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April 19, 2018 | Tom Ballard

“Bunker Labs” Nashville Muster on May 16 features FedEx’s Fred Smith

Bunker Labs NashvilleBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

One of Tennessee’s most successful entrepreneurs ever with a brand recognized around the world headlines next month’s “Bunker Labs Muster Across America – Nashville.”

The veteran entrepreneurship conference and Bunker Labs fundraiser is set for May 16 at the WeWork Nashville location, 901 Woodland Street and will feature Fred Smith, Founder of FedEx. Those who attended last year’s “36|86 Conference” will recall the engaging fireside chat that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam conducted with Smith.

That’s a dynamic that Blake Hogan, Executive Director and Founder of the Nashville affiliate of the national Bunker Labs organization, wants to replicate at this year’s Muster. The fireside chat with Smith will be a key part of a roughly five-hour event.

“It’s coming together nicely,” Hogan says about the agenda. “We have scaled back the programming quite a bit to provide more time for guests to develop relationships that will help attendees grow both personally and professionally. Connecting dots is the real mission of the Muster.”

The event will begin at 3 p.m. with a marketplace featuring around 20 participants in the current Bunker Labs start-up cohort, alumni from past accelerators, and those who are active in the newly-formed Bunker Labs chapters in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville and Memphis.

The marketplace gives the aspiring entrepreneurs who are also military veterans or spouses the opportunity to showcase their start-up companies.

At 5 p.m., there will be formal registration and one-hour reception, allowing participants to network. Hogan says the feedback from past years indicated more networking time was a top priority.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. followed by a “scaling-up” panel of veterans who have launched companies with a bent towards changing the world. Confirmed guests are Neil Whitney of Menud, a Nashville start-up we profiled in this 2017 article, and Justine Evirs, founder of The Paradigm Shift, an organization unleashing the potential of military spouses.  Justine also serves as the Bunker Labs HQ’s Director of Policy and Advocacy.

Smith’s fireside chat will follow the panel and is designed to “connect the dots . . . to show that starting a business is a process,” Hogan explained. “It doesn’t just happen overnight.”

Hogan says the fireside chat will “wrap-up true to Nashville form with a ‘Writers in the Round’ musical event featuring Richard Casper, a Bunker Labs cohort member.” Casper is a Marine veteran and artist who founded a national organization named CreatiVets where he serves as Executive Director. The organization’s mission is to provide combat veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury opportunities to use art, music, and creative writing to heal their unseen wounds of war.

Casper will be joined by several artists, including Grammy winner Tim Fagan, who will play their hits you are hearing on the radio and songs that capture the wartime stories of recent US service members.

“At Bunker Labs, we aim to inspire, educate, and connect, and The Muster will do just this with Bunker Leaders from across the state, aspiring entrepreneurs, the Marine Founder of FedEX Fred Smith, and country music to bring down the house as the end of the night,” Hogan said about this year’s marquee fundraiser, The Muster.

The Muster will end with plenty of time for drinks and dot connecting.

To register, click here.

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