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OVERVIEW: As we examine diversity and inclusion we realize this report is a small baseline of where we stand. The critical takeaway is that this issue expresses itself far more than can be communicated in eight pages. We celebrate industry leaders who hire people with disabilities including those with hearing and visual impairments and those with physical and mental disabilities as nearly 16 percent of Tennessee residents report having some type of disability. Future reports will highlight the ever present “brain drain” and the impact of age on employment as “20-something millennials,” are now leading a workforce of 40, 50, and 60 year old subordinates. The impact and migration patterns of newcomers is worthy of additional study. In 2008 Forbes research tells us that 5,100 newcomers came from the states of Florida, Michigan, California, New York, and Kentucky. We need to study how this affects East Tennessee and why we are a draw from those states. Soberly, we must examine why we lost nearly 3,745 residents to Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Washington, and North Carolina. Department of Labor statistics note that from 2007 to 2009, the number of African-American senior level managers dropped from 159 in 2007 to 99 in 2009. More troubling is the number of African-American general laborers dropped from 3,099 to just 1,871. Being open in the workplace to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents is also an issue as they represent a national buying power of $835 billion.

OBSERVATIONS: • In a survey done by the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2008 newcomers remarked that they see Knoxville as one of the friendliest places they have ever lived. • On balance the number of African-American women in professional leadership is growing and many “firsts” have been noted during the past 10 years. However, these same women, while gaining professionally, lament over social issues that affect their quality of life. • Mass media, radio, and newspapers focused on minority audiences have struggled to survive in this friendly city. Newcomers and residents tell us that ethnically-centered media is the norm and not the exception in most progressive cities. The answer to how we bridge this gap starts with this conversation. • The Knoxville Chamber was recently named one of the 20 most veteran-friendly Chambers in the country. Yet veteran business owners still struggle to be recognized in many procurement circles. • East Tennessee faces the impact of immigration from the Latino community and we must be intentional in our approach to embrace the values they bring to our way of life, while also understanding that immigration is still occurring from other cultures with a myriad of languages. Because of its international stature and global employment, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is an example of how people from various cultures can work together to create innovation. In the final analysis, diversity and inclusion make good business sense and are a hallmark of economic development. Best in class employers and businesses, small or large, embrace diversity in the workplace and marketplace because it adds value to the bottom line, as well as to the community. The below call to action outlines ways to promote diversity and inclusion in your organization.

CALL TO ACTION: • Participate in the Diversity Champions Taskforce. • Challenge the definition of diversity and inclusion within your firm as more than race and gender. • Hold our elected officials accountable to diversity and inclusion policies that have substance and enforceability. • CEOs should engage and communicate diversity and inclusion as core values and tie management compensation to meeting a set of defined metrics. • Communicate success with inclusion to the media, to the Diversity Champions Taskforce, and to your employees. • Seek to increase your firms’ procurement spend to exceed goals with minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned firms. • Publicly support the notion that diversity and inclusion are key to the economic development of our region. • Be intentional by having a written strategic plan, measure the results, and reward your champions.

“A Commitment to diversity must be incorporated as an integral part of corporate success. Continued growth toward a more inclusive corporate culture is necessary for business success. Customers, business partners and employees should see themselves represented in your boardroom, in your workforce, in your marketing campaigns, in the community, and the organizations you support.”

Phyllis Y. Nichols, President/CEO, Knoxville Area Urban League

For more information or to join the taskforce email us at inclusion@knoxvillechamber.com

“Eastern Tennessee is often under-estimated for the diversity it has to offer and perhaps that is partially due to the lack of an organized effort to promote the region’s opportunities from the technology corridor, education, climate, etc. Finding that many other employers in the area were thinking about this too, it seemed like the perfect time to organize our efforts. In 2008 the first Diversity Forum met to exchange ideas and collaborate on ways to prosper together for the sole purpose of creating an attractive work environment for talent beyond just Eastern Tennessee. Today the Diversity Champions are active and making a difference.”

– Debbie Crowder,

Executive Vice President, SunTrust Inc.

In 2008 SunTrust Bank, under the leadership of Debbie Crowder, rallied officers to meet, network, and share best practices to promote diversity and inclusion within the East Tennessee region. After a year of meetings the Knoxville Chamber provided support and leadership. The group formalized itself as The Diversity Champions Taskforce. Immediately, the taskforce began developing the first annual Diversity Report to analyze the status of diversity within the Innovation Valley Region. Innovation Valley encompasses the following communities: Knox County, Oak Ridge, Blount County, Roane County, Loudon, and Tellico. Scripps Networks Interactive with support from the Knoxville Area Urban League, The Knoxville Chamber, and the Diversity Champions Taskforce organized the region’s first Diversity Summit on October 12, 2011 with Diversity Inc. Magazine’s CEO Luke Visconti as the keynote speaker.

