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The New 'It' City: How Immigrants Contribute to Nashville's Growing Success

Americas Society / Council of the Americas

May 23, 2014
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(Image: Jim Nix)

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Nashville has received national acclaim for its vibrancy, cultural diversity, and economic growth in recent years. Immigration to the city has played a key role in its success, contributing to economic competitiveness as well as its international draw as a destination for music, food, and higher education. Since voters chose not to enact English-only legislation in 2009, Nashville has distinguished itself as a leader among new gateway cities taking steps to create a welcoming environment for immigrants. Five years later, the city has an opportunity to reflect on the positive impact of that vote, to ask what more can be done to attract and retain talent and business, and to maximize immigrants’ potential to create opportunities for all Nashvillians. Join us for a luncheon with leaders from the public and private sectors that will address these questions and more.

Welcome and Introduction:

  • Susan Segal, President & CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Keynote Speakers:

  • Karl Dean, Mayor, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
  • Jim Cooper, Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives

Panelists:

  • Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Todd Gardenhire, State Senator, Tennessee General Assembly
  • Renata Soto, Co-founder and Executive Director, Conexión Americas
  • Stephen Fotopulos, Former Executive Director, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (Moderator)

Prior registration is required.
Members of AS, COA, and partnering organizations:
$15 for individual seats, $100 for an 8-person table;
Non-members:
$25 for individual seats, $160 for a 8-person table.

In partnership with:
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Immigrants and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Welcoming America.

Read an AS/COA fact sheet on how immigrants make cities more economically competitive.

Americas Society thanks Rockefeller Brothers Fund for its support of our Immigration and Integration Initiative.

Event Information: Beckie Bintrim | bbintrim@as-coa.org | 212-277-8372
Press: Adriana La Rotta | alarotta@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8384
Cancellation: Contact Juan Serrano-Badrena at jserrano@counciloftheamericas.org before 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, 2014

Greg Adkins

CEO & President, Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association

Greg Adkins is the president and CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. He previously worked as the executive director of the Tennessee Public Transportation Association and served as a council member for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Adkins received his B.S. from Tennessee Tech University, and he has a J.D. from Nashville School of Law.

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Nisha Agarwal

Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. Her tenure as commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) is marked by her entrepreneurial drive and proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation. Under her leadership, MOIA led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country's largest municipal identification program, ensuring that all New Yorkers can have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification.

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Jim Cooper

Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives

Jim Cooper represents Tennessee's fifth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been serving in this position since 2003. Rep. Cooper previously represented Nashville in Tennessee's fourth district from 1983 to 1995. Between his time in Congress, he worked in private business and was a professor at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Rep. Cooper currently serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and he has been a leading advocate for immigration reform.

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Karl Dean

Mayor, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

Karl Dean is the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. He was elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. In 2009, Mayor Dean created the New Americans Advisory Council to ensure an open dialogue between Nashville’s immigrant community and city government. Later, in 2012, Nashville introduced the MyCity Academy, giving immigrants an opportunity to get to know how the city government works through a seven-month training program. Before being elected to office, he served as Metro law director from 1999 to 2007.

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Stephen Fotopulos

Former Executive Director, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

Stephen Fotopulos is the former executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), an immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to remove barriers to full civic participation and foster an atmosphere in which all community members are recognized for their positive contributions. He holds a Master’s in public administration from Cornell University. After graduate school, he served for five years as a logistics officer in the United States Navy.

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Todd Gardenhire

State Senator, Tennessee General Assembly

Todd Gardenhire is a member of the Tennessee State Senate representing the tenth district in Chattanooga since 2013. He is a member of the Education, Judiciary and Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources committees. He previously worked at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and served in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Gardenhire has a B.S. in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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Susan Segal

President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Susan Segal was elected president and CEO of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in August 2003 after working in the private sector with Latin America and other emerging markets for over 30 years. A passionate supporter of Latin America, she joined the organizations to implement a new strategic plan to renew and return the Society and Council to their historic position. Prior to her current position, she was a founding partner of her own investment and advisory group focused primarily on Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic sector.

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Renata Soto

Co-founder and Executive Director, Conexión Americas

Renata Soto is the co-founder and executive director of Conexión Americas, an organization that works with Latino communities in Nashville. In this role, she helped create Casa Azafrán, a center that houses 10 nonprofits that work with immigrants and immigration issues. Ms. Soto was awarded “Nashvillian of the Year” by the Nashville Scene for her work with Casa Azafrán. She was born in Costa Rica and came to the United States to study at Kenyon College in Ohio in 1993. Ms.

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Agenda

12:00-12:30 pm   Registration

12:35-12:40 pm   Welcome

  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society and Council of the Americas

12:40-1:05 pm     Keynote Remarks

  • Jim Cooper, Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Karl Dean, Mayor, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

1:10-1:50 pm       Nashville as a Leader: Opportunities for the Future  

  • Greg Adkins, CEO & President, Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association
  • Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Todd Gardenhire, State Senator, Tennessee General Assembly
  • Renata Soto, Co-founder and Executive Director, Conexión Américas
  • Stephen Fotopulos, Former Executive Director, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (Moderator)

1:50-2:00 pm       Audience Q&A