Butler Snow is pleased to announce that Steve Groom – former chief legal officer of CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, and long time executive – has joined the firm’s Nashville office. He will serve in a dual capacity as a principal in the firm’s business advisory subsidiary, Butler Snow Advisory Services (BSA), and practice in the law firm, Butler Snow, in an of counsel role.

Steve Groom

Groom has extensive business, financial services and dispute resolution experience, and most recently was executive vice president, general counsel and secretary to CoreCivic, where he will continue to serve as special counsel.

“Steve is a successful executive, who has broad corporate and legal experience, and not only will he be an asset to the firm but will help spearhead Butler Snow Advisory’s efforts in Nashville,” said Donald Clark, Jr., chairman, Butler Snow. “Steve has played a significant role in the executive leadership team at CoreCivic, and we are thrilled to have his strategic counsel and legal experience available to our team and our clients.”

Throughout his career in the corporate world, Groom has gained experience and knowledge in the areas of corporate governance and strategy, risk management and compliance, banking and finance, leadership training and development, as well as a significant involvement in mediations and arbitrations. Groom is a Rule 31 listed general civil mediator.

“I am excited to join Butler Snow’s Nashville team and look forward to working with both the law firm and its business advisory subsidiary”, said Groom. “As a client of the firm for the past 15 years, I have the greatest respect for the firm’s competence and professionalism. The added benefit of having the opportunity to leverage both my legal and corporate advisory experience for the benefit of both entities’ clients makes Butler Snow a great fit for me.”

In addition to spending almost a decade in the private practice of law before joining CoreCivic, Groom served for 11 years in executive, senior management and general counsel roles with SunTrust Banks, Inc. He began his career as a banker with Memphis Bank and Trust Company.

Groom serves on the board of advisors of Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management and is an adjunct faculty member teaching mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution. He serves on the board of visitors of Lipscomb University’s College of Business and the board of directors of the American Cancer Society.

Groom is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics, Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Association for Conflict Resolution, Risk Management Association, Tennessee Bankers Association, Bank Lawyer’s Committee, Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Resource Center and the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Groom received his undergraduate degree from Lipscomb University, where he ran track and cross-country as a scholarship athlete. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis Law School, where he was a member and author of the Law Review.

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Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC
(BSA), announced today the company’s continued expansion with the addition of Sam J. Jenkins, Managing Director, to its Memphis location and Blair R. Badham, Managing Director, to its Birmingham office.

“We’re excited about our continued growth in both Memphis and Birmingham and are pleased to add two accomplished professionals to our team,” said President and CEO Matt A. Thornton.  “Sam and Blair have extensive corporate and investment banking expertise, and they will be tremendous assets to our team and to the clients we serve.”

Sam Jenkins

Sam Jenkins

Jenkins has more than 35 years’ experience in corporate finance and investment banking, including a 28-year career with First Tennessee Bank.  As Executive Vice President of corporate banking, he led and managed the bank’s efforts to attract and maintain Middle and Corporate Market clients across the country, helping develop and implement marketing and business development strategies. Under Jenkin’s leadership, the Corporate Banking Group was ranked first company-wide for overall Contribution Income (NIBT), Contribution Income per FTE, Treasury Services Sales, Deposits Acquisition, Derivative and Loan and Ancillary Fee Production for 2005-2008.

Jenkins joins the BSA team from Capstone Financial Services, a Memphis-based corporate advisory firm he founded in 2009 to serve commercial and corporate clients, community and regional banks and private equity capital providers across the Southeast. He holds a B.A. from the University of Alabama, with a focus on finance and banking, and an M.B.A. from the University of Memphis, where he graduated first in his class.

Badham brings over a decade of experience in corporate finance, strategy and operations to the group.  Previously, he served as Director of Business Development for EBSCO Capital, the investment division of EBSCO Industries with $300 million in committed equity capital.  Headquartered in Birmingham, EBSCO Industries is a privately held conglomerate comprised of over 20 businesses and more than $2.5 billion in annual revenue.

Blair Badham

Blair Badham

During his time at EBSCO Capital, Badham established the firm’s business development function and was responsible for deal origination, investment opportunity analysis and the overall marketing strategy for the firm, an effort that led to the successful sourcing and closing of a number of new platform and add-on acquisitions.

Prior to his tenure at EBSCO Capital, Badham served in multiple capacities for Jemison Metals, a Birmingham-based steel service center, where he helped the firm grow by expanding its presence with Fortune 500 manufacturers.  Badham began his career in commercial banking, where he worked in the commercial and industrial lending group at First Commercial Bank for five years.

