Connect with female leaders throughout the region.

Your career path is stronger when you’re surrounded by a network of women across multiple industries, generations, and perspectives. Strengthen your skills, your network, and your influence through these offerings.


Quarterly Connect

Connect each quarter to advance your career or business. These gatherings are designed to grow your network with other female professionals. Regsiter through our calendar to attend our next QC. We encourage members to invite a non-member to these gatherings.

Affinity Groups

These member-led groups allow for a more intimate look at current women’s issues at a pace decided upon by the group members. If you are interested in starting an affinity group, let the CWLI staff help you form your group.

Civil Dialogue Across Differences

Civil Dialogue Across Differences Affinity Group

For most of us, talking about politics often ranks slightly below getting dental work; it’s often divisive, anger-inspiring, and leaves us feeling hopeless about the possibility of compromise and connection. Those emotions enter because the stakes of politics are high, but we hold on to the hope that these discussions don’t require divisiveness. In this group, we’ll seek to listen first, to build understanding so that we can learn how to craft solutions across political differences.

Join this group if you’re looking for an open space for dialogue and a respectful exchange of ideas, but bristle at the idea of a political debate with your neighbors. We’ll craft a community agreement at our first meeting to ensure we remain true to this vision. Then, we’ll read books that have wide appeal about how our political ideologies are formed, how we can better understand our own beliefs and those of others, and how to craft a more civil, productive political culture in our community.

Led by Liz Norell

Liz Norell is a political scientist/professor, yoga teacher, and life coach. She sees the world through those complementary lenses, focused on building greater understanding and empathy across differences to make our lives and the world less fraught.

In her academic work, she tries to help students see how and why different people come to different conclusions on political issues; in her yoga and coaching practices, she helps others cultivate grace with and love for themselves. When she’s not doing those things, she’s probably sitting in a comfy chair with a book, with her dogs sleeping nearby. And, when there’s no global pandemic, planning her next road trip.

Listening Fridays

Listening Friday's Affinity Group

Listening Fridays was started two years ago when Ronelle Sellers served as our board chair. The goal was for board members to listen to the membership and gain a better understanding of the needs within the organization. Board members were available to give career advice, determine the best person to connect members with based on their needs and industry, share knowledge, and become a helpful resource to members to help them excel in their career and with their networking goals in the community. As Listening Fridays continued the format transitioned into panel discussions from board members on a number of topics. The wisdom shared during those sessions were incredible nuggets that could be a catalyst in anyone’s life or career. Listening Fridays is returning! Each month various board members and committee leaders will share their expertise on a particular topic in an approachable atmosphere. And, members are invited to share their ideas or experience with the organization. Listening Friday topics will include: Effectively Managing Others, Developing Referral Sources, Effective Communication, Three Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started My Career, Leading By Example, and more. If you have a topic you would like discussed during a Listening Friday session, please email

Led by Ronelle Sellers

Ronelle Sellers has almost 30 years of experience developing results-driven marketing campaigns. She joined HHM in 2000, as the Director of Marketing, and helped the Firm create individual and niche marketing plans, as well as marketing rewards programs. From new websites to print ads to recruiting and lead generation campaigns, during her tenure the Firm has achieved 11 nationals accounting marketing awards. She has spent much of her career dedicated to promoting Chattanooga’s newest entrepreneurs. She founded Southside Creative in 2007, and for 13 years assisted business owners with marketing, branding, and public relations.

Nonprofit CEOs

Nonprofit Executives Affinity Group is a group of women who lead nonprofit organizations. We discuss current topics in nonprofit management, as well as share successes and challenges. Topics may include fundraising challenges, working with boards, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and more. It is also a time for members to ‘vent’ about challenges of running a nonprofit.

Led by Samantha Teter and Erin Creal

Samantha Teter has 20 years of experience in arts and non-profit administration, marketing, public relations, and sales. She moved to the Chattanooga area in 2012 from Denver, where she was Director of Marketing and Sales for the Colorado Symphony. Prior to that, she was Director of Marketing and PR for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Indiana. She came to the CSO in 2012 as Director of Marketing, and was promoted to Executive Director in March 2016.

She holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing. She is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Chattanooga, a member of Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute and serves on its Membership Committee, and in her spare time, enjoys singing and performing in theatrical and vocal productions. She is married with a daughter who attends Collegiate High at Chatt State, has two adult stepchildren, and a granddaughter.

Power of Happy 2.0

Power of Happy Affinity Group

For high-achieving women like you who want powerful take-action tools that add to your genuine happiness, effectiveness, and leadership both at work and at home. This is a fun, real, and dynamic space to:

  • Apply take-action tools that add to your genuine happiness, effectiveness, and leadership both at work and at home
  • Have meaningful discussions (without judgement) 
  • Learn new ‘ah-has’
  • Form deeper connections with other women

Led by Kelly Summersett

Kelly Summersett, a professional Life and Health Coach for over ten years, helps women manage their minds in very little time so they achieve everything that’s important to them without over-thinking, stressing-out, and stalling-out.  Her one-of-a-kind small group coaching class, MindBodySWEAT, up-levels women’s lives in eight weeks by teaching them how to be present, manage their minds and develop healthier relationships with themselves and their bodies.  Kelly has been publishing her blog, Motivation Monday, for ten years without losing motivation or missing a Monday yet.

Women in Finance

Women working in any sector of the Financial industry and academia, as well as women with financial roles in other industries. We have 3 areas of engagement: Education, Networking and Leadership.

Led by Jill Guess and Melissa Curtis

Jill Guess is the Director of Research for Prism Funds LLC as well as Prism Advisory Group LLC. Jill started her investment career at E.F. Hutton in 1985 where she was Senior Analyst for the Consulting Group’s Southeast Region. She left what became Smith Barney in 1996 to work with an independent investment advisor responsible for research and performance reporting, and has stayed in the RIA channel since. Currently Jill is responsible for all manager and hedge fund due diligence for both Prism Funds LLC and Prism Advisory Group LLC as well as market research and asset allocation studies. She also manages the firm’s Model Portfolios and co-manages their private fund.

A graduate of Georgia State University in Atlanta with a BA in Economics with honors, Jill attended the University of Florida for three years. She volunteers in her community with La Paz, an organization connecting the Latino population with the greater Chattanooga community.

Melissa Woodall Curtis, of Woodall Agency Insurance, is a Chattanooga native with a long family legacy in the Insurance industry. Woodall Agency Insurance was founded in 1952 by Melissa’s father, John Woodall, CLU, ChFC. Melissa has been the president of the agency since 2010. In 2018 Melissa and colleagues formed Bluffview Insurance Group, which is a consortium of independent insurance specialists. She serves as a Board member of the Chattanooga Estate Planning Council.

Melissa is a graduate of Girls Preparatory School and Newcomb College of Tulane University. Melissa enjoys her involvement in the Chattanooga community. Her activities include serving on the Board of Trustees for Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute Board and as the former Chair of CWLI’s Financial Empowerment Series. Melissa is a member of the Leadership Chattanooga class of 2016-2017 and serves on UTC’s Planned Giving Advisory Council. She is also a member of a National Study Group of Insurance Professionals with NFP Partners Financial.


Member Hub

As a CWLI member, you receive the benefit of our online Member Hub. Connect with other professional women and grow your business relationships. Our member directory helps you support female owned businesses and advance your network.

1:1 Mentoring

If you are interested in being a Mentor or a Mentee, Complete the brief survey below to begin the process. Or email Caroline at to learn more.

1:1 Mentoring

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