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Ambassador A Publication of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. | Summer 2010

The Wait is Over

One Flood Four Feet of Water Four Months of Renovations One Week of Celebrations Ambassador | Summer 2010

Our business is changing lives.


David Lifsey, President Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

Vice Chairman:

Tammy Glass, Vice President of Finance Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

Robert McNeilly, III, President and CEO SunTrust Bank


Donna B. Yurdin, Owner Credo Management Consulting


Legal Counsel:

Christopher S. Dunn, Attorney Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, LLP

J. Mike Bishop Asst. Vice President Pharmacy Services Health Trust Purchasing Group Caroline G. Blackwell, Director of Multicultural Affairs University School of Nashville E. Steele Clayton, IV Partner Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC David Condra Chairman Dalcon Enterprises Gary W. Cordell Consultant Ambassador | Summer 2010

Betty Johnson, Vice President of Employment Services Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

Kathryn S. Gibson, Accounting Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Finance

J. B. Baker President & CEO Volunteer Express, Inc.

Robert W. Duthie Founder Duthie Associates, Inc.


Goodwill Officers:

Deborah Y. Faulkner Inspector General State of Tennessee TennCare John C. Greer Vice President TennComm, LLC Jeffrey A. Hoffman Richelieu America, Ltd. Philip G. Hull Senior Consultant VACO Resources Decosta E. Jenkins President & CEO Nashville Electric Service Robert B. Kennedy, Trustee Vice President First Horizon Insurance Group, Inc. Fred T. McLaughlin, Trustee Branch Manager, Sr. VP Investments Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

Ty Osman President Solomon Builders

Board of Dir ectors

Board O ff icer s


John W. Stone, III, Partner White & Reasor, PLC

Thomas S. Stumb President Nashville Bank & Trust

Kathryn I. Thompson Founder/Director of Research TRG-Thompson Research Group

John Tishler Chairman Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, LLP Dr. George Van Allen President Nashville State Community College John Van Mol President & CEO Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence

Dr. Sandra L. Wise Campus President Argosy University

Ambassador INSIDE

Snail Mail or e-Mail?....................................p.4 Need a speaker?...........................................p.4 Handbook Translated to Somali...............p.5

The “Donate Movement”.........................p.6 Donors are our Heroes..............................p.7

cover p.15 story

The signs point to the grand opening of the new Lifsey Building, delayed three months because of the flood.

Starting Teens on the Right TRAC...........p.8 Goodwill’s Go-To TV Guy......................p.10 Unique Donation Drives..........................p.11 Goodwill Goes On-Air............................p.12 The Feds Fund a New Jobs Program....p.13 Retail and Career Solutions Growing.....p.14 Grand Opening Is On Again..................p.15

President & CEO - David Lifsey Sr. Director of Marketing & Community Relations - Karl Houston Writer & Editor - Suzanne Kay-Pittman Art Director & Photographer - Scott Bryant Photographer - Colin Perschbacher

Ambassador is a quarterly newsletter published by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. 1015 Herman St. Nashville, TN 37208 For the nearest retail store, donation center, or Career Solutions facility, please call 615.742.4151 or visit

Goodwill’s Mission: We sell donated goods to provide employment and training opportunities for people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

The Ambassador provides its readers with stories about the events, activities and people who support the mission of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. We are pleased to provide you this information and hope you will share our publication with others. Please note, the opinions expressed in the Ambassador do not necessarily reflect an opinion or official position of the management or employees of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

Recent News Snail Mail or e-Mail? How do you want your Ambassador?


n an effort to go green and reduce the amount of paper products we produce, we’re offering you the opportunity to read Ambassador online each quarter on our Web site, under our News and Events tab. The online edition is a flipbook for easy online reading. You’ll also find previous issues of Ambassador so you can catch up on any stories you may have missed. If you’d like to read the electronic version of Ambassador rather than the hardcopy, please send your e-mail address to, and we’ll notify you when there’s a new edition of our award-winning publication.

A Publication of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. | Summer 2010

The Wait is Over

One Flood Four Feet of Water Three Months of Renovations One Week of Celebrations

Our business is changing lives.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

If you’d prefer to continue to receive Ambassador via the U.S. Postal Service, there’s no need for you to notify us. We will gladly send you the magazine each quarter with stories, information, and updates about everything happening within our Goodwill.


Goodwill’s Speaker Bureau Learn how Goodwill really does change lives!


