Friends take jabs at Cowden for libraries

Kimberly Jordan • Mar 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM

The 26th annual Library Roast was a huge success with more than 200 in attendance to hear friends and family take aim at Custom Packaging CEO Jackie Cowden.


The recently retired CEO was “roasted” by Sam Hatcher, Cumberland University president Paul Stumb, Cathy Sweeney and her two sons, Chase and Weston Cowden. Although listed as a roaster, CedarStone Bank president Bob McDonald took a different approach. He told the crowd, “I cannot roast Jackie. I just can’t do it.”


So instead, McDonald told of some of his favorite qualities in Cowden.

“Details, details, details. In the 20 years that I’ve called her office, the person answering the phone says ‘thank you for calling; how may I help you?’ and I’d say ‘hi this is Bob McDonald is Jackie available?’ ‘Yes sir, Mr. McDonald thank you for calling just a moment please.’ And I’d say ‘thank you.’ And for 20 years the response has been, not you’re welcome or no problem or just a minute. It’s always been ‘my pleasure.’ Details.”


Cowden had to endure a little more ribbing from others.

Sam Hatcher entertained both Cowden and the audience by taking the stage as presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“[Cowden] once told me that she told Sam Hatcher if there was a donkey on the ticket he’d vote for it,” said the masked Hatcher.

“I had the opportunity to park my big airplane underneath Nashville airport and drive up here in my motorcade. As I was coming up I-40, I recognized exactly what Jackie meant when she told me this. Those people down there in Mt. Juliet, they’re taking over this place. They’re taking votes away from you. They’re taking your sales tax dollars away from you.

“They’re taking over. Those people are dangerous. I told Jackie that if you’ll elect me president of the United States, I’m going to build a wall between Lebanon and Mt. Juliet, and I’m going to make Mt. Juliet pay for it.”

Longtime friend Sweeney also had some nice things to say about Cowden on Tuesday night. Sweeney used to collaborate with Cowden while working for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, and said she asked Cowden one day about working for her at Custom Packaging. Cowden replied that “she was hard to work for, and we wouldn’t be friends,” according to Sweeney.

“One day I was in Custom Packaging, and all the women in the office were in the lobby, and I said, ‘just curious, what’s Jackie like to work for?’ And they said, ‘oh Jackie’s wonderful, she’s great to work for – when she’s in Florida.’”

Sweeney also relayed a little-known fact that came from the pair’s shared hairdresser.

“Teresa, our hairdresser said ‘Every time Jackie Cowden comes in here she says, ‘make me trailer-trash blonde,’” said Sweeney. “And you can see she does.”

As is tradition with the Library Roast, Cowden got to have the “last word” of the night.

Cowden saved a special remark for Hatcher in her closing speech.

“By the way, Sam, you like this Hilary Clinton jacket? I’ve had it a lot longer than when she started wearing it.”

And as several roasters referenced Cowden’s love of wine, she took it in stride, saying, “My AA friends [are here tonight], now I must clear that up, I’ve never been to an AA meeting. They drink all that coffee and talk all that smack.”

Lebanon Public Library director Alesia Burnley said the evening garnered around $9,000 to benefit the Wilson County Library system. Funds will be used to buy computers, shelving and other needs not covered by the library budget, as well as for matching grants.

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