At the height of the economic recession in 2009, Michael Brody-Waite quit his job at a Fortune 50 company to become an aspiring entrepreneur. Looking back now, he humbly admits, he had no idea what he was doing. “I know it says I’m CEO, but I had no idea how to be a CEO, how to run the business,” he revealed. “We were creating an industry that had never been done before without any investors or advisors.”
Like many rising entrepreneurs before him, Brody-Waite felt discouraged and quite lost. One year into the venture, he and his partner had maxed out their credit cards, drained their bank accounts and withdrew from their 401Ks. Brody-Waite even had to sell his car and downsize his home -- sacrifices he made for his startup.
Circumstances like these could overwhelm even the most savvy of business owners. But 16 years of sobriety and three powerful words - experience, strength and hope - gave Brody-Waite the unwavering will to push on. “For me, getting clean was the hardest thing that I ever did, and so I started saying, well, how did I do that? And I went back to those words. I needed to find experience, strength and hope as an entrepreneur.”
Refocused, Brody-Waite walked into the Nashville Entrepreneur Center with a mission to find a mentor and a community. “I needed to figure out all the things I didn’t know,” he said.
“They offered me mentors - that was my experience - strength in a community of other entrepreneurs on the same path that I was on, and the hope that I could actually increase the probability of success and not screw this thing up.”
Six years later, InQuicker, his startup healthcare platform that allows patients to self-schedule their next appointment with a provider, grew from just two employees to more than 50. And they saw a 20,000% revenue growth and were bought by a publicly traded company.
Brody-Waite is now the CEO of the Nashville EC, giving back to the very organization that helped him years ago. Only this time, he is offering his personal experiences as a mentor, his strengths navigating the often confusing community waters and a hope to better connect the local entrepreneur ecosystem. “In recovery, I was always taught you can’t keep anything unless you give it away.”
Included in this episode are stories from local entrepreneurs: LeShane Greenhill (Founder and CEO of Sagents and Sales Cocktail), Julia Polk (Chief Strategy Officer and CFO of IQuity) and Shawn Glinter (Founder and CEO of Pendant Biosciences). All three attribute their success to the mentoring they received, and today each pay it forward serving in a variety of mentor roles.
Bonus: 5 Tips to Fostering the Right Mentor Relationship
Download the free guide below to read Michael Brody-Waite’s 5 tips to finding and fostering the right mentor relationship.