Badham earned a B.S. from the University of Alabama and an M.B.A., with honors, from Samford University’s Brock School of Business.

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Boyce Adams, Jr.

When I starting writing this column in 2008, my goal was to share positive stories about leaders making a difference in the state of Mississippi.  I have had the good fortune to interview inspirational leaders from around the state.  Great leaders “pay it forward,” and I have always tried to help them do that by sharing some of their leadership insights. It has been particularly exciting to visit with young and energetic leaders who are on the rise. My interviewee this week, Boyce Adams Jr., is one of those leaders.  Adams is president of Columbus-based TheBiz, a start-up business accounting software company, and he serves as vice-president for Marketing and Sales for its sister company BankTEL Systems.  BankTEL is a true Mississippi success story.  With over 1,400 clients, it is an Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Technology Company and was named one of the Deloitte Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2014.

Adams grew up in Columbus and went on to Vanderbilt University in 2007 where he was an Ingram Scholar,  which emphasizes academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

After college, Adams worked at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel and later as special assistant to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He then returned to Mississippi in 2009 to join his father, Boyce Adams, Sr., at BankTEL.

Adams’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills were evident early.  In high school, he decided he wanted to learn to fly.  After obtaining his pilot license, he decided to recoup his investment by becoming a flight instructor.  He shared: “While it was not always easy convincing a middle-aged person they should learn to fly from an 18-year-old, it was a great lesson in challenging the status quo thought that age was the only measure of a person’s abilities, knowledge, or experience.”

Adams is a problem solver.  He explained, “There are always challenges in life whether it’s business or anything else.  I’ve always looked at ways to solve problems instead of dwelling on them. I like to take a step back when I’m involved in a project and determine perspective. Why are we doing this? Is it working? Can we do it better?”  These type questions help eliminate waste and inefficiency, and allow Adams and his team to focus on providing greater value to their customers. Adams honed these problem solving skills while working at the FAA.  He noted, “I learned from the administrator of the FAA how to take time after completing a task to reflect on it and learn how to improve upon it for the next time.”

Adams also has learned the importance of facing your fears.  He said, “Fear is the biggest impediment to achieving goals. Nothing is perfect and learning from mistakes is an important part of striving for success. Even the best leaders make mistakes, sooner or later. How I respond to those mistakes is what determines whether or not I’m an effective leader.”  He encourages leaders to give young people opportunities to grow and atain their goals. Adams emphasized, “In this fast-moving world of technology and practically instant access to information, listening to ideas and input from younger members of your business or organization is very important. Keeping younger members of your team involved will allow them to develop leadership skills and also for you to gauge what’s on the horizon in your organization.”

Adams has helped his company grow from 500 clients to 1,400 clients in 50 states and more than 15 countries.  I am encouraged not only by the success of Adams and his businesses, but also by his commitment to service in his community.  Leaders like Adams will shape Mississippi’s future. I look forward to it.

Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, February 5, 2015.

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RIDGELAND, Miss., – Zenith Education Group, a newly created nonprofit provider of career school training, announced Tuesday that Troy A. Stovall, a former Butler Snow Advisory (BSA) Principal, would serve as the organization’s interim president.

Stovall joined the BSA team in September 2013 and advised clients nationwide as part of the firm’s service offerings.

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Troy A. Stovall

Before joining BSA, Stovall founded and served as managing member of LeMaile Stovall LLC, a management consulting firm serving for-profit and nonprofit firms focused on strategy, operational performance and fundraising.  He also previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Howard University and as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Jackson State University (JSU). In both roles, he led various construction, renovation, educational and information technology projects including: a redesign of benefits at Howard University that resulted in a $9 million savings, the launch of Howard’s online executive MBA program, and more than $300 million in new construction and renovation projects at JSU.

Read the Zenith press release or visit www.zenith.org for more information.

Butler Snow Advisory is a subsidiary of the law firm of Butler Snow LLP. With offices in Memphis and Nashville, Tenn. and Jackson, Miss., BSA works with clients throughout the country as they address their most critical challenges and opportunities, helping to lead their businesses through periods of growth and transformation. For more information, see the About Us section.

