About Us

Our Mission & Vision

Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute exists to increase the leadership capabilities and influence of women. Contribute to the growth and stability of the Greater Chattanooga business and civic community through the broad range of women’s talents and perspectives.

Our Guiding Values

We believe women leaders are a critical voice in the community.

We believe women’s perspectives and discernment make a difference and improve all aspects of work and life.

We believe it is important to help women develop their full potential.

We promote that women will be compensated equitably.

We honor diverse perspectives.

We value the company of women and encourage deeper, authentic connections among women.

Together we empower, celebrate, elevate, and advocate for one another.


CWLI Stands Against Racism

Like you, Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute mourns the loss of the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor as well as the profiling of Chris Cooper. These are just the latest, and most publicized, examples of racism and police violence in this country. Their stories have reminded us to examine our position in this community and evaluate where we go from here.

The significance of this moment requires that we acknowledge our failures in not doing enough to shape the conversation around race in our community to this point. If we believe that women are the nucleus for social and economic change, then we should be bolder in our approach to this issue.

The CWLI board of directors believes it is within our mission to use the CWLI platform to foster critical conversations regarding antiracism and take what we learn and put it into action. In 2020 we adopted FORward as our program theme for CWLI. We continue to see ways where defining what we are FOR needs to look different in order to realize systemic change.

We commit to accelerating our focus on inclusive representation throughout our organization. Additionally, we have already begun work on curating what we are calling a Civil Engagement series. We want to see civil discourse and civic engagement galvanized in this community and we embrace our responsibility to lead in this space in solidarity with others working toward reform. We hope you will join with us in our efforts.

Let’s move FORward Together.
– CWLI Board of Directors

Our Team

We are a tenacious and passionate team – focused on the growth of women’s leadership in our local Chattanooga area and nationally.

Sharayah Caouette

Sharayah Caouette

Director of Operations and Programs

Stacey Nolan, M.Ed.

Stacey Nolan, M.Ed.

Marketing and Membership Coordinator

2023 Board of Directors 

Julie Davis | Chair
Raymond James

Emily Ramsey | Vice Chair
J. Smith Lanier & Company, a MMA Company

Joyce Ann Mattice | Treasurer
ELD Associates

Karen Estes | Secretary

Autumn Witt-Boyd | Immediate Past Chair
Law Offices of Autumn Witt-Boyd

Marj Flemming | Director Emeritus

Shannon Millsaps
Thrive Community Partnership

Leanna Young
First Bank

Our History

The Women’s Leadership Institute was initiated in 1996 with informal gatherings regarding the small number of women in leadership positions in the Chattanooga community, especially the relatively few women holding executive level positions in companies or elective and appointive offices in local government.  Additionally, a movement began to form an organization where women leaders could interact with each other more productively and could bring forward a new “generation” of women leaders.  In 1998, CWLI became a nonprofit organization.

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