Conversation drives author and interviewer Lily Clayton Hansen. One of the basics in life is communication, and in a digital age, Lily believes we need to re-prioritize it more than ever. Oftentimes referred to as the “people whisperer,” (one who lowers other’s walls and coaxes wisdom out of them) she finds nuggets of insight that are uniquely her own. Through her interviews, Lily reminds others to keep an open mind and heart.
In 2013, Lily relocated to Nashville, Tennessee [deemed by The New York Times as the “It City”], and began compiling interviews and portrait photography for her first book Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations. Beautifully designed and printed, the 220-page softcover volume released in 2015, garnered local and regional praise, endorsements by name brands such as Madewell, yearlong partnerships with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center where she hosted a live interview series, and Vanderbilt University and the Nashville International Airport who hosted yearlong art exhibitions around her work. Lily’s book and her compelling speaking style also led to talks at arts organizations and universities across the country. Three years later, the author self-published Word of Mouth: More Conversations, featuring interviews with Nashville-based institution leaders, artisans, and activists, through her newly-formed boutique publishing house.
Soon thereafter, Lily was approached by HCA Healthcare, the largest hospital company in America, to write and produce a custom coffee table book to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The book showcases interviews and stories of team members across the board from the founder and CEO to the doctors, nurses, and janitor. The volume was enthusiastically received and said to have brought unity to HCA’s 250,000-person organization by highlighting the individuals who uphold the culture and value system every day.
In 2019, Lily’s stylized writing led to a contract with Gresham Smith, a global architecture and engineering firm, to pen 233-corporate bios for their resumes and proposals. That fall, Lily also debuted her TEDx talk, “Talking to Strangers Is My Self Care” at Tedx Nashville’s Women’s event. The talk was voted “most popular” and revealed Hansen’s secrets to connecting with any kind of person.
Since her arrival in Nashville, Lily’s empathetic nature, imagination, curiosity, and innate ability to ask challenging questions in a kind-hearted manner, has branded her as a unique and highly sought-after interviewer, author, speaker, and biographer. In a world where people often skim the surface and miss out on so much, Lily digs deep into her subjects to portray them as their most beautiful, authentic selves.
Hansen has also written hundreds of articles for the following publications: The Nashville Edit, Luxe Interiors + Design, Time Out Chicago, Nashville Lifestyles, Nashville Arts Magazine, and CS, CS Interiors and Men’s Book, all under the Modern Luxury umbrella.
Lily recently completed a project for Alliance Bernstein, a high-profile investment management firm, writing and finessing 350 employee bios for their website.
Photo By: Leea Gorell