Cable presents Power of Inclusion Awards

Beverly Watts (c l), executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, holds her Champion Award at the 2019 Cable’s Power of Inclusion Awards.

For the past 14 years, Cable’s Power of Inclusion (POI) Awards, presented by HCA, has recognized Nashville individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations that champion all types of diversity and demonstrate innovative methods to enhance diversity and inclusion. Nominees were evaluated and selected by Cable’s panel of experts on Diversity Best Practices. Awards criteria reflect high standards for a diverse workplace, covering hiring practices, efforts to advocate for diversity in the Nashville community, and demonstrable achievement resolving inequalities between different segments of the workforce.

This year’s awards are presented to the following:
Individual Award: Dr. Arie Nettles, founder and director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)’s Office of Inclusion and Health Equity. She is also an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and a psychologist for school-age children to young adults with developmental disabilities and autism in the VUMC Division of Developmental Medicine.

Business Award: Culture Shift Team, a consulting agency that has a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Culture Shift Team has been the driving force of campaigns such as nMotion and Transit For Nashville. They also teach classes regarding diversity, recruiting a diverse board, and highlighting implicit bias and how that arises in the workplace.

Not-for-Profit Award: Nashville State Community College Foundation, an organization that has helped make the dream of attending and graduating from college a reality for thousands of first-generation and nontraditional students. Whether students’ post-community college goals are immediate entry into the workforce or pursuit of a four-year degree, the NSCC Foundation works to remove financial barriers that prevent students from completing their courses of study.

This year, Cable introduced the inaugural Champion Award, presented to Beverly Watts, executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, recognizing her lifetime of work as a true champion of inclusion. Watts has more than 30 years of experience in civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sectors. A graduate of Tennessee State University, she was one of the first Title IX coordinators in the U.S. at the Office for Civil Rights.

She served for more than 12 years as the executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and in numerous other leadership positions in Illinois and Kentucky, including special adviser to the chair at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission responsible for state and local relations and the first executive director of the National Fair Housing Training Academy, and in 2005 was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Nashville native was appointed the executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.

Today’s Power of Inclusion Awards luncheon featured a keynote presentation by Janessa Cox-Irvin, global head of Diversity and Inclusion for Alliance Bernstein, and Pat Harris, former global chief diversity officer for McDonald’s and author, in an intimate discussion about the challenges of the past, those we face today and the difference we can all make for the future.

Nashville Cable is Tennessee’s largest and most established network of professionals with nearly 500 members and a 30-year history of helping women reach their full potential. The organization’s mission of ‘Connecting Women and Opportunity’ has shaped its networking programs and advocacy initiatives, and created a forward-thinking infrastructure for expansion nationally. Cable’s hallmark initiative, Women on Corporate Boards, is dedicated to increasing numbers of women on Tennessee corporate boards and in the executive suite, and to helping lead that movement nationally. Cable is a member of the InterOrganization Network, an alliance of 15 women’s organizations with a common mission across the United States. This provides a national context for benchmarking research and enhances CABLE’s resources to effect positive change in Tennessee.