Hon.Nancy VanReece

Speaker | Strategist | Vice President Business Development, Batch Nashville



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Advice From a Champion

The second of a three-part Sports Series

Billy Jean King is a champion.


Sep 20, 1973 : King had already won 10 singles championships when 30,492 fans squeezed into the Houston Astrodome to witness the so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” while an estimated 90 million people worldwide watched on television.  Normally a serve-and-volley player, King made a conscious effort to wear Riggs down with baseline rallies. ..more from the History Channel

 King retired from competitive singles tennis in 1983, having won 12 major titles, including six Wimbledons and four U.S. Opens. She also helped found a women’s players union, a women’s sports magazine, a nonprofit advocacy group for female athletes and a team tennis league. Yet she still remains best known for a single victory.

“I know that when I die, nobody at my funeral will be talking about me,” she once said. “They’ll all just be standing around telling each other where they were the night I beat Bobby Riggs.”

.. Not so Billy Jean, we'll be talking about you for a long time to come.  However, I was nine years old and watched the last set with my mother.

Here are three tips from Billy Jean King to consider as you volley through your life:

1. Bring All of Yourself: Preparation in practice is the key to bringing all of yourself.  Some players try to hold back in practice, saving their “best” for the match. Champions don’t.  If you don’t practice with the same intensity that you plan to bring to the match, you can undermine your performance.

2.  See It Happen to Make It Happen: Before the Battle of the Sexes with Bobby Riggs, King mentally pictured herself in a rally, running down shots, making the right decisions. She pictured how she would serve and where she would place the ball. She worked to control her thoughts about the match and think positively at all times. Visualization helped prepare her for many of the eventualities of the match.

3.  Never Underestimate Your Opponent: “I think it is far better to overestimate your opponent than to underestimate him or her. My parents taught me to prepare to bring your ‘A’ game to everything, which shows respect for your opponent and yourself.”

( from the book Pressure is a Privilege by Billy Jean King and Christine Brennen and the Championship Performance newsletter):


volley |ˈvälē|

noun ( pl. volleys )

1 a number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time: the infantry let off a couple of volleys.

• a series of utterances directed at someone in quick succession: he unleashed a volley of angry questions.

Tennis an exchange of shots.

2 (in sports, esp. tennis or soccer) a strike or kick of the ball made before it touches the ground.

I worked with Nancy for 4 years and I can attest that she is a life-long learner, leader, and relationship builder. Nancy has never met a stranger. I’ve probably sat in over 100 meetings with her and she’s always found something to connect with the person across the table- “a virtual connector of dots.” That takes both empathy and emotional intelligence. Nancy is thoughtful in her approach to everything she does which makes her excellent at business development. She is able to think strategically at ten-thousand feet while being detailed oriented in the execution of tasks. Ideas are nothing without execution and Nancy balances those effortlessly. Having Nancy is your corner is nothing short of incredible.
Nancy did a spectacular job rebuilding MDSave’s social media presence. One heck of a turnaround job. She was creative, reliable and has a solid work ethic. She came to the table with fresh ideas, was always on time and always kept a great sense of humor.
— Chad Blackburn Vice President Business Development MDSave,Inc.

"I came to Nancy because I wanted to build my brand through blogging/social media and had zero knowledge about how to do it. She was the perfect person for the job. Her blend of social media expertise and calm, positive demeanor was exactly what I needed. 

Consultant/coach/patient trainer, she helped me create a path to launching my blog and gave me skills along the way. She made me feel like what I wanted to achieve was possible, and then got me there. There is lots left to do, but I feel confident that we will partner to achieve the long term results I'm hoping for."

- Lisa Pote, Consultant

Nancy VanReece is the real thing. She knows how to build an effective social media brand/platform. Even better, she makes this complex, arcane world accessible (and dare I say FUN) for her clients. She stands on the valuable ground where social media, branding and marketing intersect. I’m incredibly relieved to have her on my team!
— Amy Lynch, Generational Edge
What can be said about Nancy VanReece that you may not already know? There is a general consensus (and a look at her LinkedIn recommendations confirms this) regarding her wide-ranging talent for just about everything at which she tries her hand. As communications director at the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), I was responsible for helping to coordinate a statewide summit featuring thought leaders and communications experts in the non-profit arena. During the planning phase for the event, when charged with finding a presenter for the topic of social media engagement, I knew immediately that Nancy was the best possible choice. Nancy is on the cutting edge when it comes to helping organizations create comprehensive social media engagement strategies. Her presentation at the Tennessee Executive Residence was eloquent, sleek, articulate and – most significantly – effective. Our attendees left the summit invigorated with a real sense of how to implement Nancy’s ideas and reach more of their constituents in the ever-evolving ecosystem of social media platforms. I cannot recommend her highly enough, and I hope to work with her often in the future.
— Kirk Graves, Communications Director, Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation
Nancy has completely transformed our social media program, creating a viable and robust presence for us across a variety of platforms, from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to Google+ and Pinterest. She has played a critical role in upgrading and maintaining our website, and she piloted the launch of the Nashville Symphony’s mobile app, which today has been downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Nancy’s commitment to the job has been beyond compare, as she has spent countless evenings tethered to her iPad, monitoring and responding to the outpouring of feedback we receive through our social networks. Day in and day out, she has created, organized and posted dynamic content that represents the full breadth of who we are and what we do here at the Nashville Symphony — our concerts, our musicians, our education programs, you name it. We are a better institution for all of the incredible work that she has done, and she’ll be greatly missed.

In her own words: “I have enjoyed my nearly two years with the organization. Over 16,000 tweets and 2,200 Facebook posts later — totaling 204 million impressions — we have grown a great community on 11 platforms having 500+ conversations a week. I look forward to working with new clients as effectively!”
— Sr. Director of Marketing|Communications, Nashville Symphony
Nancy put together a intensive 2 day workshop for Engage Kingsport and Kingsport Cultural Arts. The workshops gave individual artists the confidence and tools they need to enter the Social Media world as well as helped regional arts organizations refine and enhance their current social media strategies.
— Bonnie Macdonald, Director, City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts
Nancy was fun and informative. As the Luncheon Keynote Speaker for the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare, Nancy provided great insight to a representation of over 20 different social service agencies. Her presentation spoke to each agency and everyone left with a more forward thinking mindset of social media and how it can be most effective and beneficial in telling their agency’s story! We loved Nancy!
— LaTamera Woodley, LAPSW