May Log In and Lunch: “Talking to Strangers is My Self Care” with Lily Hansen

Author and TEDx speaker Lily Clayton Hansen will touch on the benefits of communicating virtually so you can use it to your advantage.

Join IABC Nashville and renowned author and TEDx speaker Lily Clayton Hansen for our first “Log In and Lunch” Professional Development Online Lunch and Learn Series. Hansen will discuss the importance of acknowledging the difference between communicating through tools like Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp and having face-to-face conversations. An essential part of being satisfied with virtual communication, and not resenting it, is realizing that it is unique. Hansen will touch on the benefits of communicating virtually so you can make the best out of the situation and use it to your advantage to communicate with colleagues, network, and keep in touch with friends.

Event Information

When: Wednesday, May 27 from Noon – 1 p.m.
Location: Online event via Zoom
Cost: Free for IABC Nashville members; $15 for non-members


Lily Clayton Hansen
Writer, journalist, and visual artist
Word of Mouth Conversations

About our speaker: Lily Clayton Hansen

Conversation drives author and interviewer Lily Clayton Hansen. One of the basics in life is communication, and in a digital age, Lily believes we need to re-prioritize it more than ever. Oftentimes referred to as the “people whisperer,” (one who lowers other’s walls and coaxes wisdom out of them) she finds nuggets of insight like no one else. Through her interviews, Lily reminds others to keep an open mind and heart.


In 2013, Lily relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, or rather the “It City.” In 2013, she began compiling interviews and portrait photography for her first book, Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations. The coffee table book, praised locally and regionally upon its 2015 release, garnered regional press, endorsements by name brands, and partnerships with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Vanderbilt University and Nashville International Airport. The author has spoken about her project at arts organizations and universities across the country. Lily’s second book, Word of Mouth: More Conversations, released in 2018, was the first she published through her own boutique publishing company. She is currently sought after by other cities and companies to create custom coffee table books for them.

Following Word of Mouth: More Conversations, Lily was approached by HCA Healthcare, the largest hospital company in America, to create a custom book for their 50th anniversary that showcased stories with team members at all levels. The book was a hit and said to have brought unity to their 250,000-person organization. In 2019, Lily wrote 233-corporate bios for Gresham Smith, a global architecture and engineering firm who hired her specifically to humanize their company. Through it all, the writer still loves writing about real people who are passionate about what they do. She is grateful to be able to use her empathic nature and curiosity to ask the hard questions—in the kindest way possible. Lily wants to get to know others for who they are and show their best possible self. She has been described as “an artist in all sense of the word”— it just so happens that her favorite medium is the art of conversation. In the fall of 2019, Lily debuted her newest talk “Talking to Strangers Is My Self Care” at Tedx Nashville’s Women’s event.


Reserve your spot for this informative event. See you there.

Lead Like a Mom: Local Pros Discuss How Motherhood Enriches Their Work Styles

By Kellie Davie, APR

Over the past eleven years, I have studied, trained, and experienced a lot in my career journey to help me prepare for any communications situation that is thrown my way – from crisis communication planning to grand openings, and everything in between. Each experience has helped me prepare for the next, but nothing has prepared me for this: dealing with a toddler with the “Terrible Twos” while unexpectedly working from home…in the middle of a global pandemic. I had no choice but to adapt and quickly develop new skills including tackling tight deadlines with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood blasting on the television, changing a diaper while on a conference call, and hosting Zoom meetings during nap time.

I know I’m not the only one out there trying to make it all happen simultaneously. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 70 percent of American women with children are in the workforce. Between having children and handling work, we still manage to hold high-powered positions across different industries; we start businesses; we raise families, and sometimes manage to get the laundry done.

But with only 24 hours in a day, how do we do it all and cope and take care of ourselves? This question inspired me to reach out to five local professionals who work full-time, raise children, maintain their homes, and still find room for personal time and growth. They are in industries ranging from hospitality to nonprofit, and have children that range in ages from tweens to a 13-day-old infant! Here’s what they said.

Claire Crowell, Chief Operations Officer, A. Marshall Hospitality: At work, Claire oversees the operations and management teams of a portfolio of restaurants, which include Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant, Deacon’s New South, Americana Taphouse, Scout’s Pub, and Hattie Jane’s Creamery. At home, Claire is mom to 6-year-old Hattie and 3-year-old Eliza.

What phase of motherhood are you currently in?

I am a Mom of two young girls, ages 3 and 6 (and 3/4).

How has motherhood enriched your professional life?

Being a mom has clarified what is important to me, both in my personal and professional life. It’s toughened me and given me courage where I lacked, and it’s softened me where I was too hard at times. I don’t waste as much time worrying over the small things, and I’m better (but not great) at shutting off work when I’m with my family.

