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October 22, 2021

Pam Chatman

Shaw native works 

to better community

by Aimee Robinette

The Bolivar Bullet

Pam Chatman is a force to be reckoned with. This native of Shaw noticed that jobs were fairly scarce in the Delta and set out to help others keep food on the table.

Better known as “Boss Lady”, Chatman formed Boss Lady Economic Planning and Development Workforce Transportation. “Boss Lady, stands for Bold, Optimistic, Successful, Sister,” said Chatman. “I set my mind and heart on helping other women on creating more opportunities for all women to have a seat at the table to collaborate on ways to build and improve on economic development growth here in the Delta. It was through that development of Boss Lady that the corporate office of ‘Coca-Cola’ out of Atlanta partnered with me to be a 5by20 Ambassador for the Southeastern area.”

Chatman created the organization to assist women and men to find workforce and transportation opportunities with sustainable salaries. Chatman works with businesses and industries to recruit, create and develop workforce transportation initiatives throughout Mississippi and since the creation of the initiative shehas worked with Fortune 500 companies such as FedEx Express (Memphis) and FedEx Ground (Olive Branch). 

Since then, Chatman has been able to assist in creating over 3,000-plus workforce transportation jobs with sustainable salaries, benefits and free transportation to and from work at both locations. 

“The workforce transportation project started in Cleveland in December 2018,” said Chatman. “We have since added three more cities –  Indianola, Greenville and Clarksdale. We are in the process of working with other industries locally and regionally to create more opportunities for rural communities.”

Chatman, who shares the same birthday as civil rights  leader Fannie Lou Hamer and was honored with the  Harriet Tubman Award by the Mississippi Bar Association, first made her name in the media industry.  “I was Mississippi’s first black woman news director,” said Chatman. “I worked in the news industry For 20-plus years at both news stations here in the Delta: WABG and WXVT.”

She is finding just as much success in her latest venture. 

“Recently, we received a report from FedEx Ground that from August to December 2020 they hired 1,500 applicants from the Indianola workforce transportation project and how thankful that those hires helped them have a successful peak season,” said Chatman. “Since that announcement, I now have plans to meet  with an industry headhunter out of Tennessee, who heard about what I had created.  Hopefully, that will assist me with locating distribution facilities and warehouses to come to the Delta. 

Chatman said she is committed to helping folks in the Delta help themselves by assisting them with better opportunities and better housing, and by bringing in the people and organizations who can help provide them with the tools and necessities to help themselves.” 

Chatman co-chairs on a state committee called the “Project of Hope.” 

“The purpose of that organization is to find and discuss policies that can help children and the whole family for better livelihood,” she explained. 

Recently, Chatman was selected to participate in the Bennie G. Thompson Delta Leadership 2021 Initiative. 

“I will go through seven months of leadership training as well as take a trip to Washington D.C. to do an in-person immersion,” she said. “Along with that training,  I will be a part of the Reuben V. Anderson Center for Justice project that will focus on the Food Justice EBT Initiative.” 

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