Circle Back: Governor Phil Bredesen

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By Jane Allen, Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO

Many years ago, I was dating a man, who later became my husband, who chose Nashville as the city he wanted to start and build his career. When I questioned this decision, he told me, “There’s a man running for mayor, Phil Bredesen, and I truly believe he will transform this city.”

Little did we know!

After marrying and moving to Nashville, I had the opportunity to practice law with Doramus & Trauger, a law firm led by Byron Trauger, Mayor Bredesen’s attorney. Through that position, I got to meet Mayor Bredesen and his wife, Andrea, who started a non-profit, You Have the Power.

There are a few things that I remember about Mayor Bredesen: He was extremely bright, he did not talk much but when he did you wanted to listen, and he was committed to helping make Nashville the best it could be.

I knew that Mayor Bredesen had worked in the healthcare community, and was a very successful entrepreneur. As the founder of Health America, he felt called to public service, to help solve some of the challenges facing our city and then our state. It was clear that then-Mayor, later-Governor Bredesen was a true problem-solver and it only made sense for him to move from entrepreneurship to public office.

As I was leaving private practice, I remember Byron telling me what Governor Bredesen told him: “It takes as much effort to start a million dollar business as it does to start a hundred million – make sure it has the potential to be a hundred million.”

That was a piece of advice I carried with me throughout my entrepreneurial journey.

Nashville is a city full of entrepreneurs – it is in our tapestry and one of the reasons Nashville is the “It City.” Before I stepped in to lead the EC, I read its founding documents. One of the purposes of the EC was to share the story of these Nashville entrepreneurs who make up its foundation.

And when we decided to do a podcast to highlight the stories of entrepreneurs, my first thought was about Governor Bredesen, who after leaving public office as the Tennessee governor started other businesses, including Silicon Ranch and Clearloop.

We are excited for you to listen to this interview. Hopefully you will glean from this episode a “nugget of knowledge” that will help you on your entrepreneurial journey. For me, I learned one thing that I had not really thought about but is so true: An entrepreneur has to get through the noise and focus on the important issues in order to be successful.

We are honored to feature Governor Bredesen on Circle Back, as our first story to share with you.

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