The president and CEO of Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce, credited with spreading woke ideology during her time as the chamber’s leader, is leaving Chattanooga to take the same role in Oklahoma City.
Christy Gillenwater’s work “led to hiring a newly established Vice President of Diversity and Inclusive Growth as well as establishing the CEO Pledge for Racial Equity, a commitment by CEOs to intentionally enhance their efforts to achieve equity of opportunity within organizations and the broader Chattanooga community,” according to The Chattanoogan.
The Chattanooga Chamber has entire pages of its website dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), a far-left ideology that has permeated corporate America and the federal government.
“Businesses with diverse team members are better equipped to relate to more diverse customers, while fostering a culture that attracts in-demand talent that can afford to be choosy,” according to the Chattanooga Chamber’s website.”The Chattanooga Chamber is the business community’s partner—equipping employers to foster more diverse and inclusive workplaces through education, strategic relationships, and initiatives.”
The Chamber now hosts an annual DIVERSIFY summit, and brags that “the DEI program offers employers and entrepreneurs unique opportunities to network among and empower the business community in the Chattanooga region.”
Gillenwater’s aforementioned diversity pledge is featured prominently on the chamber’s website.
That pledge says the following:
The societal cost of economic exclusion has come into sharp relief, in recent history. With a rapid racial and cultural transformation underway, America needs to wake up and value difference in a global community that is 71% of color. According to reports by the WK Kellogg Foundation, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup, the economic cost of inequity to African Americans is reported to be about $2 trillion dollars per year. This directly impacts GDP, employment, lending, education, and health. A more inclusive and equitable economy makes the business case for the growth and the full participation of African Americans and other communities of color in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
The Chamber’s CEO Pledge for Racial Equity is a commitment by CEOs to intentionally enhance their efforts to achieve equity of opportunity within organizations and the broader Chattanooga community. The pledge complements the Chattanooga Climbs goal to create an economically inclusive ecosystem, which acknowledges and eliminates racial and cultural bias. This is accomplished by dismantling policies that restrict access to capital, prevent wealth creation, promote incarceration, and limit training and education. We seek to create a diverse and inclusive Chattanooga that drives business development, influences regional competitiveness, and stimulates innovation.
Upon news of her departure, Gillenwater was lauded by some of her fellow Chamber leaders.
“Christy’s leadership has been bold and imaginative as an agent for positive change throughout our region,” Janelle Reilly, Chair of the Chattanooga Chamber Board of Directors, reportedly said. “Christy’s passion for uplifting communities through economic prosperity has been appreciated by our board of directors, volunteers, member businesses and Chamber staff.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Christy Gillenwater” by Christy Gillenwater. Background Photo “Oklahoma City Skyline” by Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau. CC BY-SA 3.0.