DIVERSIFY

The dual crises of COVID-19 and the unrest that swept our country, last year, put a spotlight on the high cost of racial and economic inequality. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce continues its commitment to creating a business community that includes everyone, by hosting its second Diversify Virtual Summit on June 18, highlighting diversity, equity and inclusion in the 21st century workplace. Diversify will feature breakout sessions led by industry professionals and a keynote presentation by Rick C. Wade, senior vice president of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Register Now

Keynote presentation by Rick C. Wade, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Rick C. Wade is senior vice president of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wade develops and implements programs and initiatives to help the Chamber create new business relationships and partnerships across diverse audiences. He also provides counsel on policy issues and leads special projects. His wealth of knowledge and experience in both the public and private sectors enable him to give a megaphone to the voice of business across the country and share the positive impacts of the free enterprise system. Among Wade’s many responsibilities, he is leading the Chamber’s historic Equality of Opportunity initiative aimed to develop sustainable public policy and business solutions to help close race-based opportunity gaps in education, employment, entrepreneurship, criminal justice, health and wealth.


Panel Discussion

Moderator

Dionne Jenkins - TN Valley Federal Credit Union

Our Moderator, Dionne Jenkins, is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union. In addition to her work to increase diversity and community engagement with T-V-F-C-U, she serves on many boards and commissions.

Mrs. Jenkins is a graduate of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga Inclusion by Design Executive Leadership Development Program … and Leadership Chattanooga. Her work has been written about, honored, and shared in several regional and national publications.

Panelists

Justin Groenert - Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Justin Groenert is the Vice President of Public Policy for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.  In this role, he oversees all policy development and implementation and all aspects of government affairs for the business community of Chattanooga.

A native of Evansville, IN, Justin has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a certificate in Political Communications from Western Kentucky University (2004) and a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern Indiana (2016).

O'Mally Foster- Vision Hospitality

As the vice president of talent resources and risk management, O’Mally performs an important role in identifying new talent as Vision continues to grow. He also supports company leaders as they assist their associates in maximizing their full potential.

O’Mally’s career began in 1996 as the regional training specialist and LP agent for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. From this position, he transitioned into the hospitality industry where he gained experience as an assistant general manager and a rooms manager. He later became the regional director of human resources for Noble-Interstate Management where he supported a portfolio of hotels that employed over 3000 associates.


Diversify 2020 Recap:

Trust: The D&I Sustainability Factor: 8:12 - 9 a.m.

Linda Wiley, Ph.D., Turning Point Leadership Group, LLC

Organizations low on trust find it difficult to realize and sustain results in the area of diversity and inclusion. In times of crisis and uncertainty like we are navigating now, organizational trust becomes more important than ever. This session covers the definition of trust and the role it plays in sustaining diversity and inclusion. Attendees will be challenged to examine their own level of self-trust and begin to explore the concept of relationship trust. They will identify the role they play in moving these efforts forward and learn behaviors that will help.

Download Presentation


Breakthrough: 9:15 - 10 a.m.

Jessica Stollings, ReGenerations

The coronavirus cracked many of the ways we used to do things. Now we have the opportunity to ask: What are we going to build? How can it be better? How can we do it together?

COVID-19 is changing generations. And generations are changing history. It's all part of a larger cycle that - with the right understanding - can move your workforce from breakdown to breakthrough! In this insightful and interactive session, national speaker and author Jessica Stollings-Holder will share how a generational lens can help you prepare for a thriving future.

Download Presentation


Keynote - Inclusion, Growth, and Community: Reimagining Our Economy in the Wake of Crisis: 10:15 - 11 a.m.

For the last decade, economic research has been showing that an Achilles’ heel for prosperity was inequality: regions that were more unequal, more racially segregated, and more socially fragmented were unable to maintain employment growth over time. Meanwhile, qualitative work was showing that places that were able to better wed inclusion and growth did so through community, that is, by creating sustained data-driven dialogues between diverse sectors that helped to forge a sense of a common regional destiny. What does that imply for the COVID crisis, a pandemic that has both lifted the veil on persistent inequalities and made it absolutely clear that we cannot protect ourselves if we do not seek to protect all of us? And what does that imply for recent efforts to advance racial justice, a response to the institutional and systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries? How can regional leaders help metropolitan economies to not just recover but reimagine a more prosperous, more equitable, and more sustainable future?

Download Presentation


Panel Discussion: Diversity & Inclusion in a Time of Crisis: 11:15 a.m. - 12:17 p.m.

In the past weeks, millions of people across the country have taken to the streets and raised their voices in response to the senseless violence and loss of life that continues to threaten members of the african american community, indeed our community. As well, the impacts of COVID-19 have thrown into high relief the toll that inequality has taken on those of us with diverse backgrounds. In this panel discussion, local leaders will share reflections on our community’s response, discuss the implications of this crisis for diversity and inclusion efforts, and share their ideas on how we can build a more diverse and inclusive economy as we move toward recovery.

Moderator

Dionne Jenkins - TN Valley Federal Credit Union

Our Moderator, Dionne Jenkins, is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union. In addition to her work to increase diversity and community engagement with T-V-F-C-U, she serves on many boards and commissions.

Mrs. Jenkins is a graduate of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga Inclusion by Design Executive Leadership Development Program … and Leadership Chattanooga. Her work has been written about, honored, and shared in several regional and national publications.

Panelists

Rae Bond - Hamilton County Medical Center

Rae Bond serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga and Project Access. She chairs the COVID-19 Joint Task Force created by Mayor Jim Coppinger and Mayor Andy Berke

Ron Harris – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee

Ron Harris is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. He’s responsible for cultivating a corporate culture where diversity and inclusion are aligned with the company’s corporate strategy and values. In 2019 Forbes ranked BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee the Number Three Best Employer for Diversity – not in Tennessee, BUT NATIONWIDE.

Shannon Stephenson – Cempa Community Care

Shannon Stephenson serves as C-E-O of Cempa Community Care. She serves on many healthcare and government committees, including the Mayor’s Joint COVID-19 Task Force. She also serves as President of the Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access.

Lakwesha Ewing - Unlearn Everything and Live

Lakweisha Ewing is a professional business and educational consultant with more than 18 years of experience. She holds multiple degrees in Applied Science, Psychology, Education, Organizational Leadership, Africana Studies and Sociology. She is a founding member of the Sankofa Fund for Civic Engagement, an African American giving circle which is focused on projects targeting African Americans in the Chattanooga area.