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Business managers help clients make smart investments and build and retain wealth. They can also make a big difference in the lives of others with their charitable work and causes.

But even among business managers, some are true standouts in the philanthropic arena. One such individual is Mary Ann McCready, co-founder of Nashville-based business management firm Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy. That’s why Variety is honoring her with its Business Manager Elite Award for 2018. She is the first woman, and the first business manager from outside Los Angeles or New York, to receive the recognition.

The invitation-only breakfast, presented by City National Bank, will take place Oct. 26 at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Now in its eighth year, the prize goes to a business manager whose positive impact extends beyond her clients and reaches out to the world of philanthropy.

McCready, who has lived in Nashville since graduating cum laude from Vanderbilt University, began her career at CBS Records Nashville, where she became the first woman VP of sales and marketing at a major record label. Returning to school, she received her CFP certification from the College of Financial Planning in Denver, and in 1989 she introduced Chuck Flood and Frank Bumstead to each other, which led to the formation of the company in 1990.

Today, the powerhouse Nashville business and financial management firm represents top names in the entertainment field — “and not just country stars,” McCready says. “We have a lot of rock, pop and hip-hop artists, as more and more are moving here from L.A. and New York. So it’s an impressive roster of artists across all genres, and business is very good.”

Although McCready and her partners recently stepped back from the day-to-day running of the company, leaving that to longtime employees Julie Boos, Jamie Cheek, Duane Clark, Carmen Romano and Trey Dunaway, “We’re still full-tilt business managers,” she says. “We just decided 20 years ago to make a succession plan, and not have the company live or die on our life spans. So we’ve nurtured talent in-house, and it’s worked out great. It’s also very unusual, and I can’t think of another firm that’s done this.”

Well-known for her charitable work and ability to raise money for various deserving and needy causes, McCready has been a strong supporter of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where she has been a longtime trustee, finance committee member, and the investment committee chairman, since 2008.

“That’s a passion of mine, as it’s all about the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music,” she says. “The museum offers free music education programs, and in 2016 the Hall of Fame also started a program to use leftover food from all the events, and since then it’s donated over 63 tons of food, and also provided to city rescue missions.”

She is also a tireless proponent of the W.O. Smith Music School, which serves underprivileged children. “My late husband, Roy, and I have supported it for over 20 years, and the kids are given music lessons by a professional musician for just 50¢ a lesson. We fell in love with the school years ago when we attended a concert where this young female cellist had gotten a scholarship to Oberlin, but she didn’t have a cello, and immediately Roy said he’d buy one for her. And Kelly Clarkson and I visited the school when she did a fund-raiser, and the kids are all so cool. It’s such a great cause.”

McCready has also been a fierce advocate for Nashville and the music industry, and was the first co-chair and is a current member of the Music City Music Council.

“When I first moved here, the music industry and the rest of the city did not mix,” she recalls. “But now, 10 years after the then-mayor and I started the council, it’s done so much, including organizing low-income housing for aspiring songwriters, and a joint venture with the local Entrepreneur Center. And today, the music industry and the city embrace each other, which is so gratifying. I can check that box.”

And that’s only one box in McCready’s list of charitable achievements that have made a difference for her city and for the world of music that it embodies.