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According to an American Medical Association study in 2012, 53 perccent of physicians were full or part owners of a practice; 42 percent were employees; and 5 percent were independent contractors. Of particular note is that in 1983, 75.8 percent of physicians were self-employed. This trend has continued as approximately 75 percent of physician hiring in the last two years has been by hospitals.  Anyone familiar with the medical industry knows the challenges of being an independent physician practitioner today. The amount of complexity involved in operating a medical practice from a regulatory and financial perspective is staggering.  Since the health care industry is such a large part of Mississippi’s economy, I am always interested in learning from leaders in the medical field.  My interviewee this week, Dr. A. Terrel Williams, is a successful ophthalmologist and practice owner.

Dr. A. Terrel Williams

Dr. A. Terrel Williams

Williams is a native of Churchill and graduated with degrees in history and chemistry from Millsaps College.  He noted, “I believe that the liberal arts education that I received at Millsaps has been a great benefit to me in my quest for learning and knowledge. It gave me a broad perspective and allowed me to learn about a range of areas, including religion, philosophy, art, and politics as well as science.” Williams received his medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and he completed a surgery internship at Tulane.  After completing three years of eye research at LSU’s Eye Center, he completed his ophthalmology residence back at UMMC.  Williams began his private practice career with Dr. William Aden before opening his own solo practice in 1990.  Since then, Williams has built a very successful practice focusing on cataract surgery, contact lenses and dry eyes.

One of the things that struck me about Williams was his diverse interests and knowledge.  I quickly picked up that he was a leader committed to continual learning.  He shared, “I have always had an interest in business and economics. In 2008, after my youngest son went to college I obtained a healthcare MBA at George Washington University with an emphasis in health care policy.”

While none of his sons followed his footsteps into medicine, they have all pursued business careers and have traveled broadly.   He shared, “When my sons were young we traveled extensively, including visits to China and Uganda.  I took them along on mission trips around the world which I believe taught them and me a great deal, and when they were older they pursued humanitarian works on their own.”

We discussed the challenges faced today by today’s medical practitioners. Williams noted the difficulty in navigating the ever-changing healthcare industry landscape.  He explained, “Physicians today in private practice not only have to stay on top of the latest development in their medical field, they also need to know and understand the ‘business’ of medicine as well as the regulatory environment.”  He shared that physicians coming out of school today have to decide whether they want to become employed practitioners and just focus on medicine or be in private practice which require knowledge and skill in running a business.

For future leaders, Williams emphasized the importance of being teachable.  He said, “You have to realize that you never know everything, and thus always continue learning both to keep up with current teaching as well as for personal development.” He also explained that honesty and character are what truly count.   He always emphasizes to “Do the Right Thing” and encourages his employees to follow the Golden Rule.  I was inspired by Williams’ intentionality in his continual learning, and his focus on mission work around the globe.  He is a great example of how health care providers can still successfully operate in the complex world of medicine today.

Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, January 29, 2015.

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A critical function for leaders is to define the situation at hand for their organizations.  Napoleon is quoted as saying, “The role of the leader is to define reality and give hope.” Similarly, famed GE CEO Jack Welch’s once said, “Deal with the world as it is, not how you’d like it to be.” Defining reality includes the need to “confront the brutal facts” as business guru Jim Collins would recommend. I see too many organizations that deny reality and adopt blind hope as a strategy.  Being able to face reality and address it head on takes courage and perseverance.  It is easy to deceive ourselves as leaders.

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Doug McDaniel

We must be vigilant in gathering the true facts of any situation – not just what we want to hear.

Doug McDaniel, President of McDaniel & Register, Inc., is a committed leader in his industry and community and has consistently strived to help objectively define reality and focus on what is most important in the organizations he has been involved.   McDaniel is a native of Jackson and an Ole Miss graduate. He credits the influence of his father and his early leadership positions in high school and college with fueling his interest in leading and serving.

After college, McDaniel worked for KPMG before beginning a career in the financial industry with Merrill Lynch in 1984.  After later working for A.G. Edwards for a number of years, he joined EFP Wealth Management which proved to be very successful and was later acquired by Stanford Financial.  McDaniel noted that dealing with the fallout of Stanford’s demise was certainly challenging as a leader.  Through support from family, friends, and clients, McDaniel pressed through that trying time and has built a very successful financial services business at McDaniel & Register.

“Don’t confuse process with progress.”

A man of deep faith and conviction, McDaniel has dedicated his time and resources to serving as an active leader in numerous community organization.  In particular, he has served as Chairman of the Board at Jackson Prep, Chairman of the Deacons at First Presbyterian Church, and Chairman of the Board of YBL (Young Business Leaders).  McDaniel was also a founding member of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.  In these leadership positions, he has become a student of how to unleash the potential of high impact boards.  He wisely pointed out that too often we boards have very talented members, but the full potential of the wisdom and experience of the members’ goes untapped.

