Lorne Steedleyserves as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusive Growth at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
As I began to frame my thoughts for this presentation, I was reminded of the Chamber’s effort to capture hopes and aspirations found in the Chattanooga Climbs strategic plan. These aspirations included: increasing regional prosperity, delivering economic mobility for all, and fostering inclusive economy through collaborative leadership.
Building off the Chattanooga Climbs strategic plan, I began my efforts at the Chamber as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusive Growth by focusing on the business case for racial equity. The business case for racial equity was first coined by a special report by the WK Kellogg Foundation published in 2018. The report elevated the economic cost of exclusion to the US marketplace through institutional barriers. That said the report stated that economic growth is achievable through reforms in lending, education, criminal justice, housing, health disparities, business development, and training. Continue reading Diversity Town Hall 2021: Lorne Steedley→
We are still dealing with the Atlanta area shooting of African American jogger, and now the death of George Floyd by law enforcement. In the midst of this violence, Chattanooga announced progress in creating a physical space to remember the lynching of an African American more than a century ago. The memorial will be a contemplative space near the Walnut Street Bridge and despite the pandemic, the expectation is that people will come to learn, reflect, mourn and learn from history. And hopefully, to apply those lessons going forward
Some refer to Generation Z – those born, roughly, from the mid-1990s onward – as ‘The Final Generation’. This is not due to some apocalyptic vision of the future, but rather as a reflection of the nature of culture in online spaces.
In previous generations, it could be reasonably assured that a monoculture would develop. Because of the nature of the distribution of media and the limited ways in which it could be communicated, entire generations of youth would grow up with roughly the same cultural experiences – watching the same shows and cartoons, consuming the same film and radio programs.
Reprinted in honor of Madeleine Albright R.I.P. 1937-2022
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is a petite woman who can fill large university auditorium with her presence. These days, Dr. Albright teaches, lectures and writes. She frequently speaks to university audiences land enjoys telling young people that they can be anything they want to be with hard work. Her audiences listen enthusiastically and a recent crowd at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was no exception. A packed house and 2 overflow rooms with video feeds were arranged for the presentation by our 64th Secretary of State. She was the highest ranking woman in government from 1997-2001 and the first female Secretary of State.
When Jessica’s father bought her a one-way ticket to the States from Guatemala when she was 25, that was his way of saying, “I believe in you, hija, and I expect you to truly ‘be ‘somebody’.’” Now go do it.
Over the years, I’ve attended press conferences, graduations, receptions, and concerts at Volkswagen Chattanooga’s conference center, but I’ve never before seen it decorated entirely in pink. The event was the first ever Volkswagen Women Who Rock Awards Brunch. After having my picture taken in the photo booth wearing a pink Volkswagen hard hat, I meandered through the crowd waiting to hear from the keynote speaker, Julie Baumgardner, CEO and Founder of Chattanooga’s family oriented nonprofit, First Things First.
We watched profiles of the award nominees on the overhead screens as we listened to each of their favorite songs. It was a musical lesson in diversity. True to Volkswagen’s techie mindset, the playlist could be downloaded on Spotify. After much munching and brunching, we were brought to attention by Shireena Avery, the Volkswagen Diversity Sponsor to the featured Employee Resource Groups (ERG). The Women Who Rock program got underway with Megan Herndon, President of Volkswagen’s Women in Motion ERG.
After my father’s eightieth birthday, he told me that he was transcribing his World War II letters for me. My father, the son of an immigrant traveling shoe salesman, went to Harvard, and was trained at a secret US military intelligence camp. He wrote to my mother when he was a military intelligence officer deployed to France, Belgium, and Germany. Assigned to interrogate Nazi prisoners of war, he saw more than one death camp in the process. His letters are now more relevant than ever.
Alison Gerber is Editor and Director of Content at Chattanooga’s daily newspaper, The Times Free Press. She manages a newsroom of 75 people who produce a daily newspaper, three magazines, and five weekly community newspapers. Alison serves on the boards of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Associated Press Media Editors.
The newspaper recently launched an initiative proposed by the Mayor’s Council for Women in partnership with Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) where prominent women in the community contribute articles to the business section. The Times Free Press has been recognized with awards including the Tennessee Press Association’s top honor for the past three years. The paper was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in three of the last five years.
