Thanks for joining me for the second week of my new segment, Power of One Wednesday. If you’re new to the blog, this weekly post series aims to interview different members of the Nashville community and people who have been influential in my life. The goal is to demonstrate how these individual people have made a huge impact, and to inspire others to do the same.
I have one very special thing in common with this week’s guest: we both have held the title of Miss Nashville! Tressa hails from Carthage, TN. She earned a B.S. in Mass Communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. She won the title of Miss Nashville in 1982 and placed in the Top 15 at Miss Tennessee. After graduation, Tressa worked as television reporter, anchor, producer and writer in several southeastern cities including Jackson, TN, Columbus, MS, Knoxville, Nashville and the Tri-Cities. Tressa also was a reporter, producer, and writer for the popular television program Tennessee Crossroads. It is produced at Nashville’s PBS station, WNPT-TV8. More than 60 of her stories are re-played on the show which airs on all the state’s PBS stations. Viewers in Nashville can watch every Thursday at 7pm and again at 10 on Sunday mornings. Tressa currently serves as the community relations director at Elmcroft Senior Living and Memory Care in Lebanon, TN. I posed a series of questions to Tressa and here are her answers.
Who’s one person that’s significantly impacted you?
My paternal grandmother, Gracie Jane Massey-Bush, left a lasting impression on me. At the age of three, polio crippled her right leg – from the hip to her toes. She lived a very productive life, bearing four children at home, all of whom lived healthy lives. They just happened to have a mother who was not able to walk or run with them, ride bikes with them, play ball with them, or go swimming with them — but they never missed what they never had and neither did she. She simply found other ways to have fun with them like reading a book, listening to the radio or playing games that allowed her to sit.
Unable to walk without an assistive device, Ma Bush did not let that slow her down! She kept a very clean/tidy house, she cooked/canned all the time and she worked outside. Pa Bush would often carry her to their flower and vegetable gardens where she would sit in a straight back chair and cut the flowers, gather the vegetables and of course, pull weeds! I had the joy of knowing her for 26 years and she never, I mean never, EVER complained about the polio! She defied all the myths about being sedentary, and didn’t let anything stop her from enjoying her life.
What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learned from a success or failure?
I have learned that the definition of success/failure is subjective. I suggest nobody take it personally when others are not as overjoyed or saddened when success and/or failure finds you. I have also learned that some of my so-called biggest failures have turned into something successful! So don’t fret if you feel you’ve failed — it could be the beginning of something big!
What is the biggest problem facing our generation and how do you think we can solve it?
I have two twenty-something nieces with whom I’m very close, Keri and Kristen. As someone who has studied communications, I feel like one of the biggest problems is their lack of face-to-face communication. While they’re very active via text, email, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, they rarely communicate face-to-face. I believe that so much of what is communicated over these channels is often misinterpreted. Both of them have careers where they deal with the public, so they are getting better at communicating and I hope that others like them will do the same.
What’s one special thing about Nashville that you feel like makes it so successful?
I believe Nashville’s biggest asset is that we are a metropolitan area with a touch, no, a bunch of southern charm! We have just about anything you’d like in a city: the arts, music, sports, libraries, great schools, parks and much, much more. It’s awesome having an international airport here that can take us to so many exciting destinations and our location allows us to drive to more than two-thirds of the USA in less than a day’s time – how cool is that!!?? Finally, unlike other big cities, we actually mean it when we say “Hi!” and “How’s ye mama an’ ‘em?”
A HUGE thank you to Tressa for sharing some of her story and wisdom with me! I hope that my adventures as a former Miss Nashville are just as exciting as yours. :) Until then, stay tuned for next week’s Power of One Wednesday, and thanks for joining me!