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April 30, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Jane Allen stepping down as CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center

She was named Chief Executive Officer in 2019 and will remain in the role while the nonprofit's Board of Directors conducts a search for her successor.

There’s change coming to the state’s oldest entrepreneur center.

In an announcement on Friday, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC) said that its Board of Directors has initiated a search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to succeed Jane Allen, who will be stepping down as CEO and as a member of the Board as her previously announced service commitment nears completion. She will remain as CEO throughout the search process, fully supporting the Board’s efforts and the subsequent transition to her successor.

The nonprofit was founded in 2010 by business leaders who wanted to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the entrepreneurial community. Allen became the NEC’s fourth CEO in 2019 when she succeeded Michael Brody-Waite. The nonprofit’s inaugural CEO was Michael Burcham who was succeeded by Stuart McWhorter, the current Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Chair of the Launch Tennessee Board of Directors.

In making the announcement, NEC Board Chair Janet Miller called Allen (pictured here) “an inspiring leader, a pioneering female entrepreneur, and a market disruptor herself who has played a key role in building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nashville. Her contributions to entrepreneurship and the business community have made a lasting impact, particularly to the many thousands of emerging entrepreneurs that have benefitted from the NEC over the last several years. I look forward to working closely with Jane as we recruit a new CEO.”

We interviewed Allen in late 2019, shortly after she assumed the CEO position, for this article. The school teacher turned lawyer and eventually entrepreneur said all three careers had a common theme – helping people solve problems. In 2000, Allen left a law firm to start her own business with her husband. Counsel on Call, now called Legility, is an on-demand legal services company, which she grew into a nationally acclaimed business before selling it.

The NEC Board has engaged Grant Partners to conduct the search for the next CEO.

Here’s the full news release from the NEC (NEC Press Release on CEO Search).

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