McDaniel pointed me to Harvard professor Dr. Richard Chait’s work on governance and boards.

Chait’s books have helped shaped McDaniel’s view of how to be a more effective leader.  He shared two influential quotes by Dr. Chait, “Why chase the amoeba when you have a whale in the swimming pool?” and “90% of the work of governance (leadership) is defining reality.”

McDaniel also shared a story about watching an interview years ago of Jim Barksdale when he was with Netscape by Lou Dobbs of CNN.  Dobbs was asking Barksdale about how he managed the company in the complex and fast moving world of technology.  Barksdale answered the question by stating, “The main thing, Lou, is to keep the main thing the main thing!”  McDaniel also shared a very important consideration for leaders and boards, “Don’t confuse process with progress.”  In other words, just because a group followed an efficient process for a meeting does not mean that anything was actually accomplished.

I appreciate leaders like McDaniel who lead with conviction because they know who they are and their priorities.  I know he will continue to positive difference in the organizations he is involved.

Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, January 22, 2015.

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A common trait I have found in successful leaders is a commitment to preparation.  Benjamin Franklin noted, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  On game day, well prepared athletes make it look easy.  However, we know that hours of hard work went into getting ready.  Legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant explained, “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”  In our fast paced culture, it is easy to cut corners and not do our “homework.”  However, digging in and really being prepared makes all the difference.

Whether preparing for an interview, sales opportunity, or investor presentation, being prepared helps you stand out from the crowd.

Colby Lane has led a life of intention and preparation. He is a business leader on the rise and one to watch in the coming years.  Lane, a native of Brandon, earned a B.A. in Economics from Millsaps before going on Harvard Law School.  After practicing with Wilmer Hale in Washington D.C., he returned to his home state to serve as Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi.  He then went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel for Governor Haley Barbour.  After a very successful career in the law and public service, Colby formed Eagle Ridge Growth Partners as an operator-led private investment company which recently acquired its first company, PEC Safety. As of November, Lane has assumed the role of CEO of that company.

clane

Colby Lane

During his career, Lane has benefited from learning from some very talented leaders. He shared, “After law school, I had the opportunity to work for a couple of world class lawyers, Mark Dewire and Jay Watkins, who taught me the value of preparation and actively listening to clients.  As a leader, I try to apply both learnings: always prepare (if anything over prepare) and always listen first, whether talking to an employee, customer or vendor.   It is amazing how much success comes from doing these two things.”

Lane also noted that he learned a great deal from U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton about aggressively pursuing solutions. Lane noted, “Dunn always tried to find ‘yes’ and ‘can do’ and avoid ‘no’.  Too often an ‘easy no’ can stand in the way of success.”  While working for Governor Barbour, Lane learned how, in the face of crisis, the best teams and leaders stay calm and act.  He said, “A crisis may require you to work faster, but the best teams follow the same core principles and practices and make decisions. Inaction is paralyzing.”

For future leaders, Lane offered some sage advice.  He encourages people to “find the best people to work with and volunteer for the hardest projects.  You will learn from the best people and you will grow by succeeding (and failing) at hard projects.”  He also explained that he believes the job of a leader is to help the team win and take the blame when they don’t.  He said, “As a leader, it is essential to be transparent and explicit.   Let your team know exactly what your goals are and why you are pursuing them.  This clarity of purpose eliminates surprises.  And finally measure results.  As they say, what gets measured gets done.”

Lane has worked hard and developed a reputation for delivering results with high integrity.   His commitment to hard work, preparation, and service have allowed him to be successful at each stop in his career.  I know his new venture will certainly benefit from his skills, expertise, and preparation.  He will be one to watch in the years to come.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, January 16, 2015.] Read More


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Martin Willoughby

The New Year brings a sense of renewal and change.  Studies show that almost half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately only about 10 percent of those will actually achieve their goals. As you might imagine, resolutions to improve health and finances rank at the top of the wish list.  One of the key ways to achieve resolutions is to let them become a habit.  Psychologist Williams James noted, “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.”  While it is frequently said that it only takes 21 days to make a new habit stick, my review of the scientific literature on the subject indicates that it takes our brains closer to 60 days to actually rewire around a new habit.  As we enter 2015, here are a few leadership ideas to consider making a habit.

