By: Zenani Johnson, Equality of Opportunity Coordinator, Florida Chamber Foundation
I am writing to each of you, partners and stakeholders of the Florida Chamber Foundation, with tremendous excitement. I recently joined the Foundation team of the Florida Chamber of Commerce as the Equality of Opportunity Coordinator. In this job, I will work with Kyle Baltuch, Senior Vice President of Equality of Opportunity, to assist the Florida Chamber Foundation’s collective efforts to cut childhood poverty in half by 2030 while implementing system change to create pathways toward prosperity for all Floridians; work to unite the Florida business community to ensure that all third-graders read at grade level by 2030; and uncover the pockets of success in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and turn them into patterns of excellence across businesses within Florida.
When I was interviewing for this position, I expressed my desire to give back to the state that has poured into me. That is exactly what I can do in this capacity!
The focus on reducing poverty, guaranteeing enough resources for today’s youth, and ensuring that ALL Floridians – regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or other factors – have an equal chance for achieved success is more than just a worthy goal, it’s a mission worth living each and every day.
These are not just worthwhile initiatives, but I believe they will change the lives of young people in Florida and beyond.
To give you a little about my background, I was born and raised on the Southside of Tallahassee. I’ve witnessed personally the negative effects of poverty on not only your neighborhood but also your family and friends. Not having the same access or opportunities as other children can set you behind, as well as affect your overall confidence and quality of life. I would not be writing to you today if it were not for the support of my family, mentors, and others ready and willing to guide me. My life has been a testament to the saying “it takes a village.”
After several years, I am finally in a position to pay it forward, and I fully intend to do so in my new role. In closing, I leave you with this quote, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”-Margaret Mead.
I am excited to work with each of you in our mission to be a catalyst for positive change and secure Florida’s future.
Zenani D. Johnson,
Equality of Opportunity Coordinator
Florida Chamber Foundation