Life's a party with a purpose
If you've been in recent years to a gay event with music and entertainment in Nashville, you've probably encountered some of the work of Christy Ikner and Jenn Garrett.
Business women with a knack for throwing a good shindig, the women have made time to volunteer their creative prowess to the success of events for the Human Rights Campaign, Nashville Pride and various other community groups.
Garrett is the owner and founder of Solve, LLC, a marketing and management company on Church Street, and Ikner is responsible for creating a line clothes for lesbians called Packers & Poodles, thus coining the phrase describing masculine/feminine lesbian relationships.
Ikner (packer) and Garrett (poodle) have been together since 2001 with rarely a dull moment.
"We share a sense of humor and don't take ourselves to seriously even though we take our work and family very seriously," Ikner said. "That goes a long way in the middle of anything bad that's going on."
Outside the rigors of running a business and doting on their 11-year-old son, the women make time for volunteerism.
They each serve on the board of Nashville Pride and on the HRC Steering Committee helping to plan big fundraising events for both groups.
Since 2007, Ikner has directed "Riveter Rock" a concert which she created for women benefiting HRC and Nashville Pride and, just for fun, last year they helped start a GLBT kickball team called Toolbelts & Tiaras and competed against other Nashville teams.
"We weren't very good, but it was fun," Ikner said. "Sometimes you just need to have fun."
Their volunteer work stems back to the early days of O&AN when Ikner began writing a recurring comedic social column which she later turned into a self-published book titled "Packers & Poodles." Garrett helped get the paper to its feet when she volunteered as circulation director.
Ikner attributes their ability to juggle volunteer work, business and family to Garrett's magical time management skills and said they will continue to donate their time to worthy causes - so long as they still have time for their 'Wine and Hot tub' Sundays.
"Everything we do we believe is important so we find the time to make it work," Ikner said. "If we're going to spend time on something it has to matter to us."