5 Questions: Patricia Shea, President and CEO, YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee

BW HeadshotPat Shea said when she was a little girl she wanted to be independent and able to take care of those she loved.  Well, she has done that and more.  She deftly handles working with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the Tennessee Titans to raise awareness of domestic violence, opens a new upscale thrift boutique, hosts the annual AWA event, and stops by Brand Wise to answer a few questions.  All in just one week.  And all in the name of “moving women from safety to self-sufficiency” at the best YWCA in the country.

Here a little insight into her world and why Domestic Violence Awareness Month is more than a date on the calendar for Pat.

1. How have recent NFL domestic violence situations elevated your ability to advocate for women on the issue of domestic violence?  

The conversation has been turned up…and the outrage that has come from the Ray Rice incident is intense; it’s palpable.  What usually happens behind closed doors was put out there for the whole world to see in all its brutality and ugliness.  And now, the conversation we have been having in Nashville these last few years is finally spreading.

One in four women will be victims of domestic violence in her lifetime.  Three women are killed each day in the United States by men who say they love them.  In fact, Tennessee is still ranked in the top ten worst states in the nation for the rate at which women are killed by men.  And yet, our country’s attention hadn’t really been focused on domestic violence until the Ray Rice video hit national news.

2.  What is the role of men in changing behavior towards women and championing appropriate male role models?

I am hopeful that our country’s collective outrage will be channeled into prevention and ongoing education of men and boys on healthy, respectful manhood.  Our dream is to change the current culture that supports violence against women.  We need men and boys to join us – join the women who have been shouldering  the message of violence against women for years –  and become part of the solution.

I continue to be excited about the YWCA’s Engaging Men Initiative.  We have strong male leaders in our community who are standing up and speaking out – people like our Mayor, our Chief of Police and District Attorney,  our YWCA male board members, local college and high school coaches and most recently, the Tennessee Titans.  Because as sportscaster James Brown recently said “Men’s silence around the issue of domestic violence has been deafening and deadly.”

3.  How do you describe the purpose of the YWCA to those who don’t know the organization?

The mission of the YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  For 116 years, the YWCA has provided services aimed at empowering women and girls, keeping them safe and helping them become self-sufficient.  We want to help women create a better quality of life for themselves and/or their families.  We want to help them increase their financial strength and independence through better jobs and more education.  We also aspire to be a voice for women who have no voice in our current society.

4.  How are you different from other YWCA’s in the country?

Although all YWCAs share the same mission, each YWCA is afforded the opportunity to develop their own strategic and tactical plans.  Our YWCA is the largest provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services in Tennessee.  We remain the local affiliate for Girls Inc. (a separate national non-profit focused on girls helping girls to grow up strong, smart and bold).  We have opened four neighborhood literacy centers where we provide GED/HiSET preparation classes and other literacy services. We have recently been awarded the affiliation to re-launch Dress for Success Nashville and their much needed services in our community.  And our most recent news…we have opened 2616 – our very own resale boutique located at 2616 Gallatin Pike.  2616 is a revenue generating business started to help us fund all of this great work.

5.  If you had a magic wand, how would you use it?

I would create a world where everyone had the opportunity to become all they could be; a world where education and employment were available to everyone equally.  A world described as compassionate, creative and competitive with everyone, striving to be their best.

The Popularity of Pumpkin and our Favorite Recipes

IMG_0029It’s been 10 years since Starbucks introduced its famous pumpkin pie spice latte and since then, consumers have clamored for everything pumpkin.  This year Starbucks brought the seasonal favorite back to their stores in August, a full month early.  In the last five years, the US Dept. of Agriculture says pumpkin sales have jumped 34%.  Not to be outdone, we have our own fabulous take on pumpkin coffee creamer (without chemicals) and little delish pumpkin cakes.

 

Mini Glazed Pumpkin Cakes

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease mini Bundt cake or muffin tins
  2. Mix ingredients
  3. Fill tins and bake for 12 minutes
  4. Let cool completely then drizzle with glaze

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 – 3 teaspoons water

Directions

  1. Mix powdered sugar and water until it forms a thick glaze
  2. Drizzle over cooled cakes

 

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups milk

1/3 cup Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (can use any flavor you like)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into container
  2. Refrigerate

 

 

Is Cause Marketing Still Cool?

CauseMktOctober is often dubbed Pinktober in the NFL because of breast cancer awareness. Can cause marketing help the NFL?  Is it still cool? Some 89% of Americans say they are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, but how can marketers make it part of their brand DNA?

The marketing place is saturated with cause-related messages.  Everything from casual shoes to detergent purchases can help someone else.  But here is the rub – Americans may be unclear on the impact that such efforts support.  According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, fewer than one-in-five consumers (16%) believes companies have made significant positive impact on social or environmental issues, and just 25 percent believes their own purchases substantially influence those issues.

Pink Sundays.  The NFL has struggled with reports that their pink Sundays where they ask players to wear pink gloves, shoes and towels has raised awareness, but it has resulted in limited donations.  The league reports that the NFL is actually donating about 5% to the American Cancer Society from what they make through the sale of pink products on the NFL online shop and an online auction.  The NFL also reports that local hospitals partner with them in individual markets to promote regular mammograms.  At the Titans game on October 5, the Titans handed out Breast Cancer fans and partnered with St. Thomas Health System.

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But how does cause marketing help a brand?  Patagonia is a great study in matching the cause to the brand.  Two-thirds of consumers who have bought Patagonia chose it because of the causes it supports.  Patagonia’s “Common Threads” repairs clothes and takes back used clothes to recycle. They focus on reduced consumption, repair, resale and recycling.   It certainly fits the environmentally sensitive target audience and the nature-loving brand.  And that’s what a good cause marketing campaign needs to do.  It must be authentic, unique and important to the target audience.

That’s where breast cancer and the NFL seem to be lacking.  The connection is forced.  Maybe this year’s focus should turn to domestic violence awareness in light of recent NFL player incidents.  Now that’s a real match for the NFL.  Standing up to a problem they can really impact.  The Titans made a good start here in Nashville with their recent announcement of a donation to the YWCA and the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and a domestic violence awareness event during the October 12 game with Jacksonville.  Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says the team’s involvement could be the tipping point in working to stop domestic violence and could become a national model.

The Ultimate Recycle: 2616 Boutique from the YWCA

BlueRibonUpscale consignment and thrift stores are all the rage, but what about one with a purpose?  The YWCA recently held the grand opening for 2616, Nashville’s newest thrift boutique located at where else, 2616 Gallatin Pike in East Nashville.

The YWCA decided to create the new store as an extension of the volunteer activities of Dress for Success Nashville, but definitely had a larger purpose in mind.

“We are dedicated to moving women from safety to self-sufficiency,” said Pat Shea, President and CEO of the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee. “And through 2616, we are actually practicing what we preach—this store will help the YWCA become more self-sufficient.”

The YWCA has a three-prong purpose for 2616 – to generate revenue to help fund the YWCA community services, to help disadvantaged women find suitable interview and work outfits and to partner with other organizations in Nashville to make sure the clothing and accessories are fully recycled and used.

In addition, the YWCA is partnering with Goodwill Industries to donate unsold inventory in exchange for gift certificates that can be provided to women in the YWCA programs.

The thrift boutique was busy when we visited.  YWCA CEO Pat Shea modeled a great pair of Coach loafers and a fabulous Dooney & Bourke bag.  Together, they’d cost over $500 retail, but at 2616, which is chock full of great bargains at affordable prices, they cost $50.  We made a bee line to the designer section featuring brands Michael Kors, Antonio Melani, and Versace, priced at least 30 percent off retail.

The store is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.