NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 18, 2018 – The Southwestern Family of Companies, one of Tennessee’s oldest and largest private corporations, announces two appointments within its senior leadership team, signaling the company’s continued commitment to growth in the sales and marketing industry.
Beginning July 1, the below executive appointments will be effective:
- Dustin Hillis promoted to Chief Executive Officer of The Southwestern Family of Companies, taking over from Henry Bedford, who has held the position since 2006. Bedford, who in 2017 was voted by his peers as one of Nashville’s Most Admired CEOs, will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of the corporation and CEO of Wildtree, a party planning direct selling company within The Southwestern Family of Companies.
- Aaron Lynn appointed to President of Great American Opportunities, The Southwestern Family of Companies school fund-raising company.
Dustin Hillis will take on the role of CEO of The Southwestern Family of Companies and remain in his position as the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting and head of the Southwestern Coaching Business. Southwestern Consulting is a global coaching and consulting company focused on elevating the practice and perception of sales to help clients increase their revenues. The company has five year compounded growth of 61% and will generate $20 million in revenue this year. Dustin’s career began while he was a student at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. As a junior, Hillis is currently the all-time sales record holder at the 163-year-old Southwestern Advantage, making a profit of more than $100,000 in just 14 weeks through selling educational products to families and pioneering a new referral method. He is also one of the top personal producers and team leaders at Southwestern Consulting.
Hillis is the author of the book Navigate 2.0: Selling the Way People Like to Buy, co-authored with Steve Reiner, author of Navigate, creator of Navigate: How to Create a Referral System audio training series, co-author of Speaking of Success (along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield). His newest book Redefining Possible: A 10-Step Guide to Killing Complacency, Breaking Belief Barriers, and Creating a New Normal, co-authored with Ron Alford, will be released this year. Additionally, his insights on professional selling have been featured on some of the biggest podcasts in the world and in media outlets like Entrepreneur magazine and the Dave Ramsey radio show.
“Dustin Hillis is a man of vision and a student of the game. In the years I have worked closely with Dustin, I have watched him develop business acumen and leadership skills that equip him well for the position of CEO. He is a practitioner of the Southwestern Principles that we are well known for, and he always leads by example. I am looking forward to supporting Dustin as he takes the reins and leads us toward our 30-year vision to become the largest private company worldwide,” says Bedford.
Hillis’ first act as CEO is to promote Aaron Lynn to President of Great American Opportunities. Aaron Lynn will focus his efforts on talent recruitment, company sales growth, management of a 300+ sales team and further building Great American’s culture.
Since joining Great American in 2011, Lynn has proven to be a rising star with becoming the youngest $1 million producer in the history of the company and the top sales rep two years in a row. Lynn also lead his team in growing their personal sales by over 50 percent this past year.
“With his grandfather, Ralph Lynn, being one of the founders of the fundraising industry, you could say that fundraising is part of Aaron’s DNA,” added Bedford. “Aaron is an exceptional leader and has contributed to the success of our company through his ability to recruit exceptional sales people, effectively manage top producing teams and drive significant results for his customers. We look forward to his continued success in his new role.”
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The Southwestern Family of Companies is made up of 16 companies in industries that includes: Great American – the largest school fundraising business worldwide, who has raised over $5.5B for schools; Southwestern Investments – the number one Raymond James Financial Planning firm worldwide, with over $3B in assets under management; Southwestern Advantage – the oldest direct sales business in the US; Southwestern Tax Services; Southwestern Real Estate; Thinking Ahead – Middle Tennessee’s number one executive search firm; Southwestern Publishing; Wildtree – one of the fastest growing party planning businesses in America – selling organic food, meal replacement shakes and spices; Southwestern Travel; Global Educational Concepts – visa sponsorship business; Southwestern Insurance – property and casualty insurance; Southwestern Consulting & SBR – speaking, coaching, and consulting. For more information about The Southwestern Family of Companies: www.southwestern.com