What are the challenges you face with work/life balance that you wish others would understand?

Women need to understand that work/life balance doesn’t exist in the way we idealize that it does. It’s all about the choices we make, understanding and playing to our strengths, then letting everything else go. I love to cook, and I’m a planner, that is a strength for me and something I can give to my family. I spend a good portion of my weekend cooking meals for the coming week and to put into the freezer. I get asked how I have time to do that while working full time. I choose to spend my free time that way. I am not spending time on DIY projects or crafts because I’m terrible at them. My laundry tends to stay in the dryer for a few cycles before it finally comes out to be folded or to sit in the basket for a few extra days getting wrinkled. It’s always a give and take. Don’t look at what others are doing that you wish you were; look at what you are doing and what you are capable of. Otherwise, in the wise words of Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, “let it go.”

What is your most significant piece of advice for other working mothers?

Follow your instincts. Every mom is different, and every family is different. You have everything you need to be a great parent, and you’re doing a fantastic job.

Angie Boyd-Chambers, President, Boyd-Chambers Communications: Angie, founder and owner of Boyd-Chambers Communications, has a passion for her work and building relationships. She most recently served as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Saint Thomas Health-Ascension, where she spent the past 12 years of her career. At home, Angie is mom to 5-year-old daughter Corinne, and sons Cason (8 years) and Cole (11 years).

What phase of motherhood are you currently in?

I have had the honor of being called “mom” for 11 years. I have a newly 5-year-old daughter and eight and 11-year-old sons. This season of motherhood came out of nowhere, and as everyone says, I just do not know how we got here, and time goes so fast. I honestly still feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure it is real that I have three young kids, who I am raising, and I feed, clothe, and shelter them. LOL – seriously, it is just a fantastic gift we are given to raise kids.

How has motherhood enriched your professional life?

Motherhood makes you stronger, determined, efficient, straight to the point, understanding, and compassionate. These are qualities you need as a leader and someone who wants to advance in their career.

What are the challenges you face with work/life balance that you wish others would understand?

Unless you are a working mom, you just cannot understand the life we live in. We wake up extra early to work. Maybe we workout, or just need to prepare for the busy day ahead, and we need to get an early start. When we leave the office or close our laptops, our day is just beginning. We have to keep our spirit and energy up for the little feet that will run to our arms because they have missed us all day, our husbands who we want to spend time with, follow-up on text messages to our girlfriends so we can keep our friendships healthy (we all need good girlfriends) and most likely with working moms being the overachievers we are, we still have work to get done sometime before we go to bed at maybe 1 or 2 a.m. But we wake up the next morning, bright and early with a can-do attitude and ready to take on the world – we do it all over again with a smile and joy in our hearts because we have been given the gift of being called Mom.

What is your most significant piece of advice for other working mothers?

Do not try to be perfect, and know that you are not alone. The only thing our kids want is our attention and love – they will not remember if we homemade their valentines cards, cakes or had their birthday perfectly decorated – but they will not forget if we were always “too busy” to watch them when they were doing something, or play a game with them, or just sit and hold them when they needed that love. My home can be messy, unorganized, and toys everywhere, but I always tell my kids – team, if everything went perfect and smooth in our life, then we would not have any fun memories of all this craziness we live. That makes us all laugh together, and I want to teach my kids that things do not have to be perfect to be happy – you have to work hard, live honestly, and love lots – that is what gives you happiness.

Liz Veyhl, Executive Director, Small World Yoga: Liz is the executive director and founder of Small World Yoga, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring growth and possibility by increasing access to yoga. Currently, Small World Yoga is sharing yoga in over 60 locations, including children and adults in low-income neighborhoods, homeless families, cancer patients and caregivers, women in recovery from domestic violence or drug & alcohol abuse, and many more underserved populations. At home, Liz is caring for her newborn son Porter – born two weeks ago on April 25!

What phase of motherhood are you in?

Brand spankin’ new – 13 days and counting!

How has motherhood enriched your professional life?

It’s probably a bit too early to know how motherhood will enrich my professional life. Still, being in a female-driven industry, I’ve already been amazed at the compassion and support of so many coworkers, board members, and fellow teachers who are mothers (and fathers) as I’ve gone through pregnancy and now entered into this new adventure of being a mom.

Community has always been a big piece of my “why” for the work we do at Small World Yoga, and I have a feeling that it’s this same community of teachers and students who will become an extension of family to my son and allow for me to feel ease in the blend of work and motherhood. I’m excited for Porter to have lots of yoga aunts and uncles looking out for him regularly.

