Making a Difference Through Community
I grew up in East Tennessee where my dad sold cars for 20 years. Everybody knew him, everybody loved him, but no one else looked like him. Among the many things he taught me was the fact that, regardless of what you do in life, you will always be considered a person of color. It’s something that really stuck with me.
After grad school, when I was working as an Assistant Manager at a grocery store, I had this full circle moment where I truly saw what he was talking about. I understood what he went through. There weren’t a whole lot of people coming through that store that looked like me.
In so many places, there’s no diversity on boards or in leadership roles. I had the opportunity to serve on the second Diversity Council in 2021 and 2022, and the question that I posed to the other members was, “If you don’t see any representation, how can you picture yourself in that position? How can you see that story as yours?”
Seeing someone in leadership that looks like you is so impactful. Without it, you never really know that it’s something you can achieve.
When I came to the Opry, it was the first time I ever worked for a person of color. It was so empowering. I was able to see my story in hers. When she left, it was an opportunity for me to seize that moment. I felt like if I was fortunate enough to move into that position, I could possibly help break the mold. Some people may have a perception that the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman aren’t always representative of the diverse communities we serve, and I want to help demonstrate that we don’t align with that perception. One of my favorite artists right now is Breland and he’s featured quite a bit on the Opry stage, which is amazing. I’m really excited about the steps we’re taking with Opry Next. I think all of it just speaks volumes. It’s a great place to be and all walks of life are welcome. I’m very thankful they saw the potential in me and gave me a place to grow and develop.
Lisa – Compensation Analyst
Tyesha – Administrative Coordinator, Ole Red Nashville
Topher – Sr. Events Manager, Grand Ole Opry