TechIntoNashville: Cynthia Coker – N2M Advisory

N2M Advisory (N2M) is a management consulting, and IT advisory firm. It relocated from Atlanta to Franklin, Tennessee in March 2020. 

Founder and CEO of N2M Cynthia Coker brought her company to Nashville for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Originally from Alabama, Cynthia had previously spent some time in Nashville, and she already knew that she liked the area. 

Of course, Cynthia loved Atlanta. However, based on her assessment, Nashville’s growth as a tech capital positions her company in a better spot than it would be if she had stayed in Atlanta. 

Cynthia says, “I really do think that Nashville is becoming a tech hub. And then—because of the entrepreneurial spirit and the community support here—I think that there’s just a lot of emphasis on helping to support companies in the Nashville area.”

Cynthia’s background is in healthtech. In addition, she previously owned a separate IT enterprise consulting firm at the time that N2M was founded. Her work took her to the tech startup sector of Silicon Valley.

“I was contacted by some peers in that area… who wanted me to help vet, launch, and turnaround healthcare startups,” Cynthia recalls. 

This was the start of N2M, which is a stylized acronym for “new to market.” N2M was working with a line of venture capital firms, healthcare tech incubators, and independent entrepreneurs to bring startups to growth.  

Cynthia’s work caught the attention of Healthcare IT News, which wrote an article about her. This article put N2M on the radar of many big players. 

She says, “Overnight, we went from focusing mainly in the early startup phase and incubation period to working with global pharmaceuticals, and medical device manufacturers, and other companies helping them to license and acquire innovative technologies in the company.” This opened a door for N2M to get into mergers and acquisitions.

N2M did that work for a number of years. In time, because of its growth, the company changed into a cross-industry enterprise, advisory and consulting firm.

“We do a lot of work in private equity now from an IT advisory perspective. And then we do cross-industry work from an enterprise IT perspective,” Cynthia explains.

N2M’s portfolio of services is used by Fortune 50, mid-market government, and healthcare clients, helping them to modernize their IT systems, migrate to the cloud, implement ERP systems, advisory services, and digital transformation.

Cynthia observes that some clients aren’t as forward-thinking as others. This could be because the industry that they’re in doesn’t encourage it. Other companies that deal with industry-specific problems—including data privacy—have to be more cautious when, say, considering cloud technologies.

Paying attention to market needs, N2M has benefited from steady growth. For example, 2018 was a year marked with development for N2M. This was shortly after N2M launched its private equity practice.  

“We saw a big growth in the need for tech and cyber due diligence, [mergers and acquisitions] and the digital optimization of portfolio companies and private equity,” Cynthia says. She continues, noting that N2M works with a number of private equity firms across the globe, providing various services to them.

At the same time that the demand for private equity practice services began to boom, N2M earned several business certifications. This process included WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) certification, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business) certification, and by the State of Tennessee via the  Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise (Go-DBE) certification. 

Cynthia says these certifications were instrumental in helping N2M to grow its business. 

Giving Back to Move Women Forward

Without doubt, the technology industry is becoming more diverse. N2M’s focus on certifications in diversity represent more than just helping women or minority-owned businesses. For Cynthia, diversity is about point of view. Representing diversity helps businesses consider different perspectives that are directly relevant to the work being done. 

Cynthia explains, “What diversity brings is that diverse skill set, that diverse thought… It’s not just going out and supporting women in IT, or diverse firms in IT. I think it brings a full circle of expertise and thought to the table. And that’s the same thing with board positions as well is diversity of thought, [it’s] not just having a diverse person on board. It brings a different viewpoint, a different skill set, a different way of handling things. Different experiences are really important for companies these days.” 

Cynthia’s position as a successful woman in technology causes her to feel gratitude. She understands that less than 29 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, and that many women don’t advance to C-level positions.

In response to this ugly fact, N2M launched a program to advance careers and business ownership for women in technology. This program is meant to create a network for professional women in IT. 

N2M will be working with companies and private equity firms in 2022 to ensure that qualified female candidates throughout the U.S. get board positions and executive roles.

 “And I think that’s one of the biggest issues for women in technology,” Cynthia says. “And in general, [it] is [true] that men have a bigger network to get coaching, to get opportunities, to get funding, to get board positions. So it’s the lack of the network.”

Cynthia says that this work will complement the diversity work that’s been done in Middle Tennessee for years with companies like Accenture and Deloitte. 
For further information about N2M Advisory, be sure to visit its website and social media.

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