What are the challenges you face with work/life balance that you wish others would understand?

I feel lucky to work and collaborate with a good number of working moms who are dedicated to their families and their careers and passions outside of the home. While I can’t say what my greatest challenge will be with adding a new baby into my work/life balance, I know that work/life balance seems to be a challenge for anyone who is driven in their career, but also wants to find time for themselves, family or friends – that won’t be anything new for me. I’m guilty of picking up the laptop at all hours and not giving enough time and energy to my self-care or time with my husband, so now that’s going to be amplified with a small child who deserves all the love and attention. I’m excited to bring more focus to family in the weeks and months ahead and trust that things will get done during regular working hours just as effectively.

What is your most significant piece of advice for other working mothers?

Well, at this stage, I’d say don’t take opportunities for quality sleep lightly and don’t discount the importance of self-care you enjoy doing for yourself like yoga, walking, or a glass of wine.

I’ll probably have more thoughts around this once I’m further into it, but I think the best “advice” I’ve received is merely watching other friends and coworkers’ step into motherhood and still maintain their passion for their career. I think we live in a time where we really can balance both happily and successfully, and it’s inspiring to watch others lead in different areas of both family and business.

Rebecca Anderson, Director of Communications and Philanthropy, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee: As Director of Communications and Philanthropy, Rebecca oversees the communications and development strategy for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, one of the largest nonprofits servicing youth in the state. Today, the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee serves 39 counties that include more than 20,000 Girl Scouts and volunteers. At home, Rebecca is mom to 8-year-old Haddi and 2-year-old Hayes.

What phase of motherhood are you in?

My daughter Haddi is eight years old and in 2nd grade, and my son Hayes is two and a half. Having kids 5 ½ years apart means we are constantly in very different stages with each of them.

How has motherhood enriched your professional life?

Being a mom provides a unique perspective in the workplace. On the one hand, motherhood gave me a heightened sense of empathy and understanding for others. But it also includes drive and determination. I want to instill in both my daughter and my son that women don’t have to choose between working as a mother or having a professional career outside the home. I’m doing both, and I want them to see that I am proud of that. Anytime my daughter tells me, “mommy, I wish you didn’t have to work,” I use it as an opportunity to share with her how much I enjoy my job and how other people are counting on me. And at work, I am constantly using my experience as a mom to make decisions and solve problems.

What are the challenges you face with work/life balance that you wish others would understand?

Ah, work/life balance. You know this is so hard because it means different things to different people. But one thing I think I’ve realized over the years is that a state of perfect and continuous “balance” is almost unattainable. There are times when life and kids have to be the priority and other times when work demands more focus and attention. It’s a constant seesaw. I have missed important meetings and events because I needed to be somewhere with my kids and I have also missed some things with my kids because I’ve had professional obligations. The “balance” comes over time and isn’t necessarily a reflection of everyday life.

What is your most significant piece of advice for other working mothers?

Give yourself grace. As a working mom, it is impossible to do everything as perfectly and precisely as you may want to. So accept help and lean on others, both personally and professionally. “Mom guilt” is real, but you can’t let it define your actions and your behavior. Realize that it’s ok to take time for yourself. You and your individual needs are just as important as the demands of your children or your job.

Sharon Gross, Media Relations Coordinator, Bandit Lites: Sharon manages the marketing communications for Bandit Lites, one of the global leaders in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites works with the entertainment industries top artists and concert venues on all types of lighting needs. At home, Sharon is mom to almost 4-year-old Amelia and 1-year-old Violet.

What phase of motherhood are you in?

I have a one-year-old and an almost-four-year-old, so my days range from controlled chaos to uncontrolled chaos. Violet recently learned to walk, and Amelia is in the full throws of “threenager” drama.

How has motherhood enriched your professional life?

Motherhood has taught me to work efficiently and prioritize tasks. I also have learned to be more direct in my requests and voice what a need, rather than beat around the bush.

What are the challenges you face with work/life balance that you wish others would understand?

I am so fortunate that I can work from home, but I’m sure some people believe that means I’m available all the time. I have a full-time job just like a lot of working mothers, and working from home comes with its own challenges. Ironically, now that more people (both men and women) are working from home, I think that mindset that working from home is “easier” will dissipate.

What is your most significant piece of advice for other working mothers?

Extend yourself the same grace you allot to your friends and colleagues. Everyone could benefit from kindness- including ourselves. If you wouldn’t criticize your best friend for the same thing you’re down on yourself for, then cut yourself some slack!

I am so thankful that these women shared with us their findings on motherhood and work.

