Category Archives: Southern Culture

Living and Working in the US Southeast

The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). 

The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.

Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.

Continue reading The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

2017 Goals: Chattanooga – by Deborah Levine

A year ago, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on a survey commissioned by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce that focused on the job and industry growth in the Chattanooga area. “A new study suggests that job growth in Hamilton County — already the second highest among Tennessee’s counties in the past five years — will grow nearly four times faster in the next five years. The analysis of local job listings and business announcements estimates that Hamilton County will add 13,500 jobs from 2015 to 2020, up from the 3,573 jobs added in the county during the previous five years.” Continue reading 2017 Goals: Chattanooga – by Deborah Levine

My Contra-cultural Marriage and Religious Chaos — by Micki Pelusi

It’s 1959. I’m a Southern religious teenage girl raised on the fire and brimstone of the Baptist Church. My boyfriend is a second generation Italian Catholic. My mother, recently divorced from my step-father, transforms from a “Betty Crocker’ housewife into a bird set free from a gilded cage.  This turn of events leads to her elopement with one of her many men friends to Elkton, Maryland. Butch and I go along as witnesses. After spending the night in her Buick at the A&P parking lot, waiting for the courthouse to open, we finally walk out of the wide court doors—married—all four of us. Mom and Sal drive off to Florida, I move in with a girlfriend and Butch goes back to his home, as if nothing stupendous happened.

Continue reading My Contra-cultural Marriage and Religious Chaos — by Micki Pelusi

Expats and their Families: Chattanooga Style – by Deborah Levine

The attendees at the International Business Council (IBC) of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce were a diverse mix of nationalities, professions, expats, and industries. The annual meeting of the IBC, the Chamber’s newest council, attracted students, family members, colleagues, and executives. The diverse crowd illustrated the broad participation in Chattanooga’s national and international booming growth. (Photo by Suzanne Ocsai)

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DIVERSIFY in Chattanooga – by Deborah Levine

Jean-Marie Lawrence with Valoria Armstrong
(Photo: Adrian J. Edwards/Chattanooga News Chronicle)

For the third year, the Chattanooga area Chamber of Commerce hosted its Diversify marketplace, showcasing the area’s growing number of diverse vendors and connecting businesses of all sizes. The luncheon and its speaker are highlights of the event, coordinated by the Chamber’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Maria Noel. This year’s speaker was Valoria Armstrong, the first African American and female president of Tennessee American Water. Hundreds of civic leaders packed the banquet hall, enjoying the food and some networking time as they waited for the speaker.

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Economic Trends: A Dialogue with the Fed – by Deborah Levine

The Federal Reserve and Chattanooga Discuss National & Global Economic Trends

A Federal Reserve Director of Regional Economic Information Network, Galina Alexeenko, recently spoke at the International Business Council (IBC) of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.  Alexeenko is an international economist, headquartered in the Fed’s Atlanta office and connected to its five branches in the Southeast region. She participated in an interactive discussion with fellow international economist Anton Demenchuk, president of the IBC. The meeting was supported by the Office of International Programs and the College of Business /University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and sponsored by AIM/Career Link. Alexeenko shared her personal perspective on a wide range of fiscal and economic topics with the audience of educators, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders.

Continue reading Economic Trends: A Dialogue with the Fed – by Deborah Levine

Women GroundBreakers: Stories of Immigrants – by Deborah Levine

Chattanooga’s 2016 women GroundBreakers Storytelling Series began with a session on immigrants. Introduced by entrepreneur Denise Reed, three women who immigrated to the US and Chattanooga shared their stories, followed by Dr. Lisa Clark Diller, Chair of History & Political Studies/ Southern Adventist University.
Diller explained, “Historians collect stories over time and then try to draw conclusions about them, so I hope to make some general observations here about women and immigration in Chattanooga—which are set in the larger U.S. historical context.”

