Part of the Ongoing WBENC Community Impact Initiative Announced with the 2023 National Conference

It’s approaching the end of another powerful year for the WBENC network – a year of continuing to build MOMENTUM and beginning to look ahead to 2024 and how we can AMPLIFY the amazing work even further.

Of course, it’s also the perfect time to reflect and have gratitude for everything we experienced in 2023 – wonderful, challenging, difficult, and everything in between. We all have the great fortune to be involved in advocating for the growth of women-owned businesses and supporting diversity and community efforts nationwide.

Throughout 2023, WBENC had the immense privilege of supporting our Community Impact Initiative by rallying the WBENC network to support children’s hospitals in Tennessee by contributing Nerdbugs educational and cuddly organ plushies as well as donations. The WBENC network stepped up to help WBENC contribute 1,000 Nerdbugs and $10,000 each to the Monroe B. Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN, and to Niswonger Children’s Hospital – Ballad Health, in Johnson City, TN. Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Ballad Health/Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

We have to give immense thanks especially to Ann Ramakumaran, CEO of Ampcus and WBENC Board Member, for her generous contribution that pushed the initiative over the top for this first wave of Nerdbugs distribution. Thank you for everything you do, Ann! We are inspired by you every day.

THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this initiative.

Helping kids feel seen and giving love and cuddles through these lovable plushy organs is one small way that everyone in the WBENC network that contributed to our 2023 Community Impact Initiative has given to these amazing families.

Heartwarming, Fun and Inspirational Children’s Hospital Contribution Events

This fall, WBENC hit the road back to Tennessee to deliver cheer and inspiration – not fully realizing that we would be the ones incredibly inspired by the children, families and hospital staff.

First stop was the Seacrest Studios at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital where Jill Sasso, WBENC Chief Operations Officer, and Dr. Ronak, were welcomed with great cheer and the message that hospital child life staff had already come running down to where the Nerdbugs were delivered to snag their Nerdbug plushie organs.

We heard “I’m here for my brains” – something we certainly had never heard before!

Seacrest Studios have 13 broadcast media centers in pediatric hospitals for patients to explore the creative realms of Radio, Television and New Media, that aid in the healing process for children and their families during their stay. Seacrest Studios provide a variety of programming to the patients in the hospitals, whether they are physically in studio or watching through a closed-circuit network from their in-room TV screen.

Surrounded by children and their caregivers, Jill and Dr. Ronak called the bingo numbers and celebrated as everyone in the studio and in their patient rooms won bingo. Even the children who couldn’t leave their rooms right now played along and called in to share their BINGO! Then their caregivers came to the studios to collect their prize – a Nerdbug of their choice!

As Jill Sasso shared,

“What we do at WBENC is reward enough but this experience has been one of the best of my career.”

On the Road to Niswonger Children’s Hospital – Ballad Health

Next our cheerful crew hit the road across Tennessee to Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, TN, and were joined by our own WBENC President & CEO Pamela Prince-Eason.

Our Community Impact Initiative crew thought that the bingo at Seacrest Studios couldn’t be matched – but we were very wrong!

Our visit to Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Ballad Health was nothing short of inspiring. The Children’s hospital for the entire region of this part of Tennessee and the Children’s Miracle Network regional partner, Niswonger Children’s is an incredible oasis for children and families to receive top quality treatment with a commitment to making their experience one that is the least scary as possible through their Child Life program.

Filled with bright colors, natural light, outside spaces for playing and fresh air and sunshine, Children’s art, and much more, we know that the WBENC network donation and Nerdbugs will be well used and fit right in.

On to 2024!

More cheer is to come with the Nerdbugs and how the WBENC network contributed to the Nerdbugs contribution to children’s hospitals. If you have a connection to a children’s hospital in the U.S. that you think would like to receive Nerdbugs, please reach out to Erin Watson at We can’t wait to spread more Nerdbug and WBENC cheer!

And THANK YOU AGAIN to our entire WBENC network for your generous contributions to this year’s WBENC Community Impact Initiative.