Dare to Dream: Christian Cardwell's Journey

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People who succeed in a career at Oryx Nashville often have certain characteristics in common. They may be described as competitive, resilient, hardworking, friendly, or driven. We are fortunate to work with an individual who encompasses all of these traits: Christian Cardwell.
Born in Knoxville and raised in Nashville, Christian is a proud Tennessee native. He grew  up in Brentwood as the son of two teachers, so as you can imagine, academia was very important in his household. As a kid, Christian struggled with hearing loss, asthma, and being allergic to just about every nut you can think of, and then some. A sports lover at heart, he was disappointed when doctors told him to stay away from outside sports due to his asthma.
Though Christian recognized that his asthma was would hinder his athletic ability, he wasn’t the type of guy to just call it quits. He was determined to be an athlete, so he tried out for almost every sport that his middle school offered. He made none of the teams.
Ok, we promise this story gets brighter! Growing 6 inches in height over the summer going into his 9th grade year, this 6 foot 4 inch freshman was now wanted by all the coaches. Christian was ready to show them what he could do, so he joined the football, basketball, and track teams. While he enjoyed playing most sports, football was his main focus.
Christian dreamed of playing football in college, but where there are dreams, there are doubters. Many people told him that it would be extremely difficult to make a college football team, but again, being told “No” is Christian’s biggest motivator. Finishing high school as #35 in the entire state for football, he was offered to play at Tennessee Tech, a division one school. Christian played as an offensive lineman for 2 seasons, and during his time there, the team was awarded a championship ring!
Due to medical reasons, Christian was forced to take time off from school, so he began working full time at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He wasn’t too sure about what he do career-wise, but one thing stuck out to him while working at Dick’s: he really enjoyed interacting with customers face-to-face. Christian recalls going up to people who were looking to buy a basketball goal and wanting to persuade them to get one – a skill that he would later find crucial in his career.
After some time off from school, Bethel University, a small Presbyterian school in McKenzie, TN, offered Christian a large sum of money to play football for them. Going from a large school to a small school of only 1,200 students would be an adjustment, but Christian decided to accept the offer and try something new. He enjoyed the more intimate feel of the smaller college, where he networked and socialized frequently with other students.
One day during a networking event, a fellow classmate approached Christian with an idea to start a new fraternity. Christian thought, “Why not?” and said, “Let’s do it!” As the Rush Chairman, he helped the fraternity grow from 14 to 35 people in just 8 months! (That’s even more incredible when you consider the fact that there are only 1,200 students in the school) They were soon given a chapter, and so became Bethel University’s newest fraternity, Kappa Sigma. The following year, Christian served as Kappa Sigma’s president after being the first person in the chapter to be voted into presidency. He proudly served his brothers as they gained 22 new pledges that year!
Though Christian had a great time founding the fraternity, he wanted to focus on his long-term plan. He knew gaining business experience would be most valuable asset in whichever career path he chose, so he started looking for opportunities in Nashville. Christian’s now fiancé, Anna, was offered an interview with Oryx Nashville, and though the position didn’t align with her career goals, she knew someone the position would be perfect for: Christian. He remembers her coming back from the interview saying, “Oh my gosh, Christian – I just interviewed at a company that would perfect for you!”
Anna was right. Christian walked into the atmosphere at Oryx Nashville and noticed the bright, lively feel right away. After his interview with our Director of Operations, Michael, he knew that wanted to be a part of Oryx Nashville’s “work hard, play hard” environment.
Christian was invited back for a second interview that happened to be on the same day as the Tennessee vs. Georgia football game. Remembering how much Georgia fan memorabilia Michael had in his office, Christian thought it would be funny to dress in Tennessee colors from head to toe. When he told his mom of his dress attire plan, she answered, “Wait, I thought you wanted the job?” Luckily, Michael has a great sense of humor, or we might not be writing this post at all!
Christian saw what a typical day working at Oryx Nashville looked like during his second interview and thought to himself, “Oh, I can do this no problem!” Later that evening, Michael called Christian (during the game) and offered him the position. Christian accepted because he knew he could make good money and have the opportunity to run his own business. He was all in.
Outside of work, Christian enjoys watching/playing football and spending time with Anna. His business mentors are Michael and Vianca, our management team, as they are type of leaders he strives to be. Christian’s career goals are to become an Assistant Manager within the next month and open his own company, Pacifico Marketing Firm, next year! Oryx Nashville feels incredibly fortunate to have an individual like Christian on its team – a dedicated, passionate leader who dares you to tell him “No.”


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