To summarize, here are some key themes we can all take away, regardless of whether you have children or not:

  • Work/life balance is in the eyes of the beholder.
  • Prioritizing tasks is the key to success.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not essential.
  • Give yourself some grace.
  • Connect with your tribe: family, friends, colleagues, or other like-minded people for additional support and sounding boards.

For more resources on parenting with a career, I recommend checking out Today’s ParentNashville Parent, and the Forbes Communication Council. For now, I will be enjoying all the storytimes and stroller walks with my little one while I still can…while also sneaking in an occasional email or two. 

Kellie Davie, APR,  is the managing director and founder of Keycom, a marketing communications firm in Nashville dedicated to providing businesses with the creative strategies they need to reach their goals. Kellie also serves on the IABC Nashville board of directors as Vice President of Awards and Communications. At home, Kellie is mom to her almost 2-year-old son, Max.

Member Spotlight: Diana Sanchez-Vega, Owner of Sanchez-Vega Communications

By Kristin Appelman

On a continuous basis, IABC Nashville spotlights its diverse members through a Q & A feature. We are pleased to showcase new IABC member Diana Sanchez-Vega, Owner of Sanchez-Vega Communications! 

When did you join IABC Nashville?
I joined IABC in the fall of 2019

What is your current position? How long have you been in this role?

I am the owner of a small business called Sanchez-Vega Communications. I have been a business owner since 2003 (my business had a different name back then).

How did you get started in this business?

I actually started a communications business in my native Argentina prior to moving to the US in 1999. A colleague and I, both of us English language teachers down there, were approached by an international concert promoter to manage communications between all parties involved in his projects. Our operations organically grew and developed from there. Once in the US, I set up my own business to facilitate and strengthen cross-cultural communications, and to train bilingual employees.

What lesson(s) have you learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?

I have learned to listen differently. As an interpreter and translator, active listening is a skill that I apply daily but, because of that, it can become stale. I have learned how to “hit the reset” button before I listen to any new utterance/read any new written message, rather than assume what is coming based on how it is presented. I have also learned that the key to effective communication is not always the same, and the fun is to figure out what works!

What makes an effective communications leader?

For me, an effective communications leader empowers others to find their own voice and guides them on how to use it.

If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would they be?

Driven, persistent, fun

Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

When I was in middle school, I was in a top-performing field hockey team. 

What three (3) things are you most excited to gain from IABC Nashville (in ranking order)?

  1.  To learn from other professionals in the industry. I am an eternal student!
  2.  To network with other members and guests, both locally and in other chapters
  3. To participate in building a community amongst communications professionals

Bonus:  What’s your favorite productivity hack that’s kept you successful working remotely in COVID-19? (i.e. favorite app, time-shaving method, a part of your daily routine, etc.)
Sharing my daily goals with my roommate (who is now home every day), has been a great way to set boundaries for both of us. It has also made both of us more productive as it’s almost like having someone to be accountable to (besides yourself) – even if your daily activities are not connected!


Kristin Appelman is the marketing manager for Concept Technology, Inc., and serves on the IABC Nashville board of directors as Vice President of Membership. 





Self-Care Success: Remembering to Take Care of YOU During Unusual Times

By Kerry Burke

It’s hard to believe that we are over a month into this new world of social distancing and remote working. For many of us, this is a strange and challenging new reality where we are learning to juggle multiple things at home while continuing to produce our best work – and all while emotionally processing everything that is going on in the world.

One of the most important things we can do to help us get through this time is to practice self-care. You may have heard the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and that is important to remember as we navigate this new way of living and working.

There are many helpful resources online that share best practices for working remotely, and hundreds of articles on self-care during the time of COVID-19. Everyone is different, and it’s important that we all find an approach to self-care that works for us. A good place to start your self-care journey is by asking yourself: What can I do to take care of my well-being so I can continue to be the best communications professional for my company?

I’ve participated in numerous Zoom meetings, phone calls, and text conversations with friends and colleagues from across the country where we have discussed this same question. What I’ve learned is this: there is no right or wrong way to take care of oneself during stressful and uncertain times. As I mentioned, we are all different and you have to do what is best for you. Taking that into account, I started keeping a list of things that help me feel energized and motivated, and a list of things I did that would make me feel lethargic or stressed. Journaling these activities throughout the day helped me notice trends in my work performance and mood, and I have been able to adjust accordingly.

Important disclaimer: By nomeans am I a psychologist, nutritionist, or life coach. But as a professional communicator, I have a love for writing and connecting with others and I hope these insights in my journey towards self-care will help motivate you in being the best person and professional you can be in this “new normal” we are navigating together. 

