About Our Family

Established in Nashville in 1855, Southwestern Family of Companies is one of the largest and oldest private corporations in Tennessee comprised of member companies across a range of industries, all with the shared goals of building people and positively impacting communities worldwide.

Our Mission

Since 1855, Southwestern Family of Companies has invested in purpose-driven people who are inspired to build principle-guided businesses that impact the world.


Our History

Established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1855, Southwestern Family of Companies is a diversified, growing, international, and employee-owned company built on a foundation of principles and purpose. Comprised of companies with a shared mission of building people and helping others, Southwestern Family of Companies provides a large range of products and services, including educational books and websites, school fundraising efforts, healthy meal solutions, luxury travel packages, financial advising, consulting services, sales and leadership coaching and more. In its early days, Southwestern Family of Companies had one focus: publishing and selling first Bibles and then educational books door-to-door. In the aftermath of the Civil War, door-to-door book sales provided an opportunity for young people to earn money to pay for a college education. Today, the business—now known as Southwestern Advantage—remains the company’s core business entity, with college-aged entrepreneurs  around the world promoting educational study systems that combine the best features of print and online media. Southwestern Family of Companies has expanded beyond Southwestern Publishing House and Southwestern Advantage to include member companies across a range of industries and continues to grow each year.

Our Heritage

Discover More Than 160 Years of History

  1. Southwestern Founded

    Established as Southwestern Publishing House

  2. American Civil War begins

  3. Southwestern Advantage Begins

    The Southwestern Advantage summer sales and leadership program starts

  4. Southwestern Acquired

    Times Mirror Company acquires Southwestern Family of Companies

  5. New SW President

    Spencer Hays becomes president of Southwestern Family of Companies

  6. GAO Founded

    Great American Opportunities (formerly Nashville Educational Marketing Services) established

  7. SW Goes 100% Employee Owned

    Southwestern Family of Companies buys itself back from Times Mirror Company and becomes 100 percent employee owned

  8. SW Joins the Inc. 5000

    Southwestern Family of Companies earns position on Inc. 5000

  9. New SW Family CEO

    Dustin Hillis becomes the new leader of the Southwestern Family of Companies

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