IMPACT Leadership Dinner in its 16th Year

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.  – The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) is pleased to announce Lisa Sun, Founder and CEO of GRAVITAS, will keynote the 16th annual IMPACT Leadership Dinner, which will take place on September 9th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. CWLI is also proud to announce that Julie Davis and Sharon Law will serve as Co-Chairs for Impact 2021 as well the all day Symposium on September 10th from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center. 

2021 marks the 25th Anniversary of CWLI. The organization is celebrating this milestone by expanding its signature event to two days. “We have reimagined this event, scaling it to two days, to make it an outstanding resource to the Greater Chattanooga business community. Together, we are going to explore economic, social, and policy issues related to professional women. These tools will help us build a more equitable community where women can thrive. When women thrive, communities and companies profit,” said Kim Shumpert, CEO of CWLI. 

Lisa Sun is the founder and CEO of GRAVITAS, a revolutionary retail company with a global patent for building shapewear directly into dresses. Sun launched GRAVITAS as a “confidence company” that offers innovative apparel and styling solutions designed to makeover women from the inside-out. Two months after launch, her first collection was featured in O, The Oprah magazine, PEOPLE, and The TODAY Show in the same month. Sun and GRAVITAS have not slowed down since; she has been featured on CNN and in Forbes, Fast Company, New York magazine, Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle, and more.

Sun says of her brand, “I knew I needed gravitas to be successful in life and business. And so began my decade-long affair with achieving it. For me that meant being inspired by and inspiring my peers, and learning that the way I see myself can shape how I take on the day. To have gravitas is to be beyond doubt, and to instead own your moment.”

Prior to founding GRAVITAS, Sun spent 11 years at McKinsey & Company where she advised leading luxury, fashion and beauty brands and retailers in the US, Asia, Europe and Latin America on strategic and operational issues. At McKinsey, Sun was considered one of the firm’s top experts in the luxury and fashion space, Lisa published perspectives and gave keynote speeches at forums such as the American Express Luxury Summit. In many ways, Lisa “grew up” at McKinsey, being mentored by the firm’s best thinkers, learning from top executives, and having the privilege of leading teams of talented colleagues around the world. 

“Lisa embodies our 2021 theme:  Power,” said Tangela Johnson, Chair of the CWLI Board of Directors. “Women continue to face societal systems that make our ability to self-actualize challenging.  But in spite of this, we are working hard to gain ground and to Power Forward. Lisa Sun will share her exciting journey with us in ways that are both practical and aspirational. Her very relevant message will give our community of great women the inspiration and knowledge they need to continue to rise as powerful leaders and influencers.” Sun will also share how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the garment industry in New York and how GRAVITAS pivoted to build coalition among competitors to help the industry survive. 

Sun has always had a passion for style, for inclusivity, and for helping people look and feel their best, having been a size 22, a size 8, and now proudly a size 12. At every size and age, she has found creative ways to show off her style, having been named one of Washingtonian Magazine‘s Best Dressed Women. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with distinction in Biology and Political Science. Sun seamlessly blends stories from her personal journey with data and experience-driven insights from her years at McKinsey to encourage audiences to choose self-confidence, work to harness their “superpower,” and use gravitas to advance personally and professionally.

Following Sun’s Thursday Dinner keynote, the audience will enjoy a deeper dive with Kweillin Ellingrud, McKinsey & Company consultant and contributing author to multiple articles researching gender equity in the workplace, at the Friday luncheon keynote. Sun and Ellingrud were contemporaries whose time overlapped at McKinsey & Company. They will meld their insight with application across the two presentations. Together, they will demonstrate how equitable business practices deliver profitable outcomes. 

“IMPACT brings the value of awareness. It gives CWLI the stage for one night, and now one day, to show the region who we are, what we do, who we do it for and how important it is that we do it,” said Julie Davis, 2021 Impact Co-chair. “Lisa will bring value in her energy, her ‘real’ness, and the connection I believe she will make with CWLI and Chattanooga for a long time to come.” 

Julie Davis is a Financial Advisor and Partner with The Round Table Advisors of Raymond James. Davis has been a member of CWLI for six years and served in many leadership capacities including, Membership Committee Chair, Finance Committee Chair, Treasurer, Board Member and now most recently IMPACT Event 2021 Co-Chair. 

Co-chairing with Julie Davis is Sharon Law. Law is the Tennessee Regional Manager for Thompson Engineering and is based in the firm’s Chattanooga office. With a background in public relations, business development, and community relations, Law is responsible for developing the engineering/architecture firm’s client and project portfolio in Tennessee. 

“I love gathering with a group of supportive women. We discuss matters that affect us. It is important to have these conversations, because we owe it to ourselves to realize that these issues are real,” said Law. “Our speakers will set the underlying tone and deliver a message that will inspire women of all ages. Events like IMPACT leave the participants ready to take action!” 

The two day Dinner & Symposium is for anyone who is leading or is part of a team. While the CWLI team believes they have a civic responsibility to bring thought-provoking conversation forward that maps a more positive future for professional women, IMPACT will be as relevant for men as it is for women. 

For more information about the event, including partnership opportunities, call 423-394-8173 or email ​​. A limited number of tables and individual tickets will be available for purchase online at