THE DIVERSITY CHAMPIONS TASKFORCE HAS THE FOLLOWING THREE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS: 1. Define the scope of diversity and inclusion for the region 2. Promote workplace and marketplace inclusion 3. Produce a biennial report on diversity & inclusion

To achieve these goals, the taskforce examined the efforts of the Knoxville Chamber’s initiative to make “Knoxville America’s Best Business Address®.” In order to play a role in accomplishing that goal, the taskforce focused on the following themes: 1. Cities with the best quality of life status intentionally support and embrace diversity and inclusion. 2. A diverse and inclusive workforce leads to innovation, creativity, and attracts quality employees. 3. Doing business with small, minority-, woman-, veteran-, and disabled-owned vendors makes good business sense.

THE MISSION: Assessing the status of diversity and inclusion encompasses monitoring statistics, evaluating best practices, and developing an accountability process. The taskforce further defines diversity by understanding the business return on investment, the role of migration patterns of newcomers, multi-generational employment, and issues involving persons with disabilities and veterans. This report presents statistics, best practices, and comments from firms seeking to be best-in-class businesses, political leaders, and CEOs who are making “Knoxville America’s Best Business Address®” and East Tennessee a place “Where Everyone is Embraced and Empowered to Excel.”

“What makes a great city? A great city recognizes and celebrates its milestones. We have seen the first governor from Knoxville in a century, our first AfricanAmerican mayor, and now the first female mayor in Knoxville and in any of Tennessee’s four big cities. This has been a year of firsts for our great city. We built our campaign on diversity and inclusiveness, and that is how we will govern.”

– Mayor Madeline Rogero, City of Knoxville

WORKPLACE STATISTICS (The Innovation Valley region encompasses the following communities: Knox County, Oak Ridge, Blount County, Roane County, Loudon County, and Tellico) Sources: U.S. Census and Department of Labor




3.31% .26% HISPANIC


702,786 (89.1%) 46,626 (5.9%) 25,774 (3.31%)

1.33% ASIAN


2,071 (.26%) 10,366 (1.33%)


364 (.05%)

(Source: U.S. Census 2010)

AREA RANKINGS 2011 #1 Green Job Growth (Brookings) 2011 #4 High Tech Hub (Business Facilities-The Location Advisor) 2011 #5 Best Value Metro (Kiplinger’s) 2011 #9 Best Metro for Jobs (Forbes) 2011 100 Best Value Colleges (University of Tennessee) (Princeton Review) 2010 #26 (Knoxville) Best Cities for New College Grads (Bloomberg Business Week) 2010 #7 Top Metro Area Alternative Energy Leader (Business Facilities-The Location Advisor) 2010 #4 (Knoxville)Best Best Cities for Real Estate Investments (Local Market Monitor Report, Wall Street Journal) 2008 #8 (Knoxville) Best Place to Raise a Family (Forbes) 2006 #9 (Knoxville) America’s 50 Hottest Cities for Business Relocation & Expansion (Expansion Management Magazine) 2006 #5 (Knoxville) The Best Places for Business and Careers (Forbes) 2006 #4 (Knoxville) America’s Most Affordable Travel Destinations (Hotwire)

Household Income by Race and County Race White Black Asian Hispanic

Anderson $42,851 $31,083 $77,989 $38,533

Blount $47,917 $35,694 $49,450 $39,712

Knox $48,606 $23,765 $54,688 $34,761

Loudon $49,993 $42,446 $131,750 $32,639

Monroe $36,859 $32,545 $22,143 $62,150

Roane $42,603 $27,853 $60,795 $41,786

(Source: U.S. Census American Community Survey 2005-2009)

