Leaders in the local business and international communities gathered with elected officials Thursday to celebrate the first anniversary of International Business Council Day in Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council marked the occasion with a special event featuring an overview the council’s first year of growth, a presentation of new community resources and a traditional Mexican dance performance.
The celebration took place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Volkswagen Academy Conference Center, located at 7469 Volkswagen Drive.
In addition to honoring the International Business Council’s inaugural year of achievements, the event featured the debut of the Chattanooga Chamber’s first International Business Resource in a special presentation to Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Councilman Manny Rico, who represented the City of Chattanooga at the event.
Developed to support Hamilton County students and educators, this Web-based resource contains a summary of cross-cultural training strategies for each of the countries featured at International Business Council meetings over the last year. The resource will serve as archive of the council’s educational offerings and will be released annually online at www.chattanoogachamber.com/chamber-information/councils/international-council.
“The International Business Resource will assist the Hamilton County Department of Education in advancing its goal to develop global mindsets among students while celebrating diversity and promoting cultural literacy,” said Gladys Pineda-Loher, who serves as business diversity coordinator for the Chattanooga Chamber.
Last year, the International Business Council earned a place in local history when Mayors Ron Littlefield and Jim Coppinger issued proclamations designating the second Thursday of each June “International Business Council Day.” In honor of the region’s growing international population, the designation celebrates Chattanooga’s distinctive tapestry of culture and recognizes the Chattanooga Chamber as the lead organization in welcoming international businesses to the community and providing business orientation to multi-national entrepreneurs.
During its first year of development, the International Business Council successfully advanced its mission to raise awareness about the region’s growing population of international businesspeople and the need to reach out to this emerging community. From June 2011 to June 2012, the council delivered cross-cultural business training through 10 events which included cultural performances in music and dance and explored proper business etiquette in the countries of Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, India, Peru, Costa Rica, Philippines, Kenya, Honduras, Argentina, China, France and Switzerland.
These meetings served as a platform for local businesspeople of all backgrounds to connect, learn how to interact in multicultural business environments and build stronger ties between the international and greater Chattanooga business communities.
Over the last year, the council’s membership has grown to include multi-national business leaders, local educators, professionals of all backgrounds and supporters of the area’s international communities.
“With 41 countries, 25 languages and four generations of people currently represented within the International Business Council, our organization is well-prepared to continue its efforts to attract newcomers to our community as we leverage our collective diversity to promote regional economic growth,” said Ms. Pineda-Loher.
In addition to providing education and networking opportunities, the International Business Council also established Chattanooga’s first International Ambassadors program. With the goal of identifying key representatives from each of Chattanooga’s international communities, the initiative culminated with the assembly of 64 local contacts who will lend translation and etiquette assistance to community leaders working to attract international investment to the area.
Other notable developments the International Business Council enjoyed over the last year were the formation of partnerships with organizations such as the German-American Chamber of Commerce, the Filipino-American Association of Greater Chattanooga and the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, the International Business Council also pioneered the establishment of Chattanooga’s first French-American Chamber of Commerce chapter, which will launch with a special kickoff event on Aug. 23.
The second annual International Business Council Day celebration opened with remarks from Ryan Rose, general manager of employee services and organization for Volkswagen Chattanooga. Other speakers included Sandra Brewer, vice president of member-investor services for the Chattanooga Chamber, and Charles Wood, vice president of economic development for the Chattanooga Chamber.
The meeting closed with a Mexican dance performance coordinated by a collection of Hispanic-owned businesses located in Dalton, Ga. As is customary at International Business Council meetings, performers brought a touch of authenticity to the experience by wearing traditional Mexican dance attire.
Event sponsors included the German-American Chamber of Commerce, Hofmann Services, Global LT, Coca Cola Bottling Company and Alliance Physical Therapy.
For more information, please contact Tia Capps at 763-4358 or email@example.com.