Andrea Thompson, Director, Ladies Nashville
Originally from Maryland, Andrea moved to Nashville when she was 18, then to DC in her late 20’s and back to settle down in Nashville when she turned 30. During her youth and well into adulthood Andrea describes herself as having social anxiety, something that had hindered her most of her life. During her 2 year span in DC Andrea wanted to join a women’s group in order to meet people, and as a last attempt to conquer her social phobias and start to become the women she knew she could be. She found a group called Ladies DC and began to follow them on Twitter. After having been inspired by the Tweets posted by Ladies DC member, Bianca Hutton, Andrea offered to host a happy hour for the group at the Friendship Heights restaurant she was working at during that time. Andrea reports, in an excited tone, that the moment the group walked in the door she felt unbelievably welcome. This experience of feeling welcome developed over the following months into a strong sense of community with Ladies DC members. For Andrea, being a part of a community is not simply a matter of being a member of the group, but it involves a true sense of mutual vested interests. This is precisely what stands out about Ladies DC, on her view. An early conversation with Ladies DC chapter director, Jean Schindler, resulted not only in Andrea being put on a committee and given the opportunity to write an online blog for their site, but it also birthed what is now the 9th chapter of Ladies America, Ladies Nashville. Andrea tells us that Schindler really took an interest in her by finding out what she was good at and creating roles where she could develop these talents. The group ”helps you develop into something better”, Andrea explains. After recently learning that she had to leave DC and move back to Nashville, Andrea was excited in all aspects of the move except for the fact that this meant leaving Ladies DC. In response, she came up with the idea of starting a chapter in Nashville. After what Andrea calls “an exceptional phone conversation” with Ladies America founder, Lindsey Mask, Andrea was given the go-ahead to take on leadership in the creation of a new chapter in Nashville. Now. holding a leadership role of Director of Ladies Nashville, Andrea attributes her present passion for the women empowerment movement and professional confidence to the connections she made through LadiesDC. A few months in, Andrea is excited to share that she is molding the Nashville chapter to emulate DC and is adding a dose of Southern Hospitality with Music City charm. The Nashville chapter has already set itself apart by starting its own book club in order to educate and create deeper connections between members. Andrea’s goal is to create a platform for all types of women, no matter what age or background or how advanced they are in their career. As a girl who once battled social anxiety and developed into a social group leader, Andrea knows and understands first hand the power of community.