Andy Berke

Mayor Berke Convenes Family Friendly Workplace Challenge Summit

Today, Mayor Andy Berke and participants of the Family Friendly Workplace Challenge convened a Summit to recognize businesses — both large and small — committed to working families. Businesses that accepted the Challenge spent the summer months engaging their employees and reviewing policies before implementing a strategy to support working families and then sharing their plans with other local businesses to foster and advocate for more family friendly workplaces.

“To be economically prosperous, we have to take advantage of everybody’s talents and abilities and give Chattanoogans every opportunity to succeed,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “Family friendly businesses get it right by placing importance on quality of life and helping employees reach their potential. Not only is it good for the employee, it’s good for the business.”

More than 70 employees and employers gathered today at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to celebrate innovative policies and review ways to embrace working mothers and fathers. Following a special presentation by United Way CEO Lesley Scearce, smaller groups met to discuss family friendly initiatives employers have implemented in Chattanooga. Trust, flexible personal time and dedicated family spaces in the workplaces were cited as integral to a successful environment.

Along with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which was among early pledges to the Challenge, around 20 Chattanooga employers participated in the Challenge, including:

      • – Chattanooga Technology Council

      • – STEAM Society

      • – Economic Opportunity Working Group

      • – MomSource Network

      • – Vayner Media

      • – Playcore

      • – BCBST

      • – City of Chattanooga

      • – Co.Lab

      • – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

      • – Chattanooga State 

      • – EPB

      • – Bread Basket

      • – Tennessee American Water Company

      • – Chamber of Commerce

      • – Ovalle’s Catering Company

      • – Epiphany Day Spa & Brow Couture

      • – CO.STARTERS 

      • – Skuid

      • – Girls Inc. of Chattanooga

      • – Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

The Family Friendly Workplace Challenge was a recommendation of the Economic Committee of the Mayor’s Council for Women, which did months of research and looked at other existing policies locally that support working women. Many members of the Mayor’s Council for Women actively participated in today’s Summit, including Chattanooga City Councilwoman Carol Berz, who is the group’s chairman.

In the afternoon, Councilwoman Berz and Mayor Berke led a panel exploring how family friendly workplace policies relate to a company’s success and how challenges vary from big to small businesses and across professions. The panel addressed the importance of understanding the unique needs of employees and developing compassion in the workplace. Mayor Berke and Councilwoman Berz challenged more Chattanooga businesses to join the leaders at today’s Summit.

“A city is vibrant and energetic because of its people. When we’re investing in working families, we’re creating a model for businesses all over our city to thrive,” said Mayor Berke. “These employers who have committed to the Challenge are leading us to a better place and helping us build a great city.”

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