• baileycarreker

Home is Where the Heart is

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

As many of you know, I’m involved in the UGA chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I joined as I was applying to Grady College with the intention of gaining valuable insight on the industry and networking with professionals in an organic way. Through this amazing organization, I was given the opportunity to travel to Franklin, Tennessee, and attend a PR summit at Choice Media & Communications. Heather Adams, Choice’s founder and CEO, is a Grady grad; she invited two students and her current intern to attend. I jumped at the opportunity, packed my bags and started on the road trip to Franklin. I couldn’t be more excited!

Choice Summit

The other student chosen to go, Sarah, rode with me to Tennessee. We arrived in Franklin late Thursday night; the summit started at 8 a.m. on Friday. We snuggled into our hotel and ordered a pizza. When we arrived at the summit, we were greeted with smiling faces and warm hugs. The summit’s theme was “Allies Not Competitors,” and Choice’s team came through on that promise. Heather filled the day with speakers versed in every area of the industry, with a clear goal of lifting us up. It was refreshing to be around a group of women focused on collaboration, when we as a society are constantly surrounded by a culture of comparison and competition.

Heather (second from left) with the three UGA Students that attended the Choice Summit.

There were a few speakers that really stood out to me, the first being J.J. Peterson. J.J. facilitates StoryBrand, a method of teaching businesses to eliminate confusion by clarifying their brand. He spoke about having your brand tell a story, and making that story as clear as possible. I was also impressed by Crosby Noricks, the founder of PR Couture. Crosby spoke on active listening, which is the pause between what you want to say and what the other person is actually saying. This is a simple concept, but one we too often forget. Lastly, I was most inspired by Dee Ann Turner. Dee Ann was the first female officer at Chick-fil-A, and is now a published author with her own organization. Dee Ann talked about how people decisions are the most important decisions that we make for our business, and how a reputation of a remarkable culture attracts extraordinary people.

Although I haven’t quite made my way into the “real world,” people like these make me excited to delve in.

Franklin's Charm

The Grilled Cheeserie, downtown Franklin

Luckily, I convinced my parents to drive up Friday and spend the weekend with me in Tennessee. I want to move to Nashville after I graduate, so there was no way I was missing an opportunity to stay just a little longer. We started by exploring downtown Franklin. Its quirky stores and local restaurants give it a classic feeling. For lunch we ate at the Grilled Cheeserie, and yes, it’s as good as it sounds. You really can’t go wrong with bread and cheese. I ordered a B&B of Tennessee, which is a grilled cheese with bacon and apple jam, washed down with a Coke. Mmmm! We then visited the Tin Cottage; it had the cutest local products and gifts! For dessert, we went to Merridee's Breadbasket where I had a delicious chocolate pie. The restaurant really paid tribute to the town’s southern hospitality with its fresh chicken salad and plaid tablecloths.

Just half an hour from Nashville, Franklin is the perfect mix of big city bustle and small-town charm.

Music City

After our visit to Franklin, my parents and I made the drive to Nashville. First stop on our list: The Gulch. Of course, we had to take a picture in front of the “What Lifts You” mural. Then, we stopped in Two Old Hippies, which is without a doubt the coolest store I’ve ever been in. First of all, the store had a VW Bus filled with amps and merch right next to the desk. There were guitars, gifts and tons of rock and roll apparel.

#WhatLiftsYou wings mural, The Gulch

From there, we headed to 12 South, another neighborhood of Nashville. We took pictures in front of the “nashville looks good on you” and “I Believe in Nashville” murals. Then we stumbled upon a pumpkin patch, fully equipped with pick-up truck and oddly shaped gourds (my favorite)!

What better way to end a day of exploring music city than visiting Broadway? My parents and I spent hours in Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s bar. It has 3 floors and a rooftop, each with a different band playing. As an avid country music lover, I was in heaven.

Where I Want To Be

Oh Nashville, how I love you. The magnetizing pull I feel for this city is difficult to explain. There is nothing I want more than to soak up the music at the Grand Ole Opry, click my boots at the Wild Horse Saloon and cheer on the Predators.

I’ll see you soon Nashville!

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