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  • Writer's pictureAlexa L. Barnett

How I got Renowned Developer, Tony Giarratana, to Speak at the CRE615 Changemakers Summit

DISCLAIMER 1: This is the personal blog of Alexa L. Barnett and does not reflect any position of her employer.

DISCLAIMER 2: This blog post is NOT an educational resource. If you want to craft your elevator pitch, checkout this well written and researched blog post on the CRE615 website, and attend the Pitch Practice + Happy Hour on 3/29/23.

On January 26, 2023 renowned developer Tony Giarratana (Giarratana Development) gave the keynote speech to 200+ commercial real estate professionals at the First Annual CRE615 Changemakers Summit. From the Cumberland, to Viridian, Encore, 505, and more, Tony has transformed the Skyline and downtown living as we know it. The 505 made history when it opened in 2017 at 45 stories high, and Giarratana will break another state record when his 60-story tower at 1010 Church Street delivers.

Photo by Morgan Visual Productions
Alexa Barnett and Tony Giarratana

Many CRE615 members asked how I got Tony to speak at this event. It was several factors, conveniently comparable to the song Remember The Name by Fort Minor:

10% Luck - I was in the 505 elevator, at the right time.

20% Skill - The doors closed and I pitched my heart out. I had 37 floors to get my point across and close on the cities fastest elevator. I have several CRE615 elevator pitches that vary by prospect (member, sponsor, speaker, mentor, etc.) and I know them like the back of my hand. If you visit the CRE615 website, you'll notice what I said to Tony mirrors the language we use on our homepage.

15% Concentrated Power of Will - I was already thinking about how to get Tony to speak at an event. I had researched him and his projects, and watched this video twice. I was dressed professionally. I had a legitimate reason to approach him, and I knew* my elevator pitch.

5% Pleasure, 50% Pain - My POV: Tony was leaving a private event when I arrived. I did not know he would be there, but it was a safe assumption no one in his position wants a resident to approach them for a favor on a Friday evening, but this was my shot!

It turns out all of the research and preparation in the world cannot prepare you for good old nerves. I wish I'd practiced my elevator pitch less on the car ride to work, and more in front of other professionals. I knew my pitch, but it was evident I was nervous. For better or worse, I got the words out, and below is how it went to the best of my recollection:

*Elevator doors closes.*

Alexa: Mr. G., I've got 30 seconds, so here's my elevator pitch. My name is Alexa Barnett of CRE615. We are a networking, educational, and mentorship platform for Nashville's next generation of CRE professionals that I launched with the help of Elam Freeman. We have over 1,400 members who want to develop both professionally and personally; and your name is mentioned at every event we host. We have so much respect for you. What do I have to do to get you to speak at an event in 2023? Name a date, we will work around your schedule.

Tony G: I know Elam. I'm in.

*Elevator door opens.*

Alexa: Elam is amazing. Is there someone at Giarratana I should contact to get on your schedule?

Tony G: I'm flexible in Q1. Email me dates.

*Elevator door closes.*

Alexa L. Barnett is the owner and co-founder of CRE615, a networking, educational, and mentorship platform for the Nashville's next generation of commercial real estate professionals.


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