Knoxville Chamber of Commerce
Wesley Smith will have the unique opportunity to serve with three different partner organizations during his time as an American Connection Corps fellow. A recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, Wesley will continue to live and work in Knoxville with the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Knoxville Community Development Corporation, and the Knoxville Education Foundation.
Wesley will coordinate activities between the groups as the Broadband Project Coordinator. In this multifaceted role, Wesley looks forward to participating in the collaboration between these three organizations in what he sees as a “crash course in being able to get things done at the local level with high value stakeholder participation.” In his words, “each organization serves the local community in a bit of a different way,” which gives him the chance to see how they all can come together to accomplish a shared goal. He’ll assist in the advancement of Knox County’s broadband development efforts and connect members of the community to broadband benefits and programs.
Wesley hopes to bring together a civil rights-oriented vision with the professional practice of community development, and sees his American Connection Corps fellowship as an opportunity to work with groups aligned with his own views on such a critical issue. He approaches his work by “tak[ing] the opportunity to listen, asking the community what it needs rather than transposing our own ideas of what success looks like.”