Every child deserves the opportunity to have a healthy and successful life – and the first 1,000 days are the most crucial. Across the state of Tennessee, 13 innovation grants funded by Governor and Mrs. Haslam were chosen as a part of the statewide “Building Strong Brains Initiative” to promote public awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are caused by traumatic experiences and severe neglect or toxic stress, which can damage the connections being built in a child’s brain in the earliest years of life.
The Future of Electric Mobility:
Volkswagen’s North American Market
Engineers from regional corporations, agencies, universities, schools, and professional associations, came together to kick off Engineers Week 2017 at The Chattanoogan conference center. Planning for the future was the theme of the Kick-Off Lunch featuring Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, Senior Vice President of e-mobility at Volkswagen America, Inc. Chattanooga is home to Volkswagen’s USA manufacturing plant and it was fitting that Dr. Huhnke shared Volkswagen’s transformation into the era of digitalization. Dr. Huhnke initiated and implemented Europe’s largest test laboratory for automative battery packages and components, worked on Volkswagen’s e-traction projects, e-Golf and e-Up, and currently oversees the product line of Volkswagen’s electrical cars in North American.
Hunke launched e-week 2017 with his presentation, “The Future of Electric Mobility: Volkswagen’s North American Market.” He explained that Electric Mobility combines electrical driving with connectivity and is how transportation and mobility are evolving. Volkswagen is changing and has already launched electric cars. The next generation of VW cars will revamp the entire company as it reflects and adjusts for societal changes.
As Hunke outlined those societal changes, the audience nodded and smiled in understanding and agreement.
1. We are always online. For drivers, this can be dangerous. The fatality numbers on the road are rising. We have to ensure that that distracted driving doesn’t continue.
2. Digitization increasingly connects everything. Transportation is adjusting as companies like Uber emerge and edge out traditional models.
3. Entrepreneurship generates new competitors, such as Tesla, that bring into the market with electronic cars and autonomous driving to the market and widespread public use.
The future that is emerging includes alternative transportation possibilities that will challenge us physically and emotionally. Will we continue to own our own cars? Will we share car ownership? Will drones provide public transportation? Going forward, engineers will be needed to work through all of these challenges and changes.
Volkswagen’s goal is to position itself as the driving force behind electrical mobility. Starting in 2020, Volkswagen will launch a new family of electric cars. By 2025, VW expects to sell one million electric cars. This means a new architecture for the cars: no combustion engines and no plug-in hybrids. It requires getting the internet into the car.
The new Mobility-Service-Eco-System Cars will have a fast-charging battery with a large range. These new batteries will be flat, simple, scalable, and inexpensive. The design gives the extra space back to the driver.
As intelligence is integrated into the car, its features will be continually updated. The e-platform will launch features automatically and integrate users demands and choices. Volkswagen is now researching how to make the design user-friendly across multiple cultures. An understanding of cultural differences is part of making the intelligence applicable whether in New York, Paris, or China.
There will be a shift in the business model to get in front of the consumer more efficiently. Traditionally, the manufacturer and the car dealers partnered in the sale of the cars. In the future, there will be new opportunities, new business players, and new revenue streams, including subscription services. Accommodating customers request for full connectivity through their internet access, the cars will provide fresh software, new features, updates, and the latest apps. Tomorrow’s cars will be “smart devices on wheels.”
One of Hunke’s goals and of the e-week events is to inspire young people to become the engineers of the future. With academic colleagues, Dr. Huhnke initiated the Volkswagen Innovation Center (VAIL) at the Stanford University Campus. He was the project leader for the autonomous car Volkswagen Passat Junior, participating in the Pikes Peak hill climbing driverless Audi TTS. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Advisors at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the U of TN Chattanooga (CECS at UTC).
E-week’s connection to education and young people was highlighted at the conclusion of this kick-off event by featuring the presentation of scholarship funding by Chattanoogan companies and organizations to local education institutions. Later in the week, Lulu Copeland, Chattanooga E Week committee coordinator and Executive Director, Economic & Workforce Development at Chattanooga State Community College, planned STEM Girls Day on her campus. The program reflects ongoing efforts to involve young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
The STEM Girls Day and all the organizations involved in E Week, from corporations like Volkswagen to civic groups such as the International Business Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, illustrate how a small Southern City can be at the forefront of our innovative future.