Adena White has been named the editor of Conway Publications for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.
White has served as the Chamber’s director of communications since 2011.
In her new part-time role, White will oversee the production of the Chamber’s publications. That includes the North Metro Business Journal, a monthly update on the local business community, and Conway+, an annual, comprehensive guide to the Conway area that provides information and updates on the local economy, education, health care, real estate, arts and culture, annual events, outreach and more.
The new role also includes a partnership between the Chamber and Blackbelt Media, a company White created to highlight the stories and rich culture of Black southerners. Through the partnership, Blackbelt Media will help the Chamber focus more on Conway’s diverse business community.
Since its inception in 2017, Blackbelt Media has established a successful blog and a nationally recognized podcast, Blackbelt Voices, that focuses on topics like census canvassing, Jim Crow and current racial tensions in the U.S. The podcast has garnered more than 175,000 downloads and recognition from The Oprah Magazine and Vanity Fair for being one of the top podcasts in the country for Black stories and history.
White said she wants Blackbelt Media to help show the significant role minority-owned businesses play in Conway and tell the stories of community leaders who are people of color.
“Part of the role of nonprofits like the Chamber is to communicate for the good of the community and racial equity has to be a part of that,” she said. “We began that process last year with our #ListenConway campaign, by using the phrase #BlackLivesMatter, and by sharing the experiences of Black community members in Conway. That was our first step.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion was identified in a community survey as one of 14 priorities to address in the Chamber’s Conway2035 strategic plan. This makes it the right time, White said, for organizations like the Chamber to focus more on these issues to move Conway forward.
“A lot of times, the big, social changes happen at home and, right now, there are so many opportunities to tell stories and make a difference in the community,” White said. “In the decade I have spent at the Chamber, I have always seen the potential we have to uplift and empower these communities that play such a vital role in a city like Conway.”