Chattanooga Announces New Leadership Class and Protégé Cohort Members

Austin Corcoran and Josué Vega

Leadership is an important part of any city, and Chattanooga is chock full of it. It’s always exciting when we get to group leaders together, and put them to work with networking and brainstorming. Add in the opportunity to train new leaders, and we have a veritable tour de force. That’s why it’s so exciting that two of the Chattanooga Chamber’s local leadership classes have announced their new members for the 2021-2022 year.

The Leadership Chattanooga class has its members connect with our community while learning about what it means to lead. Through monthly sessions, community focused projects, and the opportunity to explore community issues as a part of developing skills, participants graduate with a fresh understanding of our community’s strengths and challenges, and how we can all be a part of solutions.

“Leadership Chattanooga brings people together to expand perspectives and understanding so that we can strengthen our community,” says A. Celeste Herbert, LC Class of 2014 & 2021 LCAA Board President. “We are proud to have built collaborative leadership capacity by matriculating more than 1,300 professionals through the program over the years and we look forward to developing the Class of 2022 to connect and engage across the region to address the challenges and opportunities we face.”

The program year kicks off in August with an orientation and two-day retreat, with monthly sessions beginning in September and culminating with a graduation in May 2022.

“Class members have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Greater Chattanooga Area landscape and develop the broad and inclusive mindset needed for community stewardship,” says Austin Corcoran, Chamber Manager of Talent Attraction & Retention. “We are excited to welcome this year’s diverse group of leaders to an intensive community and professional leadership experience we know will prepare them to succeed in prominent business and cultural and political roles by providing them quality time to dive into the challenges facing our community.”

Similarly, The Young Professionals of Chattanooga (YPC) class is a diverse group of early and mid-career professionals representing a variety of industry sectors across the Chattanooga region including government, hospitality, business and financial operations, nonprofit, professional services, engineering and more.

“If you are a young professional looking for ways to gain new skills or improve on a current skill, connect with other like-minded young professionals, and connect with leaders in the community then Protégé is for you,” says Shawnice Beard, 2020 Protege Graduate, 2021-22 Protege Committee Chair & 2021-22 YPC Advisory Board Member. “I was able to build relationships with both my peers and mentors and gain valuable knowledge. Protégé helped me in many ways, and I wanted to give back. I am now serving on the Young Professionals of Chattanooga board and serving as Protégé Chair.”

Designed to help emerging talent develop their professional and civic leadership skills, Protégé Chattanooga is an immersive, team-based mentoring program. Over the course of nine months, participants will connect with their peers and distinguished community mentors to develop and enhance their potential as emerging business and civic leaders in the Chattanooga area. 

“Protégé Chattanooga offers a space to connect with other young professionals and is a space to reflect upon their career paths,” says Corcoran. “We are excited to welcome this year’s diverse group of protégés to a mentorship program we know will advance their professional strengths and skills by providing them quality time with some of Chattanooga’s top leaders.”

We look forward to seeing what trails are blazed by these fresh leaders. Congratulations to the incoming classes!


Members of the 2021-22 Leadership Chattanooga class:

Alayna Best, McKenzie Foundation

Shadrina Booker, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga

Brittany Carman, Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough PLLC

Crystle Carrion, Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office

Jason Corley, Duracell

Logan Davis, Davis & Hoss, P.C.

Michelle Davis, LearningRx

Deanne Dawes, Dawes Hospitality

Ross Dillard, Unum Group

Alan Doak, Elliott Davis

Anthony Easter, City of Chattanooga 

Scott Embry, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Whitney Evans Snardon, Parkridge Medical Center

Erin Farris, Crye-Leike Realtors

John Freeze, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Lindsey Gallaher, Christ United Methodist Church

David Goodloe, Branch Technology 

Meghan Greene, A Step Ahead Chattanooga 

Angela Hester, Signal Centers, Inc.

Dawn Hjelseth, River City Company

Taylor Hodges, Reliance Partners

Kirby Johnson, MarkeTeam

Micah Johnson, Bridge Public Affairs

Ternae Jordan Jr, Mt. Canaan Baptist Church / NAÉJOR Enterprise, LLC

Ginny Kelly, Bad Beard Events

Walter Lindsey, Unity One East, Inc.

Angela Love, EPB

Carlin McRae, Ruby  Falls

Mary Helen Montgomery, The Enterprise Center 

Robert Morris, Tennessee Valley Authority 

Tiffany Palmer, Volkswagen Group of America 

Sean Phipps, Chattanooga Tourism Company

Kia Ruffin, Cempa Community Care

Lily Sanchez, La Paz Chattanooga

Murphy Sauceman, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Melody Shekari, Shekari Law PLLC

Aletheia Silcott, Astec Industries 

Josh R. Singh, The Bethlehem Center

Karen Sloan, CHI Memorial Foundation

Tamara Steward, Tennessee Valley Authority 

Takeo Suzuki, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Kurt Thomas, Market Street Partners

Logan Threadgill, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. 

Jacquelyn Webb, McKee Foods Corporation 

Gregory Williams, U.S. Xpress


Members of the 2021-22 Protégé Chattanooga cohort:

Jessica Bastianelli, United Way of Greater Chattanooga

Felicia Beard, Volunteer Behavioral Health

Chelsea Beebe, LEO Events

Gisela Bellina, The Local Juicery

Nathaniel Bird, Ragan Smith

Conni Boykins, The Patten Group

Kyle Briner, Henderson, Hutcherson, & McCullough, PLLC

Erika Burnett, Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga

Kaelan Byrd, Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy

Dustin Carlton, Bellhop, Inc.

Jonathan Finlay, Elliott Davis

Paden Janney, Bellhop, Inc.

Nicholas Jimmerson, Tennessee Valley Authority

Abby Kinnard, Legacy Box

Timothy Moore, Proof Incubator

Angela Onan, Tennessee Valley Authority

Scott Rannick, FirstBank

Matthew Rava, Brakes To You

Kimberly Smith, City of Chattanooga

Danika Veldkamp, InfoSystems, Inc.

Danica Vince Cruz, DVC Media

Emma Wolfenbarger, Husch Blackwell

Jacob Wuertz, Whiteboard

Jessica York, Text Request

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