Continue reading Women GroundBreakers: Stories of Immigrants – by Deborah Levine

Tap Dancing with Donna – by Terry Howard

I went 12 rounds with Donna, a “bout” that started eleven months ago when I settled into Douglasville, Georgia. You see, Donna, a full-size middle age white woman, and me, a full-bellied middle age black man, first came into contact with each other in the convenient store a mile from my house, a tiny place reminiscent of the bucolic town of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith Show. This is the place I stop by early mornings for coffee and a newspaper. Donna works there.

Continue reading Tap Dancing with Donna – by Terry Howard

Making the Chattanooga-German Connection – by Deborah Levine

Tennessee is home to hundreds of international companies worth billions of dollars. Chattanooga, the smallest of Tennessee’s four major cities, is the site of the only Volkswagen plant in the United States. VW is not the only German company in our area, but its arrival a half dozen years ago  made cultural competence a high priority. German companies orient their executives to Southern culture, energizing Chattanooga’s globalization and investment in cross-cultural training.

Continue reading Making the Chattanooga-German Connection – by Deborah Levine

Global Leadership: Southern Women Lean In – by Deborah Levine

Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women GroundBreakers is a Think Tank of diverse faith, community, youth, and business leaders. The women meet monthly to discuss trends and strategies for making a difference. As part of the international Lean In movement, their Think Tank discussions are published locally and globally. Be inspired by their Words of Wisdom on October’s topic: Global Leadership. First, check out their strategies for building a global mindset.

4 Top Strategies for Building a Global Mindset

1. Be Aware

  • Acknowledge your biases.
  • Be open to the ideas of others.
  • Know yourself and be authentic.

2. Be Educated

  • Learn about issues on a global level, not just locally or nationally.
  • Know the customs of other countries and religions.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Continue your education. You can’t speak out on something you don’t understand.
  • Research how other women developed into global leaders.

3. Communicate across Cultures

  • Consolidate your ideas into a format that is easily shared with others.
  • Listen and understand life from a person who is not like you.
  • Respect the customs of different countries and religions when you speak your mind.

4. Put your Ideas into Action

  • Decide how you want to make a difference.
  • List and then prioritize the paths you want to take.
  • Contact the community leaders working in your areas of interest.
  • Pursue your mission and encourage others to pursue their dreams.

Groundbreakers’ Words of Wisdom

Carrie DiMemmo, nonprofit and development professional
“Global leaders did not wake up one day and decide to lead on a global scale. They started doing small things within their local communities and built on that. They may have a global vision, but they always have a local start. You can’t change the world without changing yourself first.”

Tina Player, Event Planner
“We should recognize who we are and the purpose of our existence. Never be classified or placed in a specific box. Create your own box with a unique size, color, and bow. It’s most important to know who you are and WHY!

Denise Reed, Chief Business Connector at The Concierge Office Suites
“Share your life experience and business experience so other can see the opportunities in front of them and make a positive difference.”

Brenda Freeman Short, Lawyer, teacher, and political leader
“Global leadership requires the recognition of all human beings as valuable citizens of this plant, However, caring for others does not necessarily mean acceptance of another’s lifestyle. Leadership can agree to disagree.”

Laura Hessler, Owner of The HR Shop
“Everyone has a story and a part of leadership is understanding the solicitation, verbalization, and promotions of those stories that in turn can inspire others to act.”

Cathryn Cohen, Retired attorney and county library executive director
“Remember that women, whether by birth or by choice, are entitled to everything men have always had.”

Ardena Garth, Attorney and former public defender
“Fear keeps me from getting to know and understand what is going on in the world around me. Caring about others is a start to develop global leaders. Knowledge will help combat that fear.”

Leanne Baron, Consultant
“If we can come together in our local communities and identify the top issues and then make a plan to work together, we can can make a difference which can spread to the national global level. We’ve been good at coming up with ideas, but need to be better at putting those ideas into action and bringing about change.”

ASPIRE & INSPIRE!