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VOL. 38 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 26, 2014

Nashvillians offer resolutions and hopes for the new year

By Jennifer Justus

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About 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions – or so says the Journal of Clinical Psychology. And one of the best ways to ensure they stick? Make them public.

So, we asked a few Nashvillians in various fields – some of whom we spoke with earlier in the year – to share their resolutions, goals or intentions for both their personal lives or businesses as well as hopes they have for the city.

The group includes entrepreneurs who started companies in 2014 and those who are more established as well as an artist and leader of a new non-profit.

Matt Dudley
The Skillery


Matt Dudley, a master of reinvention, has worked as an educator and event producer for NBC projects like Saturday Night Live and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2011, he created The Skillery, a marketplace for classes, which also grew to include a brick-and-mortar co-working space this summer for creative professionals.

What is one of your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, which usually don’t last – in practice or in my memory – long enough to see St. Patrick’s Day. I do believe, however, in setting goals, and I have plenty for 2015.

“To achieve them, I’m making 2015 the year I focus on creating and executing repeatable processes. Repeatable processes at work that will help me and my team be more efficient, productive and consistent. Routines at home that will help ease the unpredictability of parenthood. And traditions in my personal relationships that will bring consistent joy in both the doing, and the anticipation.

“Not quite a resolution, perhaps. More of a game plan. And one that, hopefully, will still be around come April.’’

And then what do you hope for the city?

“As for Nashville.... it might be time we start to watch our waistline. 2014 was a gluttonous year, and feasting on national press and has left us with a booming population, traffic problems, and inflated housing prices, among other growing pains. Let’s make 2015 the year we hit the gym, and turn some hype-induced urban fat into lean, cosmopolitan muscle.’’

Information: www.theskillery.com

Valentina Harper
Valentine Design


Originally from Venezuela, Valentina Harper worked as a graphic designer for 15 years before starting to create other art projects such as prints and designs for fabrics, murals, mobile phone covers, and even creativity-inducing coloring books for all ages. She recently showed her work at the Porter Flea Holiday Market.

What is one of your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“One of my 2015 goals is take my painting to the next level and have more gallery shows. Also I would like to have a little shop to sell my artwork and my licensing products.’’

And then what do you hope for the city?

“For the city, I wish we can have more projects like The Idea Hatchery in East Nashville to give the opportunity to small business owners to set up shops. And also, I wish for Nashville more sidewalks to become a more walkable city.’

Information: www.valentinadesign.com

Susannah Felts
The Porch Writers' Collective


Susannah Felts co-founded a nonprofit center for writing this year, and Nashvillians couldn’t get enough of her creative classes. Among The Porch’s upcoming workshops, they also will hold a fundraiser on Jan. 17 called A Tale of Two Tims featuring author Tim O’Brien and musician Tim O’Brien as well as Minton Sparks, John Jackson and an appearance by Korby Lenker. For tickets, visit porchtn.org/events.

What is one of your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“I barely dare say this, but: Finish a draft of a novel.’’

And then what do you hope for the city?

“Careful thought about how we grow, and of course, the ability to offer more writing classes and events through The Porch.’’

Information: www.porchtn.org

Jesse Goldstein
Food Sheriff


After a decade as brand manger at The Loveless Cafe, Jesse Goldstein launched his own business called Food Sheriff. Successful branding campaigns followed as well as a popular monthly cocktail series called 3rst of the Month, www.3stofthemonth.com.

What is one of your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“I start every year with a couple pretty simple resolutions: drink more water and get more sleep. If I could just accomplish both of these, I think I would be a happier, healthier and more productive person.’’

And then what do you hope for the city?

“One thing I hope for our city in 2015 is even more embracing of our cultural diversity – especially in the food and restaurant scene. We have a vibrant immigrant community who brings with them unique flavors and exciting food traditions. I, for one, would love to taste them all!’’

Information: www.food-sheriff.com

Toney Jones
Toney's Naturals

Spot Toney’s Naturals in Whole Foods, The Turnip Truck or Fresh Market, and you might not even realize it’s a local company, Toney Jones says.

But this Nashville-based food entrepreneur started his salsa business as a side project in 2008 until he could take it full-time in 2011. Though he has introduced various products over the year, his salsas stay at the heart of his business, and he said it’s where he plans to focus his efforts in 2015.

What is one of your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“To read more – everything from the Game of Thrones to sales and marketing books. Also to explore my city like a tourist and support local shops and restaurants.’’

And then what do you hope for the city?

“I grew up in East Nashville at a time when people didn’t come to East Nashville. Well, Nashville period. I remember when The Gulch was just a dumping ground, and that wasn’t that long ago.

“As a native Nashvillian you like seeing the city become more progressive, but what is the responsibility of the city to handle and maintain this growth? Where do these citizens go who have been displaced. I hope that we’ll be mindful of our growth moving forward.’’

Information: www.facebook.com/pages/Toneys-Naturals

Max Goldberg
Strategic Hospitality


As part of the team behind Pinewood Social, The Patterson House, The Catbird Seat, Merchants, Aerial and Paradise Park, Max Goldberg has played a major role in shaping the city’s dining scene.

Your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015?

“My resolution is that as we have a really fun growth year professionally, not for a moment to lose sight of what makes our company special…the guest experience and exceeding their expectations.”

And then what do you hope for the city?

“My hope for the city is that no matter how big, in the spotlight, exciting, or busy Nashville is…I want Nashville to stay Nashville. Nashville has always been this great city. It’s just that now everyone knows it.”

Information: strategichospitalityonline.

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