At her core, Molly Blankenship is passionate about helping people realize their full potential and has a strong desire to drive change and community progress.
As Head of People for Xpress Technologies, she has held roles such as Co-Founder and Board Chair, Community Advancement Manager, Vice President of Talent Initiatives, and most recently, Executive Director of Chattanooga 2.0.
Molly has always been fascinated with community progress and how government, non-profit, and business intersect to solve tough challenges. Her parents, both attorneys in private practice, instilled in her the value of service to other people and service to the community.
“I have a deep desire to leave the world better than I found it and to work in service of something greater than myself.” said Blankenship, who was named a Forbes “30 Under 30” for 2021.
Earlier in her career, Molly served in Washington, D.C. to help communities across the country tackle tough challenges. She soon felt the need to take her efforts right to the communities she hoped to serve. “I wanted to walk the walk on the work I thought was important and have that level of investment in a community I called home.” It was then that Molly fell in love with Chattanooga and felt a great responsibility to help the community reach its full potential.Chattanooga became Blankenship’s home as her work became an opportunity to see how the community could come together to achieve great things.
“I feel a great responsibility to create systems in our community and our country so that everyone has a real chance of fully reaping the benefits of their life and reaching their full potential.”
Molly is intrinsically motivated to solve problems and has a passion for empowering others to seek solutions within her work community. There is a larger mission that drives her career development, but what gets Molly to the door each morning are her relationships with her coworkers, her community, and striving to help them succeed. When asked what advice she would give to young professionals, Molly had great insight to share. Her first piece of advice is to “Lead a limit embracing life.” She has seen many young professionals in “paralysis by analysis” in their career, and Molly believes it’s all about making the first choice. “Be bold enough to walk through the open door that presents itself because when you do, more doors will open, and the path will begin to unfold before you.”
“Consistently and rigorously cultivate your confidence and authenticity.”
Research shows the most effective leaders are authentic and willing to be vulnerable. Molly believes that developing a network, growing equity in your workplace, and advancing in your career are all predicated on your willingness to lean into those traits is important. This piece of advice reflects how Molly intends to lead as Head of People for Xpress Technologies.
“The impact that private employers have on community, family, and on people’s lives is really where the greatest opportunity for change and progress lies.”
Molly learned about U.S. Xpress through the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and was excited by the opportunity to participate in the company’s transformation. She sensed a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion that she was eager to be a part of.As the Head of People, Molly strives to position Xpress Technologies as a workplace of choice and a leader on what the future of work looks like. She plans to take the vision and strategy for the company and translate that into a culture that employees can sense, feel, and articulate.
When she isn’t serving the community, you can find Molly playing with her daughter Margot, a vivacious 7-year-old who loves to sing, dance, and act - just as her mother did before her. Molly grew up on the stage and, as a teenager, studied at a conservatory program at the Atlantic Theatre in New York. The skills she learned in her upbringing as a child actor have been intrinsically valuable in her career. Other accolades include her recent recognition in Chatter Magazine’s 20 under 40, Forbes 30 under 30, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Leads Fellow, and Leadership Tennessee.
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