Ambassador | Summer 2010

ow much do you really know about Goodwill? Chances are you are very familiar with our stores and donation sites, and perhaps you know about our mission of providing employment and training opportunities for people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. But do you know what that really means? And how Goodwill accomplishes its mission? The Goodwill story is inspiring and we enjoy sharing the history and mission of our company. If you belong to an organization including a Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, social group or even a book club, a member of Goodwill will be happy to drop by and share how the company has helped thousands of clients, many of them your neighbors and friends, find work, learn new skills and reap the rewards that come with earning a paycheck.


For more information about scheduling a speaker, please contact

Employee Handbook Translated Goodwill’s employee handbook is now available in Somali.


hat if you lived and worked in a country other than your native land? And what if the company where you worked only provided information in the native tongue and you didn’t fully speak the language?  What would happen when you needed to know the company’s stance on various policies?  This is just one of the challenges managers and employees face at Goodwill due to our diverse workforce. To help employees understand Goodwill’s mission and how they can contribute every day to help us change lives, the Human Resources team has had the English version of the employee handbook translated for our Somali employees, the first time our employee handbook has ever been translated into another language. There are also plans to create a Spanish-language version and possibly another in Braille.

“By translating our handbook, I believe we’re increasing the comfort level of our employees. In the past we’ve had to have policies read to non-English speaking employees by an interpreter, but we felt having the handbook translated was an even better option,” says Ellis. To ensure there were no questions before the handbook was published in Somali,

Ellis asked Goodwill production supervisor Fadumo Warsame, who works in the Holt Building, to review the translation, which she approved. The English language version of the handbook has already been distributed to employees.  The Somali version will be distributed this summer to those who request a copy of the handbook. 

Buug Shaq ga Gacan ta aalah a Goo ee dwill p. 1


Ambassador | Summer 2010

Kelli Ellis, senior director of human resources, worked with Abdul Farah at the Center for Refugees and Immigrants in Nashville, who volunteered his time and services to translate the handbook. The process took almost five months to complete. Ellis has found a Spanishspeaking translator who is willing to volunteer her services and hopes to find someone to volunteer their time to translate the handbook into Braille.  “It’s wonderful to see how

people in the community, such as Abdul, support Goodwill by donating time to help us with initiatives like this,” Ellis said.

Donate, Shop, Jobs A simple equation that can create change.


oodwill can rightfully say that it is one of the first companies to recognize the value of recycling. Through the donation cycle, items find new purpose with our shoppers, whether it’s a gently-worn blouse or new-to-you set of dishes. But it’s truly the donors who fuel Goodwill and our ability to serve our mission of providing employment and training opportunities. At our Goodwill one client receives free job training and placement services for every 30 donors.

Ambassador | Summer 2010

A new “D” donation icon has been created by Goodwill Industries International with the hope manufacturers will include it on items that can be donated after their initial use. Levi Strauss & Co® has partnered with Goodwill on the “Donate Movement” and now includes a donate reminder on each pair of jeans. Lorie Marrero, Certified Professional Organizer® and creator of the Clutter Diet®, will serve as spokesperson.

The “Donate Movement” reminds our supporters that Goodwill has been on the leading edge of the green movement since the early 1900s.


The project is designed to educate the public about the value of donations and the positive impact donations have on social change and environmental sustainability in communities everywhere. As an environmental pioneer for more than 105 years, Goodwill hopes this movement will encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and repurpose items they no longer need. Another nationally recognized brand, Family Circle magazine, has again partnered with Goodwill to drive donations during the back-to-school season. “Our readers are dedicated to getting involved in their communities and giving back. This is a great way to do so,” said Diane Papzian, Family Circle publisher. The Family Circle donation drive continues through September 30 and is a great way to teach children about donating responsibly. The first Family Circle donation drive took place last summer and netted 11 million pounds of donations for Goodwills throughout the United States.

Your Donations Gave Michael Wright a New Life

From the streets to supervisor, Wright recognizes the value of each donor.


ichael Wright sees them all day, every day. He sees the donations to Goodwill come through the dock in Nashville from Donation Express Centers throughout middle Tennessee. He sees the generosity of people who don’t know him, don’t know his circumstances, and don’t know that the simple act of donating items they no longer need, want or use, is changing lives.

Wright knows the power of work. “It isn’t that Goodwill gives people jobs, it’s that the company gives jobs to lots of people who couldn’t find work anywhere else. I’m one

Just two months into his work with Goodwill, his supervisor, Jeanette Blankenship, saw something special in Wright and offered him a supervisory position. “Michael was giving his all at any task I handed to him. I moved him from job to job and he did his best to succeed at each one,” says Blankenship. But Wright declined her offer of a job as supervisor. “I didn’t think I was ready,” he said. Just a few months later another supervisory position opened and this time, Wright says, “I ran with it and took the chance. Jeanette trusted me.”

