Lorne Steedley says he hopes to advance work already happening at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to emphasize inclusion, diversity and developing pathways for economic participation.
"My goal is to build on the existing economic inclusion efforts at the Chattanooga Chamber and promote (diversity and inclusion) as a competitive advantage for business expansion," he says.
Steedley, 58, named late last year as the Chamber's vice president of diversity and inclusive growth, cites his career background around economic development and community building.
Raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Steedley graduated from the University of South Carolina and moved to Boston, where he lived 14 years and built his career. He also earned two master's degrees — in human services from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and in sociology from Boston College.
While in Boston, he served as a board member for the Four Corners Development Corp., which developed an 84-unit residential project in Boston's South End called Langham Court. He also was a project manager for Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development.
Steedley also has held posts in Baltimore, Maryland, and Atlanta. In Baltimore, he was a philanthropic strategist at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where he managed a learning agenda on regional equity, smart growth, and equitable development.
In 2006, he was the managing director of Motus Consultancy USA LLC, which he founded. Clientele included private, government, and non-profit sectors, Steedley says.
"Much of the work was tied to strategic partnerships, relationship management, and community building," he says.
* Job: Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce vice president of diversity and inclusive growth
* Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
* Education: University of South Carolina; master’s degrees, University of Massachusetts-Boston and Boston College; fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Cape Town in South Africa
* Quote: “My goal is to work with stakeholders to advance diversity and inclusive growth as a business imperative. D&I increases business opportunities and expands economies.”
In Atlanta, Steedley says, his work involved skill development and the challenges impacting employers, and he notes that interpersonal skills are "a significant part of participation, longevity and retention." He had a contract with the Atlanta Public Schools when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he says.
One aspect he likes about Chattanooga is that the city is "at a crossroads of great characteristics."
"The Tennessee River coupled with the mountains make it a unique place to live," Steedley says. "The geographic location is a strategic advantage."
Additionally, he says, he likes the city's people.
"They are passionate about Chattanooga," he says. "Also, I believe stakeholders are committed to inclusive partnerships."
Steedley, who is single, says that when he's not working, he likes to listen to lectures and classical jazz music.
"I want to get back to cycling again," he adds.