WORKPLACE FACTOIDS: • In 1900, about 1 out of 8 Americans was of a race other than white. By 2000, about 1out of 4 Americans was of a race other than white. (U.S. Census) • 83% of all Americans believe that gay people should have access to equal rights in terms of employment and public accommodations. This is up from just 56% in 1977. (Newsweek, 2000) • In the U.S. those without health insurance by race or ethnicity: American Indians and Alaska Natives: 31.7% Latinos: 30.7% Blacks: 20.8% Asians: 18.1% Whites: 11.7%. (U.S. Census) • 2010 Labor Force participation by Race and Gender: Male 63.7% Female 53.6%: White 59.4%: Black 52.3%: Asian 59.9%: Hispanic 59.0%: (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) • The percentage of people with disabilities is larger than any single ethnic, racial or cultural demographic group in the United States. Veterans in the U.S. with disabilities, including loss of hearing and hypertension – 6 million. (U.S. Census) • In October 2009, the U.S. workforce became nearly half female: women held 49.9% of all nonfarm labor jobs and 51.5% of high-paying management and professional positions. For every two men who graduate from college or get a higher degree, three women do. This is almost the exact opposite of the graduation ratio that existed when the baby boomers entered college. (Time Magazine, Nov. 2010)

“A diverse workforce not only makes our workplace a richer experience, it gives us a critical business advantage. Diversity increases employee engagement and our ability to attract and retain the most skilled and talented people. Innovation, creativity and productivity all naturally increase when your staff already has a broad range of experiences and perspectives.”

– Ken Lowe, Chairman, President & CEO Scripps Networks Interactive

WORKPLACE BEST PRACTICES Quotes extracted from the Diversity and Inclusion Survey conducted by Diversity Champions

1. CEO Commitment/Engagement “Diversity is not about how we differ at SunTrust but about how our differences make the difference in the markets we serve. We focus on inclusion because it helps us stay ahead of the competition. Our mission is to help people and institutions prosper. We use the unique perspectives of our teammates for better business solutions for our clients, community engagement, and a more productive workplace. Embracing diversity and inclusion leads to profitable growth in an increasingly diverse marketplace.” – Michael Butler, CEO/President, SunTrust Bank, Eastern Tennessee Region

2. Mentorship “We strive to identify promising talent in the entry-level ranks for development and connect those individuals to senior leadership for mentorship opportunities and additional exposure. Nurturing our internal talent and providing growth opportunities is central to our sustainability as a best practice employer of choice. – U.S. Cellular

3. Employee Resource Groups “The regional diversity site councils include Affinity Teams or Business Resource Groups that are based on different dimensions of diversity including African-American, Hispanic, Asian, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, people with disabilities, and women.” – SunTrust

4. Structured Communications with Community Leaders “We support no fewer than 10 Diversity Centers of Excellence and currently work with a number of diverse professional associations focused on targeted areas of function and ethnicity. Our Diversity Centers of Excellence are deeply involved in such vital topics as diversity/inclusion, education, and recruitment guidance to further associate and leadership competencies.” – U.S. Cellular

5. Internships for Diverse Candidates “The TeenWork Program began 16 years ago as a school-to-work initiative for high school juniors and seniors from AustinEast Magnet High School. The program assists participants in learning the necessary skills to function in the work environment. TeenWork teaches students how to obtain employment, learn employer expectations, work as a team, gain on-the-job skills, and acquire the confidence necessary to succeed. Eight former students have returned in permanent professional or technical jobs.” – Knoxville Utilities Board

6. Global Cross Training “We cross-train many of our global employees working all around the world via “exchange training programs” by cross-training them in like positions and functions at other Emerson global facilities. The employees not only learn additional skill sets as related to the technical side of the job, but also learn and capture the diverse fabric of the country they are visiting. Spending time with other employees from a particular country teaches them beyond the work arena through exposure to other cultural values and societal characteristics.” – Emerson Process Management

7. Internal Communication Platforms Around Diversity “We communicate facts in various media formats, bio-sketches, training, and diversity newsletters, for example, about the broad range of characteristics and preferences individuals have in order to share knowledge with those who are not aware and also to make the language of inclusion more familiar.” – Oak Ridge Associated Universities

8. Departmental Strategic Plans Around Diversity “This institution, over the past five years, has tried to stress the value of diversity--in its broadest terms--at all levels of the institution. That meant trying to increase awareness and re-defining what diversity is to the institution. Every unit within the institution had to develop a diversity plan--representing what their workforce looked like when their plan was developed, what they would like their workforce to look like over the next X period of time, and how they intend to get to that goal. From the individual plans came an overall institutional diversity plan, which is to be periodically evaluated at all levels. In addition, the institution has developed a strategic plan for growth with measurements for various factors. Diversity has been identified as a factor that is integral to all aspects of the overall strategic plan. Keeping the message and the value of diversity constant, consistent, and in all discussions and within documented plans that are to serve as guides for future change is important. The message has been coupled with a process that will hold hiring units accountable for progress and tied into ways to reward those units that do.” – University of Tennessee

