Member Spotlight for Women's History Month: Karen Chan of Harvest Hands

March is Women's History Month, a nationally declared dedication honoring women's contributions to American history, culture, and society. Since 1987, Women's History Month has served as a reminder to amplify women’s impact on the past, present, and future.

During and beyond Women's History Month, the Chamber is committed to supporting women in business in Middle Tennessee at every stage of their career. Each week for the month of March, we'll highlight a female member whose life, work, and legacy embody the Chamber's mission: to create economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership.

Tell us about yourself! Who are you, what do you do, and what is your passion? Is there anything you want us to know about you?

I'm Karen Chan, and if you know me, you know I'm passionate about people. With different cultural and family backgrounds, I love remaining curious with people and engaging in relationships. I'm on the team at Harvest Hands and Humphreys Street. We are a community development corporation and social enterprise focused on empowering others and partnering with our neighbors in South Nashville.

What is Harvest Hands and what should we know about you?

Harvest Hands is on a journey for wholeness in South Nashville, working alongside our neighbors to further education, healthy living, spiritual formation, and economic development. Through our social enterprise, Humphreys Street, we raise leaders by creating jobs, providing mentorship opportunities, and teaching job skills that empower youth in areas like customer service, marketing, and craftsmanship.

What value do you see in Chamber involvement? How would you recommend getting involved at the Chamber?

Having previously been on staff at the Chamber, I am a huge advocate for all the Chamber does for our community. From opportunities to connect with leaders and opportunities to lead, the Chamber offers its members a plethora of ways to grow, develop and serve. Just like other memberships, I believe what you put in at the Chamber is what you get out. Find initiatives and programs at the Chamber that align with your interests, visions and passions. Be an engaged member.

What and who has inspired you professionally?

Where do I even begin with this? From mentors in the professional setting (Rita and Melia) to mentors in my volunteer settings (Erin and Kim) to mentors in my personal life (Olivia and Patti), I could go on and on about the people who've taken time to invest in my life and career. The short answer would be people and their professional and personal lives inspire me.

I'm immensely grateful for the people who have reminded me of my gifts, championed me in my successes, empowered me to lead and take initiative, and inspired me by their resilience and passion.

What is your best piece of advice for other businesswomen in the region?

Practice gratitude, in professional and personal settings. This is something I'm constantly reminding myself to do as well. Gratitude is a gift to others and yourself—empowering those around you and producing joy within yourself.

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