Because of the donations that come through the dock, Wright says he’s been given something else, too. “I feel like I’m part of something. I feel good about myself. My wife and mother are proud of me. I am the father I want to be to my children because of Goodwill.” Wright’s success solidifies Goodwill’s efforts to positively impact families through jobs and opportunities. Wright has also proven to be a role model, telling friends and acquaintances who have walked the same path he was once on about Goodwill and its mission. They’re finding work, too, thanks to our donors. “What’s trash to a donor is treasure to someone like me. I wish they could visit our Goodwill to meet everyone they’ve helped. People who donate to us, in a sense, they’re changing the world.”


Ambassador | Summer 2010

“I don’t think our donors realize how much they’re helping and affecting so many people. I wonder if they know how great they are,” says Wright, a former drug user, felon and now dock supervisor.

of them.” Wright spent seven years in prison for drug offenses and had never spent more than one year on a job.

Starting Teens on the Right TRAC

Ambassador | Summer 2010

“I believe in you. Go do great things because I know how much potential you have.” And with those words of encouragement to seven teens, Heather Featherstone kicked off the graduation ceremony for the summer’s first TRAC session. TRAC, or Training for Retail Associate Certification, provides real-world work experience for teenagers ages 14-18. The four-week course focuses on customer service and communication skills and introduces career and job options for each student to consider.


There are two TRAC classes each summer. As part of their training, the June class spent time in a teepee hearing the story of the Lakota tribe by J. J. Kemp. His lessons in diversity were taken to heart said many of the students at their graduation ceremony. The teens were also given a personalized tour of an ambulance by EMTs, visited a Marriott Hotel, a radio station, and heard about one man’s journey from the streets to jail and back to being a member of society. TRAC facilitators, Featherstone and Tom Lee, see a payoff when working with the students. “We are preparing them for adulthood,” says Featherstone. At the graduation exercise, it was apparent that the teens were taking many messages about their futures to heart. During the four weeks of the class, Aaliyah Judkins’ mother, Denise Graves-Judkins, said she saw a remarkable change in her 15 year-old daughter. “Her self-esteem improved. She’s motivated and she knows she has options.”

Aaliyah has epilepsy and beta thalassemia, a blood disorder. “She loves to play basketball and wanted to play professionally. But because of her medical issues she won’t be able to do that. TRAC training has helped Aaliyah see all of her options and realize she has a lot of choices. Her choices include teaching. “I knew I wanted to become a teacher the day Catherine Clark spoke to the class,” says Aaliyah. Clark is assistant to the director of Goodwill’s Career Solutions. “She said never to give up on our dreams and listen to what your heart says and that’s what I’m going to do now.” When students graduate from the TRAC program, they receive a $100 stipend from Goodwill. All TRAC classes are held at the company’s corporate offices in Nashville. Information about TRAC for 2011 can be found at in the spring of 2011.

Right Column: TRAC students throughout the summer.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

Top: American Idol finalist, Melinda Doolittle visits TRAC students.

TV Check Point

Curtis Bell checks all donated TVs.


f you’re in the market for a new-to-you television, don’t hesitate to buy it from Goodwill. Every television that makes it to the shelf at one of our Goodwill stores will be in good working order. Curtis Bell, a 15-year veteran of Goodwill, who is in control of the remote and nixes any set that doesn’t meet his standards says, “If I wouldn’t buy it, I don’t want it going to our stores.”

Ambassador | Summer 2010

Bell’s story isn’t a made-for-TV movie, but it does have a bit of drama. He had been working nine years in the maintenance department for another Nashville company when he was laid off. He had gone without a job almost a year and had sent numerous applications without success when his sister suggested he apply at Goodwill. “I said, ‘Why not?’” A suggestion by his sister turned into a job for Bell. He was hired as a materials handler, then worked on the dock, worked with various pieces of machinery, and


is now testing every television and every microwave that is donated. “I’m an old-fashioned worker,” says Bell. “I’m very careful about sending TVs to our stores. And here at Goodwill I can use my skills and have a job and friends.” Bell’s dedication to the job doesn’t go unnoticed. “He’s a great guy,” says Mike Eisenbraun, the senior director of production. “His attention to detail keeps us from sending faulty units to our stores.” Bell says Goodwill receives a large number of Panasonic and Samsung sets. His favorite TV to have tested was a 45” plasma. “It had a beautiful picture.” And after spending every day watching TV, Bell especially enjoys his job mid-mornings. “That’s when my favorite show, The Price is Right is on!”

Donors & Community Partners Give Goodwill and Sport Clips team for clients.

