Tennessee’s business community is demonstrating without a doubt that our state’s economic future rests on inclusivity and nondiscrimination.
That’s the message sent by the rapid growth of Tennessee Thrives, a new coalition dedicated to promoting an attractive, prosperous and economically vibrant Tennessee and promoting policies that ensure fair and equal treatment for all of Tennessee’s residents and visitors.
More the 150 businesses have joined the coalition since it launched last December, doubling the group’s membership in less than a month. As of today, 350+ businesses have signed the coalition pledge, which highlights the important role diversity plays in “maintaining Tennessee’s strong brand as a growing and exciting home for business innovation” and ability compete nationally and globally for talented workers.
The Tennessee Thrives coalition is even drawing support from other business development organizations. According to new coalition member and President of the Tennessee Business Roundtable Patrick Sheehy, joining Tennessee Thrives was a natural next step, considering how many of his member companies were already expressing similar values:
“Through the Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee businesses work for public policies that enable our state’s economy and all Tennesseans to succeed. As many of TBR’s member companies have also affirmed individually, the Roundtable supports the idea that our state welcomes and values the economic and workforce contributions of all Americans—and must continue to do so in a nondiscriminatory manner if Tennessee’s businesses, communities and people are to realize their full potential.”
The Tennessee Thrives coalition is a truly representative cross-section of our state’s business community, and includes companies both large and small, urban and rural, and from nearly every industry. Leading companies—such as Nissan, HCA and FedEx—are joining local businesses—like Tennessee Cheesecake in Lebanon, Half Hill Farm in Woodbury, Milosi Landscaping in Hendersonville, and Republic Plumbing in Madison.
Tennessee’s convention and tourism industry has been an especially eager supporter of Tennessee Thrives. New coalition member Charles Starks, who is President and CEO of the Music City Center, says this is because his industry depends most heavily on public perception—and equal treatment is critical to that perception.
“From a job creation and tax revenue standpoint, the convention and meeting industry has been vital to our state’s success. Equal treatment of all people is a cornerstone in our industry and we pride ourselves on our diverse customer base. It is important for us as a business community to stand together on issues that could compromise that—only united can we ensure that all are welcome here in Tennessee.”
The fast-growing healthcare industry is also heavily represented in the Tennessee Thrives coalition. New member Dr. Dennis Freeman, who is the CEO of Cherokee Health Systems, noted that this is because nondiscrimination is central to many healthcare organizations’ missions—and having a diverse workforce helps healthcare providers do their jobs:
At Cherokee Health Systems, we are proud to serve individuals and families from all walks of life, and we think an essential part of serving these folks is having a diverse workforce. When an organization’s staff members have different ideas, viewpoints, experiences, and talents, everybody wins. Diversity is good for business and good for Tennessee, and at Cherokee Health Systems we are proud to support the ideals of Tennessee Thrives by hiring talented staff members, regardless of their race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Tennessee Thrives welcomes these 150+ new members and looks forward to adding even more partners in the weeks and months ahead. Click here to view a full list of our coalition partners.
And companies interested in joining Tennessee Thrives can click here to learn more and sign the pledge.