Entrepreneurs and Principles: Celebrating Clayton McWhorter’s Legacy

Once a year we celebrate the generosity of a group of people who make the EC’s mission possible. The McWhorter Circle, named in honor of Clayton McWhorter, the EC’s founding board chair, lays the foundation for entrepreneurs in our city. And who makes up this group? You guessed it – entrepreneurs and leaders who’ve, “been there, done that.” 

Clayton McWhorter, health care pioneer and Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame Member lived by four guiding principles:

  • Be Prepared
  • Find a Mentor and Be a Mentor
  • Act like an Owner
  • Give Back

What was perhaps most inspiring was to hear from two entrepreneurs in our community share how these principles impact their day to day. 

Bill McCleskey, founder of MiTech Partners, wanted to be around entrepreneurs, so he joined the EC back in 2013. He plugged into the community and leaned into the EC’s resources, finding a mentor. Today he is a mentor for many! 

Bill shared on his instagram, “Kudos to all who participate in the McWhorter Circle helping continue the vision that helps entrepreneurs grow, glow, and give back!” Congratulations to MiTech Partners on their recent acquisition with more to come.

Austin Dirks, founder of Greenlight Medical expressed his honor to be sharing this moment in front of The McWhorter Circle. “I like this word – circle – because this is a full circle moment for me.” Dirks joined the EC around the same time as McCleskey; they were desk mates. They didn’t know each other well at first but it felt good to come in everyday and be surrounded by other entrepreneurs doing the work.

Dirks shared he has used the term owner a lot within his own team – more specifically be an owner. When his team was empowered to be owners of their work, Greenlight grew to acquisition in 2022. Today, Austin is grateful that he feels like he’s in a place to give back – and that’s what the McWhorter Circle is all about. 

A special thanks to our McWhorter Circle Co-Chairs, Judith Bright and Andy Faught, Brian and Megan Fox for hosting the evening at their beautiful home, and TN Commissioner Stuart McWhorter for sharing a few special words about his father’s legacy and the impact of the McWhorter Circle Giving Society. 

Ready to get involved and help lay the foundation for entrepreneurs? Visit our McWhorter Circle webpage.

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