10 Women You Should Know (if you don’t already).

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re continuing to share remarkable women in our ecosystem who embody our ethos.

Each of these women have made a big impact in their respective industries and in our community. Some are just taking off, some starting their second venture – some with growing families! Take a look at the round-up of “she-roes” and celebrate some of their recent wins with us (in the order pictured above).

Deanna Meador

Founder of Couture Technologies

As part of the founding team at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s Innovation Center, Deanna has provided programming, mentorship, and access to resources for over 600 aspiring entrepreneurs in the greater Nashville community that have now raised over $70M in funding! Last year on International Women’s Day, her company Couture Technologies became the first woman-led company to raise over $1M in under 8 hours. 

Recent wins:

  • Recently featured in Vogue Business, Yahoo Life, and Sourcing Journal as a leader in virtual try-on, 3D product visualizations and interactive lookbook technologies designed to enhance a customer’s shopping experience. 
  • Launched a new line of clothing https://freedomcompany.co/ that’s ethically sourced and sustainably produced on demand in the United States.

Brittany Cole

Keynote Speaker and CEO of Career Thrivers

A workforce development and DEI Thought Leader, TedX speaker, Nashville Business Journal Women of Influence, the list goes on! Brittany’s PRESENCE has and is making strides with her leadership development firm, Career Thrivers, which partners with corporations to develop and retain talent. Heavily involved in our ecosystem, Brittany is a pre-Flight alumni and the EC’s former Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer that supported developing curriculum for our Twende’ program.

Recent wins:

  • Recently recognized as a Linkedin Top Voice
  • New deal signed with Sony Music Publishing to design and deliver a global women’s leadership program for executives.

Nikki Sanz

Founder of Giggs

You’ve probably seen Nikki’s face a lot lately. That’s because she recently launched her company Giggs that’s gaining traction and recognition at a fast pace. Nikki has been a longstanding member of the EC, involved as panelist at Young Entertainment Professionals Nashville and is a recent recipient of LaunchTN’s regional seed-fund, InvestTN.

Recent wins: 

Domonique Townsend

Founder of We Optimize Work

Domonique’s joy immediately lights up a room so it’s no surprise she is able to help companies build a culture of innovation where leaders empower employees. As a TEDx and International Speaker, she brings 17 years of expertise as an Industrial Engineer, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Change Management Expert. Domonique has impressively helped a company increase engagement by 177% and save $1.74 million in lost productivity and disengagement costs within 12 months. To date, Domonique has helped companies save $14.1 million utilizing her signature WOW Framework and employee-led innovation.

Recent Wins:

  • WBEC South Innovation Award Winner – 3rd Place
  • Recognized as Top 10 Employee Engagement Solutions Provider by HR Tech Outlook
  • Authored A Book: Inspired to Innovate  Release Date May 2024

Amy Green

Founder of Mamaya Health and Nashville Collaborative Counseling Center

A true advocate in the mental health space, both of Amy’s companies focus on making tailored mental healthcare more accessible. Heavily involved in Nashville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Amy has gone through our Project Healthcare accelerator, served on the 2023 NEXT Awards committee (our biggest fundraising event of the year) and most recently went through Vanderbilt’s 2024 Startup Practicum.

Recent wins:

Debbie Garcia

Founder of Virsitour

From pitch competitions to speaker series and events, Debbie has been a huge part of our entrepreneurial community! In just a few short months, the Virsitour platform will be newly designed providing users the ability to experience virtual tours for event planning. They’ve recently had several great conversations with CVBs in the area to get cities listed on the platform.

Recent Wins:

Laurel Orley

Co-founder of Daily Crunch

You could say Laurel is a queen in CPG. With an impressive 13 years in her back pocket working in advertising for Unilever on brands like the Dove campaign for real beauty, her passion for building brands led to the creation of Daily Crunch. She’s also been involved with the women’s CPG group in Nashville.  

Recent Wins:

  • Nominated for a #nexty Award in the salty snack category (not to be confused with a NEXT award – though she did win one of those!), Daily Crunch is now in over 5,000 retail doors and launching into Target next month
  • Announced as a finalist for the Nashville Business Journal best in business awards for Daily Crunch 
  • Named as one of the top 100 Female Founders changing food & beverage in 2024

Nadian Zak

Founder of Zak Consulting Group

A take-charge People and Culture entrepreneur , Nadian has a background in executive-level HR across diverse healthcare startups and Fortune 500 companies. She is a current Board member of HOLA TN and Siloam Health and an EC member. Most impressively, within just 18 months of founding her company Zak Consulting Group, a leading outsourced HR provider of strategic recruitment and retention  solutions, Nadian has grown the business by 7,000%.

Recent wins:

  • Winner of the 2024 Braintrust Pacesetter Award for extraordinary revenue growth
  • Announced as a finalist for the Nashville Business Journal 2024 Best in Business awards for Zak Consulting Group for private companies under 25 employees 
  • Speaker at the NBA All-Stars, focusing on Diverse Women in Business and at the Predators’ 2nd Annual Women in Business Night

Lee Farabaugh

Co-Founder of Core10 and President of Monarch

With 8 years of experience in FinTech — and 11 years in healthcare tech before that — Lee has a wealth of critical knowledge throughout the creation of NEC’s Project FinTech program in 2023. Serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the program’s inaugural cohort, Lee helped lay the foundation and provided invaluable guidance and mentorship for FinTech founders and startups statewide and across the country.

Recent wins:

Beth Inglish

Professional Keynote Speaker, Artist, and Founder of the Nashville Creative Group

Often referred to as a “catalyst for creative change,” Beth Inglish is a professional keynote speaker who’s made her mark on Nashville and beyond. When she’s not speaking, she’s building community connecting arts and culture with commerce through strategic partnerships. And we’ll be seeing a lot more of her as she’s now hosting a monthly Professional Speaker Series in NEC’s Learning Center, called Speaker Up!

Recent wins:

  • Set to speak at Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress 2024 in May
  • Joined a cutting-edge learning platform, The star in me, as a global expert in creativity helping organizations create a strategic advantage in internal leadership development, continuous learning, and culture design.

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