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Photography contributed by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / Dionne Jenkins will be the panel moderator at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's DIVERSIFY event on June 18.

We're highlighting diversity, inclusion and the 21st century workplace at the Diversify Summit June 18, brought to you virtually by your Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and presenting sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

The dual crises of COVID-19 and the unrest that swept our country last year put a spotlight on the high cost of racial and economic inequality. Join our commitment to a business community that includes everyone with the Diversify Virtual Summit June 18.

Diversify features keynote speaker Rick C. Wade of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a panel discussion with local experts' reactions to the keynote.

About keynote speaker Rick Wade

Rick C. Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, develops and implements initiatives to help the Chamber create new business relationships and partnerships across diverse audiences. He also provides counsel on policy issues and leads special projects. His wealth of experience in the public and private sectors enable him to give a megaphone to the voice of business across the country and share the positive impacts of the free enterprise system. He leads the U.S. Chamber's historic Equality of Opportunity initiative aimed to develop sustainable public policy and business solutions to help close race-based opportunity gaps.

Before joining the Chamber, Wade was principal of The Wade Group, a strategic communications and global business development firm, and was a partner at Harves Investment Group, a consultancy that facilitated foreign direct investment into the United States.

A member of the Democratic National Committee, Wade served as an Adviser to President Barack Obama and National Director of Africa-American Vote at the 2008 Obama for America campaign. He was a Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for former Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, liaising with the White House, businesses, trade associations, civic organizations and local governments. He was a member of the White House task forces on Puerto Rico, Small Business Contracting, Automobile Recovery, Military Families and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also served on the Interagency Business Council and former Vice President Joe Biden's Task Force on Middle Class America and worked with the White House on implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

DIVERSIFY Virtual Summit

* When: Friday, June 18, keynote at 10 a.m.; Panel discussion at 11 a.m.

* Where: Online

* Register at chattanoogachamber.com/diversify. Registration is $15.

Wade was instrumental in expanding opportunities for U.S. companies to sell their products in the global market. He represented the U.S. at international trade forums including the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum and the Conference on the Caribbean and Central America. He served as special envoy to the Caribbean, oversaw private sector initiatives in Haiti following the 2010 devastating earthquake, and led trade missions around the world.

Wade received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina and an M.P.A. from Harvard University. He was awarded honorary doctorates from Benedict College and South Carolina State University and has received numerous awards for exemplary leadership and public service.

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Photography contributed by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / Rick Wade

Panel moderator

Dionne Jenkins, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU), works collaboratively with senior leadership to develop initiatives that increase diversity among staff through recruitment, retention and community engagement in order to advance TVFCU's mission. She serves as a centralized resource for diversity and inclusion initiatives and is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within the credit union and the community.

Jenkins received both her Bachelor of Science and her Master's in Business Administration from Bryan College. She is an avid community volunteer who serves on numerous boards and has received a plethora of community awards and recognition.

Panelists

Justin Groenert, Vice President of Public Policy at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, oversees policy development and implementation and all aspects of government affairs for our business community.

Groenert previously served as chief of staff to Indiana Treasurer of State Kelly Mitchell, overseeing office staff and six quasi-governmental organizations under the Treasurer's prevue. He also served as Legislative Director for the Treasurer's office, working with the state legislature to advance the Treasurer's legislative priorities.

In other previous roles, Groenert served as the director of government relations and public policy for the Southwest Indiana Chamber from 2013 to 2018. Prior to that, he focused on federal policy working for U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis (KY-02) and served current U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08) as district director and senior advisor, and ran successful congressional campaigns.

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Photography contributed by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / Justin Groenert

Groenert holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a certificate in political communications from Western Kentucky University and a Master's of Public Administration from University of Southern Indiana.

O'Mally Foster, Vice President of Culture and Talent Resources at Vision Hospitality Group, identifies new talent and supports company leaders as they assist associates in maximizing their potential.

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Photography contributed by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / O'Mally Foster

Foster's career began in 1996 as regional training specialist and LP agent for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. From this position, he transitioned into the hospitality industry where he gained experience as an assistant general manager and a rooms manager.

He later became regional director of HR for Noble-Interstate Management where he supported a portfolio of hotels employing over 3,000 people. He then spent three years revamping the Chattanoogan Hotel's culture program, internal communications, community relations and onboarding as the hotel's HR director, before joining Vision's team in 2017.

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