Category Archives: Southern Culture

Living and Working in the US Southeast

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 made cultural competence a high priority. German companies orient their executives to Southern culture, energizing Chattanooga’s globalization and investment in cross-cultural training.

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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 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!

Tennessee’s First African-American Female Public Defender: Ardena Garth — by Deborah Levine

Ardena Garth Hicks was the first African American female public defender in Tennessee’s Hamilton County. When the State of Tennessee created the office of public defenders 18 years ago, it was an appointed position by the Governor. Ardena was the only applicant with both defense and prosecutorial experience. Of the 27 initially appointed public defenders, only two were black females.

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Globalization in Chattanooga – by Deborah Levine

The transformation of the South by international industry has picked up speed. In 1974, there were only 19 foreign-owned manufacturers in Tennessee. They were valued at $649 million. In 1995, the state had 400 foreign-owned firms with a value of $15 billion. By 2013, the number of foreign-owned firms had more than doubled to 864 with a value of $30 billion. According to the Global Location Trends Report by the IBM Institute, Tennessee led the nation in jobs created by foreign owned firms.
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Race Relations and the Confederate Flag – by Deborah Levine

Morris Dees, Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was the featured speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga annual First Amendment dinner. Mr. Dees was introduced by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. Mayor Berke, a member of Chattanooga’s Jewish community was comfortable in the Federation setting and shared that he was not wearing a tie due to the well-known perils of ketchup. Picking up on the informality, Dees removed his own tie and listened, along with a packed house, to the mayor’s remarks.

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Going Southern Book Review from Paris – by Dr. George Simons

A few years ago I had the task of preparing a dozen mid-level managers from a large German corporation that was establishing itself in South Carolina. As part of the training, I conducted a role-play in which one of the employees, on a Saturday morning, heard a knock on the door.

How to Navigate Southern Culture
Going Southern: The No-Mess Guide to Success in the South

The woman opened the imaginary door and, standing in front of her, I said, “Hello M’am, my name is George Simons. I just live down the street, and I was wondering what church you go to…” She slammed the door in my face. In debriefing the incident, the woman felt she was being belittled by being called “M’am,” and that this “intruder” had invaded her private sphere. Slamming the door was the best way to make it clear that neither of these was acceptable.

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Honoring Native American Art in the Southeast – by Deborah Levine

There is much beauty to celebrate in Native American art, but that it’s a struggle to create given the devastating historical events surrounding Native Americans. The Cherokee Nation had a culture that thrived for almost 1,000 years in the Southeastern United States: in Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and parts of Kentucky and Alabama. Life of the traditional Cherokee changed drastically with European expansion and cession of Cherokee lands to the colonies in exchange for trade goods. Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800s as Cherokees wary of white encroachment moved west and settled in other areas of the country’s vast frontier.  Their eventual removal by force prompts the question of whether there is any Cherokee cultural presence remaining in the Southeast.

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Global Leadership Tennessee Style – by Deborah Levine

DEBORAH LEVINE
Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

A diverse group of leaders recently came together in Chattanooga to discuss the United States’ International Affairs Budget. The speakers were an unusual combination of representatives of the U.S. military, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce. They mingled with us attendees from corporate, government, education, and nonprofit organizations.  Given the tumultuous events around the globe, we were more than curious to hear what they had to say.

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Another Volkswagen Moment — by Deborah Levine

The president of the Chattanooga area Chamber of Commerce opened the combination reception, celebration, and press conference at Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum on July 15, 2014. The online invitations had gone out only 24 hours earlier, but the room was packed with 800 people. It had been six years since I attended the announcement of the Volkswagen plant coming to Chattanooga in this room. This year was noteworthy because of the wrangling over union representation, politics, state funding, and various personality driven conflicts that would determine whether Volkswagen would build a second car here.

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