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Insights and tips from remarkable women leaders and innovators - from business, policy, science, the arts - who are transforming our world - Energy and sustainability - Career advice too.

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Nov 29, 2022

Famous Music Venue Goes Sustainable - Erika Wollam-Nichols, The Bluebird Café


“We have staff members who are very, very conscious of sustainability. One of our servers does our recycling…and we've had to really step into how can we find space for those kind of things, even composting…because obviously we have food waste, but our kitchen is not much bigger than the bathroom here.…I would also add that we…. found a local partner here in town (for the merchandise) who prints in town and buys local and buys national product so that we're able to feel like we're building community… with all of that too.”

Erika Wollam-Nichols on Electric Ladies Podcast


As you venture out for live performances, including music, you might notice which ones are practicing sustainability, like the renowned Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a woman-founded and women-led venue that has launched a who’s-who of country music stars from Taylor Swift to Garth Brooks and beyond.


Listen to Bluebird Café president Erika Wollam-Nichols explain how they do sustainability – and the history of the club – in this live interview at the Bluebird on Electric Ladies Podcast with host Joan Michelson.

You’ll hear:

  • How Erika brought her Massachusetts-born passion for sustainability to this landmark in Nashville.
  • How they have solved a range of challenges in going green in such a small and historic venue.
  • Who has played there over the years and why it’s such a special place for songwriters.
  • Plus, insightful career advice.

And much more!

“What I think about in those situations is listening and paying attention….When I came in here and, and just spent time looking around and talking to the staff and just seeing where are the holes, where are the opportunities?....I want to keep a positive attitude and be solution-based as opposed to victim-based….We were closed for 16 months for the pandemic…But that was like, okay. So what's our opportunity with the pandemic? And, and we found some, and we changed some of our operations that we would not have had an easy time changing.”

Erika Wollam-Nichols on Electric Ladies podcast


Read Joan’s Forbes articles here.

You’ll also want to listen to (some of these are under the name Green Connections Radio):

  • Sandra Bargman & Chantal Bilodeau, The Climate Cabaret: on inspiring action through storytelling
  • Ann Friedman, CEO/Founder of Planet Word Museum, on transforming an historic building sustainably with purpose.
  • Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on building a new arts facility sustainably and on managing creative people
  • Tracy Edwards, Captain of Maiden and co-executive producer of the documentary “Maiden” about her historic voyage as the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

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