Carolyn Hardy Named Chairman of the Greater Memphis Chamber

Release date: 11/24/2015

Memphis, TN--Business leader, Carolyn Hardy, has been named Chairman of the Board for the Greater Memphis Chamber, through a unanimous vote by her fellow directors.  Hardy, who is President & CEO of Chism Hardy Investments, LLC, assumes this position Wednesday, December 9 at the Chamber’s Annual Chairman’s Luncheon at The Peabody Memphis.  As Chairman of the Board, Hardy is charged with upholding the mission of the Chamber and supporting its economic development efforts. She fills the position of outgoing Chairman, Leigh Shockey, Chairman & CEO of Drexel Chemical Company.

“Carolyn is the perfect choice to take over the reins as Chairman of the Board,” said Leigh Shockey, Chairman & CEO, Drexel Chemical Company and current Chair of the Chamber’s Board. “She has an impressive record of leading successful efforts and collaborating with many organizations. We’re lucky to not only have her in Memphis but to have her as the Chamber’s next board Chair.”

Hardy has been involved with the Chamber for years as a board of director, a Chairman’s Circle member and has been a leading force in workforce development, founding the “Industrial Readiness Training” program that Southwest Tennessee Community College uses today. This program has now trained thousands of unemployed or underemployed Memphians and has expanded to community colleges across the country.

“I’m honored to serve as Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, a group of dedicated business leaders whom I’ve had the privilege of working beside for years to make Memphis great,” said Carolyn Hardy, President & CEO of Chism Hardy Investments. “The Chamber has become very focused in the last couple of years on growing our middle class, bringing good jobs to Memphis and creating an environment of collaborative success among our leaders. My priority as Chairman is to keep that momentum going.”

“Memphis wouldn’t be where it is today without Carolyn’s leadership,” said Phil Trenary, President & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber. “She will make sure we stay on the path to drive significant growth in Memphis.”

Hardy began her career at the J. M. Smucker Company, successfully managing the Finance, Quality, and Human Resources Departments before becoming the first African American female plant manager. After a successful career at Smuckers, she served as vice president of services at Honeywell-POMS Corporation, responsible for domestic and international software implementations. She then joined Coors Brewing Company, becoming the first African American female vice president and general manager of a major brewery serving the southeastern U.S.  In 2006, she founded Hardy Bottling, the first African American female-owned major brewery with a 100-million-case annual capacity, which she sold in 2011 to City Brewing. In 2007, Hardy started her intermodal business with the first terminal in Memphis. In 2012, Hardy and daughters Jennifer and Whitney, founded Henderson Transloading Services which transloads grains and other bulk materials, serving Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and the boot hill of Missouri.
Hardy is a native Memphian and a graduate of Melrose High School and of the University of Memphis, where she received her BBA and MBA.  Additionally, she is a certified public accountant (CPA).
For more than 175 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been the lead economic development organization for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,200 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.