9. Do business with Minority-, Woman-, and Veteran- owned Businesses and Measure Results “A growing aspect of Economic Inclusion has been Messer’s involvement with joint ventures and LLCs with minority business enterprises in our regions. These partnerships create separate enterprises that have their own unique business strategies, while providing Messer’s expertise in core business functions in addition to construction. Messer provides valuable experience to our joint venture partners through mentoring and sharing best practices. From operations to accounting, Messer staff can provide leadership and strategic direction to provide our partners with the tools for growth. Creating partnerships and assisting minority firms in building capacity is another way for Messer to increase its influence in a region. The goals of Messer’s joint ventures are to: acquire an additional 3 to 5 percent of new work in the marketplace of the LLC; create sustainable minority businesses; collectively pursue work together that the partners individually would not have been able to pursue; and satisfy the needs of prospects and customers.” – Messer Construction Co.

10. Create a Culture of Diversity/Inclusion Through Hiring Practices “Our office has focused on meeting face-to-face with community leaders and letting them know we are actively looking for minority candidates to become financial representatives. Our best financial representatives are usually referred to us by clients and centers of influence. Opportunity abounds for minority candidates who are college graduates.” – Northwestern Mutual

“Our firm actively pursues employees from all ethnicities. We currently have seven full-time employees who are on work visas. Cultural inclusion works at our firm.” – EnerNex, LLC

“My motivation as a leader of a small business is to be intentional and focused when it comes to diversity. We recruit within all the dimensions of diversity (culture, ethnicity, age, abilities, etc), and we employ using this same formula and criteria. My company is a direct reflection of our community and culture.” – Andy Moss Vice President, M Force Staffing




5 8.9%

50 40 30


2 2.5 %






SOURCE: U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners 2007

The Innovation Valley region encompasses the following communities: Knox County, Oak Ridge, Blount County, Roane County, Loudon County, and Tellico

BUSINESS REVENUES BY STATU S TOTA L RE V E N UE S : 75 , 4 6 6 , 472 ,0 0 0 9 1.67% 91.67%





90 80 70 60 50 40 30 10

11% %

802,918,000 MINORITY


2,253,629,000 WOMEN

4.3% 4.

3,223,334,000 VETERAN

• Over a 12-year period from 1995 to 2007 the purchasing power of people with disabilities increased 26 percent to $45 billion. (U.S. Census)


10.8 %


SOURCE: U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners 2007

The Innovation Valley region encompasses the following communities: Knox County, Oak Ridge, Blount County, Roane County, Loudon County, and Tellico



802,918,000 • The buying power of Hispanics, will rise from2,253,629,000 $1 trillion in3,223,334,000 2010 to $1.5 trillion in 2015, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the nation’s total buying power. (Selig Center for Economic Growth, University of Georgia)

• Buying power of racial minorities (African-Americans, Asians and Native Americans) will rise from $1.6 trillion in 2010 to $2.1 trillion in 2015, accounting for 15 percent of the nation’s total buying power. (Selig Center for economic Growth, University of Georgia) • The Selig Center projects that the nation’s Asian buying power will more than quintuple, climbing from $116 billion in 1990 to $269 billion in 2000, to $509 billion in 2008, and to $752 billion in 2013. The 337-percent gain from 1990 through 2008 was substantially greater than the increases in buying power projected for whites (139 percent), the U.S. as a whole (151 percent), blacks (187 percent), and Native Americans (213 percent), but is lower than the 349 percent gain projected for Hispanics. At $509 billion in 2008, the U.S. Asian market already outshines the entire economies of all but seventeen countries—it is smaller than the 2007 GDP of Turkey but larger than the GDP of Sweden. • The total spending of lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals was $743 billion in 2010. Forty-seven percent of lesbian and gay people prefer to remain loyal to an LGBT-friendly brand, even if it costs more or is more inconvenient (Witeck-Combs Communications/Human Rights Campaign)

Procurement Spend with Minority-, Women-, & Veteran-Owned Businesses Company City of Knoxville Knoxville’s Comm. Dev. Corp. Knox County Government Knoxville Utilities Board Messer Construction Co. Metropolitan Airport Authority SunTrust Bank, Inc. TVA University of Tennessee Oak Ridge National Lab Oak Ridge Ass. Univ./ORISE BWY-12 UCOR Dept. of Energy TOTALS



• Women control $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in global consumer spending. (Catalyst Research)

7,2 9 8



• The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency projects that the purchasing power of minority groups will be between 32.2% and 45% of the total purchasing power by 2045.





