Executive Director of Southern Lit Alliance
University of Tennessee, Business Administration
Tell us a little about you (short bio ~150 words).
I am proud to be an eighth-generation Tennessean and grew up mostly in Nashville. My husband is from Chattanooga, and when we had the opportunity, we were excited to relocate close to home and raise our two sons here. Most of my career has been working in non-profit organizations, and I am passionate about the missions I have served over the years. I started in the Association of General Contractors in Kentucky, then moved to Chattanooga where I became the Executive Director at Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization for ten years. I also worked for seven years as the Director of External Affairs at Creative Discovery Museum. For the last four years, I have served as the Executive Director of Southern Lit Alliance, a literary arts organization encouraging passionate readers and writers of all ages.
When you’re not working, where and how do you spend your time?
I have many hobbies including reading (of course), oil painting, needlework, and genealogy. I love being outdoors, hiking, golfing, or relaxing near water.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?
Being a successful leader means being a servant to those whom you are leading. It is not about asserting your agenda but helping the group come to the best conclusion and allowing them to be part of the process. If you have an attitude of service, others will feel supported and more motivated to achieve the goal.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?
There isn’t one particular person who impacted me. Instead, I had a whole group of women who inspired and trained me in the Junior League of Chattanooga. In the Junior League, I was able to try new skills and really learned how to lead committees toward a goal. I felt encouraged to stretch myself in the organization, and the lessons I learned transferred into my professional life.
What has been your proudest moment in your career?
One of the prouder moments in my career was when I started a fashion show with breast cancer survivors as a fundraiser for Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. The event was financially successful, but it also positively showcased the journey of cancer survivors and encouraged them. It met our mission and was a win for all that were involved.
What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?
Women need to be cheerleaders for other women in their workplace and mentors to aspiring young women. If we recognize others’ achievements and excellence, all women are encouraged and uplifted. How would you best describe the benefit found in joining this organization? I haven’t been a member long, but I feel the networking and encouragement have been really beneficial. I felt welcomed and have already met many new people in a comfortable environment. Of course, winning the great door prize at the May luncheon didn’t hurt any.