Jackie Jenkins Daniel '87
The confidence to problem-solve is a skill I have taken with me throughout my entire career. As I took a leap of faith and began my catering business following college, it was because of FRA that I knew how to strategize and overcome hurdles placed in front of me. At the beginning of my business, I was catering out of my home before moving to West Side Athletic Club. After some exposure there, I was asked to come work with Bread and Company before acquiring my Green Hills space in 1997. What was originally a 1970s greenhouse and cottage became the home to The Food Company. Alongside my best friend and business partner, Jenkins Hardin, we began to dream bigger. We traveled around different cities and became inspired to turn the old greenhouse into a social space.
Originally, the greenhouse was going to be a smaller, intimate bar for our friends and those in our social circles. In September of 1998, we opened the space, and it immediately caught attention. The Greenhouse Bar was different for Nashville. It welcomed diverse people and allowed a social hub for those in the Green Hills neighborhood. Today, we still see people from all different walks of life come to enjoy both Greenhouse and Food Company as a place to meet and gather. As the space has continued to evolve and we plan for the future, we are committed to an atmosphere that meets all those needs.
In every moment of my business, I have had to be a genuine leader, one that is organic yet strategic to adapting to Nashville’s ever-changing market. I think back to times at FRA and how Coach Zab was always inviting me to become a more established leader. Through suggesting my enrollment in honors courses, encouraging my involvement in sports, and challenging me to think deeper, I became a well-rounded woman from my years on FRA’s campus. I was constantly encouraged to be better and to take myself more seriously in growing into who I wished to become.
Since my time at FRA, I have had a close-knit friend group remain. My graduating class grew together and continues to grow together and be by each other's sides through life’s ups and downs. Today, I have the chance to see many classmates and even run into old classmates at my business. I am constantly reminded of my moments filled with fun, growth, and freedom to mold into who I have become. I have carried these memories of unity and friendship into my team. I always want my staff and team to feel loved, known, and seen. I currently have a staff that stays an average of ten years, which is incredible for the food industry. I always try to emphasize loyalty, family, and taking care of each other.
Over my five years at FRA, I gained confidence and bravery that has always stuck with me. My teachers and coaches instilled a resilient spirit in me that has allowed me to always persevere. Ms. Dale and Ms. Gideon taught me how to communicate well and how to take ownership of who I am. Because of these women, I can communicate appropriately and respectfully. My teachers led with confidence and provided me with an example of life-long learning that has prepared me well for any obstacle or hurdle I am faced with.
Spiritual Emphasis Week was important to me throughout my time at FRA and has remained important throughout my life. I was exposed to faith through daily devotions, chapels, and teachers who wanted to walk alongside me. I valued that FRA placed such an emphasis on investing in each part of who I am—physically, emotionally, and mentally. FRA has always brought people together, and that has inspired me to land in this career. I learned to cook and am passionate about food, but even more than that, I am passionate about bringing people together and making sure they have a place to feel wanted and connected.
I am so excited about where FRA is today and to see it flourishing in all the best ways. It makes me proud to be an alumna as I can tell it is still a place connecting students, providing a place for them to be seen and invested in, and as it always has—creating confidence in students for what lies ahead.