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Black History Month Community Spotlight: Dionne Jenkins 

Black History Month Community Spotlight: Dionne Jenkins

Chattanooga Football Club is proud to recognize Dionne Jenkins

Jenkins' work in the community is outstanding. Her dedication and work ethic earned her the role of Vice President, Corporate Engagement at Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Campaign Chair for the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, and Board Chair for the Chattanooga Public Library.

As part of the club's celebration of outstanding community leaders, we asked Jenkins what Black History Month and the community of Chattanooga mean to her.

What does Black History, and Black History Month, mean to you? What do you hope we recognize/celebrate throughout this month?

Dionne Jenkins: To me, Black History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions and rich culture of the Black community. It is a time to remind our youth, who may feel marginalized, that they come from a lineage of Kings and Queens and to walk proudly and boldly in their Blackness. I hope we educate others on the many unknown achievements that Black inventors contributed to this nation.

What does the Chattanooga community mean to you and your family?

My family and I moved to Chattanooga in 2008 only knowing one person. In a very short timeframe, it became a place we enjoyed calling home. Although we did not start out here, we have built a life here that we love. While no community is perfect, we find a sense of pride here and take advantage of all of the wonderful things Chattanooga has to offer.

Do you see any positive progress in our community or something you might want to see in the future to best support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives in the Chattanooga area?

One initiative I have enjoyed watching grow over the last several years is the Black Excellence Chattanooga Awards program created by Chattanooga Business Elite. They saw the myriad of Black-owned businesses and business leaders that were going unnoticed in the community and decided it was time to stop waiting for others to notice and created their own platform. There is a quote that reads, “Never beg for a seat at the table when you can build your own!” The BEC Awards is a prime example of building your own.

What are some of your proudest achievements as a leader of diversity throughout your career and in your community?

For me, 2023 was a great year professionally. The year started by winning Best Business Executive at the BEC Awards; served as the 2023 Campaign Chair for the United Way of Greater Chattanooga; became the first African-American Board Chair for the Chattanooga Public Library; recognized as a 2023 Credit Union Rock Star by Credit Union Magazine; and ended the year delivering the commencement speech for the UTC Graduate School Commencement Ceremony for Fall 2023.

Both of my parents chose not to finish high school, however, they always encourage me to strive for greatness. They are my biggest cheerleaders and exude nothing but pride every time I call to tell them of a new professional accomplishment. My wins are their wins! My desire is for others to realize that no matter what hand you are dealt at birth, you have the power to determine your own destiny.