Tuesday, February 23, 2010

THINK BIG: Nicole Dunigan

Black History Month at Tennessee State University

THINK BIG: Nicole Dunigan

*Tennessee State University celebrates Black History Month by recognizing individuals or organizations that have made noteworthy contributions to University’s history and are taking the “Think Big, TSU BIG!” approach to their areas of study and expertise while impacting the campus, community and beyond.

Some people live for the chance to put big dreams into action. If 1995 Tennessee State University graduate Nicole Dunigan had her way, she would give that chance to everyone she met. That’s why Dunigan hosts Coffee Talk Inc., a monthly networking event with the mission to connect people, businesses and industries while fostering economic development in the community. 

Coffee Talk is held on the third Thursday of each month at the Stillwaters CafĂ© on Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street from 7 to 9 a.m. Before heading to the office, local professionals quickly gather for a morning of introductions, reconnections, conversations and, of course, coffee: “The motivation to venture out and start an event aimed at bringing the Nashville community together through effective networking came from the great sense of community I gained at TSU,” Dunigan explained.

Coffee Talk was honored with the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership Candlelight Award and recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration with the Tennessee Minority Small Business Champion Award – testaments to Coffee Talk’s success and growing popularity.

Dunigan serves as vice president for Pinnacle Financial Partners where she is charged with establishing profitable finance relationships within Nashville’s dramatically evolving economic climate. Channeling her desire to connect professionals, she strives to help support their business goals and career growth. 

Dunigan credits the TSU community, along with her mentor, associate dean of the College of Business Dr. Millicent Jackson for inspiring her to think big: “The TSU community has an aura of excellence that has encouraged me to reach for that higher bar and contribute back to the community at large,” Dunigan said. 

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