Meet Heather Beam



Heather Beam serves as the Chattanooga Complex Controller at Koch Foods and has been a financial leader in the poultry industry for 12 years. She also has 20 years of experience in various industries leadership roles. Heather holds two degrees: Bachelor of Science in Accounting from High Point University and a Masters of Accountancy from Gardner-Webb University. 


My favorite aspects of being a leader are showing others respect; respect for their work, respect for them as a person, and respect for their lives outside of work. I find it easy and enjoyable to share my kindness through leadership. In the past I have had a few leaders that taught me how not to lead, which really impacted my style of leadership. I realized very quickly in my career to nurture a team, teach them what you know, do not fear them as being too smart or strong, and they will help you rise up. Many leaders are afraid to teach/mentor a replacement, but when you do you actually become a stronger leader. Most of my mentors throughout my career have been men. I have great respect for all of them as they showed me how to “be a man” and remove the “grudge factor.” No great leader ever holds a grudge on an employee for any actions that transpires because you are there to do a job with respect and this is not your social circle. Women often tend to forget this, which leads to our own downfall. We also tend to hold our knowledge for fear of being passed over, which is why it happens.


I joined CWLI in December 2018, after completing the “Women Mentoring Women” program. My friend, Melissa Blevins introduced me to CWLI because I am fairly new to the area, and knew I needed to network with like-minded women. The WMW program produced strong bonds for me with other CWLI members. We can call on each other for support, advice, and friendship. There is great trust built in the relationships with the other members because they are like-minded and really want other women in the organization to shine with success. I am part of the Women in Finance Affinity Group. We are all very different in our areas of finance, but we relate to the challenges that we face in our respective industries as they are generally the same. As women in our local community, we need to have the confidence in our skills, and accept challenging tasks even when we are not 100% perfection. Also, we all need to pay it forward by helping other women in the community to succeed through nurturing and sharing our knowledge.