Tamara Steward appointed city’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer
The Chattanooga native looks to create further equity,opportunities in local government, community
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Tamara Steward is Chattanooga’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer — a key role in Mayor Tim Kelly’s plans to help inclusivity thrive in both local government and the community.
She’s “deeply honored” to take the job, which she says is made up of two sides.
“The first side is making sure that we remove barriers of access and provide and create opportunities for people to be able to do business with the city, for people to have access to opportunities that they want to pursue,” Steward said. “It’s a community-focused piece. But the other part is really looking at city operations and how we do business and making sure that we embed equity in everything that we’re doing.”
Steward will oversee efforts to stimulate diversity in city government, engage with philanthropic partners and work to close communication gaps.
Under her leadership, the city hopes to break the zip code barrier and create better access to opportunities for all Chattanoogans.
“Depending on what zip code you grow up in, those opportunities may not be available to you, whether that’s an issue with housing, education, workforce development [or] the type of jobs that you can be eligible for,” said Ellis Smith, the city’s director of special projects. “Those opportunities are not always there and so what can we do as a city to bridge those gaps?”
Chattanooga has always been home for Steward.
She is excited to get to work and pioneer her new position.
“This is a loving and giving city and it’s going to take all of us investing in each other, having hard conversations but having them with a spirit of compassion to help move this city forward,” Steward said. “We can be the best city in the South if we all work together.”