The Future of Work Podcast with futurist Jacob Morgan recently featured Christy Gillenwater covering everything from what Chambers do for their communities to how your Chattanooga Chamber encourages talent development in Chattanooga.
What does a chamber of commerce actually do?
“Talent is the new narrative in economic development, attracting and retaining talent for a community. When I say talent, I basically mean people who want to work. We are thinking about all of those elements that go into making a place great. That’s what a Chamber typically does. Depending on the place and on the community and what your strength point is, in Chattanooga we’re well-known for our outdoor recreation, but just up the road a bit in Nashville, they’re known for music. Understanding what your culture is as a community and partnering with others is really what’s telling that story and nurturing that story to the best of your ability.”
Can you give a bit of background information about yourself and the city of Chattanooga?
“Chattanooga, we really have been an overnight success story made in 50 years. It’s been a 50 year journey for Chattanooga, in my opinion, we are a very self-reliant community that is willing to take risks and look at ourselves in the mirror and find our faults and say, okay, we need to do something about this and be proactive about it. One of the interesting things about where we sit – we're in a tristate area – and one of the things that the Chattanooga Chamber is involved in is an organization called the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership. So we actually run point on this partnership and it's a 16 county, three state economic development initiative. And I say that to say, within our region we have a million people in our population base and in Hamilton County alone, we have over 200,000 jobs. So we are a significant economic engine in the southeast.”