Nashville Business Journal’s Executive Profile Questionnaire with JT Terrell

Name/age: JT Terrell/40
Title: Partner and Chief Evangelism Officer
Company: Music City Tents and Events LLC
Address: 209 10th Avenue South, Suite 230
No. of employees: 30

Most recently read book:
The Design of Everyday Things by Daniel A. Norman
Favorite music artist:
University of Memphis
Community involvement:
Entrepreneurs' Organization, YMCA Basketball coach and sponsor, MCT Soles 4 Soles collection drive organizer

What is the most outside-of-the-box idea you have ever had in your professional career?
To use the photos, videos, and planning aspects of my own wedding in a marketing campaign for MCT both online and in magazines. We had a huge outdoor wedding on Hall of Fame Park here in Downtown Nashville, complete with 10,000 sq. ft. of tents, staging, full-catering and beautiful decor. The images from the night were incredible and made an enormous impact on the potential clients who viewed them. Although I have to say, it was an idea I had to sell to my wife first.

What was the result? A flood of calls and emails from potential clients asking if "they could have the same kind of set-up?" in Huntsville, or Paducah, or Birmingham, etc.
The answer was "yes", and I still get stopped on the street by people who watched our wedding video. Amazing!

What single thing makes your organization stand out?
We are a very cool group of people to work with. Our motto says it all, " Partying is our business!"

What does your organization have in the works for 2012?
Expansion. In our business you are either growing or you are dying, so we are planning for expansion into several new cities within the next five years.

How did you wind up in your current position?
Since 1997, I had always been on the operations side of things, but in the last few years I kept finding myself more and more heavily involved in creative marketing strategies, and it was making a substantial impact on the bottom line. So earlier this year I shifted my focus to brand awareness, overall client experience and spreading the good news about MCT, and it has been a blast!

What makes an effective business leader? Integrity, earned respect, and positive energy. In that order.

What word best describes your leadership style?

Goal yet to be achieved?
Exclusive provider to every venue in Nashville.

Professional pet peeve?
Business to business badmouthing. There is plenty of room in the marketplace for good competition, and may the best companies win.

What keeps you up at night?
Tornado watches.

What do you do to relieve stress?
Play drums/guitar, sing to my family.

What is the simplest thing you never learned to do?

Favorite hobbies?
Working out, running, swimming, challenging myself.

Mazzie, Shepherd-mix rescue dog .

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
My wife, Jen.

Person outside of your family you would most like to spend time with on an island? Alive or dead?
A. Christopher Walken D. Hunter S. Thompson.

You’ve just been given $100,000 to donate to charity. Where would you give it, and why?
St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis TN. I volunteered there when I was in school and it is an awesome facility.

When faced with two equally qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
Confidence is a very attractive attribute in a candidate. The tie breaker for me.

What would you like to cross off your “bucket list” next?
Run a marathon.

What line of work would you pursue if you couldn’t work in your present one?
Concert promoter.

Organization or company other than your own that you most admire?
LivingSocial. They are incredibly innovative and growing like wildfire in the global marketplace.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My Dad.

And why? He exudes leadership without saying a word. He was a Marine officer and then a successful sales manager, and a great example of quiet confidence. People gladly follow a man like that.

What is there about you that people would be surprised to learn?
From 1989-1997 I traveled and played with over 25 artists as a professional drummer. I still play one-off shows occasionally.

Biggest professional mistake and how you overcame it?
Taking on a partner during a cash crisis and then paying them out 3x their investment to get rid of them two years later. Expensive lesson learned.

What skill would you most like to improve?
Excel spreadsheets. Really.

What is the one behavior or trait that most often derails leaders’ careers? Refusal to own up to mistakes. I respect genuine admission of failures as much as big wins.

They’re making a movie of your life. Is it a drama or comedy and who plays you?
Drama and Timothy Olyphant gets the lead, he's almost tall enough.

If you could live a double life, the other would be:
Prince's drummer, period.


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