Just Say No

It’s tough to say no. We might offend someone or miss an opportunity.  A friend of mine describes the need to “chase shiny things” versus staying focused.  However, great leaders know that the ability to say no is critical.  As Gandhi said, “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  Leadership expert Tony Schwartz similarly emphasized, “Saying no, thoughtfully, may be the most undervalued capacity of our times.” We have more options than ever and countless opportunities vying for our attention.  It is more important than ever to be purposeful about what we say yes to.  However, this is no easy task.  We often have to say no to many good things.  However, unless we say no to the “good” then we will never be able to focus our time, talent, and energy on the “great.”

Show Appreciation 

Studies have shown that for knowledge workers, money alone is insufficient to motivate performance.  Dan Pink summarized this research in his book Drive and noted that workers are best incentivized by creating an atmosphere of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  In addition, I believe that people need authentic and genuine appreciation.  As I interview employees in organizations, I am amazed at the number of them who have never been shown appreciation in any form.  Appreciation is like a gift.  There is no reason as a leader to be stingy with this gift.  Whether a subordinate, co-worker, or a boss, I highly encourage people to get in the habit of showing appreciation.

Follow Up

I believe one of the most difficult aspects of leadership today is living by the motto “say what you are going to do, and do what you say.”  As I was beginning my career, a wise businessman told me that if I would do good work, return phone calls, and do what I said then I would always have plenty of work to do.  I believe there is great truth in his advice.  As leaders, we need to make a habit of being excellent at follow up and execution.  In addition, if you have people that you are delegating to then you need to be very intentional about follow up.  One of my early mentors kept a legal pad where he wrote down every promise someone gave him regarding delivery on a project or task.  If you missed a deadline, you could expect an immediate phone call from him.  My observation was that his team knew that when they were assigned a task and deadline that he meant it.

I hope these ideas will be an encouragement to you to be the best leader you can be in 2015.  I look forward to sharing more stories about the leaders doing great things around Mississippi in future columns.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, January 9, 2015.] Read More


There is no magic formula for being a great leader. Each day brings new opportunities and unforeseen challenges. To excel as a leader takes wisdom. President Calvin Coolidge once said, “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.” My interviewee this week, Gary J. Herring is one of those leaders who brings wisdom and experience to the important role of training tomorrow’s leaders. Since 1987, Herring has been Head of School at First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson.

HerringGary

Gary Herring

A native of Brandon, Herring grew up in a family of educators. He earned an undergraduate degree in business from Ole Miss and went on to get a Masters of Business Administration from Auburn and Masters of Education in Curriculum and Supervision from Mississippi College. Herring shared, “I believe that my background in accounting, personal management, and finance prior to coming to education was essential in becoming an effective leader in education. Running a school requires the same combination of principles as running a business (i.e. the management of people, money, and facilities for the accomplishment of set goals and strategic plans).”

Herring credits his predecessor Joe Treloar with helping to shape him as a leader. Herring said, “Treloar was a true southern, soft spoken, giant of a man. I spent a year under his tutelage. Every morning he would sit me down and explain how decisions were made and the reasons behind them.” Herring continued, “My father was a teacher and principal in Brandon. He was a godly example of how one treats other people.” Herring has great perspective on the role of education in our society. He shared the old proverb that says “we educate our children not for today or tomorrow, but for seven generations in the future.” Herring explained, “No matter if we are public school administrators or Christian school leaders, we must realize that we educate for eternity.”

A man of faith, Herring begins each day seeking wisdom through study and prayer. He said, “I try to follow the principles that I find in Proverbs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10). Herring also relies on old fashioned “good sense.” He explained, “Sometimes I find that common sense is the best solution to difficult issues. There are times where rules and policies do not fit certain circumstances, and I must use my God-given common sense.” Herring also believes in not asking anyone to do anything that he is not willing to do himself. He said, “I don’t ask anyone to go where I am not willing to go ahead of them.” Herring also recommends hiring talented people and not micro-managing them. He said, “I believe in hiring very competent people and letting them do their jobs without interference.”

Herring believes in genuinely caring for those with whom he works. He shared, “Other people will accept your instruction or correction if they believe that you care about them. Parents will support an administrator’s decisions they don’t particularly like, if they know he or she loves their child. I believe the same is true for employees. You must care about them personally and demonstrate that.

When employees hurt, you must hurt with them.” There are thousands of children that have been positively impacted over the years by Herring’s leadership, vision, and wisdom. I am thankful for servant leaders around the state of Mississippi like Herring who are on the front line in developing tomorrow’s leaders.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, December 18, 2014.] Read More

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