Chief Development Officer, Girls Inc. of Chattanooga

College/University attended?

Chattanooga State

Tell us a little about you… 

I’ve been working in my dream field–non-profit development–for the past nine years. I’m excited to hop out of bed every morning and get to work making our world a little brighter each day. Working in this field means I get to meet and collaborate with some of the kindest and most generous people in our community.

I’m a “bird nerd” and serve on the board of the Chattanooga Audubon Society, I’ve been volunteering with the penguins at the TN Aquarium for nine years and my husband, Brian and I are members and volunteers with the Tri-State Bluebird Society.

In my spare time, I’m an avid gardener and currently pursuing my Native Plant Certification.

What does leadership mean to you?  

For me, leadership means creating a safe space for others where they are encouraged, helped and given opportunities to set and achieve their personal goals.

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?

Ignore anyone who says it can’t be done and don’t let the fears of others dissuade you from pursuing your goals and dreams!

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?

Tina Harrison, owner of Blue Skies. I worked under her leadership for six years. Tina took an active interest in my life, even outside of work, and always supported me in my career and in my life. She trusted me with my first leadership role and made a concerted effort to help me grow and learn in whatever areas I was interested in. Tina made me feel like I was important to her as a person and not just an employee and she does that with everyone. There really aren’t words to describe what a special person she is. She remains a lifelong friend and has supported me in everything I’ve done since. I strive to adopt many of her qualities. I feel truly grateful to know her.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

When I served as the Development Director for the Humane Society we worked in a building that was constructed in 1910 and never meant to serve as an animal shelter. 100 years of wear had made it unsuitable for people and animals. Over the course of my time with the organization, our team worked for years to get a new facility. The day we moved into our brand-new building was my proudest moment. Knowing that we had made a better place for the animals and the team of people who are so dedicated to them was an incredible feeling.

What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?

I think its so important for women to actively support each other and amplify each other’s voices whenever and wherever possible.

When you’re not working, where and how do you spend your time?

When I’m not working my husband, Brian and I enjoy hiking and exploring Chattanooga’s awesome food scene. I love volunteering for local organizations and find that I always get more out of it than I give. There’s nowhere I’d rather be on a Saturday morning than on my porch in PJ’s with a hot cup of coffee!

What benefit do you hope to gain/or have gained by joining this organization?

Learning from each other’s lived experiences and varied skill sets. Having a network of peers that understand and have tackled many of the same challenges. The opportunity to support and be supported by other women.