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Cable presents 2014 Power of Inclusion awards

14 May 2014 10:11 PM |


Vanderbilt University’s Janet Rachel, Progress Inc. and Nissan recognized for diversity commitment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Cable recognized a local individual, non-profit organization and business for their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Middle Tennessee community with the 2014 Power of Inclusion awards. Janet Rachel, a human resources and diversity professional at Vanderbilt University, Progress Inc., which serves adults with disabilities and senior adults needing care, and Nissan, received the 2014 honors at the Cable luncheon on May 14 at the Music City Center.

The ninth Power of Inclusion awards acknowledge individuals and corporations who “walk the talk” with their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the local community. The honor is awarded by Nashville Cable, a network of more than 500 local professionals committed to connecting women and opportunity.

“The Power of Inclusion is an important event for Cable, representing a connectedness with our mission,” Cable President Donna Yurdin said. “We are honored to celebrate those individuals and organizations who are embracing the importance of reaching out proactively to their internal and external communities to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The individual Power of Inclusion award 

This awards recognizes a person who demonstrates his or her passion and commitment to inclusion through the use of personal influence, knowledge and resources to ensure an inclusive environment in their personal and professional lives.

Rachel works within organizations to create and manage a diverse and inclusive work culture. She serves as Vanderbilt’s talent acquisition manager for diversity, relocation and career navigation where she develops and implements strategies to attract and retain diverse talent, provides transition and career coaching and manages the dual career and relocation programs.

Rachel graduated with honors from Tennessee State University and began her career as a management trainee with First American National Bank. She became the first woman of color on the executive committee when she progressed to senior vice president during her 22-year tenure. Her work impacted the advancement of diversity in the financial industry and the community. She has been acknowledged for her leadership by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, the YWCA, CES Youth about Business, INROADS, Urban Bankers and 100 Black Women. In 2000, Rachel was recognized as a “Woman Making History in Tennessee” by The Tennessean newspaper for mentoring and expanding opportunities for women.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Rachel served as associate vice president for human resources at Meharry Medical College, senior manager for global diversity at Dell, compliance services manager for the Metro Human Relations Commission and she founded Rachel Consulting Services.

The non-profit Power of Inclusion award

This award recognizes an organization that promotes and facilitates equitable education, opportunity and social engagement with people from various backgrounds.

Progress Inc. was formed by a small group of concerned parents with a desire for their children to live independently. The non-profit agency has now provided daily activities and support staff to hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities for nearly 43 years. In 2009, Progress expanded its services by providing non-medical support to seniors in their own homes across Middle Tennessee. In 2013, Progress also founded a program for youths with intellectual disabilities – Camp Progress.

The business Power of Inclusion award

This award recognizes a business that values and demonstrates commitment to diversity through intentional strategies based on accountability, succession planning, strong inclusion practices, ongoing evaluation of recruitment/retention activities, and community outreach and empowerment.

Nissan North America’s commitment to diversity is core to its mission. Nissan believes diversity represents a competitive edge, and a strong environment of inclusiveness. Employees represent varied cultures, backgrounds and generations, thus representing strengths and talents that can be leveraged within our organization. With leadership out of the Americas Diversity Office, the results speak for themselves.

  • 2014 HRC Corporate Equality Index – Best Places to Work
  • 2014 Diversity Inc’s Top 25 – Nissan named “Noteworthy Company”
  • 10 percent of Nissan North America employees are Business Synergy Team members
  • 36% of Nissan’s workforce are from diverse backgrounds
  • 70% of management have completed “Championing Diversity” training
  • 13 – Number of Business Synergy Teams across Nissan North America

Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, chair of Cable’s Power of Inclusion committee, said: “We are thrilled to recognize an individual, a non-profit and a corporation for their exemplary examples of inclusiveness in their various activities. They serve as role models for us all.”

About Nashville Cable  

Nashville Cable is Tennessee’s largest and most established network of professionals with more than 500 members and a 35-year history of helping women reach their full potential. The organization’s mission of “Moving Women Forward” has shaped its networking programs and advocacy initiatives and created a forward-thinking infrastructure to effect positive change. Cable’s hallmark initiative is Women on Corporate Boards (WoCB), with key programs also including The ATHENA Awards, the Cable Civil Leadership program in partnership with Lipscomb University and the Power of Inclusion Awards and luncheon. For information about Cable, please visit