagement, USA TODAY Network Tennessee
- Lee O. Molette, President at Molette Investment Services; Principal at Frank Stanton Developers
- Brenda Gadd, President at Rethink Public Strategies
Attendees will benefit from the insights of guest mentors, including LGBTQ+ presenters like David Plazas and Joe Woolley (who will present on “LGBT+ in the Workplace: Bringing Your Whole Self to Work” with Lauren Bland). They will also support the general work of BBBSMT—including its new programs for the LGBTQ+ community.
“Those of us who grew up without LGBTQ mentors and role models know how difficult it is to be what you cannot see, which is to say, representation matters,” said Bryan Currie, vice president of capacity-building initiatives at BBBSMT. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is an agency that celebrates differences, and we purposively serve LGBTQ youth by connecting them with mentors who share their interests, identities, and experiences. LGBTQ adults are uniquely positioned to support youth through all the challenges and joys of the queer experience, and we are fortunate to partner with members of the LGBTQ community to offer this support.”
For more information about guest mentors and ticket sales, visit https://mentorakid.org/mentoring-matters/.