Each year, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee celebrates the employees and clients who have achieved success through perseverance and the power of work as well as community partners who help advance Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through education, training and employment. This year, we were excited to host an awards presentation event on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at Nashville’s Music City Center.
The 2021 Impact Breakfast was presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners, hosted by Carrington Fox and Cristina Oakeley and emceed by NewsChannel 5 Anchor Rhori Johnstone. The keynote speaker was Reggie D. Ford, author of “PTSD: Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction.”
We hope you enjoy the inspirational videos below celebrating 2021 award-winners Pam Berry, a Goodwill employee; Shaheera Alnatshia and Derek Nicholson, who are clients of Goodwill Career Solutions; Goodwill partners Grade A Construction, Phase II Re-Entry and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; and longtime Goodwill Board of Directors member John W. Stone III. Also, please read our blog post featuring Goodwill Ambassador Andrea Alexander.
When Nashville attorney John W. Stone III joined Goodwill’s Board of Directors in1995, the nonprofit boasted 14 stores, 16 donation sites and served about 1,500 people per year with free training and employment services. Today, Goodwill has twice as many stores, triple the number of donation sites and serves more than 10,000 clients annually. Stone’s 26 years of service to Goodwill’s mission — including two years as chairman — and his legal and real estate expertise, helped make that growth possible.
Andrea Alexander is a legal secretary in the Davidson County District Attorney General’s office who discovered thrift shopping at Goodwill as a way to cope with stress. She loves saving money on clothing while dressing like the “diva of the DA’s office” and supporting a nonprofit that helps the community. She also frequently posts her Goodwill finds to social media, using the handle @Goodwillshawty.
Since 2013, the Kappa Lambda Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. has supported numerous causes, including annual Stuff the Truck drives, filling more than 11 semi-trailers with donated clothing and home goods to benefit Goodwill’s mission. During the pandemic, the sorority was unable to conduct large events, but the membership continued to donate individually, and the group presented Goodwill with checks totaling $1,000. This year they also volunteered to paint employee break rooms at four Goodwill stores.
As a junior at Hillwood High School in North Nashville, Derek Nicholson had dreams of getting out of public housing and becoming an entrepreneur — but he knew he would need help. One day, a Goodwill employee visited his school, handing out information about Opportunity Now — Nashville’s youth employment initiative. Derek applied, and in June of 2017 he began a paid internship in the Marketing Department at Goodwill. Despite having to work a second job at a restaurant to help support his family, Derek excelled in the program. The experience opened his eyes to educational opportunities and possible career paths. It also got him noticed, and soon after Derek was appointed to the Mayor’s Youth Council. Today, he is at Austin Peay State University, studying for a degree in Marketing. He is also a student in Goodwill’s Facebook Social Media Marketing Certificate program.
In April, nonprofit Phase II Adult Re-entry Training Camp opened in Jackson to address Madison County’s above-average recidivism rates through counseling, addiction intervention, expungement assistance and more for formerly incarcerated men and women. Phase II turned to Goodwill to supplement its own services with skills training, job referrals and educational opportunities. Since that time, numerous people have received assistance from both agencies, and plans are underway to expand the partnership through community service programs, informational campaigns and more.
Like a third of women worldwide, Shaheera Alnatshia experienced domestic violence. It began in her native Jordan and worsened after she emigrated to Nashville with her husband in 2011. In 2017, Shaheera and her four children were forced out of their home and spent 42 days in a shelter. A nonprofit eventually secured a place for them to live, and Shaheera found a warehouse job. Long work hours made it difficult to care for her children and see to their education, especially during the pandemic. A social worker recommended Shaheera apply for the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program offered by Goodwill. Shaheera began the program in October of 2020 and finished in four months. Goodwill then helped her secure a paid internship with Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Shaheera now works from home as an Accenture apprentice. She says she no longer struggles to support her children and is excited about her future.
Grade A Construction specializes in large-site development — surveying, grading, utility, concrete, paving and more. But the woman-owned, Mt. Juliet-based company is also concerned with building up people. In 2020, Grade A’s Safety and Organizational Development Director Ken Glaus, connected with Goodwill’s Construction & Weatherization Training Program. Since then, three graduates of the program have begun apprenticeships with Grade A. Moreover, Glaus has spoken to 11 Goodwill construction classes, encouraging their development and informing them about opportunities in the industry.
When Pam Berry first came to Goodwill in 1991, she was 28 and unemployed. Though she had a culinary certificate from the Nashville Area Vocational School and had worked several restaurant jobs, she needed a more supportive work environment. For many years she worked in a downtown warehouse sorting donated clothing. Later, she stocked shelves at a Goodwill retail store. Today, she is a housekeeping associate at Goodwill’s Nashville Career Solutions Center and one of Goodwill’s longest-serving employees. Wherever she has worked, Pam has not only excelled in her job, she has inspired those around her through her kindness, optimism and cheerful demeanor — so much so that co-workers have given her the unofficial title, “Manager of Joy.”
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