NEIGHBORHOOD DONATION DRIVES Neighborhoods are getting into the donation spirit, too. From early spring through the fall when neighborhood associations, churches, scout groups and other organizations have sales, Goodwill is often invited to place a donation truck on site so there’s an easy way to donate all the items that don’t sell. If you’d like to schedule a truck for your garage, yard or estate sale, call our special projects manager at 615-346-1601 at least two weeks in advance of the sale. COLE HAAN A high-end company known for its fine leather products invited Goodwill donors to drop by for a night of shopping with a discount. Donors who brought items for Goodwill to the Cole Haan store in the Green Hills Mall in Nashville, received $50 off their purchase of $250 or more on the evening of June 24.


ant a poster to commemorate the devastating floods that washed over Tennessee in May? Thanks to Joel Anderson, the artist behind the well-recognized, Spirit of Nashville posters, bidders on onlinegoodwill. com, are able to bid and buy limited edition signed prints by Anderson which he donated after learning of Goodwill’s damages because of the flood.

Anderson has donated another 10 posters that are up for bid on To learn more about Joel Anderson and his artwork, please visit

SPORT CLIPS In keeping with our Goodwill’s efforts to grow causal partnerships with area businesses, and with the help of a former Goodwill client now working with Sport Clips, our clients can be assured they’ll look their best at job interviews. Laurie Guzman utilized the services offered by Career Solutions several years ago in Spring Hill and landed a job doing marketing for the nationally-known sports themed hair care provider. Guzman knew she wanted to give back to the folks who had helped with her job search and proposed that Sport Clips provide free haircuts to Goodwill clients who are in the job market. The idea has taken hold and now career counselors in 12 of our Nashville area Career Solutions offices provide Sport Clips vouchers to clients with upcoming job interviews.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

After several Nashville area television stations learned of Anderson’s original, and very generous donation, of 30 flood-related posters to Goodwill, the story aired over the course of several days, driving buyers to The final tally for the first batch of posters sold was almost $600 for our Goodwill.

This was a unique way to reach new donors, and to tell the story of how donations provide the funding for our mission. Cole Haan’s store manager says she plans to continue the partnership and already has ideas for several other donation drives for Goodwill through the end of the year.

gTV is Going on the Air New television network will strengthen Goodwill’s communication efforts.


inding the latest company news at Goodwill will be as easy as watching TV. gTV (Goodwill TV) is designed to give employees instant information about company events and activities. It will be especially important for employees who do not have access to e-mail or the Web while at work. “The primary goal of gTV is to improve employee communications,” says Karl Houston, senior director of marketing.

Ambassador | Summer 2010

The rollout phase of gTV includes 12 flat screen TVs strategically located throughout the three corporate buildings at Tenth Avenue and Herman Street in Nashville, including the lobbies, cafeterias and other high traffic areas for the best visibility.


“gTV not only provides information for our employees, it will also create a lasting impression on visitors who come into our buildings. They’ll be able to watch gTV and see how the agency brings our mission to life,” says Houston

because the programming will include success stories and other client-based information. Watch gTV for a few moments and you’re likely to see news stories about our Goodwill that aired on area news shows, our commercials, internally produced videos including safety tips provided by employees, updates about clients served, real-time news updates from local stations and CNN, weather updates, Human Resources announcements and topics of interest submitted by employees. The job of updating gTV daily falls to one of Goodwill’s newest employees, Ashley Deets, the online media manager. “I enjoy trying new technology tools and ways to engage our employees. I’m thrilled to be part of this new initiative.” Deets says she’ll also have the ability to target messages for each building. “In our new Career Solutions building, we’ll have the ability to reach out to our

clients with specific training and job opportunities.” “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for our Goodwill,” says Houston. He says there may be a chance gTV will eventually expand to include all retail stores and Donation Express Centers where possible. The phase one rollout is expected to be completed by September. To keep track of everything Goodwill using social media, follow us at,, or

Healthy Outlook for Jobs in Health Care

A two-year federal grant will help Career Solutions counselors promote jobs in health care.


ashville may be best known as Music City, but its nickname could also be Health Care Central. Nashville is home to more than 300 health-related companies, including 17 that are publicly traded. This hefty business sector is responsible for generating more than $20 billion in revenue to middle Tennessee, making it the area’s largest employer. Based on the connection between Nashville and the many health care related businesses in the area, it seems most appropriate that Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has been awarded $349,309 from a new $3 million federal grant designed to teach skills needed to help candidates navigate toward jobs in the health care industry. Our Goodwill is one of just seven Goodwills in the country to receive the funding.

