Engagement and Advocacy with and within Diverse Communities
Panelists:Anthony Byrd, Jocelyn Loza, Miles Huff, H. Maria Noel, and tom kunesh
Chattanooga City Councilman Anthony Byrd is an action-oriented, innovative go-getter that is passionate about investing in People. Prior to becoming a councilman, he served in his role at Hamilton County General Sessions Court for over 20 years, fighting for human rights and civil liberties for those without a public voice. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga, Byrd is a property owner and developer that understands the people of his community. Councilman Byrd realized his love for his hometown as a young boy and understood the importance of community and being a positive example. Since the age of 6, he has been actively involved in doing his part to make Chattanooga greater. He received the Key to the City at the tender age of 13 from then Chattanooga Mayor, Gene Roberts, along with his group, The Happy Clowns, for their hard work and dedication against the war on drugs. With over 20 years of public service experience, Councilman Byrd continues to pursue his passion for bringing positive change to his community by devoting time and energy to listen to the masses and not only the classes. As a city council member for District 8, which includes the UTC community, Mr. Byrd works for the continued improvement to the city's approaches to neighborhood funding and infrastructure so that all citizens can be proud of their communities and schools. His goal is "To make all of District 8 exceptionally livable whether - you live in Avondale or in Downtown Chattanooga." Councilman Byrd currently serves as the chair of the Council's Economic and Community Development Committee for 2018-2019. He previously served as chair of the Council's Public Safety Committee from 2017-2018.
By day, Jocelyn Loza is the marketing and public relations manager for the Tennessee Child Care Resource & Referral Network, where she oversees all marketing programs, digital marketing campaigns, and brand management. By night/weekends, she manages her own marketing agency, Hoopla Marketing Now where she helps small and medium size companies with their marketing goals. As a 10-year marketing and public relations industry veteran, she has developed branding and marketing strategies for nonprofits and large brands. Jocelyn’s greatest strengths are her creativity, drive and relationship development. She thrives on challenges, particularly those where she can apply a creative but disciplined approach. Jocelyn has committed herself in serving her community through several endeavors, most notably, she founded the first organization that caters specifically to Latinas, Latina Professionals of Chattanooga, she also seats on the board of the Office of Multicultural Affairs for the City of Chattanooga, Board Connector and the American Advertising Federation of Chattanooga. Jocelyn graduated Summa Cum Laude from Andrews University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and foreign languages and magna cum laude from Walden University with a master’s degree in marketing. In 2010, she relocated to Chattanooga from Chicago with her husband and their two daughters.
Miles Huff was born in the hills of eastern Kentucky in Harlan County, and is proud to have been born and raised in Appalachia. Miles settled down in Chattanooga after grad school after falling in love with the city and is now proud to call it home. Miles attended Lee University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology, and his graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling. Miles worked as a therapist for nearly a decade before shifting directions and entering the corporate world, working in benefits and HR. Currently, Miles oversees Community Relations for Unum’s Chattanooga campus, including volunteerism, community engagement and corporate giving. Miles serves as the co-lead for the LGBTQ+ employee resource group at Unum, and is active in the community as a volunteer. Miles is a Conservation Ambassador for Lula Lake Land Trust, serves on the Regional Advisory Council for Susan G. Komen, and acts as a host for Dining out for Life benefitting Cempa Community Foundation. Miles is also a regular participant in Dare to Drag, benefitting the Kidney Foundation, is an alumnus of Leadership Chattanooga and is currently a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools.
In July 2012, Maria Noel became the first person to serve as Director of African American Business Development at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. Her role expanded in 2015 to Director of Diversity & Inclusion, where she currently leads the Chamber’s economic inclusion strategy, which is: To foster a welcoming and inclusive business community where diversity is celebrated. Prior to joining the Chamber, she managed a revitalization program that incentivized developers of 75 downtown area commercial buildings. Over 1,000 new jobs were created and over $450 million invested in construction and wages. She also helped City and County leaders secure over $3 million in federal grants to revitalize hazardous sites in low-income communities and provide job training for residents. Her business experience includes more than 25 years in marketing, public relations, and communications – including serving as Chattanooga’s first black female newspaper reporter. Maria has consulted with Latin American leaders in Guatemala and at national conferences on community revitalization through visioning and grassroots input. She served on a statewide taskforce that created policies for recruiting grocery stores into Food Deserts; was a mayoral appointee to CARTA’s Board of Directors; and was a 1987 graduate of Leadership Chattanooga. In 2015, Maria was presented a Passion for Diversity Award from Volkswagen Group of America Inc.-Chattanooga Operations LLC, for her efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
tom kunesh is an historic preservationist active with the resistance to save the AfricanAmerican Lincoln Park community and Native American protohistoric Citico site from City, Erlanger & University plans to build a road through it and gentrify the area. kunesh was largely responsible for UTC’s change of mascot (with the Chattanooga InterTribal Association) and the preservation of Moccasin Bend as a now federally-protected Native American site. He has an MA in Religious Studies from Minnesota and an MDiv from Berkeley, and works on taking care of Chickamauga Mound, the city’s oldest human construct.