Minority $1,440,000 $221,642 $629,121 $4,400,000 $32,290,798

Woman $4,450,000 $509,222 $7,209,818 $10,400,000 $18,164,554

Veteran * * * * $1,383,845

Service Disabled Veteran * * * * *

TOTALS $5,890,000 $730,864 $7,838,940 $14,800,000 $51,839,197

$240,235 $35,200,000 $165,812,226 $3,199,029 $50,800,000 $4,700,000 $44,257,000 $4,470,000 $31,500,000 $379,160,051

$419,730 $72,800,000 $129,208,184 $7,967,070 $59,500,000 $5,000,000 $38,877,000 $12,690,000 $24,200,000 $391,395,578

* * * $137,290 $28,400,000 $3,600,000 $4,315,000 $3,300,000 $4,700,000 $45,836,135

* * * * $16,800,000 $2,500,000 $5,046,000 $1,200,000 $1,900,000 $27,446,000

$659,965 $143,000,000** $295,020,410 $11,303,389 $155,500,000 $15,800,000 $92,495,000 $21,660,000 $62,300,000 $878,837,765

(*) Denotes that the firm does not currently track spend with veteran or service disabled veteran businesses. (**) Denotes total amount includes $35.2 million in minority & woman spend that could not be tracked separately at the time of publication. Disclaimer: The information in this section was provided by each company voluntarily or through publicly shared reports. The numbers submitted are the latest numbers based on each company’s reporting periods which vary from 2009-2011. Please note that the definitions and tracking of minority, women, and veteran vary between firms. Information includes vendors sourced locally as well as nationally. Additional information may be obtained by contacting each company directly.

Diversity Champions Leadership Volunteers C. Delores Mitchell – Co-Chair

Doug Minter – Chair

Shelly Lohmann – Co-Chair




Diversity Champions Taskforce Members Carla Arbogast

Tracey Beckendorf-Edou Dorothy Bennett Vanessa Black Anita Bright Lillian Burch Pat Carson Angela Conner, Founding Chair Doug Downey Ella Hawkins Dubose Sarah Fortenberry Jerry Giffen Sarah Helm Dan Hoxworth Joshalyn Hundley Joann Jeter Benjamin Jones Mae Killebrew-Mosley Priscilla Kingry Konda L. Jones Shelly Lohmann, Co-Chair Kathy Mack Cindy Mayfield Dr. Renee McGhee

UT Department of Professional and Personal Development Oak Ridge Associated Universites New Millenium Services Oak Ridge National Laboratory US Bank/Elavon Disability Resource Center Knox County Government SunTrust Bank, Inc. Messer Construction Co. Oak Ridge National Laboratory ARG Financial Staffing Aerotek, Inc. UT Career Services - Disability Careers Office Child & Family Tennessee City of Knoxville UT Career Services Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C. Markets Demand More, LLC WSI Oak Ridge Oak Ridge Associated Universites U.S. Cellular Tennova Oak Ridge National Laboratory B&W Y-12

Doug Minter, Chair C. Delores Mitchell, Co-Chair Andy Moss Lenissa Mostella Britanny Moua Bill Myers Rose Napier Bradley Parish Kevin Proffitt Theotis Robinson Patricia Robledo Aimee Sethness Tyvi T. Small Rufus Smith Cindy Spence David Stanford Rosalyn Tillman Mac Tobler Nakia Towns Dennis Upton Crystal B. Washington Natasha Wellington-Hillsman Nina Wilson


Knoxville Chamber Scripps Networks Interactive M Force Staffing I.M. Business Consultants Oak Ridge National Laboratory Knoxville Area Urban League Oak Ridge Associated Universites ITT Technical Institute Northwestern Mutual University of Tennessee City of Knoxville WSI Oak Ridge UT College of Business Administration US Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory Redline Contract Services Pellissippi State Realty Executives Associates Knox County Schools Knoxville Utilities Board Scripps Networks Interactive Denso Manufacturing Tennessee Inc. Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Profile for Knoxville Chamber

Diversity Champions Report  

A report by the Diversity Champions Task Force, a group of Knoxville, Tennessee, business leaders focused on communicating the importance of...

Diversity Champions Report  

A report by the Diversity Champions Task Force, a group of Knoxville, Tennessee, business leaders focused on communicating the importance of...