Diversify 2020 Recap:

The dual crises of COVID-19 and the unrest that has swept our country has put a spotlight on the high cost of racial and economic inequality. It’s time for all of us to start listening to one another. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce hosted its first Diversify Virtual Summit highlighting diversity, inclusion and the 21st century workplace. Diversify featured breakout sessions led by industry professionals and the keynote presentation by Pastor.

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.


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.


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.

DIVERSIFY Summit: Continuing the Conversation on the Southside

The Southside Council is continuing the conversation that started at the Chamber of Commerce's DIVERSIFY 2020 VIRTUAL SUMMIT. Featuring guest host, Darian Scott, Director of Talent & Economic Inclusion. Guest panelist include: Dionne R Jenkins of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Debra Socia of The Enterprise Center, and James McKissic of Arts Build.