Energizing habits:

  • Maintain structure: I try to maintain my morning routine as much as possible to set myself up for success. If you aren’t doing this already, try getting ready each morning as you would for a normal workday – shower, get dressed (leggings are totally OK!), make your bed, exercise, etc.

As Fred Rogers said best, “Let’s make the most of this beautiful day.”

  • Eat well: I always feel my best when I’m eating healthier. I was eating a lot of processed foods when this all started, and once I got back to incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet, I felt 100 times better. The Harvard Health Blog published a blog about eating during COVID-19 that offers some great tips on how you can eat healthy to improve your mood and lower stress. If you have a tough time meal prepping or aren’t a fan of cooking, there are places that will do the meal prep for you, and some will even bring it to your door with contactless delivery. Some of my favorites in Nashville are Eat Well Nashville and Clean Eatz.

One of my favorite superfood breakfasts – Avocado Toast and Lox!

  • Get some fresh air: During my lunch break, after logging off from work, and on the weekends, I find going outside for walks and runs with my dog Brady keeps my spirits up and re-energizes me (and Brady loves it, too!). Some of my favorite spots include the nearby 12th South neighborhood, the Richland Creek Greenway, and the streets in my own neighborhood. I encourage you to find some areas near where you live where it’s safe to walk (sidewalk is preferable!) and not overcrowded or visit a local greenway.

Brady Burke enjoying his daily stroll in the Green Hills neighborhood.

  • Breathe: At least once a day, I try to do a quick guided meditation or a yoga video. It helps calm my thoughts and be more present and mindful. Take a few moments each day to focus on your breathing, or try meditation and/or yoga. You can find many free guided meditations and yoga classes on YouTube, and many apps and gyms are now offering free videos as well.

Brady and I enjoying virtual yoga classes online! I highly recommend the virtual yoga and meditation classes offered by local nonprofit, Small World Yoga.

  • Stay connected: I’m so thankful for the technology that keeps us connected when we can’t be together in person – whether it’s Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts. Zoom is my personal favorite, and I have weekly Zoom dates with friends and family to help me stay connected to them.

It’s important to stay connected to your tribe!

  • Write it down: As I mentioned earlier, journaling and creating lists have been very helpful in my quest for quarantine happiness. You can purchase some fun physical journals – either blank or with daily journal prompts, and/or you can do what I do and capture lists and thoughts in a note app like Evernote.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Not-so-energizing habits / Habits to avoid:

  • Watching too much news: After the first two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was on media overload and had to take a break. It’s important to stay informed, but that does not mean we need to watch every press briefing and read every article. I now set aside specific times each day (usually once in the morning, and once in the evening) when I allow myself to check the news. I am careful to only read and watch reputable, unbiased news sources, and keep up with the most recent CDC guidelines.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

  • Social media overload: While social media helps us feel connected to one another during social distancing, it can also breed negativity and anxiety. Like I’ve done with my news intake, I have set aside certain times during the day where I check social media. Additionally, I try not to get sucked into reading negative posts or comments. The goal of designating times to check news and social media isn’t to be 100% successful (and I certainly have my moments of weakness!), but to help us be mindful and try to limit screen and scroll time so we can focus on other things.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

  • Indulging stress vices: Everyone handles stress differently. If you are a person who finds yourself indulging in “stress vices” like too much food or alcohol (I, personally, have been known to over-snack!), try to be mindful and limit those activities during times of stress. If you need additional support, check with your Human Resources department to see if your company has an employee assistance program or can connect you with helpful resources, or contact a local helpline.

Brady: “But Mom, I want ALL of it!”

  • Isolating yourself from others: Loneliness has major impacts on health and well-being, and many are at risk for loneliness while social distancing. Make sure you are staying connected with others. Try to reach out to one person a day by phone or video. As a person who lives alone, having regular communication with friends and family has helped me immensely.

Brady: “But Mom, I don’t want to get out of bed today!”

  • Being hard on yourself: When this all started, I felt a little down on myself for not accomplishing all the impressive things I was seeing others do on social media: working out three times a day, reorganizing the entire house, cooking gourmet meals, taking on a new hobby, the list goes on. But then I remembered that we are all in different situations and we all operate differently. And that’s OK. Give yourself some grace right now, and take comfort in the fact that we are all doing our best – even if that looks a little different for each of us.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, Brady!

For more ideas on ways you can invest in self-care, I recommend checking out these articles on Forbes, Healthline, and Lavendaire. They provide great tips and tricks on how to keep you focused and motivated. Stay safe, be healthy, and know that you will get through this

Kerry Burke is a Business Communications Lead for Cigna and serves on the IABC Nashville board of directors as president-elect and Vice President of Social Media. 


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