2017 Culture Shapers: The Empowerer, Chianti Cleggett

By Leigh Harper, October 5, 2017

Chianti Cleggett works in Birmingham, Alabama, as a national sales manager for the Greater Birmingham CVB. As a 2017 Culture Shaper, Cleggett discusses her passion for the events industry.

Chianti Cleggett knows what it’s like to work on both sides of event planning. Currently, the Greater Birmingham CVB sales manager is also preparing for the 10th annual Young Women’s Empowerment Conference.

“I decided to launch YWEC because I encountered many young ladies who had been taught by others that their dreams were unattainable,” she says. “These young women didn’t feel confident they could reach their potential because of their lack of resources, skin color, socioeconomic status or simply because no one validated their worth.”

At YWEC, teenage girls ages 14 to 19 engage with women from a variety of careers and are exposed to a broad range of fields. Participation fees are covered completely by sponsors, and teens travel from multiple states to attend. “Our mission is to boost their confidence, as well as to provide resources, skills and real-life examples of who they can be,” Cleggett says.

In 2010, Cleggett added an eight-month mentoring component to YWEC for young women who have attended at least one of the conferences. These teens receive one-on-one career guidance and also serve as YWEC ambassadors to spread the word about the conference to peers.

“I find myself being empowered through empowering [YWEC participants],” says Cleggett. “I continue to set new limits for myself because I dare not teach them to do things I am unwilling to do myself.”

At the CVB, Cleggett works to bring faith-based groups to her native Birmingham, Alabama. She’s recently worked with groups like The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ and National Baptist Convention of the USA, among others. She also volunteers with several civic groups serving her city, such as Birmingham Education Foundation. The “Birmingham Business Journal” named Cleggett one of Birmingham’s “Women to Watch” for 2017, the latest of her many honors.

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