Leadership Chattanooga is a 10-month leadership development program that allows local professionals opportunities to learn more about and engage with the community where they live and work. Leadership Chattanooga has been a launching pad for the careers and civic impact of some of Chattanooga’s most prominent professionals. We’re here to share their stories and catch up on what’s happened since they completed the program.
This month, Gena Ellis, Relationship Coach at First Things First and 2022 LCAA Board President, shares insights on the importance of being yourself and the first step in getting involved in your community.
Trend: When did you graduate from Leadership Chattanooga?
Trend: Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for fun?
Ellis: I am proud to be a native of Savannah, Georgia. I am happily married to my husband, Edward. We are the proud parents of 3 awesome young men. I am a football fanatic. It doesn’t matter if it’s high school, college, or professional. I will be watching. For fun, I like to lunch and brunch with friends. I am an avid reader.
Trend: Name one way you have impacted the community in your space.
Ellis: I try to be a conduit of information.
Trend: What drew you to the Leadership Chattanooga program when you applied?
Ellis: The opportunity to learn more about Chattanooga and to interact with people.
Trend: How has your career been impacted by the program?
Ellis: My career has been impacted by the program because it’s invaluable to recognize that you can lead from the seat you are in. You don’t have to wait to move up the ranks to be a leader.
Trend: You’re a highly successful contributor to the Chattanooga community. What practices do you follow that help you achieve success?
Ellis: Be authentically you. Be open to hearing someone else’s perspective. When dealing with seemingly difficult people, I remember my favorite quote: “Behind every attitude, there is a story.”
Trend: What advice would you give someone who is looking for ways to become more connected to the community?
Ellis: Start where you are. My first place of community involvement in Chattanooga was at Battle Academy, my sons’ elementary school.
Nominations for the Leadership Chattanooga Class of 2022-23 are now open. Nominate experienced leaders before March 1, here.
Learn more about Leadership Chattanooga, here.