Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce is Gearing up to Welcome DDBS Guests


Greater Louisville Inc., or GLI, the Metro Chamber of Commerce, has a lot to be proud of. Bringing businesses together, bolstering economic opportunities throughout the Louisville region, fostering diverse, home-grown talent, and attracting more skilled professionals to the Derby City are just some of the things they do. 

This year, GLI is proud to sponsor the Derby Diversity & Business Summit for the second year running.  The partnership has proved beneficial to both organizations. Cross pollination has bloomed into a relationship of mutual support. 

Last year’s involvement has already borne fruit, deepening connections among diverse business owners within Louisville and the business community at large, and strengthening GLI’s effort to attract deep and diverse talent to the city through efforts such as their Live in Lou initiative. 

Being a DDBS sponsor means members of GLI attend the summit at a discounted rate. Attendees gain access to numerous Best in Class diverse business owners from across the country who generate more than 10M in yearly revenue. Having GLI at the summit means business owners can tap into Louisville’s unique and growing marketplace. It all happens while focusing on diversity and having a great time doing it.

Business leaders who attend DDBS have opportunities to connect to GLI’s community of over 1,600 investors. The Metro Chamber works as a facilitator, growing prospects for employment and drawing investors’ attention to the numerous community benefits that make the metro rife for investment. 

Lower startup costs are one thing that makes Louisville stand out. Louisville not only is affordable, said GLI’s director of talent attraction, retention & development, Christine Tarquinio, but, “in Louisville, in particular, you can serve on a board really easily.” That ability to make a difference is a key point in attracting the talents of a diverse workforce for whom community involvement is central.

“Our role as the chamber is to make connections,” she said. GLI returns the investment to their member businesses. “Whether we’re fighting for their interests in Frankfort or in Washington D.C., whether we’re working to attract talent to try and fill the positions they need,” or facilitating connections among them, “our goal is to help our local businesses get as strong as they possibly can.”

That means bringing the energy of national, diverse-owned businesses into the city. “Involvement in the summit is a natural thing for us,” she said, “because diversity is critical to the future of businesses. Now, more than ever, this is something that’s top of mind for a lot of businesses and organizations.”

“Our economic community is at its strongest when a variety of different perspectives and approaches shape our path forward,” said Rebecca Wood, vice president of investor growth and retention with Greater Louisville Inc. Diversity is central to a number of the chamber’s initiatives and programs.

“One initiative that we are incredibly excited about is a partnership with the University of Louisville,” said Wood. The Consult MBA program launches in February. In partnership with “a group of highly talented MBA students,” GLI is broadening its diverse business strategies to benefit diverse businesses in our community.

The chamber has been working to bring diverse business leaders to its board, which has led to this year’s launch of the Diversity and Inclusion Event Series. Hosted in three parts, the series will focus on successful diversity programs in our community and furthering outreach among its member businesses.

What that means for the diverse movers and shakers of the business world who attend the summit is ready connections to local opportunities, talent, and ideas. DDBS shows the best Louisville has to offer, and GLI plays a big part in that.

“We all know, a warm handoff is worth 25 cold calls for a sales professional,” said Wood. The GLI staff works to make connections that help businesses thrive, through introductions and over 60 yearly events that grow our community. “With so many benefits to choose from, connecting with GLI can open the door to forging beneficial connections in the region that are right for your business,” she said.

GLI Chief Operating Officer Sarah Davasher-Wisdom will be giving the welcome speech at the summit’s opening reception to welcome attendees to Louisville and to the summit, kicking off a week of meaningful connections and conversations furthering GLI and DDBS’s shared diversity initiatives.

Laurel Kemper