Goodwill Industries International will divide the grant between the seven agencies including Goodwills in Phoenix, Portland, ME, Roanoke, Santa Cruz, Shreveport and Springfield, IL. The U.S. Department of Labor released $14.7 million in health care career grants sponsored by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Three other national grantees will share the rest of the funds. Good Prospects will be fully operational by the end of August and staff training will begin in late summer at the 15 Career Solutions centers located throughout the 46 counties served by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

The project has been designated, Good Prospects, and will be integrated into our Goodwill’s Career Solutions’ already robust training and job services programs. “What this means to our Goodwill is more computers at the centers, staff training, and more clients served. And, we hope, more of our clients will find jobs in the health care industry,” says Betty Johnson, vice president of employment services.

The grant will allow our Goodwill to purchase 38 computers and add 11 new Career Solutions staffers. Another benefit of this two-year grant is our counselors will become career development facilitators, which is a credentialed certification within the workforce industry.


New Stores, DECs and Career Solutions Centers

ust days after the Nashville store on Charlotte Avenue celebrated its expanded space, there was proof on one of the store’s racks that no matter which Goodwill you shop, there are always great ‘gets’! A men’s designer BCBG jacket, which retails for more than $250, was Goodwill priced for $9.99 and on sale for just half that price, $4.99.

Charlotte Avenue

The Charlotte Avenue store gained an additional 2,400 square feet of shopping space in June, and it’s filled with racks of clothing for the entire family and a full wall of purses.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

Growth continues to be good for our Goodwill. A newly relocated Springfield store opened in June and shoppers were lined up and ready to spend as soon as members of the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce finished the ribboncutting ceremony.


The new store has more than 22,000 square feet of shopping space and also includes a processing center and Donations Express Center. All employees from the original Springfield store transferred to the new location and seven new employees were added to the retail and processing staff. The Career Solutions team also moved into their new space in Springfield with plans to host an open house for clients and area businesses.

Mt. View

The Mt. View store opened in March and a Career Solutions team will soon join the retail staff in the Mt. View Martketplace on Murfreesboro Road. But for the first time, the two business entities won’t be physically connected. Instead, the Career Solutions office will be housed in another space within the plaza. New staff will be hired, including those who are bi-lingual, to help with the large Spanish-speaking population in the Antioch area who may be in

need of job search and job skills assistance.


Giving has gotten easier for donors living in White Bluff and Murfreesboro. Donation Express Centers opened this summer at the Dickson County Recycling Center in White Bluff and at the Mercury Plaza Shopping Center on Mercury Boulevard in Murfreesboro.


It isn’t often that Goodwill closes a site without plans to relocate, but that decision has been made for our Humboldt store in West Tennessee. The store’s lease is up for renewal but senior management decided that due to declining sales the store will close on August 21. All Humboldt employees have been offered the opportunity to relocate within the company. Humboldt shoppers have several nearby stores to visit including our two stores in Jackson, one in Lexington, and one in Union City.

Career Solutions Building Update

Grand Opening slated for September 13.


he original grand opening date for the new David B. Lifsey Career Solutions Center, June 9, came and went without fanfare. That Wednesday in June, the building was far from ready to welcome clients in need of our services. Instead, the building was under reconstruction, due to the devastating flood in May that inundated the building, destroying the almost-completed first floor.

The cost to rebuild the first floor has topped $650,000, including $100,000 to replace furniture that had been delivered the day before the floodwaters rose. Along with the furniture, drywall, electrical systems, cabinets, doors, ceramic tile and even water fountains and signs on the walls, had to be removed and replaced.

The contractor has given an August move-in date. As for the work on the first floor, Lifsey said, “The facility looks better than I ever hoped. When the contractors are through, the building will look as though the flood never happened.” The new grand opening is to be held Monday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. Additional photos of the David B. Lifsey Career Solutions Center can be found on the back cover of Ambassador.


Ambassador | Summer 2010

Today the building, to be named after David Lifsey, Goodwill’s president and CEO for almost 40 years, looks much as it did April 30, just one day before the rains started falling in Nashville. Drywall has been replaced and the first floor has been repainted, electrical systems have been rewired and the carpet has been replaced.

“We’re really fortunate that the subcontractors who worked on the building originally were able to come back,” said Lifsey. “They knew the building, where the systems were, and were on the job quickly.” Lifsey added, “The material suppliers who were involved in the original build expedited shipment on what we needed to rebuild the first floor and gave us a discount, based partly on sympathy because of the flood.”

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. | 1015 Herman St. | Nashville | TN | 37208 Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage


Ambassador | Summer 2010

Nashville, TN Permit No. 2009

All photos of the David B. Lifsey Career Solutions Center were taken by Colin Perschbacher, a senior at Independence High School, who is working as an intern with the marketing team.


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