GNVCA hires eminent association leader as inaugural executive director

Judith Byrd announcement

The acting board of the Greater Nashville Venture Capital Association is excited to announce Judith Byrd as the inaugural executive director of the new member association effective April 8. 

Byrd is a seasoned executive with experience in business, government, trade association, health policy and journalism. Most recently, she was director of Community and Government Relations for Ardent Health Services.

“It is a privilege to serve the industry in this role. We have a lot of work to do to build and create value for the venture capital community in support of a shared vision to further economic growth in innovation in Middle Tennessee,” said Byrd.

The GNVCA is initially funded through a seed grant from Vanderbilt University while a board is established, an executive director is hired, and membership increases. In the next three years, the GNVCA is to become a self-sufficient, member-governed organization working closely with the regional venture community and local and state officials to help strengthen the entrepreneurial and investment communities in the greater Nashville region.

“The board is delighted to welcome Judith to this role and is confident about the success of the GNVCA under her leadership,” said Board Chairman Bruce Evans. “Judith will help grow this critical piece of our innovation ecosystem across all industry sectors in the region.”

Previously, Byrd was the executive director for Healthcare for Waller, Lansden, Dortch and Davis (now Holland & Knight) and served as senior policy advisor for health care for former Nashville Mayor David Briley.

At the Nashville Health Care Council, she served in multiple roles including executive director of the Council Fellows initiative, a program to engage senior industry leaders to explore new health care business strategies, and executive director of Leadership Health Care, a program to foster the next generation of health care leaders.

In her early career, Byrd was an account executive with Hall Strategies, a Nashville-based public affairs and government relations firm and was Tennessee communication director for the American Cancer Society. 

Byrd also served as legislative director for a Massachusetts state senator, and a health policy associate for the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Health Reform. She began her career in journalism and was editor for a trade publication covering Congress, the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court as well as news desk editor with the Press Association in London, England.

The GNVCA will occupy office space at 2100 West End Avenue beginning in May. A search is being conducted to hire a staff member to support the organization’s operations. It is anticipated that several internships opportunities will be available for students in the area.

The Greater Nashville Venture Capital Association (GNVCA) was formed in late 2023. It is a membership organization to be comprised of investors from pre-seed to growth equity (venture capital, angel investors, private offices, and corporate venture partners) in the greater Nashville region, working to make Middle Tennessee a premier area to launch, grow, and invest in companies. Its purpose is to increase the availability of capital and talent that is available to venture capital and angel investors in the region, so that our most innovative entrepreneurs can build successful companies that create jobs and economic growth for the region.