To the land of the Volunteers, Country Music and Graceland here we come.
Being from Wisconsin my accent stands out down here in the southern part of the USA. Ultimately my career path and family lead me down here from the great state of Minnesota, just across the border from Wisconsin where my family and I are from.
Now most people are satisfied when I tell them my dad’s Entrepreneurial spirit and ambition lead me here and some, well they look puzzled. While a lot of people think surely warmer weather and no state income taxes would bring a person from the northern Midwest to the Volunteer state, for me it was my dad. See my family are the ones who create things, build things, develop a Vision into reality.. it’s what I experienced all through my childhood.. My dad, my mom, my brother have all started businesses and I mean multiple!
Now let’s rewind the clock back to 2016 when my father, Casey Hannah, came to the point when he knew it was time to take that big leap of Faith and begin working on this lifelong Vision of his to keep serving others and furthermore a way to help a certain demographic of people get a real second chance.
Now I’m certain he wasn’t entirely sure what it would look like, but he stayed persistent until the right timing and opportunity came along.
Enter the world of call centers. My family isn’t new to the call center business model. We started our first call center operation in 2009 for my brother’s Online Retail business at the time. We quickly figured out how to setup a call center office, how to get the right technology to support inbound and outbound calling and over time learned about management of people.. it was a lot! A lot of Fun!
See my dad’s vision was to create work opportunities with incarcerated individuals to bring them hope, bring his gift of ministry, equip these people with real world job skills and prepare them for the best life possible so when they were ready to take that step back into society they were setup for success.
Now how did it come to be Tennessee? Well what seemed like after endless calls and meetings finally there was light at the end of the tunnel and it came down to two states that had the proper infrastructure, had a state government who was ready to contribute their resources and they were the most welcoming and open to his idea. They were willing to partner up with him to make this a reality.
One of those states, you guessed it, Tennessee.
So once he got the go ahead, light bulbs began to go off in his mind, creative juices began to flow and his natural strengths well they began to shine. See my dad was an old school Entrepreneur. He had his own unique system of how to get things done. He would buy the right equipment, find the right deals, meet the right people and at times that took him all the way across the country. For this particular journey he would be setting out to setup this call center office and grow, manage and lead this Teleservices business from inside a correctional facility. He packed up what was convenient to take along and set off to relocate to Tennessee to make this dream become a reality.
Now it took him about 1 year of negotiating, planning and driving across the United State of America collecting equipment from businesses that were closing or moving staff virtually. And over time, it all started to come together.
So where do I, Kelly Hannah, fall into this picture? When things started to move in the right direction, he jokingly asked me on a call if I’d be interested in coming down and helping him out. I had recently bought a house and was beginning to establish my life in Minnesota. I know it caught him by surprise when I agreed to move my family down there.
I had been to Tennessee a year earlier for two days during a road trip. That was my only experience ever in this land locked state. I wasn’t sure what to expect and still I knew in that moment that it would all work out and I wanted nothing more than to go help support my father. About six months later my house was on the market and everything I was going to take along was packed in a trailer and we moved to a small town in Tennessee with a population of about 600 people. And that folks is the story of how I ended up in Tennessee.
Be sure to check back to part 2 of this article when I share with you about my first 12 months in Tennessee and tell you about fishing for Carp out in these muddy Rivers.
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